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India mourns the loss of visionary

Dr APJ Abdul Kalam (October 15, 1931 – July 27, 2015)

Born on October 15, 1931 at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, Dr Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, specialised in Aeronautical Engineering from Madras Institute of Technology. Dr Kalam made significant contribution as project director to develop India's first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV-III) which successfully injected the Rohini satellite in the near earth orbit in July 1980 and made India an exclusive member of Space Club. He was responsible for the evolution of ISRO's launch vehicle programme, particularly the PSLV configuration. After working for two decades in ISRO and mastering launch vehicle technologies, Dr Kalam took up the responsibility of developing Indigenous Guided Missiles at Defence Research and Development Organisation as the chief executive of Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP). He was responsible for the development and operationalisation of AGNI and PRITHVI Missiles and for building indigenous capability in critical technologies through networking of multiple institutions. He was the scientific adviser to defence minister and secretary, Department of Defence Research & Development from July 1992 to December 1999. During this period he led to the weaponisation of strategic missile systems and the Pokhran-II nuclear tests in collaboration with Department of Atomic Energy, which made India a nuclear weapon State. He also gave thrust to selfreliance in defence systems by progressing multiple development tasks and mission projects such as Light Combat Aircraft.

As a chairman of Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) and as an eminent scientist, he led the country with the help of 500 experts to arrive at Technology Vision 2020 giving a road map for transforming India from the present developing status to a developed nation. Dr Kalam took up academic pursuit as professor, Technology & Societal Transformation at Anna University, Chennai from November 2001 and was involved in teaching and research tasks. Above all he took up a mission to ignite the young minds for national development by meeting high school students across the country.

In his literary pursuit four of Dr Kalam's books – Wings of Fire, India 2020 - A Vision for the New Millennium, My journey and Ignited Minds - Unleashing the power within India have become household names in India and among the Indian nationals abroad. These books have been translated in many Indian languages.

Dr Kalam was one of the most distinguished scientists of India with the unique honour of receiving honorary doctorates from 30 universities and institutions. He was awarded the coveted civilian awards - Padma Bhushan (1981) and Padma Vibhushan (1990) and the highest civilian award Bharat Ratna (1997). He is a recipient of several other awards and Fellow of many professional institutions.

Dr Kalam became the 11th president of India on July 25, 2002. He died on July 27, 2015. May his soul rest in peace!

Kurukshetra University as a breeding ground of printing professionals

Kurukshetra University established its own Publication Bureau in 1975 with a view to publish low-priced textbooks for undergraduate classes. Later on, the bureau merged with its Printing and Publication Department in 1978, continually engaging in printing jobs and offering BTech in Printing & Packaging. Moninder Kumar Moudgil, manager, Printing and Publication Department, Kurukshetra University tells Print & Publishing about the department. Tagging along the trends slipping into the industry through times, the course structure of BTech in Printing & Packaging offered by the Printing & Publication Department of Kurukshetra University is duly designed to nurture students in propounding knowledge and aspects of the current printing industry, with special study on packaging printing. “In addition to studies on technical and machinery know-how, contents of our curriculum exclusively cover a vast aspect of printing, such as role of graphics,” mentions Moninder. He points out as a matter of reality that the present growth in the industry is rather inclined more upon the packaging domain.

As of now, the department offers just one main course; but the plans have been laid down to introduce higher courses, such as MTech and PhD, in near future or probably right from the next academic session. In the current batch of the department’s BTech programme, there are 60 students, out of which 20 are girls. Number of girl students in the department keeps increasing in every new academic session. “There were barely 40 students in the previous batch; this year, we have 60 with straight away increase of 50 percent,” shares Moninder, adding, “Around a few years back the number of girl students in the department was countable on finger tips—let’s say around two or three in every batch.”

When enquired about the reason behind the increasing interest among girls in pursuing printing courses, Moninder attributes it to marvels of ultramodern machineries and technologies swelling in the current market. “The old notion of judging printing as a labour oriented job has long been discarded. This industry has now transformed into more of a computerised world; automations have brought drastic changes to traditional norms, giving everything painstakingly a cleaner environment. Such transition is one of the big reasons of the industry attracting female professionals,” he explains, adding that even parents nowadays consider choosing printing as career option for their kids.

