Labels’ digitalisation is accelerating and competencies and business models are changing. With that, businesses need to tap into the areas where trends are showing and play to their advantages, according to Bobst Mouvent head of sales Eric Van Sloten.
Van Sloten said gravure and offset used to be the chosen technologies to print labels in the past. However, in the 90s, there was a big change and the trend shifted towards flexography. This then transitioned over to electro photography in the 2000s.
Today, the trend has moved towards inkjet nano technology, Van Sloten said, who also identified the technology drivers for the transition, which includes:
- Fewer moving parts
- Easier to operate machines
- Higher quality solutions
- Lower costs
With customer demands moving towards quicker time to market, better quality colour and consistency, agility of personalisation and short runs, new applications and profitability, Bobst found that all converters who moved to digital enjoyed higher growth levels than the industry average.
With that, Van Sloten also identified the main drivers of the digital label market, which included the following:
- Technology: for multiple versions, short length runs and variable data applications
- Customer focus: for quick turnaround times, new business models and decentralisation
- Sustainability: for waste reduction and water based inks and inks coverage
- Regulations: for security and compulsory tracking obligations
“Production flow optimisation beyond technologies is what we’re after. This means not letting technology drive your decisions, but rather, let the customer needs drive your decisions,” he said.
“We need to move away from the old debates of technology. Today, it’s about product flow optimisation and the new priorities of the customer. The digital revolution is forcing every company to move from business models focused on machine productivity to additional models that integrate the entire production floor performance.
“It’s all about choosing the right tool for the right job. We at Bobst are unique in offering the One-Label portfolio, which lets you choose the right machine for each customer. This includes the spectrum of narrow web flexo, all the way through to digital printing and all-in-one.”
Given the future direction of technology, Van Sloten said Bobst expects the number of converters to consolidate.
Van Sloten’s recommendations for businesses, going into the future, include having a complete label portfolio that includes flexo, digital and all-in-one solutions, optimising the entire production line with digital, reinforcing the end-to-end workflow, developing embellishment and sustainability and growing staffing skills and capabilities.
He also said Bobst has plans to further penetrate into the Asia-Pacific market in 2022.