EskoWorld Recap: Automation for Accuracy

Buyers and suppliers comes together to talk packaging.

EskoWorld 2019, held June 24-26 in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Conference Center, gathered more than 550 users of Esko’s design and prepress hardware and software products for automation of packaging, labels, and wide-format printing in an event connecting buyers and suppliers. The three-day agenda catered to the needs of Esko product users, including an educational track specifically for brand owners. Continuing last year’s event theme, “Packing Connected,” the 28th annual conference kicked off with a session featuring Esko leaders and a keynote speaker.

Touting the half million users of Esko products worldwide, Chris Miller, Esko VP North America, shared that Esko has contributed more than $8.2 million in software and hardware to 37 universities “to develop the next generation of leaders, users, and customers in the industry.”

‘A Dangerous Business’

Given the impact of external changes, Mattias Bystrom, Esko president, called packaging “a dangerous business.” He cited three trends impacting the packaging supply chain. 

  • Everyone is a designer. With the growth in e-commerce and social media, anyone can try their hand at designing. Pantone (Esko’s sister company) found that 86 percent of designers have little to no understanding of how color is manufactured, which puts greater reliance on software products to translate color from design to substrate. 
  • Small brands are on the rise. Small brands and upstarts are changing the industry of consumer goods. These companies are able to grow quickly, although their knowledge of packaging is limited, Bystrom said. “These new competitors are quick and agile, and bigger companies have to adapt to meet them,” he added.
  • Physical components of packaging are changing. The chemical compositions of ink are changing, and substrates are changing – often to recycled or recyclable materials.

“If consumers trust the information on the package, then they trust the brand,” Bystrom said. “And 71 percent of consumers trust a product’s packaging.” With its products, Esko aims to enable its users in the packaging industry to safeguard consumer trust with accuracy. 

Product Updates

At the event, Esko showcased new or updated products, including those specific to the wide-format digital print industry. With the speed of digital printing, “finishing automation demand has grown,” said Andy Warnement, Esko VP digital finishing products. With that demand in mind, Esko continues to enhance its finishing products.

The Kongsberg C Edge is an entry-level addition to the Kongsberg cutting table line. The upgradable table is designed for signage and corrugated packaging. 
A motorized roll feeder for Kongsberg C64 cutting tables was created specifically for efficient cutting of soft signage materials, to address the expanding use of such substrates in digital printing. An upgrade to Esko’s ArtPro+ software includes conversion of design files to native PDF to embrace the increasing reliance on PDF editing in the prepress process. 

Ideas to Innovate

Keynoter Robert B. Tucker, president of the Innovation Resource, shared inspiring thoughts to motivate the crowd toward innovating to stay ahead, regardless of industry. Some notable quotes: 

  • “We will see innovations that are happening in other industries, but are blind to our own.” 
  • “Foresight is a learned behavior. Think 10 years out and then look backward.”
  • “You are either managing the future, or it’s managing you.”
Companies mentioned within this article
View more from this Big Picture issue