Joining the master class chair, L&L editor James Quirk, was a high-profile panel of eleven guest speakers from Baldwin Technology, Traent.com, Hybrid Software Group, Esko, X-Rite Pantone, MPS, Cerm, Label Traxx, HP Indigo, Grafotronic and Tilia Labs. As with the previous virtual master classes, which have covered brand protection, digital printing technology and flexible packaging, Industry 4.0 was divided into two parts.
Part one provided an overview of Industry 4.0, blockchain, data transparency, automating pre-press and quality control. Steve Metcalf, chief marketing and IoT officer, Baldwin Technology, began by introducing the topic and how it impacts the label and package printing industry. This paved the way for the next session, given by Federico d’Annunzio, founder of Traent.com, who delved into blockchain and why brands are pushing for full data transparency. Mike Rottenborn, CEO of Hybrid Software Group, then provided insight into automating pre-press, from pre-flight to imposition and color management, and integrating it into press and factory management systems. Closing part one was a joint presentation given by Martin Cusack, product manager Color, DFE and iCenter at Esko and Jérôme Brangé, solution architect, Packaging at X-Rite Pantone, who set out ways of automating quality control including inspection and measuring color in-line.
The connected press
The focus for part two was a more in-depth look at automating both flexo and digital printing and the finishing process. Kelvin van den Bunt, product manager at MPS, and Lowie-Pascal Geerinck, product manager at Cerm, began with a joint presentation covering the flexo press and how automation can tackle industry issues such as the manual skills shortage, increased SKUs and sustainability.
Chris Spooner, business development manager at Label Traxx, and Christian Menegon, global business development manager, Labels & Packaging at HP Indigo, examined the opportunities created by the connected digital press. Morten Toksvaerd, business development director at Grafotronic, then set out ways of automating the finishing process and integrating it into existing networks. The master class closed with a converter case study from George Folickman, global sales director and business development at Tilia Labs. He described how the software company had worked with US converter Pacer Print to automate production, and the significant cost, time and resource benefits to the business that this had made.
Andy Thomas-Emans, Labelexpo strategic director, said: ‘The Covid pandemic has accelerated digital technology trends that were already starting to transform the label and package printing supply chain, most notably the use of real-time data and the move towards the smart factory of the future. This has huge potential for our fast-moving industry, so it’s essential that converters in particular learn how to take advantage of this and stay ahead. Our Industry 4.0 virtual master class offered the right step in that direction, with a fascinating insight into all of this and more.’
Baldwin’s Steve Metcalf said: ‘Data will drive the next great advantage in labels and packaging and is the centerpiece of Industry 4.0. Innovations are happening right now that make getting access to data and putting it to work easier than ever. The line-up assembled for the master class presents a how to guide on what to consider and where to begin the journey.’
Mike Rottenborn of Hybrid Software Group said: ‘These master classes are one of the best platforms from which to share this knowledge with industry peers.’
Thomas-Emans added: ‘I’d like to extend my thanks to our fantastic line-up of speakers who took part, and attendees for joining. We look forward to hosting further sessions covering more of the industry’s most pressing topics in the coming months – online and live at Labelexpo shows.’
The recordings for both parts of the Industry 4.0 virtual master class are available through the Label Academy subscription service, which can be accessed through labelsandlabeling.com.
The Label Academy’s accompanying guide, Management Information Systems and Workflow Automation, by Michael Fairley, provides additional detail on the topics discussed in the virtual master class, and is available to purchase on Amazon.
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