“We organise seminars and workshops at regular intervals, inviting industry experts, at the department,” mentions Moninder. He says such interactive events help students know what is trending or happening in the industry. The seminars are very much a part of the curriculums. Students at the department take part in at least one seminar in every semester of their BTech programme. In this respect, Moninder advises students rather to be involved in field visits than confining only in the classroom to experience live running of machines and production procedures.

In order to provide the students the applied knowledge, the department has set up a lab equipped with two single-colour offset machines; two treadle presses; five wire stitching and six thread sewing machines; two cutters; three rulers and many others. “In addition to our portfolio of traditional machines and post-press equipments, we have two digital presses—Xerox 7020 and Riso EZ 570,” says Moninder. He adds that nothing is meant to be running or operating alone nowadays; offset presses have limitation when it comes to short-run production, so here we provide room to digital presses.

Moninder Kumar MoudgilMoninder mentions that students pursuing BTech at the department are highly privileged as the packaging printing market all over the world is now heading to a new level of growth. He further explains that their curriculum gives broader focus on die-cutting, specialty substrates, etc, which are essentials in packaging prints. Abandoning all negative thoughts and speculations over the beginning of the end of the era of printed newspapers, Moninder shrugs to say, “How come it would happen in India where the industry is gaining growth gradually day-by-day.” He mentions that the newspaper industry, which is the second largest sector (first being the automobile), will always survive in one way or the other.

He agrees to the fact that electronic devices and gadgets serve faster than printed newspapers in popping up breaking news. “But in semi-rural or non-metropolitan cities, circulations of printed newspapers keep rising and new titles are pouring in,” observes Moninder. “There was a time when we browsed for newspapers available in the market, only a few leading national dailies were available; but the scenario has changed a lot today as you can find a dozen of quality regional dailies, weeklies, tabloids circulating all around, gaining readership so successfully in rural and semi-urban geographies,” he explains.

Besides seasonal jobs like printing of question papers, calendars, annual reports, student magazines, and annual publications of the university, the Printing & Publication Department of Kurukshetra University prints Research Journal of Haryana Studies, Research Journal of Arts & Humanities, Digest of Indological Studies and all general books published by the varsity. Joining the debate on the sustainability of printed materials, Moninder opines ‘printing industry is eternal’ as it always be and will continue to print invitation cards of first birthdays to death anniversary information cards.

Packaging printing seminars in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore

Heidelberg India, with a significant presence in the packaging printing segment, organized a knowledge-sharing seminar titled “Print, Pack, Fold”, in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore. The event also served as a platform to announce the tie-up between Heidelberg and China’s MK Masterwork Machinery. The first of the Heidelberg India’s Print, Pack, Fold seminars was held in New Delhi on July 20, and the sessions were successfully repeated in Mumbai and Bangalore, on July 22 and July 24, respectively. The event witnessed enthusiastic participation from the printing fraternity across India, The speakers focused on productivity & quality control, Packaging printing solutions, UV solutions and pharma folding.

Team Heidelberg interacting with audience in Q&A session.

Peter Rego, general manager - sales, Heidelberg India, set the ball rolling with stunning statistics on the Indian printing industry and outlined Heidelberg’s growing market share in the Indian market. Ashokan Krishnamoorthy, deputy general manager – Prepress solutions, Heidelberg India, and Udo Fiebiger, regional business manager, sheetfed solutions, Heidelberg Asia Pacific, kickstarted the presentation in all three locations. The duo touched on a diverse array of topics including Print shop management, prepress and digital print workflow, make-ready optimization, colour, quality, machine operation and a full range of services using Prinect.

