In the highly competitive consumer market where products vie for attention, packaging and labels can be key differentiators. Taktiful’s Kevin Abergel looks at how embellishments can give consumer and retail packaging and labels more shelf impact and convey an impression of luxury and premium quality.
European section editor Ralf Schlözer provides a primer on embellishments and identifies some common uses, as well as the potential for profitability for print businesses looking to adopt embellishment techniques.
Some highlights from the recent Taktiful/WhatTheyThink “2023 Specialty Digital Ink and Toner Embellishment Study” shows how digital press users can get the most out of their specialty ink and toner options, and points toward how printers can take advantage of the broader universe of “embellishments.”
The significant investments Documation has made in workflow and finishing equipment has completely revolutionized its business. Jeremy Stanek, Documation’s Vice President of Operations, explains.
Last month, as part of WhatTheyThink’s fourth annual Technology Outlook Week, our five-day series of webinars that look at the latest trends and technologies in a broad cross-section of the industry, Trish Witkowski and Kevin Abergel looked at the latest products, technologies, and trends in binding and finishing. In this article, Heidi Tolliver-Walker recaps the webinar.
Taktiful’s Kevin Abergel talks to three US print service providers that have successfully won over customers after installing digital embellishment production systems.
Trish Witkowski takes a deep dive into the hardware available for adding embellishments, be they analog or digital. She runs down the top technologies, and identifies specific equipment at the entry level, mid-range, and high end of the market for each technology.
David Zwang provides a primer on embellishment technologies for packaging applications—including why they are becoming more important than ever for brands.
Digital embellishments allow brands to create visually stunning packaging and labels, with intricate designs otherwise difficult or impossible to achieve affordably with traditional printing methods. Joanne Gore looks at the current lay of the land.
Not every print project needs embellishment! Foil on my credit card statement seems over the top. But there are so many projects that deserve the pop and sizzle that is achievable with a bit of foil, some texture, a hologram, tinted or clear spot varnish, or float coats. But before you get excited, let’s do some planning.
There is an old adage in the print industry that “print begins with finishing.” The story is that you can print just about any design, but if the design is not matched to the finishing, you will add time and effort to trying to bring them together. But take it a step deeper! Today’s finishing options are more diverse than ever before. Are you taking advantage?
Finishing and embellishment experts Kevin Abergel and Trish Witkowski compile an overview of the major (and some minor) types of embellishment across the board of production processes, from analog to digital, narrow-format to wide, and most things in between.
In today’s printing shops, making the cut begins with sharp blades and ends with precise routing. Mark Vruno looks at today’s cutting tables for wide-format finishing.
European section editor Ralf Schlözer reports on Hunkeler's finishing solutions launched at this year Innovationdays.
Hunkeler Innovationdays 2023 was a resounding success for the partners, the attendees, and the industry at large. The theme of the event was Next Level Automation and it was displayed in every solution on display at the event. Importantly, it is also a sign that the industry as a whole is on the right track.
Taktiful’s Kevin Abergel talks to three experienced digital embellishment producers about how they get the best results from different papers, laminates, and foils and how they feed that knowledge back to their customers.
Hunkeler Innovationdays is not really an expo as you might expect, but is instead a unique gathering and presentation of complete digital print and finishing workflows. There are no expos or other events like this that provide the latest in digital printing and finishing equipment, in live and running complete multi-vendor end to end workflows.
Taktiful’s Kevin Abergel talks to four print service providers about how they market their digital embellishment services and what levels of customer awareness they’re finding.
Trish Witkowski rounds up the top trends in finishing and identifies new product introductions that are addressing those trends.
Foil & Specialty Effects Association (FSEA) executive director Jeff Peterson talks about FSEA’s new Digital Embellishment Alliance (DEA), created as an education and communication initiative for the growing digital embellishment segment of the printing industry.
