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Matt Dass is Joint Managing Director and responsible for innovation at Springfield Solutions, a company specializing in digital packaging assets. The trained graphic designer took his first steps in the company founded by his father at the age of three.
Harald Jasper is Managing Director of the Group’s internal startup ACTEGA Metal Print. Since 2018, he has been largely responsible for the development of ECOLEAF helping shape the technology so that it is tailored even better to market and customer needs.
Sustainability is on everyone’s lips. How much pressure is there to change things in the packaging and printing industry?
MATT DASS: Our customers are increasingly asking us to find sustainable solutions. That’s extra motivation! Because as a company, we are already leading the way in efforts to make a positive difference in the world. Springfield Solutions is committed to the “Oh Yes! Net Zero” initiative. Our common goal is to be UK’s first carbon-free region by 2040.
HARALD JASPER: That’s exactly what we support. ACTEGA invests in sustainable solutions and new technologies that can change the industry. Sustainability is the key driver of innovative new product developments like ECOLEAF.
What exactly is behind ECOLEAF?
HARALD JASPER: Simply explained: The technology places metal particles on the packaging only where they are needed. In the manufacture of eye-catching metallic label finishes, for example, carbon-dioxide emissions can therefore be reduced by around 50 percent compared to conventional cold and hot foil. As a result, ECOLEAF is revolutionizing the so-called metallization process. The technology can be integrated into any common label printing press and finishing equipment. Instead of plastic-coated foil rolls, a type of liquid foil is used.
Mr. Dass, you decided to support the time-intensive test phase. Why?
MATT DASS: We’re always looking for new technologies. That is part of our corporate culture. One main reason we decided to cooperate with ACTEGA is the shared vision. We want to develop innovative and sustainable products and establish them in the market. ECOLEAF has the potential to become the standardprocess for the production of metallic finishes.
Ultimately, however, you can never know at the beginning of the test phase whether your commitment will be rewarded.
MATT DASS: That’s right. And that’s why courage is extremely important when it comes to developing new technologies. I always say: Let’s try it out! If it works, great! If it doesn’t, we have to learn quickly from the experience and correct our actions. In this way we can gain a lasting competitive edge.
HARALD JASPER: And in order to extend our lead, we have to keep improving the product. At ECOLEAF, we have 100 percent control of the entire technology. This provides us with flexibility and speed to continuously improve the technology on the equipment and chemistry side.
What needs to happen for ECOLEAF to permanently change the market?
HARALD JASPER: We have to develop the technology quickly. In addition to dedicated and highly qualified employees, feedback from our customers is essential. The product development is more like a marathon than a sprint.
MATT DASS: We’ve already carried out a lot of test runs in our production. The team processes the feedback that is collected – mainly on adhesives, primers, and color pigments – quickly. Often, within just a few days, engineers were working right at our production site. Together with ACTEGA, we want to improve the technology as a whole.
HARALD JASPER: In recent months, our development steps have been based to a large extent on the cooperative partnership with Mr. Dass and his team. The commitment is outstanding.