An array of printed products produced with value additionsMark Christian Hogan, global sales head – postpress solutions, Heidelberg, announced that Heidelberg’s joint venture with China’s MK Masterwork Machinery would focus on the R&D and production of die cutters and folder gluers such as the Promatrix 106 CS and the Diana. “Heidelberg will provide the sales, service and spare parts logistics for these machines worldwide,” he stated, before adding that the new Promatrix and Diana Folding carton gluing machines that Heidelberg would be selling in India, would address quality and reliability requirements for short-to-medium runs in pharma folding, making life a lot easier for pharma converters.

While, Michael Gao from MK Masterwork, China, delivered a presentation on MK Masterwork and its wide range of packaging solutions. Thomas Gohl, sales manager for Asia Pacific, IST Metz, a leading UV supplier from Germany, discussed energy-saving benefits and other pros and cons of the three different types of UV technology -- UV LED, low energy UV, and full UV. In essence, Gohl emphasized on using the appropriate type of UV for each application with examples. Every presentation was followed by an open Q&A session to allow one-to-one interaction between printers and the speakers.

On a fast-growth curve, packaging printing offers explosive market potential for new entrants. The seminars served to reinforce Heidelberg’s extensive experience and knowledge in packaging & UV, which is backed by the company’s installation of more than 400 printing units in the past 6 years.

Customised printed, die cut and value added product intelligently being utilised to create music

Brand new perspectives in packaging print

Looks count and first impressions matter. How products are judged by their many differing attributes - not least fitness for purpose, consistent reliability and value for money - will determine the extent to which they build market share on an ongoing basis. Prior to that, however, it will probably be a particular spot colour, a distinctive font, or else the artful application of a metallic ink on the exterior of the pack that initiates the relationship between a brand and a consumer. Des King discusses the brand new perspectives in packaging. Thanks to impressive print packaging, brands can seduce customers into a change of purchasing vote at the point of purchase, says Superbrands founder Marcel Knobil. “We would end up with less brand and more bland were it not for the attention that the packaging attracts.” Superbrands is acclaimed worldwide as being an independent authority and arbiter of branding excellence, committed to paying tribute to exceptional brands and promoting the discipline of branding. The impact of a winning combination of text and graphics extends way beyond fronting up that initial beauty parade. As well as being the ‘eye candy’ that hooks the consumer in the first instance, a perfectly reproduced external image provides consumers with an often subliminal product recognition and reassurance that can be the brand owner’s banker in a congested retail space. Today’s packaging trends are driven by longer supermarket opening hours, continually enhanced print technologies and capabilities and demand to protect brands and increase recognition. Not only surviving but attaining the status as the preferred choice under such highly testing conditions is one half of the brand owner’s greatest challenge. The other is to meet it at an affordable cost.

Controlling quality

With the high probability of colour variations occurring not only between different substrates, but also print processes - and indeed from one printer to another, not only in different locations but even when they are running presses made by the same manufacturer - maintaining consistency can be a complex undertaking. The best way to meet it is to ensure that all the contributory links within the supply chain which are engaged in steering the progress of a printed pack from hatch to despatch are all able to interact via an open entry web-based platform. “Our vision is to connect the supply chain from the brand owner to the retailer and to make that flow broader and richer,” says Jef Stoffels, Esko marketing director. “We do this by adding greater functionality which meets the go-to-market and quality needs of CPG (consumer packaged goods) businesses and retailers. We also make it possible for the brand owner to ensure that the flow of data is secure and transparent, mistakes and errors can be picked up early or avoided altogether and the net result is to get products to market faster.” Similarly web-based colour management systems can extend the same degree of comfort and control to brand owners over how pre-determined colour parameters are then replicated accurately irrespective of substrate or supplier, ensuring a guaranteed consistency of colour reproduction that underpins brand authenticity and integrity. The X-Rite PantoneLIVE colour management solution is ideal for the brand owner as it has control over the pre-determined colour parameters, these are then stored in the cloud for use as and when required by his supply chain. This ensures accurate replications of the accredited brand image irrespective of substrate or supplier.

Pressed to perform

Converters equipped with smarter production facilities can be more directly instrumental in achieving cost and performance benefits to brand owners. Using high-definition flexo plate and software technologies, it is now possible to meet the requirements of 85 percent of current flexo-printed, flexible packaging without detriment to the finished result from CMYK + white rather than using special inks.

