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Esko launches the world’s first integrated automation solution


August 27, 2021
By PrintAction Staff

Esko has delivered a world-first in connected packaging production, supercharging secure variable data print (VDP) capabilities in terms of both speed and scale for a new collaboration with Scantrust and ePac Flexible Packaging.

Esko Automation Engine is at the heart of the operation, with its VDP technology enabling the printing of serialized and secure QR codes on flexible packaging on a mass scale, unleashing the power of VDP for the new connected packaging and connected goods service, ePacConnect.

“Variable data printing has the ability to take the role of packaging to a whole new level,” said Esko product manager, Paul Land. “With opportunities for localization, serialization, personalization and traceability, the advances in automation mean it is now possible to further harness the technology to transform the prepress environment. With cloud deployment for 24/7 global access to data and new scalability capabilities, Automation Engine is enabling ePac to realize the power of VDP for an organization without the downsides. By connecting the VDP module in Automation Engine with Scantrust, we have created a framework for codes that makes it easy for converters to use.”

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Since every ePacConnect flexible pack includes a Scantrust QR code, every pouch becomes an online gateway. The on-pack code, which is smaller than a postage stamp, activates the Scantrust suite of connected goods and connected packaging tools. Accessible features range from consumer engagement tools to active brand protection and anti-counterfeiting features that work through scans of a safe QR code on the pack.

“Scantrust gives every single physical product a unique digital identifier, which adds complexity for prepress and production,” said Peter Kostur, Scantrust sales and partnership director. “Our platform can deliver protection against counterfeiting and improve traceability within the supply chain as every single label, pouch or bottle can be traced, even when in the hands of the consumers,” he said. “Brands utilize such digital interface technology to connect with consumers, integrate with loyalty platforms and customer relationship management tools and also for internal supply chain operations. When incentivizing consumers to interact with the products, not only can the relationship and trust between brand and consumer be improved, it can also help by crowdsourcing the supply chain data for further strategical improvement.

Ryan Kiley, director of market development, ePac Flexible Packaging, said the ability to produce mass scale VDP regardless of run size had been a game changer. “Scale is where the rubber meets the road,” he said. “Scale is what we can accomplish through working together. Now, with a single click, a customer can turn their packaging into an interactive platform delivering consumer engagement, proof of provenance and brand protection while reducing touchpoints in prepress and production.” said Ryan.