Students currently undertaking the Master of Food & Packaging Innovation degree at the University of Melbourne were treated to a hands-on demonstration of digital printing and pouch making at the Read Labels & Packaging facility earlier this week.
The students are currently engaged in a two-week week intensive training course as part of their degree, led by the Australian Institute of Packaging. The course covers Food Packaging Materials and Processes and Packaging Design.
The demonstrations and lectures were delivered by Mark Daws, Labels and Packaging director at Currie Group, distributor of HP Indigo digital printing technology in this region, and Ross Read, managing director of Read Labels & Packaging.
The duo took the students and visiting lecturers through the digital printing and pouch making process, which was recently depicted in an augmented reality execution triggered by scanning the the cover of Print21 stablemate PKN Packaging News magazine, or a sample pouch that was inserted in the magazine (and which had been digitally printed and made by Read Labels & Packaging).
The benefits of digital printing were outlined, and students got to see the workings of the digital press on site – the HP Indigo 20000 – which Read installed last year.
“The wider format of this press [flat size area 760mm] is a real boon. It allows us to digitally print material for small and large pouch sizes as well as shrink sleeves for tubs, which is a capability few companies have,” Read told Print21.
Read says his decision to invest in the capability to print and manufacture flexible pouches in-house has given the company its point of difference – being able to provide a full end-to-end solution.
Read Labels & Packaging services companies of every size, from contract packers requiring printed film to feed into form-fill-seal machines at their own factories, to larger companies requiring formed pouches for smaller runs of variants, prototypes or market testing.
“Digital printing gives brand owners considerable creative freedom and flexibility, and the fact that we can break up even the smallest run into multiple SKUs – all printed in one pass – has further widened the scope of possibility,” Read says.
In his view, this is an exciting time for the digitally printed flexible market, and he anticipates continued growth in demand.
Mark Daws agrees, noting that the adoption of digital printing for flexible packaging is increasing. "It's a technology that's time has well and truly come, and I was pleased to have the opportunity to share the technology with the students – the next generation of packaging leaders in the making," he told Print21. Currie Group is a partner company of Australian Institute of Packaging.
Prof Pierre Pienaar, AIP education director and also president the World Packaging Organisation, was in attendance.
Commenting on the AIP lecturing programme, he says: “It's always an exciting and enjoyable week lecturing to the Masters students in Food Innovation and packaging at the University of Melbourne. A good group of enquiring minds that challenge the status quo of packaging. This is the future of the packaging industry, which bodes well for us all.”
The AIP lecturing team are selected for their extensive experience in their packaging related fields so that the students can learn from leading packaging professionals who work in the industry.
The 2019 intake for the Master degree sees 62 students enrolled from eight countries including Australia, New Zealand, India, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia and The Philippines.