WhatTheyThink European correspondent Ralf Schlözer talks with Daniel Erni, Chief Sales Officer Global at Hunkeler AG, to explore what to expect at the upcoming Hunkeler innovationdays, taking place from February 27 to March 2, 2023, in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Whether hand-applied, mechanized, or as today increasingly digitized, the embellishment of printed materials to give eye-catching effects has always been an expense on top of the basic print. They are time-consuming and may use more costly materials than standard pigments—but how exactly do you accurately estimate those costs in advance? WhatTheyThink contributor and Taktiful president Kevin Abergel looks at some strategies for creating estimates that won’t scare off the customer or cause the print provider to suffer a loss.
Digital embellishments allow printers to embrace the power of touch by creating enhanced, desirable, memorable, and valuable brand experiences. And when there is perceived value, there is a willingness to pay a premium. Contributor Joanne Gore identifies three opportunities for PSPs to add value—and profitability—with digital embellishments.
Trish Witkowski reports from last week’s AMPLIFY—a first-of-its-kind event presented by Association for Print Technologies (APTech) and the Foil and Specialty Effects Association (FSEA). The event centered around the topic of value-added print finishing and embellishment, and boasted the latest and greatest in technology, equipment, materials, inspiration, and thought leadership.
Digital embellishment technologies are on the rise, and are making high-end luxurious prints easier and cheaper to do than ever before. Yet the biggest challenge most PSPs encounter is still linked to file design. Guest contributor Kevin Abergel explains how it is still the “wild west” when it comes to embellishment technologies and formats—and it’s not clear who should be leading the charge in educating designers.
In this year’s third annual Technology Outlook, Trish Witkowski looks at the latest binding and finishing technology trends and new product introductions.
It has been a wild year of highs and lows and unique pressures, but the print finishing category met the challenge and pushed forward with lots of new offerings and opportunities. Trish Witkowski looks at some of the highlights.
In this application photo gallery, Trish Witkowski displays some great examples of embellished self-promotional pieces across several categories, including direct mail, packaging, and promotion.
Pharmaceutical and small-format finishing is a robust and specialized category that can be very profitable to serve. However, until recently the category was in dire need of a technology overhaul to remove labor from the process, increase quality and security, reduce make-ready times, and increase production and changeover speeds. Trish Witkowski rounds up recent finishing equipment releases that are just what the doctor ordered.
Because electronic messages substantially outnumber printed communications, direct mail is now the less cluttered channel. Electronic communications also fall short of well-designed printed communications in terms of tactile impact. This article explores how marketers of printed communications can use the sensory elements of direct mail to their advantage.
We’ve written a great deal about sustainability—or the lack thereof—in textiles and apparel on this site. In this article, we highlight some of the less discussed but equally important textile finishing technology that is driving sustainability in the industry
Even moderate winds can be destructive to outdoor graphics if they have been insufficiently reinforced. And while taping, sewing, or welding banner edges may not be the sexiest finishing techniques in the world, they are important considerations when producing outdoor graphics that are designed look good as well as last.
As part of our preview of next week’s Technology Outlook Week, Trish Witkowski runs down the latest advancements in folding, book binding, cutting, coatings, and more.
To select the finishing method that best communicates the value of the content, you must first understand how the final product will be used and its audience. Print salespeople have the opportunity to expand the finishing conversation beyond product, technique, and price. Document finishing is a bit like the real estate market—"curb appeal,” first impressions, and attention to detail can communicate insurmountable value.
Is your finishing operation holding your business back? Or depressing your margins with labor-intensive processes or waste caused by bindery errors? Are finishers disconnected islands in your workflow automation? This article, the third in a series sponsored by EFI, explains how to integrate the printing operation with nearline finishers to complete automation from prepress to finishing.
Finishing is an important step for nearly every printed document. Ongoing advancements in digital printing capabilities have the potential to elevate finishing to a value-added service. This article explores how print service providers can maximize the effectiveness and profitability of print with today’s finishing capabilities.
Trish Witkowski looks back at the major trends in binding and finishing—including a growing interest in embellishments, book-of-one, and robots/cobots/automation. She also looks at a large handful of new products and solutions that hit the market in 2020.
Manufacturing automation in textiles and apparel is moving ahead apace, accelerated by advances in digital technology. But the remaining “last mile,” sewing, continues to be a barrier to reshoring of apparel manufacturing on a large scale. This article explores some of the efforts underway to automate sewing and what impact that could have on the future of apparel manufacturing in North America and Europe.