“Working out of a reduced colour palette means there are less plates and less waste ink. It ticks a lot of boxes,” says Chris Tonge, sales director, Ultimate Packaging (UK). “Whilst global players like Unilever and P&G have been specifying these solutions for the past 10 to 15 years, smaller brands are realising there is a cost advantage in that you can control the colours a lot better if you set the right standards.”

It’s not just improvement at the front-end that is raising quality and performance standards in flexo, still the sector’s most widely used print process accounting for over 40 percent of a current global printed packaging market worth around an estimated €250 bn per annum, particularly for flexibles and corrugated board applications. Speed on the press and consistency across substrates are key. Ultimate Packaging has recently installed two additional servo-driven Bobst flexo presses ahead of drupa. Offset has also responded positively to deliver cost-efficient shorter run-lengths, for example Heidelberg’s Speedmaster Prinect Inpress Control inline automated turbo charged system which can change plates between jobs within ten minutes.

Digital mindset

What has sparked these improvements in analogue press technology is the increasingly potent challenge posed by digital print; not least in meeting brand owner requirements for cost-efficient shorter run lengths – and thereby, lower inventory levels – and the ability to differentiate products on-shelf through customisation. Whilst affordably utilising variable data has always been part and parcel of the digital print proposition, it’s now clearly on the retail marketing radar following its successful adoption by highprofile retail marketing campaigns run by Coca Cola, Heineken, Nutella and a steadily growing band of global blue-chip brands. “To take our brand off the packaging and replace it with something other than the Coca Cola script wasn’t easy to do within a structure like ours, where we operate according to very tight brand guidelines to protecting it,” says Greg Bentley, packaging innovator, Coca Cola. “The digital print capability enabled it to happen, but the marketing campaign is the really smart thing.” “The combination of technological muscle and marketing inspiration is what it takes to make customisation fly,” says Paul Randall, brands business development manager, HP Worldwide. “It’s breaking away from the mindset of packaging being the static bearer of logos and ingredients tables and using it as a media opportunity for consumer engagement to the benefit of the brand. The media landscape has changed. It is becoming increasingly fragmented between above the line spend (bought media), PR and below the line (earned media), and packaging (owned media) – with the latter two increasingly linked together. Not surprisingly, brand owners are now regular visitors to HP’s Graphics Experience Centre in Barcelona.” Likewise Xeikon’s technology centre in Antwerp. “For brand owners attending our Xeikon Café programme, it’s a two-track learning curve,” says Filip Weymans, marketing director, Labels & Packaging. “First, understanding how the benefits of digital production can be translated into diversifying communication towards the audience they’re reaching out to and second, how the technology can address needs within their business model - notably, being faster to market and making better use of working capital.”

“While the adoption of digital is an accelerating trend, despite the buzz being created it’s still under-selling its potential,” says Doug Hutt, global packaging manager, SAB Miller. “The top ten brand owners in the world are generating over a quarter of a trillion dollars in sales. If just 10 - 20 percent of these were digitised with the balance going to analogue, that is still a very large potential revenue that converters haven’t yet grasped.” “FMCG companies should be more proactive in going out and talking to the packaging industry – and the packaging industry should be addressing those issues and coming up with solutions,” says Doug Hutt, SAB Miller global packaging manager. Meanwhile, faster-running inkjet technology looks poised to dictate the next chapter in the digital packaging print story, not least via the keenly anticipated commercialisation of digital guru Benny Landa’s ‘nanographic’ presses engineered to deliver variable data printed material at offset speeds.

The finishing touch Customisation is not the only route to catching the consumer’s eye on-shelf. Short-run, cost-effective special effects such as high gloss, glitter, metallic without recourse to hot-foil stamping and even Braille are also within the remit of next-generation digital post - press enhancement technology now establishig itself within the finishing sector. Also providing a more cost-effective means of achieving greater stand-out is the take-up of cold foiling using the analogue process - notably as an alternative to laminated / metallised substrates for labels and cartons. Meanwhile, at the higher end of the scale is the arresting 3D effect achieved through the use of Fresnel lens technology providing instant ‘stand-out’ in retail duty-free for cartons containing the global gin brand Bombay Sapphire. “It’s obviously more expensive than a normal foil by about one-third, but you do get significantly greater impact. If you want something that is undeniably eye-catching and alluring then that’s what it takes,” says Dominic Burke, managing director, Webb deVlam UK.

