EskoWorld 2021 Recap

A world of automation, AI, and the cloud for packaging



Ryan McAbee


For the second consecutive year, EskoWorld took place as a virtual event that focused on packaging professionals and the many faithful users of Esko solutions. The event ran last week with over 80 sessions, including workshops and demonstrations. There were also round table discussions, panel discussions, and the ability to schedule 1-on-1 appointments with Esko experts to boost the interactivity. For busy packaging professionals, virtual does have its benefits: the content can be viewed on-demand for up to a year following the event dates.


Esko’s (left to right) Jan De Roeck (Marketing Director), Mattias Byström (President),
Charles Ravetto (Vice President/General Manager of Supplier Solutions


The opening session started with a trio of Esko’s managing team including Mattias Byström (President), Chuck Ravetto (Vice President/General Manager or Supplier Solutions), and Jan De Roeck (Marketing Director). The impact and ongoing adjustments due to the pandemic were mentioned, but the team reassured attendees of the financial health of Esko and its continued emphasis on innovation for the packaging industry. Other recent organization changes were addressed, including the divesture of the Kongsberg digital cutting systems business and (in the opposite direction) the further integration of the AVT inspection business.


Two of the bigger announcements leading up to the show related to Esko’s continued push to migrate solutions to the cloud. In recent years, Esko has increased the number of software solutions that were offered by subscription, even though many were still installed on premise. However, last month, Esko revealed that its flagship workflow automation product Automation Engine is now available in the cloud. According to Jan De Roeck, “Cloud computing delivers new freedoms to businesses—both in terms of their operation and processes and also in eradicating IT challenges that might stifle their passion for prepress.”


Automation Engine Saas offers the core benefits of cloud computing, like a reduced IT burden, but also opens more possibilities for packaging converters that have multi-site operations. For those operations, workflow processes can be standardized across sites, and work can flow more easily to rebalance available capabilities and capacities. (Listen to The Key Point Podcast below to hear about Esko’s path into the cloud.)


Another recent cloud development shown during EskoWorld was AVT’s iCenter platform. iCenter works as a single point of truth for quality management. One function is taking data from the workflow and auto-analyzing the image to detect different areas for inspection (like the barcode). This reduces the amount of setup time and frees the operator during the press run while the print is compared against standards for color and content.


Although this was the second virtual EskoWorld, attendees had ample learning opportunities and time to review recent technology releases that can positively impact their business. Next year, EskoWorld heads back to Texas for a planned in-person event from June 7th through June 9th.


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