Interview series: What’s the next game-changer? – Answers from 5Sept Etiquette
Patrick Wack, CEO of 5Sept Etiquette (Source: 5Sept Etiquette)
NarrowWebTech asked label printers and converters as well as associations 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 Patrick Wack, CEO of 5Sept Etiquette, think about the latest developments within our industry in the past year and in the immediate future!
Patrick Wack,CEO of 5Sept Etiquette
Looking back at 2016, what were the most important developments in terms of technology and production workflow to affect the label industry?
For the first time for many years I felt that our demand for “connected equipment” was considered very seriously by our suppliers, and that it was beginning to be considered as a standard. Our company has been working on this project for many years, but for the first time, we have received two new pieces of equipment in 2016 which were connected to our MIS after only a few weeks teamwork between us, the equipment supplier and the MIS supplier: CERM. I am talking about finishing equipment from ABG, and a digital press from Domino. It seems to me that this is a turning point in our business.
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?
Yes, the communication of different equipment within the production chain changes the way we work. There is a lot more to do on this challenge, but what we are already now able to see, and measure, is that it is a fantastic way to increase the quality of the delivered products to our customers. The fact that we do not have to re-enter the same information at different steps in the production workflow considerably reduces the risk of errors. And of course it increases the speed of the workflow, and makes the production time shorter…
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 view relate to what you might see at Labelexpo Europe 2017?
The next challenge, and most important for the revolution in the production chain, is, after the connection within our production chain, to be able to connect our production chain to the customer’s workflow. This will be the real key to “industry 4.0” in our opinion. Till now, this has been made difficult because our customers each have very different ways to manage their need for labels. But we are working very actively on that. We expect to see new solutions at Labelexpo 2017.
Do you currently have digital printing capability? Will you be investing in a digital press (or presses) in 2017?
Yes, we have digital presses, a seven colour Domino and a five colour Xeikon. Both of them are connected with our MIS through JDF in a very efficient way. But we still believe that traditional presses (in flexo or offset) could be connected and also make huge productivity and quality increases. We also expect to see that, in Labelexpo 2017, but we are very anxious about the time they need to accomplish this and the risk that it could be too late when the traditional presses manufacturers are eventually ready. It could be a disaster for them, and for us (label manufacturers) since we could lose a large share of value added production.