drupa Essentials of Print: Alvise Cavallari

With our recurring drupa Essentials of Print series, we deliver a series of articles, from designers, brand owners, printers, converters, journalists and influencers, providing them with a platform to share their opinions on the latest developments of the print industry.

 „It has only taken about twenty years for digital printing to enter every sector of printing per se. It is fast getting real even in the challenging area of food packaging, where volumes together with compliance aspects were once considered unsuitable for ‘digital’.

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As the last drupa exhibitions have shown, nowadays it is all about digitalisation. The main print-press vendors are well advanced on their digital roadmaps and newer players are entering the scene on the same road. This said, while the digital printing industry is very lively, it is still quite fragmented and so we expect a phase of business and market consolidation in the coming years, driven by the need to adapt to new technology needs or usages. We are also witnessing a strong surge in print-in-production, with history seemingly repeating itself as ‘printing’ comes back to ‘production’.

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Digital printing inks have made huge progress in food-compliance and are still improving significantly. However, on new packaging materials with lighter barrierproperties, some printing systems (the combination of a printing process, an ink and its finishing process) will need to be adapted to meet our strict requirements for food packaging. Additional requirements will also affect targeting, for example, reusability, recyclability or compostability. Are today’s ink formulations, developments and finishing processes ready for this transition? There are only a few years left to crack all this; sustainability is becoming a primary decision-making criterion and the printing industry must prepare for it.

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having the ability to customise the output at the latest stage, which itself means moving printed packaging from a conventional rigid supply-chain to a networked supply-chain where different players can print different static and variable layers of an artwork in one or several locations. It means moving away from a monolithic approach, where the full printing and converting processes are entirely outsourced, to where there will be a variety of supply-chain options to cover the high variety of products, business models and routes to market (ranging from fully outsourced supply to fully internalised printing and converting, with mixed approaches in-between). This is our definition of variability and flexibility, derived from datadriven print production and late stage customisation.

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At first glance, this degree of integration and connectivity to achieve a batch-of-one might sound futuristic and it is definitely ambitious, but the reality is that all the necessary technology building-blocks already exist today. Digital Front Ends rip dynamic artwork for the printer. Manufacturing Execution Systems dispatch productionorder information to the various assets of a production line. Dedicated servers ensure additional functionality, such as serialisation or aggregation. For each and every type of data, a dedicated and well optimised channel exists.”

 

The world of packaging is facing many changes. In his article “Digital printing – enabling the ‘connected factory’ of the future” Alvise Cavallari is taking a closer look at the repercussions of exactly these changes. The drivers behind these changes include new routes to market such as e-commerce, new supply chain models like multichannel supply, but also new regulatory and sustainability requirements and new customer demands for more customised and personalised products. New technologies and materials are required for — and indeed enable — these changes to occur.

About the Author:


The world of packaging is facing many changes. In his article “Digital printing – enabling the ‘connected factory’ of the future” Alvise Cavallari is taking a closer look at the repercussions of exactly these changes. The drivers behind these changes include new routes to market such as e-commerce, new supply chain models like multichannel supply, but also new regulatory and sustainability requirements and new customer demands for more customised and personalised products. New technologies and materials are required for — and indeed enable — these changes to occur.

With a background in mechanical engineering, Alvise Cavallari spent nearly 20 years in the machine industry which is where he first discovered and fell in love with the fascinating world of package printing. He then joined Nestlé R&D where he now heads Nestlé’s corporate digital printing program as well as other related activities.