Is the packaging industry on the verge of disruption?

We’re in the midst of an exciting era in which old, established industries and business processes are being challenged to keep up with a fast changing world. The taxi and limousine industry has been turned on its head by Uber, shopping malls are shutting their doors as e-retailers like Amazon steal their lunch, and when last did anyone buy a music CD or DVD?

Closer to home, 3D printing is beginning to make headway in manufacturing, and digital printing has already garnered in excess of 20% of the packaging industry at the expense of older print technologies. There are 3 key forces converging that are driving these phenomenon:

  • Firstly, both manufacturers and retailers are under severe margin pressure, driving the need to make supply chains shorter, more efficient and much more agile.
  • Secondly, shoppers have more options, and are becoming more demanding and selective, forcing brand owners to innovate at breakneck speed.
  • Finally, technological breakthroughs are maturing and becoming mainstream, making possible today what was only a dream a few years ago.

But when looking at the typical packaging development lifecycle, one crucial stage stands out as not having made real technological progress in decades. Take the world of cartons as an example, where cutting and creasing is still performed by means of traditional dies – a decidedly non-digital solution, and the opposite of efficient.

So can a very mechanical, and labor intensive process like die making be disrupted by digital technology? And even if it can, how will it benefit brand owners and others in the value chain like packaging designers?

According to technology startup Highcon, the answer is “Absolutely Yes” – the traditional die is on it’s way to becoming obsolete and is being replaced by completely digital technology in a cutting and creasing machine –  the Highcon™ Euclid. The benefits of the technology to all parties are immense, including much faster time to shelf (no waiting for dies to be made), cost and environmental benefits (by eliminating die production), and improved profitability even for short packaging runs.

diamante5_transparent_1 smallEarly adopters of the Euclid are delighted with the results, citing not only the supply chain advantages, but also the creative freedom that it allows their designers, including both intricate laser cutting, and the ability to cut on the crease now made possible by this new technology. Added benefits include customization of packages via variable data cutting and etching, and the ability to make last minute edits and changes, making the overall offering very compelling.

Lasse Svard of Gafs Kartong in Sweden expands:

The technology is commercially available to brand owners via a network of printers and packaging converters in the US, Canada, UK, Italy, France, Belgium, Sweden, South Korea, China and Israel, with more on the way.  Highcon themselves have received a number of high profile awards recently for their innovation including the 2015 Intertech Technology Award.

If you haven’t yet seen the Euclid in action, this webinar will be a perfect way to get acquainted with the technology, and how it’s helping brands get customized, consumer relevant products to shelf faster and more efficiently.

Join Highcon on November 17th by registering FREE here.

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