NarrowWebTech asked label printers and converters to give their views about the past, the present and the future of the label industry. What was the most important thing to note in 2016? What will be relevant in 2017? Read here what Thomas Hagmaier, CEO at Hagmaier Etiketten & Druck, think about the latest developments within our industry in the past year and in the immediate future!
CEO, Hagmaier Etiketten & Druck
Looking back at 2016, what were the most important developments in terms of technology and production workflow to affect the label industry?
Technology: A closer look reveals that technological developments will have an increasing impact on our systems. Almost every machine has a Touchscreen, IPad as an operator panel, Teamviewer based service and simplified and automated workflows due to the use of sensor technology. Since nothing is steadier than change, this also applies to the label industries. I am convinced, that we will face technological changes on a revolutionary level.
Production workflow: On a worldwide scale the computing power will double within 18 months which will in turn, speed up workflows accordingly. Everyone who does not follow this trend will hardly gain ground again. The challenge is to keep up with the latest developments and to put them into practice. As far as data exchange and communication is concerned, we are making good progress whereas in the field of workflow we still have to overcome some obstacles. However, this is only a matter of time.
Some describe Industry 4.0 as the ‘4th Industrial Revolution’. What is your opinion on this evolution of communications within the production chain, and how does it affect your workflow?
Industry 4.0 often is the subject of individual definition. However, it is a fact that this means changes for the industrial countries on an ambiguous scale. Work and workflow will be taken away from manual interventions. Fewer people will work more and office work will be separated from the production processes. Therefore, I would not presume to predict the effects on the label industry. Though, changes will affect daily work routines much faster than ever before.
What are your concerns and expectations for the label industry in 2017? What do you consider will be the game-changing developments? How does your
Although there are some limitations in terms of the mechanical advancement of machinery, the combination with sensor technology and computer systems enable significant improvements and innovations. In particular, the area of mechanical engineering is far more advanced in terms of Industry 4.0 than other branches. Therefore, there is no time to pause for the manufacturers of printingpresses as for example Labelexpo Europe will be much bigger and will showmore innovative products than ever before.
In my opinion there is a threat caused by company mergers. For small companies it will be even more difficult to stand future challenges and specialisation alone. Branding, marketing and customer relations will be significant elements for the future of such companies.
Do you currently have digital printing capability? Will you be investing in a digital press (or presses) in 2017?
For six years Hagmaier Etiketten has used digital printing systems and further investments in this field are in the pipeline. At this time we certainly do not know if all our wishes will come true and investments will be justified as it all depends on how fast the above mentioned changes will come into being.