Fashion and apparel brands are trying to reshore textile production, but the finishing part of the process is proving challenging: cut-and-sew. Automation has its limitations, and skilled sewists are hard to come by domestically. Cary Sherburne looks into some of the solutions to these challenges.
This article addresses how to protect the labor force in printing plants from being infected by viruses and get a better and more profitable company structure by implementing Industry 4.0.
At any stage in the printing process, a worker may use a cutting tool, which implies a level of risk. As a result, cutting safety is essential, whether in large-scale printing outfits like book printing, or smaller operations like retail screen printing. This feature, sponsored by Slice, offers tips for ensuring the safe use of cutting equipment.
A rundown of some of the new tools and features that have come to cutting tables for wide-format finishing. Laser finishing systems also offer unique options for cutting and etching.
One of the popular additions to print shops around the world is the ability to create products that add white ink, embossing, debossing, foil, iridescent and neon colors, metallics, varnishes, texture, and unique folds to create high value. We call it CYMK+ because much of this work is created on digital presses and the ability to add enhancements is the plus. The breadth of options for enhancement provide myriad possibilities, but that might make it hard to find a talk track for the sales team. In this two-part feature, Pat McGrew walks through the steps to sell CMYK+ capabilities.
Virtually every printed document requires some type of finishing. The expanding array of digital printing methods has changed the nature of finishing from large-scale devices focused on offset printing to automated methods that often occur alongside a production digital printer. To reach its true potential, the role of finishing must evolve as well. Recent research from Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends offers important insights on how print service providers (PSPs) can leverage finishing to win business and drive profitability.
At drupa 2016, Landa Labs introduced Nano Metallography, a new metallization technology to replace foils for embellishments. This process is designed to produce zero waste at less than half the cost of foil. In February of 2017, Actega Metal Print, a division of Altana AG, acquired the technology and rebranded it EcoLeaf. The solution is now going into beta and will be fully commercialized in time for drupa 2020.
“Digital enhancement” or enhanced printing is one of the hottest trends in the industry and has been the talk of many recent trade shows—but enhanced print doesn’t sell itself. Pat McGrew offers some tips and strategies for selling enhanced printing to maximize ROI.
Does your organization have a postal strategy? Mailing may be considered an ancillary service offering for a professional printing company, or it may be your core offering as a mail service provider.
Cary Sherburne talks to Wim Maes, Executive Member of the Board at Summa NV, a global leader in cutting and finishing equipment for the printing, signage, outdoor advertising, packaging, and textiles industries.
Esko held its 28th EskoWorld in Nashville with an audience of over 550 attendees. Since its inception, this has been a go-to event for those in packaging production and signage, although the audience is now growing with about 25% of which were brand owners. This plays nicely into the theme “Packaging Connected.”
High-value applications and the digital devices that are required to produce them are becoming increasingly prevalent. These solutions are now moving downstream and have become accessible to medium-sized and even small print service providers. This article explores how high-value applications are coming to represent the fast track to the digital transformation.
Embellishment has been a function of print production for as long as there has been printing. In fact, it almost goes back to the beginning of the writing of documents. There is no doubt that embellishment does add value to the printed product. Especially with the more recent introduction of digital embellishment technologies designed to complement digital printing. Now that embellishments have finally begun to capture market awareness, new developments are happening all the time. In part 2 of this series, David Zwang will look at new mainstream technologies that add embellishments and value to print and packaging production.
Embellishment has been a function of print production for as long as there has been printing. In fact, it almost goes back to the beginning of the writing of documents. There is no doubt that embellishment does add value to the printed product. Especially with the more recent introduction of digital embellishment technologies, designed to complement digital printing technologies. New developments in digital embellishment are happening all the time now that it has finally begun to capture market awareness. In part one of this two-part feature, David Zwang will look at the added value and long history of embellishments.
Security printing is no longer about just about foiling counterfeiters. From packaging to book printers to retail to businesses that serve the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry, along with financial printers, protection of files and products must be considered. There is a need for a broader definition of what security printing means and for a greater number of print providers to think of themselves as “security printers.” Maybe instead it should be called “secure printing.”
