PPC Technical Workshop August 24-25 to explore the digital future of package printing

The PPC’s 2014 whitepaper, Short Run Solutions for Paperboard Packaging, will be updated after the upcoming PPC technical workshop August 24-25.
The PPC’s 2014 whitepaper, Short Run Solutions for Paperboard Packaging, will be updated after the upcoming PPC Technical Workshop August 24-25, 2016.

The Paperboard Packaging Council’s (PPC) upcoming Technical & Production Workshop, August 24-25 in Springfield, Massachusetts, will delve into the future of the carton converting business, exploring how digital printing and the demand for low-volume orders have evolved in recent years.

The conversation will be led by Kevin Karstedt, CEO of Karstedt Partners, LLC and noted expert on digital printing and converting technologies. PPC’s last deep dive into short-run solutions and digital printing took place in 2014 during the association’s Fall Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.

The conference featured an extended seminar led by Karstedt that introduced carton converters to the short-run landscape and helped prepare them to make educated investment decisions. After the conference, PPC released an in-depth whitepaper titled Short Run Solutions for Paperboard Packaging.

Citing survey data from PPC member companies, the whitepaper revealed that 83% of converter respondents believed that demand for short-run jobs was on the rise in 2014. Additionally, low-volume orders comprised approximately a quarter of annual folding carton production. Yet, 71% said they would handle such orders using traditional presses, which are generally considered better for high-volume work. Only 29% said that they intended to invest in a short-run press in the following 18 months.

The report suggested that converters may have been hesitant to adopt digital technology because a clear value proposition for investing had yet to materialize. Additionally, the potential for disruption to existing pre-press and post-press operations was fairly high. For example, although the installation of a digital press could speed up the printing process, time constraints in either pre-press workflows or post-press finishing and shipping would still remain.

Kevin Karstedt.
Kevin Karstedt.

During the upcoming 2016 workshop, Karstedt will explain how these issues have evolved over the past two years, taking into account both consumer trends, converters’ attitudes and updates from drupa 2016. After the workshop, PPC intends to produce a new addendum to its short-run whitepaper.

“Digital printing technology is moving faster than ever before,” said Karstedt. “Several developments have emerged since I last addressed PPC, and I’m excited to share them, while also opening a dialogue with attendees about how they are currently using or plan to use digital technology.”

In addition to Karstedt’s timely presentation, the workshop will feature sessions in which PPC supplier members will review new technologies and processes that they exhibited at drupa 2016, hold panel discussions featuring converters who made purchases at drupa, and give an overview of capital expense justification. As well,  a report on economic trends from RISI will be reviewed.

Ben Markens.
Ben Markens.

“PPC’s technical and production forum comes at a time when technology is rapidly evolving. As a result, some converters may feel like they don’t have enough information to make smart capital investment decisions,” said Ben Markens, PPC President.

“The workshop will not only provide this crucial information, but will also give attendees advice on how and when to invest. It will be a powerful session.” The workshop is open to both PPC members and non-members.

Now in its 87th year, PPC is the leading industry association serving suppliers and converters of all forms of paperboard packaging. PPC works to grow, promote and protect the paperboard packaging industry while providing its members with resources and tools to compete effectively and successfully in the marketplace.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.