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Big hitters from Landa, Unilever & Waitrose put digital print centre stage at Packaging Innovations

Digital printing is making its presence felt like never before at this year’s PACKAGING INNOVATIONS show, taking place on 27 & 28 February 2013 at Birmingham’s NEC.

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The show will feature the inaugural BIG Print Debate, with top print decision makers from Unilever and Waitrose taking part. The show will also feature the first free demonstration  on UK soil of nanography - the latest brainchild of ‘game-changer’ Benny Landa, who turned the industry on its head 20 years ago with the introduction of digital commercial printing.

Landa famously said ‘everything that can become digital will become digital - and printing is no exception' and that is the basis of the BIG Print Debate. Industry experts, including Karen Graley, Packaging & Reprographics Manager at Waitrose, and Matthew Daniels, Global Packaging Capability Leader - Printing & Decoration at Unilever, will be joining the panel to debate the topic at 13:30 on Thursday 28 February.

Jo Francis, Associate Editor at Print Week, who will be chairing the debate, remarks: "Digital printing technology is transforming many areas of print, and has become increasingly mainstream. The question is, ‘Is it also capable of transforming package printing?’ In a fiercely competitive retail environment, digital production could provide a vital edge for just-in-time manufacturing and fast-changing promotions. I'm excited to hear what our expert panel have to say on the topic."

Panellist John Charnock, Director and Owner of Print Research International, comments: “The Benny Landa quote is very accurate and quite obvious if you consider it. Printing and packaging deals with the physical and aesthetic, although the placing of the pigment onto a substrate can become digital, and so it should; the process of manufacturing products such as, books, magazines, boxes, bottles cannot.

“I do agree that many processes will be controlled by digital information, but processes that a printer (whether digital or not) has to fulfil in order to service their customers, such as folding, cutting, creasing, embossing, are the difficult and expensive components.”

Also on the panel will be Will Parker from Reflex Labels Ltd, who adds: “Digital has established itself in print and packaging for the last 20 years, but in a niche fashion. Now it's time for it to deliver. New technologies on the horizon have the potential to make this the Decade of Digital Printing, the market requirement being for web driven, short run, digital quality printing.”

Charnock agrees to some extent: “Digital printing has enabled us to reduce the cost of short lead time products and has enabled our customers to produce many more versions and variables in order to react to the marketplace that they serve. This in my view is the revolution that has impacted on print, not necessarily the method by which pigment is applied; although the nano theories do appear to be very exciting!”

Landa will also be a key focus during the learnShops line-up, providing visitors with the first chance to hear Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager at Landa Digital Printing, lifting the lid on nanography.

It attracted over 400 adopters whilst it was still just a prototype and in late 2013 the first examples of nanographic printing will be coming hot off the press. Its developer, Benny Landa, turned the printing industry on its head with the introduction of digital 20 years ago – and with the arrival of nanography he’s about to do it again.

Gerry will explain what nanography is, how it works and the marketing advantages it will bring for brand owners and retailers. As nanography evolves from a concept to a commercial reality, early converters will be on hand to share their belief in a process that’s set to revolutionise packaging print.

Landa will be one of ten free-to-attend PRINT INNOVATIONS learnShops taking place across the two-day show. Also topping the bill will be Julia Cole, Marketing Manager at HP Indigo, who’ll be showing how print can extend the retail experience.

Cole explains: “Packaging is increasingly a critical factor in the consumer decision-making process. It is therefore ever more important that brands use packaging to differentiate their products in the retail environment. In my learnShops seminar, ‘Extending the retail experience’, I will be highlighting the ways in which this can be achieved utilising versatile and innovative digital printing solutions to add value to packaging and meet today’s retail challenges and trends. Find out how personalisation, coding, marking, high-quality, creative print effects and the many other benefits of digital printing can be employed to enhance the consumer experience and increase sales.”

Chris Tonge, Sales and Marketing Director at Ultimate Packaging, will be discussing the addition of digital print to a business that has historically been focused on flexo, and what has happened over the past year to make it work for the business and its customers.

Tonge remarks: “Our customers told us that they needed an option for short print runs of packaging to enable them to be more reactive to market conditions and promotions, so we responded by adding digital print, which we believe is the perfect solution.”

Highcon will be presenting a seminar on ‘Euclid theory in practice – digital finishing for folding cartons’. Chris Baker, VP Sales & Business Development at Highcon, said: “Digital cutting and creasing makes short run package converting profitable and allows you to offer more design creativity and flexibility, enabling speed to shelf for the most demanding customers.”

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