Q&A with Martin Leitner about the digital transformation

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Right at the beginning of the new year, our Product Manager for Label & Flexible Packaging, Martin Leitner, shared his opinion on the digital transformation.

1. Please, could you explain what transformation stage – from conventional to digital – the European label market is in? And at the worldwide level?

In my opinion the European label market is already in a very advanced transformation stage, but still transforming very quickly. This development does not only apply to Europe, but can also be seen on a worldwide basis.

The main reason is that today’s digital production systems are at an extremely high level in terms of quality and offer a very competitive Total Cost of Ownership. That is precisely why in today’s context, more and more customers are shifting jobs from conventional to digital, and substitute flexo presses with our TAU printing presses. I expect this trend to continue and even to accelerate in the next months and years.

2. In your opinion, what are the most important arguments to start as regards the digital transformation?

The advantages associated with the digital world have not changed in the last years, but the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting supply chain crisis and the associated inflation are accelerating the label business towards a more digital production. In particular, the ease of use and less men-power needed, the quick setup and production resulting in a quick delivery time, combined with a lower amount of waste and therefor lower environmental impact are key arguments to convince customers to invest in the digital transformation.

3. The Tau RSC series has been developed as the most productive and reliable inkjet solution. What can you tell us about Durst´s strategy and innovations to fit the current and future market needs?

Our vision is to accelerate the change towards a digital and resource-saving label industry, while respecting the economic goals of our customers, providing high-quality printing systems.

Our RSC platform stands for the highest quality (native 1200x1200 dpi, high opacity and ink resistance, up to 9 colours and 95% Pantone coverage), best productivity (up to 510 mm, up to 100 m/min, operator-friendly E2E process) and future-proof TCO (ink and energy reduction, minimum production waste, optimized 360-degree software support). The combination of these three core aspects makes Durst the number one provider in inkjet label printing solutions.

4. The digital world offers a high level of versatility. What kind of special applications has been produced by our customers around the world?

Our customers never cease to amaze me. I travelled a great deal after the COVID-19 pandemic and it is satisfying to see that they use our technology in a lot of different ways. Starting from self-adhesive labels for all kind of applications, to special security projects, which our customers can only produce due to the quality and productivity of the RSC platform. Customers produce tubes, car plates, shrink sleeves, sachets, booklet labels and many other applications. Often, customers try to push the boundaries of what we expected to be possible and it is extremely interesting and rewarding to follow these developments.

5. Is there any special application (mentionable) in which the customer’s technical expertise played a decisive role?

There are a few but what really astonishes me are some projects in the security field. Variable codes and variable micro text, combined with variable colours on special materials to create special holographic effects which are counterproof, is just one example. Moreover, if such projects are not just for a few thousands, but repeatedly for millions of labels, then I know the client really found themselves a unique spot with our technology. In this case, the customer in fact created a new category, something which does not exist with other printing technologies and the goal to success is their deep understanding of the perfect combination of prepress, colour management and Dursts RSC printing technology.

6. Durst is working to increase the application possibilities of Durst Tau RSC. Are there any news about the IML or sleeves applications that could be announced to the market?

Over the past few months, we have continued our work with selected customers and soon, we will be able to announce another milestone. For applications such as shrink sleeves and in mould labelling, printing is only one small element in the production of the final product. If we consider, for example, In-Mould Labels, it is important to understand the material behaviour during printing and converting, the influence of the diecutting and, last but not least, the moulding process, which has a big influence on the final result. We are confident that in 2023 we are opening up to a few more applications which will provide our customers even more possibilities and which will make them extremely competitive.