During odd-numbered years, the Hunkeler-sponsored Innovationdays event in Luzern, Switzerland, features finishing solutions for the transactional, commercial graphic arts, and book industries. This article provides a brief overview of the announcements that brought the theme of automation to the forefront at this year’s event.
Hunkeler Innovationdays is a biennial event that brings together some of the latest digital press workflows and equipment with the latest finishing equipment to showcase complete solutions. Surprisingly, this is done in an atmosphere that presents exhibitors as equals, without much of the hype or fanfare that you might expect at a print show. The theme of this year’s event “Success with Automation” is a very timely topic considering the growth and impact of production inkjet technology. As they have done in the past, they have accomplished their goal.
MGI’s AlphaJET is unique and it goes to the core of their company’s DNA: building “application-based” printing presses. However, it is designed to support a much wider range of solutions than just commercial printing applications, with a primary focus on packaging and industrial. It sure looks like a print factory…
Smithers Pira shares its recent research that looks at the future of packaging to 2028, quantifying the overall market by packaging type and identifying the major emerging drivers of packaging market growth.
Labelexpo 2018 in Rosemont, Ill., and PRINT 18 in Chicago are over, and it they were pretty exciting shows. The crowds were enthusiastic and buying from early indications. In this second of two parts I will look at how embellishment is moving from a standalone mechanical process to digital mainstream production.
Trish talks with Scott Engle of Graphic Visual Solutions of Greensboro, NC, about the power—and the pressure—of making visually striking (and costly) print capabilities brochures to inspire, educate, and motivate today’s customers.
If the bindery is the final frontier of total workflow automation, and the technology has been in existence for over a decade, why are so many companies still passing on the opportunity to gain efficiency and save money? Trish will explore the challenges and benefits of taking the leap into bindery automation.
In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with Mark Nixon, GM and VP Sales for Scodix NA, about creating a market and elevating print with disruptive technology.
Greater awareness of special print effects and press coatings is driving printers to rethink their press configurations to meet the demands of discerning customers who need high-impact, quick-turn, two-sided printing with press coatings at a competitive price.
A successful client event can drive a lot of business your way, and deepen relationships with your customers. This week, Trish will share the secrets of successful events, along with some of the biggest mistakes that can trip up even the most well-intentioned host.
In the ongoing search for new print techniques and technologies for mail, Trish highlights an exciting digital variable scratch-off collaboration between Mohawk, HP and Lawton Connect in Orlando.
In this special Throwback Thursday feature, Trish reaches out to trade binderies to hunt for funky vintage machines that are still useful in today’s modern workflow. This first edition features fascinating finds from four well-known US binderies.
In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with Julie Watson, CEO of Ultimate Technographics, about developing software that drives value by eliminating touchpoints in the bindery.
Trish visits the team at Impress Communications in Chatsworth, Calif., and speaks with owner Paul Marino about the challenges and the benefits of installing a 100% accurate quality control inspection system on their Bobst EXPERTFOLD folder-gluer line.
In the second of this two-part feature on production chain productivity, guest-writer Henrik Christiansen of Graphic Robotics addresses the quantitative aspects of automation, and how the robotization of finishing processes in the appropriate production environments can greatly reduce labor costs and improve productivity. Read on.
Henrik Christiansen of Graphic Robotics writes about the real meaning of productivity and efficiency in the print production process. This two-part article will address the quantitative side of automation in print.
In the latest installment of this interview series, Trish Witkowski talks with bindery owner and investor John Helline on the pitfalls and the strategic opportunities involved in the trade bindery business.
A shop’s cutting department is often thought of—when it’s thought of at all—as an “invisible workhorse”: highly productive—until it’s not. In this feature, Trish Witkowski takes a 360-degree look at cutting equipment, from retrofitting newer features onto older cutters, to the latest automated, and even robot-assisted, cutting systems.
Trish kicks off a new interview series to introduce perspectives of knowledgeable people in the print-finishing category. The series begins with the legendary Werner Rebsamen, who steps out of retirement to share his opinion on the greatest advancements in bookbinding, and where he feels the trade still has a long way to go.
