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Thinking Out of the Box: A Fresh Approach to Harnessing Digital Technology for the POP Display Market.

By Danny Aboody, Product Marketing Manager, Packaging & Display, Scitex Vision

POP displays have become one of the most powerful tools available to advertising and marketing agencies for consumer goods. Since more than 70% of buying decisions are taken at the point of purchase, the rewards for successful POP displays are enormous. Remarkably, it’s not just low-priced goods that are sold using POP displays, which is why demand for them continues to grow at 25% per year, requiring breakthrough production technologies.

The Challenges of Effectively Producing POP Displays

With customers confronted with a barrage of signs, printed packaging, advertising, billboards and other exhortations to buy, what is it that makes POP displays so effective, and how can that knowledge be used to maintain the momentum?

Printing POP Displays should address the many obvious answers: size, shape, colour, orientation of the product displayed, and the simple fact that POP displays are often life-size and literally in your face. As such, compromising on text and image quality and vibrancy, as well as finishing is unacceptable. Behind the obvious, there are, of course, many more subtle, and carefully controlled processes going on.

Part of the appeal of temporary POP displays is their novelty. Optimum size, shape, colour, content and distribution require careful planning to preserve this advantage. In order to have a POP display that addresses the product supplier’s need in the most efficient way, it should be focused, unique and tailored to the customer profile. As such, the most effective campaigns may comprise displays numbering from only a few dozen up to several thousand units.

Such POP displays are also timely. Part of their appeal is that they are ephemeral and designed for a relatively short life. Campaigns can then be short, sharp and focused for maximum impact. However, to achieve a cost-effective supply chain – especially when unit numbers are low – production and distribution have to be carefully coordinated.

The solution should be economical both to the advertiser and to the POP display producer. The number of POP displays needed to be calculated and costed to determine optimal distribution and pre-use storage costs. Media and ink must be suited to the intended purpose. Durability, strength, colour reproduction and matching, and price are all factors here. For indoor applications, corrugated board is often used, and for food environments, water-based pigmented inks will have an advantage. The size of the display can vary from a small dispenser to an over-sized cereal box, ten feet tall.

The name of the game is flexibility in being able to address the marketing managers’ message and the agencies’ concepts in a POP space.

Innovative technologies leveraging new business models

Just as the POP display has revolutionised promotional marketing, so digital technology has delivered the versatility and speed required to serve the new applications for corrugated and other POP Display printed materials.

The Scitex Vision CORjet Premium is a six colour press, being the only inkjet that provides high quality print using water-based pigmented inks, that have been certified for use on food packaging. The CORjet Premium incorporates a print controller and RIP, a fully automated loader, the press and drying unit, and automated un-loader. Capable of imaging as many as 29 160cm x 320cm (63” x 126”) sheets up to 10mm thick per hour at resolutions up to 600dpi, the CORjet Premium opens new market opportunities for corrugated production, including the POP display market. In addition to corrugated board, the CORjet Premium can also print on other substrates such as foam board, styrene or fluted polypropylene.

At the heart of the Scitex Vision CORjet Premium is the unique Aprion inkjet technology that uses specially designed heads, arranged in an array to ensure fast, even coverage on a wide variety of substrates. Using patented drop-on-demand piezo-electric technology, each head has 512 nozzles firing 30,000 perfectly formed drops per second.

POP and Packaging Production in Pennsylvania

VT Graphics, of Yeadon, Pennsylvania (just outside Philadelphia), exemplifies the new thinking that digital technology has brought to the sometimes staid world of corrugated converting.

Founded in 1966 as a plate making trade shop for corrugated converters, VT Graphics seized the digital opportunity in 2004 with the purchase of a Scitex Vision CORjet press, a Kongsberg DCM digital die-cutter and a 60” GBC laminator. The capabilities of this combination were recognised and led to the formation of Digital Impact, a new VT Graphics operation to produce POP displays for the promotional packaging market.

According to Bob Mormile, President of VT Graphics, the goal is to focus on production runs of 150 – 500 saleable units.

‘The new equipment makes high-quality, short-runs cost-effective,’ says Bob Mormile. ‘This is an area where there is a lot of interest and potential.

‘Longer runs are possible,’ he explains, but 1500 units is about as short a run that can be printed conventionally at acceptable costs.’

Digital Impact’s business by VT Graphics is focused on corrugated board, mostly D and E flute, though it will handle other substrates on request.

‘As a maker of flexographic plates, we were looking for ways to expand our business without getting into competition with our customers, the corrugated converters,’ Bob says. ‘The Scitex Vision CORjet has enabled us to do that. Short-run printing isn’t something that flexographic printers want to do, and sample-making and trial versions are traditionally time-consuming and very expensive.

‘Our strategy has been to provide a service to our existing customers that they can sell on to their customers,’ Bob says. ‘Samples and trial versions are cheaper when printed digitally, and once a design is agreed, we have a good shot at getting the plate making business for the long runs.’

The business is not just about samples and trials; it’s about developing that 500 – 1500 unit market and creating more opportunities for the end-user. Using the Scitex Vision CORjet’s variable data printing capability, POP displays can be tailored for specific retailers, stores and neighbourhoods. Unique copies can be run seamlessly one after the other, or as part of longer run of identical units.

In addition to selling to packaging converters, Digital Impact is building its direct sales business, too.

‘It’s an exciting venture,’ comments Bob. ‘We have something new to sell, and so do our customers. Offering the fast-turnarounds that the Scitex Vision CORjet can deliver, combined with the digital die-cutting and laminating facilities, means that we’re a one-stop shop that customers can buy into direct, or through the converters.

‘We offer a full service,’ Bob Mormile states. ‘A customer can ask for 500 displays, packed 5 to a carton with tear-tapes, and shipped to 50 locations, and we can do it all.’

VT Graphics also offers the assurance of a company that’s been in business for fifty years, and has an experienced team that includes 14 artists who use their expertise in colour technology to ensure the best results, whether in digital or conventional production.

Companies around the world like VT Graphics and its Digital Impact operation are ‘thinking digitally’ and discovering the profitable possibilities of large format inkjet printing on rigid substrates. Whether opening new markets, or offering new services to old ones, corrugated printing and converting will never be the same.

About Scitex Vision Ltd.

Scitex Vision, a manufacturer and service provider of innovative inkjet systems and consumables, is a global leader in industrial digital printing. The Company provides a wide array of digital printing presses and consumables for industrial applications, including wide format graphic arts, packaging and textile.

Backed by global marketing, sales and customer care networks, Scitex Vision is committed to continuously providing proven, high-quality, flexible and cost-effective solutions to printing houses all over the world.

With headquarters located in Israel, subsidiaries in the USA, Belgium and Hong Kong, and offices in China, Mexico and South Africa, Scitex Vision employs more than 500 professionals worldwide. The majority of the Company’s shares are owned by Scitex Corporation Ltd.

Scitex Vision and the Scitex Vision logo are trademarks of Scitex Vision. Scitex and the Scitex logo are registered trademarks of Scitex Corporation Ltd.

#### Editorw note: To download digital images, please use the following Internet address: http://www.scitexvision.com/ or www.bespoke.co.uk/Clients/Scitex%20Vision/SciEng794.htm.

Editor
7/30/2005


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