A sneak peek at the new Kongsberg C66, and more.
Five hundred-plus Esko users, partners, and media gathered in sunny Charlotte, North Carolina, earlier this week for two-and-a-half days of hands-on workshops, in-depth product roadmaps, and even a visit to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Alan Beaulieu, president of ITR Economics, opened the conference with a keynote on the future of the economy. Real-time tweets flooded the projector screen on either side of the stage; the general sense was the economic climate is on the uptick.
Day 2 opened with motivational speaker Michael Broome, whose morbidly funny quips – “the size of your funeral will be determined by the weather” – and endless supply of little-known quotes poured into one theme: A sense of humor and appreciation for life are essential for success. (Check out our Twitter for more of Broome’s anecdotes.)
In the Kongsberg Roadmap session, led by Tom Naess, senior product manager, and Frank Adegeest, director of R&D and product management, attendees from the corrugated and sign and display sectors got an in-depth preview of a range of new products poised to hit the market:
• The Kongsberg C66, a 126 x 189-inch flatbed cutter for wide-format print and heavy-duty packaging producers
• Roll-to-roll automation options including a motorized roll feeder and a heavy-duty take-up system for soft signage and flexible packaging
• A modular robotics system that could potentially replace the capacity of six cutting tables
• LubriCool, a misting device for routing heavy-duty materials such as aluminum, Dibond, and more
• Platform for Brands, a system designed for brand owners and marketers to integrate packaging, marketing, and digital asset management
• A new integration between Esko's Studio software and Luxion’s KeyShot platform for packaging designers, engineered to make the physical goods depicted in a 3D packaging preview look more realistic
• The Kongsberg Take Up unit, designed to separate finished material from waste during the postpress process
Naess and Adegeest also shared top customer concerns they’ve been receiving, and asked the audience to share their own:
• Customization in the area of estimation
• Planning parallel workflows efficiently and managing the point at which they come back together
• Building knowledge and intelligent tools into the machines themselves
• Customization of cutting sequences
• Integrated recordkeeping of maintenance and cutting time
The biggest question: What can we do to make sure the machines are cutting 100 percent of the time?
Other key snapshots from the conference included:
• Esko President Udo Panenka talked about the new consumer behavior: It’s “me-centered.”
• He also pointed out numerous examples of how outstanding packaging can without a doubt drive brand growth. One stunning case study displayed a coffee producer whose packaging changed every day, featuring that morning’s newspaper headlines. Talk about freshness!
• Tim Sixta, director of product management at MediaBeacon, shared results from a survey of 150 brand executives in North America and Europe: 90 percent said the omnichannel experience “is necessary to delight customers” and 85 percent said they planned to increase investment in creating omnichannel experiences this year.