Label Academy hosts successful Industry 4.0 virtual master class

Label Academy, the global training provider for the label and package printing industry, recently hosted its first virtual master class tackling Industry 4.0. This latest in-depth learning opportunity is its fourth virtual master class to date.

Joining the Industry 4.0 chair, Labels & Labeling editor, James Quirk, was a high-profile panel of eleven guest speakers from leading label and package printing companies Baldwin Technology,, Hybrid Software Group, Esko, X-Rite Pantone, MPS, Cerm, Label Traxx, HP Indigo, Grafotronic and Tilia Labs Inc. As with the previous virtual master classes, which have covered brand protection, digital printing technology and flexible packaging, Industry 4.0 was divided into two parts. 

Part One, which took place on Thursday 28 April, provided an overview of Industry 4.0, blockchain, data transparency, automating pre-press and quality control. Steve Metcalf, chief marketing and IoT officer, Baldwin Technology, began by introducing the topic and how it impacts the label and package printing industry. This paved the way for the next session, given by founder of, Federico D’Annunzio, who delved into the various types of blockchain and why brands are pushing for full data transparency. Mike Rottenborn, CEO, Hybrid Software Group, then provided an insight into the advantages of automating pre-press, from pre-flight to imposition and color management, and integrating it into press and factory management systems. Closing Part One was a joint presentation given by Martin Cusack, product manager Color, DFE and iCenter, Esko and Jérôme Brangé, solution architect, Packaging, X-Rite Pantone, who set out ways of automating quality control including inspection and measuring color in-line.

The focus for Part Two, which took place a week later, on Thursday 5 May, was a more in-depth look at automating both flexo and digital printing operations and the finishing process. Kelvin van den Bunt, product manager, MPS and Lowie-Pascal Geerinck, product manager, Cerm, began with a joint presentation covering the flexo press and how connectivity can tackle some of the industry’s biggest issues at present, such as the manual skills shortage, increased SKUs and sustainability. Reinforcing these talking points were the next two presentations, given by Chris Spooner, business development manager, Label Traxx, and Christian Menegon, global business development manager, Labels & Packaging, HP Indigo. They examined the opportunities created by the digital connected press. Morten Toksvaerd, business development director, Grafotronic, then set out ways of automating the finishing process and integrating it into existing networks. The master class closed with a converter case study presentation from George Folickman, global sales director and business development, Tilia Labs Inc. He described how the software company had worked with US converter Pacer Print to automate production, and the significant cost, time and resource benefits to the business that this had made. 

Andy Thomas-Emans, Labelexpo strategic director, said: “The covid pandemic has accelerated digital technology trends that were already starting to transform the label and package printing supply chain, most notably the use of real-time data and the move towards the smart factory of the future. This has huge potential for our fast-moving industry, so it’s essential that converters in particular learn how to take advantage of this and stay ahead. Our industry 4.0 virtual master class offered the right step in that direction, with a fascinating insight into all of this and more.” 

Echoing this, Steve Metcalf said: “Data will drive the next great advantage in labels and packaging and is the centerpiece of Industry 4.0. Innovations are happening right now that make getting access to data and putting it to work easier than ever. The lineup assembled for the master class presents a how to guide on what to consider and where to begin the journey.”

Thomas-Emans added: “I’d like to extend my thanks to our fantastic line-up of speakers who took part, and attendees for joining. We look forward to hosting further sessions covering more of the industry’s most pressing topics in the coming months – online and live at Labelexpo shows.”

Mike Rottenborn added: “These master classes are one of the best platforms from which to share this knowledge with industry peers.”

The recordings for both parts of the industry 4.0 virtual master class are available to subscribers as part of the Label Academy subscription service.

The Label Academy accompanying guide, Management Information Systems and Workflow Automation, by Michael Fairley, provides additional detail on the topics discussed in the virtual master class, and is available to purchase on and its regional sites. 

About the Label Academy:
The Label Academy is a global training provider and on-the-job resource for the label and package printing industry. It was pioneered by industry expert Mike Fairley in response to a reduction in the number of dedicated printing colleges and the need to standardize the label industry’s very specialized training and education across the world.

The Label Academy’s in-depth and expert-led master classes in English have proved extremely popular around the world at Labelexpo trade shows over the last few years, covering a wide range of key topics in the label and package printing industry. These have included: shrink sleeves; and inks, coatings and varnishes.

Previous virtual master classes have covered digital printing technology, flexible packaging and brand protection.

The Label Academy is part of Tarsus Group – the international media group with interests in exhibitions, conferences, publishing and online media including Labelexpo Global Series, and is endorsed by FINAT, TLMI, LMAI, Turkish Label Association and BPIF.