Digital Printing Conference 2018 Review Part 2

This is Part 2 of our review of the Digital Printing Conference at Digital Print Europe in September 2018 - for Part 1 click here. This two-day strategic conference was aimed at strategic executives, business developers and technical directors across a wide range of digital printing and deposition applications.

The conference was a great success and attracted in-depth discussions and Q&As after the talks as well as in the breaks and evening reception. Feedback from sponsors, speakers and delegates has been very positive!



Section 3 - Industrial Inkjet


Industrial inkjet 2018: crossing the chasm, or stuck in a ravine?
Marcus Timson, Co-Founder, InPrint

Marcus looked at the technology adoption life cycle. He noted the difference between early adopters and early majority sectors of the technology adoption life cycle, how early adopters are happy with imperfection and discontinuity, whereas the early majority people on the other side of the chasm require perfection, evidence of success and continuity from current systems. This is where advancements in the inkjet industry are challenged, there is not enough knowledge of new applications and solutions due to confidentiality, so the early majority are not getting the evidence they desire.

Marcus believes the industrial inkjet industry reached its “peak of inflated expectations” in 2017 and all the growing pains such as lack of big investors, cultural barriers and the need for more collaboration led to the industry heading down into the “trough of disillusionment”. Now in 2018 we are seeing more technological developments, standardised systems, available inks and software development which are all contributing to the industry starting to bridge that chasm.


Striving for excellence in digital single pass décor printing:status report & industry perspective
Robert Bierfreund, COO, Interprint

As an end user, this presentation was highly anticipated. Robert described how Interprint saw digital inkjet as a solution to many of their problems - reducing colour match time & down time, remove need to cylinder engraving, improve cost effectiveness for small orders, improve energy efficiency and allow more design diversification, including a freedom from cylinder repeat lengths. Due to increased customisation and fast paced industries the customer needs were driving towards smaller orders and this was an issue for the existing rotogravure printing. Adopting digital printing promises to free the gravure presses from printing the inefficient short runs. Robert described the many problems they had overcome since installing a production digital solution at their factory including print quality, colour matching, reliability and stability over a run. In partnership with their suppliers they have been able to make significant improvements in the technology. They have also explored new market approaches based on the flexibility of the inkjet solution, enabling sales in new markets. Digital printing sales are now growing rapidly after an initial slow period and this has meant a complete change in mindset for the company.


Advancements in page wide thermal inkjet technology
Don Allred, VP Packaging, Memjet

Don began with an introduction to Memjet’s technology and the versatility they have achieved within the packaging industry - covering corrugated, flexible, labels and folding cartons. He also explained their capability to provide solutions across multiple segments from early to late stage customisation. Memjet’s original technology has been used in applications like desktop and entry level products, labels, packaging, mailing, office, and late stage package customisation since its introduction in 2007. In 2017 they launched their new technology platform which is being used for mid level & heavy production, commercial, labels, flexibles, early and mid stage package customisation. The new technology has a bonded heater in the ink chamber, rather than the original floating heater design and this has led to significant improvements in printhead life and print quality, while allowing the use of pigmented inks. This has enabled new partnerships with OEMs, including the new low end Gallus solution mentioned in part 1 of the event review.


The sustainable development of dye sublimation papers and trends within the digital textile printing industry
Gijsbert Harmsen, Senior Sales Executive Performance Materials, Neenah Coldenhove

Gijsbert’s look into dye sublimation within fashion notes that the driving factors for success are branding, cost & price and sustainability which is getting ever more important. The use of eco-friendly sublimation paper is on an upward curve due to the flexibility of applications, sustainability, reduced cost and high quality. Gijsbert believes there is an overall cost saving from using coated compared to un-coated paper as there can be up to a 35% saving on ink due to paper absorbency, more than offsetting the increased paper cost. Sublimation paper comes in different weights which allow for variations in ink coverage, printer types, fabric type, drying speed etc. Coldenhove are targeting a 10% reduction in energy usage during paper production by 2020 and Gijsbert pointed out that production of paper from forests is actually a net CO2 absorber.


Powerdrop: helping inkjet go further, faster
Guy Newcombe, CEO, Archipelago Technology

Guy told us that Archipelago’s technology allows for the jetting of glue, primer and glitter amongst other materials. They are targeting applications like automotive, batteries, medical dressings and packaging with their technology. Guy explained how the Powerdrop technology allows the deposition of extremely high viscosity materials. It can be scaled to very wide webs with low wastage and very high deposition speeds.

Panel Session: Industrial Inkjet - progress and blockers
Panel chair: Marcus Timson, Co-Founder, InPrint
Montserrat Peidró, Senior Vice President - Head of Digital Print Business Unit, Heidelberg
Dr Simon Daplyn, Marketing Manager, Sensient Imaging Technologies
Phil Jackman, Global Product Manager - Digital, Sun Chemical


The panel session led to a lively and informative debate, with questions from the chair and several audience members that were answered by panel members.

Section 4 – Direct-to-shape


Direct-to-shape printing solution
Markus Ritzi, CEO, Ritzi

Markus introduced his talk by discussing trends in his business such as customer demand for personalisation, different cultural market needs, maintaining attractive models over a product’s lifetime, adding value to high volume standard parts and discovering new technologies. Markus focused his attention on the automotive industry, which makes up 80% of Ritzi’s turnover. Specific automotive trends are personalisation, moving towards digitalisation, production and product orientated flexibility, innovative materials and sustainability. There is a constant need to create variations on standard models so consumers have choice and special editions can be introduced, etc. This requires a digital decoration method for a wide variety of automotive parts, which is being met by the Heidelberg Omnifire solution. Markus showed some examples of automotive parts being decorated and passed samples around for people to look at.


Watch out labels! Here comes single pass inkjet direct-to-container
Holly Steedman, Product Manager Digital Inks, Marabu

Holly told us that the direct-to-container market is increasing due to the advantages of reduced label stock usage, new design possibilities and the simplified production process allowing more flexibility in production. Direct printing has its own issues, as it needs to withstand the production process happening after printing, as well as being limited in print speed. Holly discussed the challenges they faced in formulating inks for direct to container that meet requirements for manufacturing process resistance, recyclability and end use resistance. Marabu uses a combination of surface pre-treatment, pre-print primer and post-print varnish to achieve the required results. Holly showed some results of a UV ink used successfully in single pass inkjet direct-to-container (drinking glass) printing.


Digital print enhancement
Jürgen Stocker,
Product Manager, Steinemann

Jürgen introduced Steinemann’s applications and technologies which include relief varnish, spot varnish, hot foil, cold foil, glitter, ‘stardust’ and opaque white. All these have been available using analog techniques for many years and Steinmann have been working on digital solutions in each case. Digital offers benefits of flexibility, low wastage & polymer usage and high speed. Some weaknesses were identified, including higher investment cost for machines and need for skilled operators, as well as the lack of a fully opaque white, which Steinemann are still working on.

If you missed the event, you can order conference proceedings, including conference audio, by going to our Order Proceedings page.