The Omniverse of digital print

Posted on October 17th, 2018 in News

Born in 2016 from the merger of Omniverse Group and Foster Packaging, the Omniverse Foster Packaging Group is a big player in the Australian digital flexible packaging market. Joe Foster, co-founder and director, shared his insights on how digital can transform flexibles.

How does Omniverse Foster utilise digital printing?

Omniverse Foster is a merger of two packaging companies, we’ve been together just short of two years. Prior to that, Foster Packaging was first to market in Australia with digital flexible packaging. Currently we supply a number of digital flexible pouches and rewind to a wide market base across Australia, New Zealand, and as far as Europe. The flexible we provide from a digital point of view is typically on the same substrate as gravure or flexo-printed product.

What advantages has digital offered?

The advantage that it’s offered us is the ability to approach new and existing clients who want to get their product to market as quickly as possible without having to invest in long production runs and high setup costs. We see this as the main advantage of digital printing. From our point of view, the advantage is that we can work with a client base that can start from low volumes to medium and then large, which we would print using traditional gravure. We have found that digital has helped us provide a solution for every type of volume.

What about variable data?

At the moment we haven’t made use of variable data, but we have taken advantage of low volumes and multiple SKUs on seasonal prints, special promotional prints, and even one-off prints as well through our production ready mock ups providing a solution for clients that need to present packed live product to the various retailers.

What opportunities do you see in digital print?

It’s hard to put a number on the opportunities being created through digital printing. I do see the flexible packaging market growing due to digital printing, thanks to its quick-to-market approach and low volumes. It allows niche products to be printed in the same way as conventional printing without having to use plain pouches and labels. Customers use digital for seasonal, promotional and test prints without having to invest in larger runs.

I also see the growth picking up significantly now as a consequence of the latest HP technology, specifically the HP Indigo 20000 wide-web press; previously, this would have all been done on a 330mm wide label press, which did make it difficult for flexible packaging converters to manufacture pouches – though not us, as we developed a way to utilise two separate webs to make a pouch instead of the traditional way of wide web print and fold.

In Australia, I don’t think the market fully understands the true benefits of digital packaging. A company like Omniverse Foster is active in promoting it, and we’d like to see more people using digital – its quick-to-market capabilities open a lot of doors for small to medium enterprise.

What design options does digital open up?

In terms of design possibilities, variable designs and test designs are where digital has allowed Omniverse Foster to experiment. Most of the designs we produce here, we take to the market as a result of testing with digital printing. We have a pretty good position in the seafood and pet food market, and we were able to use digital flexibles to put innovative designs to the market without significant investment; the other option would have been to mock up designs on printed paper or computer generated images.

Utilising a live digital printed mockup, compared to a paper or computer generated mockup, has a stronger appeal for a major supermarket chain. Our clients want to present the real package with their product inside, which has a much bigger impact than just a paper mockup.

How will Omniverse Foster make use of digital print moving forward?

We will be utilising the options around digital printing in the future to enhance our position from an innovation perspective and from a technology point of view. There are many changes taking place in the market, and we want to be ahead of the game with digital printing.