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FLEXO Magazine : January 2010
18 FLEXO JANUARY 2010 www.flexography.org LABELS • Investment is the key as the industry takes advan- tage of the present lackluster situation in preparation for future growth. • A recent survey showed that 39 percent of European label printers see digital printing as their future. • The move toward consolidation and rationalization, leading to the evolution of larger groups is taking place slowly and the current world economic difficul- ties will contribute to that progress. The first signs of recovery in the global self-adhesive label industry probably began late last spring. But, as with the start of all green shoots, only the merest tip of growth was showing. It is going to be some while until we begin to gather a harvest comparable in size to the "good old days"... but the signs are there. The latest FINAT climate index indicated that confidence is returning to the label industry, especially after the successful Labelexpo. There were continued, but prudent, signs of recov- ery in the third quarter of 2009. The overall volume decrease on an annual basis, compared to Q3 2008, was limited to 1.7 percent, for the year to October. Our industry is back to the -5 to -10 percent range, after a disastrous double digit volume drop at the turn of the year. Investment is the keyword on everyone's lips at the mo- ment, as the industry takes advantage of the present lacklus- ter situation to prepare for that return of growth. At the recent Labelexpo 2009 in Brussels, Belgium, the largest-ever number of equipment suppliers showcased their attractions and more than 40 percent of printers were expecting to invest in new equipment in 2010, which will result in increased growth over the next five years. The move to digital printing was a similar hot topic. With a recent survey showing that 39 percent of European label printers see digital printing as their future, machine manufac- turers are eager to meet the demand---30 companies will be producing digital presses worldwide by 2010. So while present trade may still be difficult, we at FINAT like to look to the future---and on this evidence we expect to see growth returning to self-adhesive labels within 18 months. It is already the dominant medium in the European product decoration market, accounting for 45 percent of labels used in the continental area in 2008. Indeed, in world terms, self-adhesive's share of global label laminate production is around one-third, with 5.3 million sqm. (57 million sq.ft) of label materials converted to labels in all shapes or forms in Europe alone. By comparison, wet glue labels now have 41 percent of the European market, with sleeving and in-mould labeling accounting for 7 percent and 3 percent respectively. Other la- beling technologies, such as gummed, heat transfer, applied ceramics etc. make up the 4 percent balance. While the self-adhesive technology has been around since the 1930s, the big advance of this type of label has been made during the last 25 years or so. The technologies involved made it attractive for smaller printers to enter and there are now many specialist label producers in Europe producing self-adhesives in the roll, many of them concen- Smoother Sailing Ahead FINAT: Self-Adhesive Labels Have a Bright Future By Andrea Vimercati INDUSTRY INDICATORS
Sustainable EOY 2009