Imagine: 500 digital press users in one room; HP Indigo users flocked to Florida last month to learn and exchange ideas. Among them was Lightning Labels' Peter Renton, who contributed this report.


The largest gathering ever of HP Indigo digital press owners--at least 500 of them--took place in early February in Tampa, FL, USA at the 2007 meeting of DSCOOP (Digital Solutions Cooperative). The annual conference also drew 100 HP staff members and another hundred potential customers.

Often at these conferences the label and packaging people get treated as an afterthought. Not this time. Even though the majority of HP Indigo installed presses are at commercial print shops, at this conference there was a complete Label & Packaging track that featured 11 educational sessions.

HP put a great deal of effort into this year's conference. The "Solutions Showcase" featured exhibits by about 50 vendors. Most impressive was that HP brought its two newest presses--the 5000 on the sheet fed side, and the ws4500 on the label side. The ws4500 was set up with inline finishing from ABG International and the Digicon semirotary diecutting press.

The light-hearted theme of the conference was American football--seeing that we were in Florida on Superbowl weekend. In keeping with that theme, Marv Levy, the former coach of the Buffalo Bills, kicked off the conference with an excellent talk on leadership and character.

He detailed how it was far more important to hire people with integrity and character who are self-motivated than someone with just talent. These are rules that apply equally well in football or business.

The educational sessions in the Label & Packaging track provided a variety of information. Steven Schnoll of Schnoll Media Consulting gave a presentation around the Tower of Power--the now famous day of production on an HP ws4050 with 23 jobs, 201,000 labels and only 11 minutes of downtime. Elisha Tropper of T3 Associates, and former president of Prestige Label, gave an excellent presentation on lean manufacturing. He demonstrated how digital label printing is inherently leaner than traditional flexographic printing, but for a company to be truly lean it needs to look at all steps in the production process from order entry through to receipt of payment. You need to ensure that each step adds value for your customers.

There was a presentation on sustainable packaging that described the new Wal-Mart requirements for its vendors, and many examples of sustainable packaging. Other presentations focused on finishing, the new ws4500 press, and sales and marketing, as well as security printing.

One of the highlights of the...

To continue reading