The new frontier

“The adoption of online-oriented technologies is pointing the way towards next generation applications aimed at facilitating greater engagement between brand and consumer,” says Sun Branding Solutions Packaging Technology director, Gillian Garside-Wight. “Who would have thought that the Apple watch would be available five years ago? Brand owners need to deliver what consumers want including smarter packs that integrate with a digitally driven smarter life-style.”

Quite a number of applications on the market bring into play mobile technology. For example, on-pack augmented reality (AR) applications pioneered by Blippar that allow users to simply look at an object through the camera on their smartphone to activate an instantaneous digital search and draw down information from the web. In a recent campaign for Perrier, the invitation to consumers to shake their phone like a cocktail shaker to reveal a recipe was a typically innovative way to highlight the overall concept and add fun by using the technology to unique advantage.

Rather than position an icon on-pack to facilitate interaction, UK-based prepress specialist Reproflex3’s proprietary ‘PackLinc’ scanning technology embeds a hidden code within the ink itself, enabling the consumer to effectively treat the entire pack as a portal. Most recently applied within a limited edition run of the children’s POM-BEAR crisp packet, the system was the recipient of EFIA (European Flexographic Industry Association) and the prestigious Starpack gold awards last year. Debbie Waldron-Hoines, EFIA director says, “Brand owners need a deeper understanding of the processes so that they can help make considered decisions on what is best suited for their brand. Both flexo and digital can work wonderfully together to enhance the brand.”

Underpinning product security and thereby underpinning brand integrity is another obvious avenue being explored by smart technologies. A fully printed near-field communication sensor tag (NFC) developed by Thin Film Electronics for Diageo’s Johnnie Walker whisky doubles as a security and anti-counterfeiting device as well as interacting with smartphones to dispense product advice and information. As a lot of the labelling and pre-printed information currently required to be displayed on-pack is gradually phased out, just imagine the potential for branding afforded by that freed-up real estate.

Brands are currently getting maybe only 40 percent of the pack’s surface for its primary purpose. However, if one small interactive barcode resolves all the regulatory and legal requirements 90 percent of the print surface could be released for marketing the product.

“Ironically, the most practical bridge linking brand and consumer might simply entail upgrading the humble linear barcode into a 2D format,” says Domino Printing Sciences global account manager, Craig Stobie. “Brand owners are yet to fully realise the potential in having a machine-readable code that not only contains a lot more data but with the same footprint or smaller than a human-readable, but can also actually be cheaper.” “Whether it be products that communicate with your tablet or temperature or time sensitive thermochromic inks that indicate when your lager is perfectly chilled or provide the re-assurance that prepackaged meat is safe to eat, the facility for interactivity ticks all the right boxes for forward-looking brand owners,” says Eef de Ferrante, managing director of the Active & Intelligent Packaging Industry Association (AIPIA). “Brand owners need to meet the challenges faced by counterfeiting, product security in the supply chain, consumer engagement and ‘Big Data’ management. Brand protection and better marketing of their products are major starting points towards averting potential reputational damage and simply saving money.” Eye-catching and innovative printed packaging is a shrewd investment towards building a loyal and enduring customer-base, concludes Des King. Whilst consumers are exercising greater versatility than ever before in choosing how and where they are able to gather information through which to determine product preferences, packaging offers the brand owner a uniquely guaranteed opportunity to control how they communicate with prospective customers face to face in-store at the very point of purchase. No surprise then that the ways in which the package is printed will occupy centre-stage at drupa 2016.

What to expect at drupa?

