Springfield Solutions has launched MockIt as a prototyping and sample production service for labels and packaging that it may later produce.
“It is for any type of packaging, from cartons and labels to tubes and pouches,” says Matt Dass, Springfield's joint managing director. The idea arose because speed to market and innovation are driving packaging design and because, says Dass, customers are streamlining existing packaging while looking for new formats.
“When developing new packaging, whether that is an improvement on an existing type or creating a totally new solution from scratch, companies need small production runs of their design concepts to use in market research and put in front of focus groups. It is this that informs the bigger decision about how packaging should look and function,” he adds.
“MockIt enables our clients to experiment with their packaging and with our help, find the best solution for each of their products.”
The company has a pair of HP Indigo label presses, including a recently installed WS6800 and a brace of Screen TruepressJet 350UV inkjet label presses, the second of which has just entered production. It has wide format as well as narrow web digital output to over the range of packaging styles and materials used. It also has extensive prepress and packaging knowledge.
All this is brought to bear in helping develop new packaging styles with the MockIt service able to take this to the next stage with the development of SmartPicture, an app which links an image to a series of questions structured as part of a market research campaign, linked to the New Product Development sample, a new design or completely new packaging format.
“It allows them to produce samples and gain feedback before making the commitment to a full run,” says Dass.
The SmartPicture app can also deliver offers, additional content, videos, social media and so on, associated with the brand and location. If used for market research, the phone user responds via the app and answers are passed to Springfield for collection and assessment.
“It is very very early days for this as yet,” he continues. The hope is that once the brand has completed the market research, Springfield is well placed to handle production length runs for labels. The presses are too narrow for the vast majority of carton types for example.
The combination of inkjet and Indigo label printing “provides a nice level of flexibility”, says Dass. “We have the advantages of both technologies.”
“We have seen considerable growth over the last two years which is continuing. It is because customers are understanding the benefits of digital a lot more with regard to fast turnarounds and limiting the amount of stock needed. They are changing promotions more regularly.”
And with the addition of MockIt there is a means to check that the new designs are understood and will work before production printing takes over.
The majority of the company’s output is in self adhesive labels, though it also produces colour cards for paint companies.
The Hull label company has been all-digital since 2012 and has just taken delivery of its second Screen inkjet label press with Screen Europe's managing director Brian Filler accompanied by Springfield operations director Dennis Ebeltoft. Now it is extending its services to include a samples and small batch production service for all types of packaging.