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EskoWorld press conference focuses on brands

By Greg Hrinya, Associate Editor | May 12, 2017

Brand owners desire growth, compliance solutions and cost effectiveness.

As part of EskoWorld, Jan De Roeck, Esko's director of solutions management, hosted a press conference to discuss many of the company’s latest innovations and how they relate to brands. He was joined at the press conference, which took place on May 10th in Charlotte, NC, USA, by several senior executives. In addition to Udo Panenka, president of Esko, Joakim Weidemanis, vice president and group executive of product identification, Danaher, explained how Esko’s customers are benefiting from the latest prepress software.

In order to offer complete solutions throughout the packaging supply chain, Esko relies on partner companies like X-Rite Pantone, VideoJet, and most recently AVT. “When we talk about synergies, we talk about growing faster and developing unique solutions that make life better for our customers,” said Weidemanis. “We acquire great businesses in great markets and help them get better.”

According to Weidemanis, nine out 10 consumer goods brands have been touched by Esko products. Therefore, EskoWorld provides an opportunity for attendees to connect to the supply chain. Panenka pointed out that Esko products are agnostic to printing and finishing technologies, as they work with both digital and conventional. 

“EskoWorld is special because this is the place where all aspects of the value chain can connect with each other,” said Panenka. “We’re not only connecting the customer value chain, we’re talking about the whole product ecosystem and how we get that connected.”

Panenka explained the importance of brands at EskoWorld. In recent years, the company has made a concerted effort to generate feedback from brand owners. In 2017, 20% of the registered attendees were brand owners. With their added presence, Esko conducted interviews to get more information about what brands are looking for from their labels and packaging. 

Brand owners desire growth, compliance solutions and cost effectiveness. In order to reduce costs, brands want to reduce inventory, deal with mixed printing processes, become more efficient and close the operator/user skill gap. For example, Panenka noted that many pharmaceutical companies have endured recalls due to packaging errors, and the goal is to eliminate those occurrences.

To drive growth, Esko anticipates better packaging with engaging and personalized labels. The colors on the packages need to match, as well.

Esko recently collaborated with HP and Amarula on a campaign that utilized HP Indigo presses and Mosaic technology. With more engaging packaging, customers were able to go to the Amarula website and design a label with an elephant. By bringing the web experience to a physical experience in the store, Amarula was able to raise awareness for Africa’s dwindling elephant population.

“I’m not sure if there are any industries other than us that are so visible with what we do here,” said Panenka. “Think about how many packages are in the hands of consumers every day.”

Esko’s experts explained how their new products can positively impact brands. The Esko Platform for Brands is designed to help brands manage packaging in an omni-channel world. According to Jijo Dominic, director of web applications, bringing MediaBeacon to the Esko family has been a critical aspect of this initiative. The platform offers better control and management of content, as well as reduced risks and recalls for customers. What goes on the Internet, or e-channel, is identical to what is on the package.

“I think we’re getting a very high response from our brands,” says Dominic. “Customers can choose where to start with their project, either on premise or SaaS.”

MediaBeacon has also been configured to help brand owners. According to Tim Sixta, the mission is to bring a best-in-class digital asset management system from concept to consumer. Sixta said that MediaBeacon can improve time to market by 50%, and 61% of brands are increasing the amount of rich media content they produce over the next two years.

From a software perspective, Bernard Zwaenepoel, Esko senior vice president of software, discussed the need to move to a “paperless office.” This can be accomplished by standardizing and automating the workflow. According to Zwaenepoel, Esko software features the fastest approval cycle with online 2D and 3D review and approval tools. The centralization of assets allows for easy searching and re-ordering, as well as reporting and dashboards for simple follow-ups.

Esko’s software improvements have resulted in an approval cycle that has gone from weeks to days, a capacity increase to handle more orders, increased on-time delivery due to more visibility and transparency, and reduced errors.

Thomas Klein, VP of hardware, detailed Esko’s enhancements to flexo platemaking in the form of the CDI Crystal 5080 XPS. Imaging and UV exposure have been combined in one unit, which has resulted in a 50% reduction in exposure steps. Digitally controlled main and back LED UV exposure has led to increased quality, ease of use and consistency.

The CDI Crystal XPS recently won the Red Dot Award 2017 for industrial design and a 2017 FTA Technical Award.

For digital cutting, the Kongsberg can integrate into a workflow. Users can go from structural design; customer approval; estimation; prepress; Kongsberg cutting; and off to packaging and shipping. With full automation and robotics, the Kongsberg enables long periods of unsupervised operation, as well as reduced waste and optimized system efficiency.

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