Today marks the launch of a new Finishing Section on WhatTheyThink and section editor Trish Witkowski gives us an overview of the kinds of things she'll be covering in this special interest area. Welcome to the future of finishing!
Much has been written on the benefits of print and how we can help it compete for marketing dollars against digital marketing. But why try to compete at all? In 2018, why not capitalize on the capabilities of print that digital marketing cannot replicate?
At drupa 2016, expect post-press to emerge as a Cinderella story. Already, prepress and print have benefited from technologies that speed work through the production process, but for many companies post-press processes are still a bottleneck.
Say “MBO” to anyone in the industry, and the reply will be “folders.” That answer still passes the word association test, but it’s far from being the full story of what this diversified supplier of graphic equipment now has to offer printers and packagers.
Industry veteran Ramesh Ratan joined Bell and Howell as its CEO in January of 2014. He previously held executive positions with the DMA and Pitney Bowes, among others. Senior Editor Cary Sherburne speaks with him about Bell and Howell’s current state and it strategies for the future.
Successfully integrating digital printing into your manufacturing process requires more than a digital press. Prepress and post press workflow changes and equipment are often required. Most printers have inline coating on their offset presses. Offline coating may be a new area with the addition of digital presses. What is right for you depends on your customer’s needs.
As the digital transformation of the packaging industry continues to present new challenges and opportunities for both brand owners and converters, WhatTheyThink Senior Editor checked in with Aviv Ratzman, CEO of Highcon, to see what progress the company has made relative to Euclid, its market entry for laser die cutting and creasing. Read more.
Senior Editor Cary Sherburne recently had the opportunity to visit Allegra Network’s Marketing Resource Center, established more than two years ago to provide support to Allegra Network’s franchisees as they expand horizons into new business opportunities.
In this article, David lays out the key steps necessary to prepare for a successful transformation. While it is important to look toward the final destination goal, without a map delineating the best path to achieve that goal, there are many more pitfalls along the way and unseen problems in the future.
For the majority of its 65-year history, Bridgeport National Bindery (Agawam, MA) established its name by providing bookbinding. In 2003, Bridgeport began printing to satisfy the demand for single-run production. This article outlines how BNB has evolved its services to meet customers' changing needs.
With its microprocessors, relays, sensors, and software, a modern printing press is a marvel at squeezing time and cost out of production runs. But, one maker of press cleaning accessories contends that these complex systems can still get a big helping hand in a key press function from a simple but strategically placed strip of durable plastic.
WhatTheyThink recently joined other editors and analysts on a media tour to Canon’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan. There, we were given a unique opportunity to hear from Canon Chairman & CEO Fujio Mitarai on his “5 Year Plan” strategy that focuses on reforming production and a profitable position in the markets they serve.
UV curing technology is seeing increased use in the printing industry, primarily for inks and coatings. UV lamps are a high performance component of the drying system. Proper maintenance as well as shopping around for sources can help you get the most from these systems.
One of the key trends we are seeing today is the rise of the hybrid printing system. This is where a mix of printing technologies are used on a press or finishing system to allow for adding variable data to offset or flexo printed content.
Digital book printing is one of the hottest areas in the print industry today. Andy Tribute went to visit King Printing – a medium sized printer of modest origins - that may have been the first to provide digitally printed books. He discovered a ridiculously innovative family–run shop that has kept itself on the edge of new print technologies.
Today’s printing environment is seeing shorter production cycles, diminishing run lengths, and an increased emphasis on versioning and variable data. The ability to respond quickly to varying customer demands requires the use of manufacturing production techniques and systems that can be reconfigured on the fly. This article discusses the lean manufacturing techniques that printers might utilize in today’s marketplace. It also provides background on RT Associates, who implemented lean manufacturing in 2008.
As it happens, and as reported below, both KBA and AccessGroup fared rather well as exhibitors at Print 09. But, like every other exhibitor, they have no illusions about the fact that because their customers are struggling, they too will continue to struggle against a recession from which printing could be one of the last industrial sectors to emerge. That lingering economic drag was evident throughout the show, even when interest in its many technological advancements was keenest.
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