Digital Packaging Summit Poised for Successful Virtual Event
For the past five years, ending the busy fall trade show and conference season at a beautiful Florida beach resort has been a personal highlight on my calendar. Following 10 months of tracking and reporting on the latest in package printing technologies, gathering with printers, converters, and suppliers at the Ponte Vedra Inn & Club to take a three-day deep dive into one of the most exciting aspects of the packaging industry — digital printing and production technology — has always been a great way to put a bow on an exciting year, and turn an eye toward the impact digital will have in the future.
2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic had different plans for the sixth annual Digital Packaging Summit, however. As we monitored the coronavirus throughout the summer, it became increasingly evident we’d have to eschew our yearly visit to Ponte Vedra Beach in favor of a virtual event. But while we won’t have the benefits of gathering in person in the Florida warmth, the Packaging Impressions and NAPCO Media team has been tirelessly working to transition the event online, and ensuring the Digital Packaging Summit community will still close out 2020 with the valuable information on digital production that the event is known for.
The first ever Virtual Digital Packaging Summit will kick off on Tuesday, Dec. 1, and run through Thursday, Dec. 3, and will follow a similar format and structure to the live event, which has earned a highly-favorable reputation among attendees and sponsors. Industry-leading analysts, digital print adopters, and brand owners will provide a robust educational track, which will be supplemented by case study presentations from top digital technology suppliers, along with opportunities for converters and suppliers to meet one-on-one. The team decided to incorporate some of these “live” event features to keep the agenda interesting with different formats.
The event will kick off at 11 a.m. EST with a keynote address from Marco Boer, VP of I.T. Strategies, an industry consulting firm specializing in digital printing. Boer, who also serves as the event’s co-chair, will cover the impact COVID-19 has had on the label and package printing industries, with a focus on the supply chains. With an increase in demand for fast turnaround times, last minute changes, and higher job frequencies, printers and converters have had to adjust. This session will cover the growing need for efficiency and automation throughout the production process, and the role that digital technologies will fill in the evolving package printing environment.
Following Boer’s opening presentation, Kevin Karstedt, CEO of consulting and research firm Karstedt Partners, and Digital Packaging Summit co-chair, will provide a glimpse into the latest digital printing technologies in a roundtable discussion with the event’s Keynote Sponsors. Representatives from Domino, HP, SCREEN, and Xeikon will join Karstedt to share the latest from each of their companies, and their visions for the future of digital printing within the packaging industry.
To conclude the first morning’s educational sessions, attendees will hear from their peers in the industry who are among the early adopters of digital printing technologies. In this panel, four package printers will join Cory Francer, editor-in-chief of Packaging Impressions, to discuss their experiences with digital printing. The conversation will cover their initial decisions to bring digital printing on board, the benefits it has brought their companies and customers, and their expectations for the future. The panelists will represent companies spanning multiple packaging formats and will include users of both inkjet and electrophotographic technology.
The content will continue in the afternoon, as Andrew Paparozzi, chief economist for PRINTING United Alliance, will provide a presentation on the economic state of the packaging industry, and expectations for the future. Throughout the pandemic, PRINTING United Alliance has conducted ongoing research into each segment of the printing industry, to gain a sense of how the coronavirus has impacted the economic and financial picture of the various segments. The research shows that packaging has weathered the storm better than the other segments being researched, as demand for household products across multiple market segments has increased as a result of consumers spending more time at home. Paparozzi will provide a detailed overview of the association’s research efforts, and insights into strategies printers can use to contend with the evolving situation.
On the second and third days of the Virtual Digital Packaging Summit, attendees will take part in deep-dive breakout sessions specifically tailored to the individual packaging segments. On Wednesday, Dec. 2, Boer will lead a breakout session covering digital printing in the label segment, while Karstedt provides an overview on the latest in digital production of folding cartons.
The flexible packaging and corrugated segment breakout sessions will take place on Dec. 3, with Karstedt leading the flexible packaging session, and Jeff Wettersten, president of Karstedt Partners, offering his latest insights into digital printing for corrugated packaging.
In addition to the sessions and panels being led by analysts, suppliers, and printers, attendees will also have an opportunity to hear from various brand owners. The brand owner panel has become a hallmark of the Digital Packaging Summit, as attendees have benefited from learning directly from brands about how they see digital printing impacting their businesses. Additionally, the brand owner panel will cover what brands value in their relationships with their print providers, and how to best collaborate on a project to achieve a desired final result.
The event’s comprehensive online platform will feature a Solution Showcase, which will consist of virtual sponsor booths. Attendees can visit these booths to view the latest product information and videos, and can chat with event sponsors and other attendees. Additionally, qualified attendees will have scheduled one-on-one meetings with suppliers to discuss the latest technology advancements.
“While we all would have liked for our Digital Packaging Summit community to be together in Ponte Vedra Beach this year, this virtual edition of our sixth annual event will still provide the expert analysis, case studies, and interaction that have made the Digital Packaging Summit the premier event in the industry,” said Brian Ludwick, Executive VP of the Digital Packaging Summit, and publisher of Packaging Impressions. “Despite these unprecedented times, printers are looking to advance their businesses, and our goal remains providing the information, advice, and connections needed to develop strategies, and make business and investment decisions.”
If you are interested in attending the virtual summit, visit digitalpackagingsummit.com and click ‘attend.’ Unlike the annual live event, which is limited to a certain head count, the virtual event is open to all printers and converters.