drupa Essentials of Print: David Pittman

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.

Digital drivers in labels

With the technology evolving – faster speeds, better quality, increased consistency, etc –, so the market has embraced the opportunities digital printing permits. This has been realised in pressrooms the world over through hardware installations as printers look to respond to 21st Century consumer behaviours, the advent of short runs and ongoing trend for personalisation, and brand owner demands for new business models to provide just-in-time delivery and minimise waste in the supply chain. This sees many digital adopters in labels now operating multiple lines. They are also embracing the different digital printing technologies and the unique characteristics and capabilities of each to further their ability to respond to today’s business environment, and that of tomorrow.

Increasingly, the end-use is driving the choice of technology, be that: challenging substrates as often seen in wines and spirits; durable labels that are resistant to various environmental factors; beer and beauty labels, where achieving the correct look and feel is paramount; or food labels, which must be aesthetically pleasing whilst meeting stringent regulations for food safety. For most, these digital presses have slotted in alongside flexo and offset machines. There are examples from the early days of this not providing the most effective route to ROI, with the capabilities and capacities of digital printing undermined by attempts to make the technology work within existing workflows. Today, it is widely acknowledged that to make the most of an investment in digital, the ecosystem around the press is as important as the machine itself. This helps get incoming orders through pre-press, onto the print engine, then forwards to finishing and converting in the most streamlined and effective way possible.

[…] I believe that the label industry is well placed to embrace the next iteration of digital transformation, coupling its engrained knowledge of digital printing coupled with a capacity to adapt and change. Rather than being fretful, the label industry is looking forward to how digital can future-proof business and is ready to embrace all the opportunities this will present.

In his article “Digital drivers in labels“ from the drupa article series Essentials of Print David Pittman summarizes how digital printing has become commonplace in the label printing industry.

About the Author:

David Pittman is the Editor of Digital Labels & Packaging.  A respected B2B journalist, having accrued more than a decade of experience covering topics from construction materials and machinery, mobile telecommunications to learning and writing about package printing and converting. He was previously the Deputy Editor, Labels & Labeling.




Header picture © Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann

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