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FLEXO Magazine : August 2010
Industry Indicators Opportunities Beyond Labels Labelexpo americas showcases the Expanding World of Narrow Web Printing Labelexpo Americas is no longer just about labels. It goes far beyond, into packaging, new business solutions, and closer working relationships with customers. The label industry has always grown through innovation and new ideas. It’s been quick to encompass materials, technology or products that create new opportunities and added value solutions, and has been good at solving problems for potential new customers and markets. After the past few years of a global financial crisis, difficult trading conditions and a still somewhat uncertain recovery, it is probably even more important for the label converter to now be looking at even newer opportunities—both within labels and beyond—and to consider entering new niche markets, becoming more flexible in production, driving costs down, and increasing profitability. Perhaps as good a place to start in this quest is by attending the forthcoming Labelexpo Americas show in Chicago, IL. With some 400 exhibitors, 23 conference sessions, a masterclass and a series of technology workshops, there are bound to be a multitude of possibilities for growth that the converter should be studying. This year, those possibilities include unsupported film, flexible packaging and shrink sleeve applications, cartons, digital printing, RFID insertion, and medical applications. ABOve And BeyOnd Indeed, there is an area of the show in Hall C which will be solely dedicated to the expanding world of narrow web print and packaging processes and which are opportunities for converters. In this area, aptly called Beyond Labels, new opportunities for the converter’ exhibitors will demonstrate combined packaging solutions and different product and market applications. It is already clear from advance information that there will be some exciting new converting opportunities and solutions on show this year. These are opportunities that any serious converter should be evaluating in their ongoing quest for growth and profitability. Take Delta Industrial for example. This company will be show- ing two converting systems for multiple processes at Labelexpo Americas. One application being demonstrated by them which will be sure to attract converter interest will be a medical process converting line—which comes complete with in-line heatseal packaging. They will also be showing a complete digital print finishing line, as will companies such as ABG International. Meanwhile, among a number of machines that Nilpeter will be debuting at the show, the FA-6 is particularly aimed at the growing number of converters that wish to offer a comprehen- sive one-stop label and packaging service to brand owners and packaging contractors. This eight-color, 22in. wide, press is equipped with both UV-curing units and hot air dryers for pro- ducing a variety of film packaging, labels, and carton board. Likewise, Mark Andy is another exhibitor setting out to aid converters looking for new solutions or opportunities outside of self-adhesive labels by showing a number of advanced label and non-label applications, such as the latest in RFID insertion, or machines for the printing of unsupported label and packaging films and the production of light cartons. Or what about booklet labels? Want to get into the produc- tion of multi-page labels for agrochemical, food or pharma- ceutical markets? Then converters should visit the Prati booth where this company will be showing equipment for applying a booklet label onto a base label for automatic application, and then adding variable data information as well if required. Certainly an attractive added-value market application. Also looking at ways of increasing the added-value oppor- tunities for labels is Durst Photechnik, who will be showcasing a digital varnishing module (DIVA) for the Rotoworx modular finishing system. This module has the unique ability to produce different gloss levels—high gloss, semi-gloss, satin, matte, etc.—in just one single pass, and with a single varnishing fluid. Believed to be unique in the label industry, the module also en- ables converters to produce special effects, such as textures and even tactile elements—and even vary the top finish from label to label. The company believes that the DIVA module will be a very important source of competitive advantage for converters. And what about those converters, industry suppliers or label users looking to understand more about digital printing technologies, their market applications and opportunities, or looking to invest in a digital press for the first time? Well, they would do well to attend the digital label printing masterclass being run on the third morning of the show. An intensive three- hour knowledge-based session being presented by some of the leading experts in this sector, the masterclass is an ideal introduction to this fast-growing technology. LeArning experience A whole range of interesting conference sessions during the show will also provide new ideas and opportunities for converters. Sessions this year include printed electronics, brand protection and anti-counterfeiting, SnapTag technology that can enhance a brand, opportunities in flexible packag- ing, as well as range of special management and technical topics—including color management, automation and inte- gration of digital solutions throughout the production chain, and the development of a sustainable supply chain. What seems certain is that Labelexpo Americas now offers converters solutions that extend beyond self-adhesive labels into sleeve labels, heat transfer decoration, flexible packag- ing, cartons, and much more. Solutions and opportunities that can add value and enhance profitability, solutions that can provide a total packaging and label service to customers, solutions to aid brand owners in track and trace, counterfeit deterrence, and marketing. Labelexpo Americas is no longer a show where the con- verter just looks at potential new presses and materials. It’s now part of the converter’s business process, of converter decision making, of looking for new ideas and opportunities, of understanding where they could be as a business in two, three or more years time. It’s certainly about understanding how the rapid evolution of digital printing technology and solutions is likely to change in the future. Above all, Labelexpo Americas is not a show where you can turn up for a day and then leave. To really get full value out of the show it needs more than that. It needs a plan of what to see, what is expected from the show, where the indus- try is going, what to invest in for success, and how do you get there? That probably takes more than a day—and more than one person from the company. n Labelexpo Americas 2010 Highlights • More than 400 exhibitors • Twenty-three conference sessions • A masterclass and a series of technology workshops • Gather on the Green Sustainability Pavilion • Beyond Labels Pavilion Photo courtesy tarsus plc. 22 FLEXO august 2010 www.flexography.org LabELs August2010_mech.indd 22 8/13/10 7:45 AM
Sustainable Summer 2010