Quality is no longer an issue that packaging printers and converters need worry about when considering digital solutions, according to Dr. Jürgen Rautert (pictured, left), a former member of the management board at Heidelberg and current senior vice president of product development and global purchasing at logistics company Dematic.
Speaking at an Open House event to mark the installation of a HP Indigo WS6600 at German folding carton producer Schneller Leupold, Rautert said: ‘Quality is no longer an issue. Customers will often talk of “near offset-like quality” when comparing conventional and digital printing but, while it’s nice to be referenced as a standard, I think you could say the average quality being produced by an average operator on an offset press is probably not as good as the average quality being produced by an average operator on a digital press.
'You can tweak offset presses to achieve a higher level than you can a digital press, but there is less babysitting required for digital presses.’
Speaking on the topic of digital printing solutions for the package printing and converting market under the heading “Why not?”, Rautert addressed a number of key questions the market often asks about digital printing. Is the technology good enough for use in industrial environments? What are the manufacturing costs? How do customer relationships need to change? How do digital solutions fit into a printer’s workflow scenario?
Rautert said many of these questions are now defunct as digital printing technology has evolved to a point where it answers them, such as the technology’s suitability for industrial applications and workflow integration.
He noted that some other areas of concern are less clear, such as color management and converting. With color management, he said both offset and digital have their issues but the latter benefits from a level of built-in stability that brand owners and end users demand from printed packaging, while digital converting is still a young market and will see some innovations succeed and others fail. ‘It will happen,’ Rautert said.
For printers and converters to make digital work for them, they must make it part of their business model according to Rautert, from staff training and job processing to solid customer relationship management.
‘If your business is in trouble and you buy digital to fix it, it won’t happen. You might get some work from cross-marketing, but digital has to be an investment in your whole business model.
‘The business model must be correct, as success is not based around the press but rather on how it is used.’
Bernd Aßmann, managing director at Schneller Leupold, agreed that the business model is important to incorporating digital technology into a printing operation, adding that
Schneller Leupold chose to invest in a HP Indigo WS6600 digital press (pictured, above) as a way to lead the market as it is the next step. ‘It’s just the beginning,’ Aßmann said.
‘Hardware is the basis of any investment, and the print quality question has been resolved. But the business model is important. Much of our investment is to handle the administration to be able to do business using the press; just doing extra short run jobs won’t benefit us.’
Read the original article at Package Print Worldwide: http://www.packprintworld.com/news/news/digital-vs-offset-quality-is-no-longer-an-issue?dm_i=L08,PHGC,51V2AJ,21YRQ,1