Printed packaging is the key mechanism enabling brand owners to build expanding and enduring customer loyalty in order to out-sell and out-perform their competition. Changing patterns of communication have elevated the role of packaging from protective wrapper to frontline sales & marketing tool. In a media-neutral environment it’s a function that is increasingly as much marketing as technology, and that provides the brand owner with guaranteed profiling and exposure in front of the consumer.

In order to optimise consumer response at the point of sale, brand owners will want to invest not only in imaginative, innovative and well-executed creative design in order to achieve distinction and differentiation, but also in the appropriate colour management technologies to ensure its accurate replication irrespective of substrate or geographical location. The latest developments in web-based workflow platforms and systems that link all components within the packaging print supply chain will be on show at drupa 2016. Whilst a consistently reproduced and instantly recognisable image is vital in underpinning authenticity, brand owners are increasingly required to be able to demonstrate rapid response agility in order to maintain competitive edge via updated printed messaging and as these tactics are often short-term and invariably short-run, as cost-effectively as possible. The same level of expediency applies to the introduction of brand extensions and new products. Enhanced analogue process print and next-generation digital equipment designed to deliver accelerated cost-effective time to market will compete for attention at drupa 2016.

Special decorative effects and added functionality are increasingly providing an added value finishing touch that can extend beyond the point of purchase to enhance the consumer’s relationship with the branding proposition throughout its life expectancy.

The appropriate systems and solutions to accomplish all of these imperatives are not only readily available to print service providers but are constantly updated and extended. Applications to facilitate the synergy between printed text and graphics, the internet and social media through the development of on-pack interactivity accessed by smart mobile technology will constitute a growing area of visitor interest in Düsseldorf.

drupa cube: innovative conference programme at drupa 2016

Bridging the gap between print professionals and their creative agency, marketing and brand owner clients across a variety of vertical markets.

Visitors to drupa 2016 (the world's leading trade fair for print and cross-media solutions, May 31 – Jun 10, 2016, Germany) will experience an exciting new approach to innovation in print when they stop by the drupa cube. This special conference and event programme will feature a wide range of applications for printed products in numerous industries and areas of life.

“New technologies like printed electronics and 3D printing, creative multichannel applications and the use of digital printing techniques in packaging and other sectors continue to illustrate the amazing potential of print,” says Sabine Geldermann, director of drupa, adding, “This potential is the focus of drupa cube, with its international conference and event programme. Through an interdisciplinary approach, it is also designed to bridge the knowledge gap about the relevancy and functionality of print that often exists between printing professionals and their creative agency, marketing, and brand owner clients across a variety of vertical markets.” In contrast to the first two cube conferences in 2008 and 2012, the 11-day programme will not be organised by target group but rather, based on six key drupa 2016 themes: Multichannel, Print, Functional Printing, 3D Printing, Package Production and Green Printing.

Each presentation slot will combine various themes using best practise case studies: Functional printing and packaging printing, 3D printing and sustainability, and multichannel including print are some of the combinations being explored. This encourages thinking beyond supposedly fixed boundaries. This outside-the-box principle opens up new possibilities for visitors and broadens the horizon for the future of print.

Through its range of themes and its interdisciplinary concept, drupa cube is, for the first time, also addressing selected vertical markets including the food, consumer goods, interior design, cosmetics, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries; and the financial and public sectors. “In this way, we aim to attract new visitor groups to drupa and inspire them with the possibilities of print,” adds Geldermann.

The strategic and creative design of the programme and its implementation were handled by brand experience agency FreemanXP, a division of Freeman, the world’s largest event company. “I am confident that in FreemanXP we have the perfect partner at our side.” Geldermann says. “Thanks to projects they have accomplished for global players like EFI, HP and the US trade fair Graph Expo, FreemanXP has the necessary industry experience. Not only that, but FreemanXP has already worked for countless international brands in other industry segments, so it also brings to the table a vast amount of expertise and inspiration from outside the print industry.” Jordan Waid, vice-president, brand experience, at FreemanXP, adds, “Co-creation is the future and our new intersectional approach to the cube at drupa creates a collaboration hub for all facets of the print industry to design a new future for content creation.”

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