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FLEXO Magazine : October 2010
Technology is the Trump Card Labelexpo 2010: Changing the Way Converters Think By Robert Moran & Christian R. Bonawandt Sustainable growth and superior value propositions took the spotlight at Labelexpo of the Americas 2010, as 12,761 attendees (a 5 percent increase over 2008) were urged to: push boundaries, boost bottom line profits, focus on short yet complex jobs, adhere to strict demands and look at the real economics of the business. From print engines to par- adigm shifts, technologies, philosophies and practices were both analyzed and discussed. Live demonstrations, aimed at optimizing label print performance were staged; meaning that comparison of results achieved utilizing different print processes—flexography among them—were facilitated. It all happened over the course of three consecutive days, Sept. 14-16, in Rosemont, IL. Billed as the largest label and product decoration trade show this year, Labelexpo was staged at its familiar home— the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center—and presented with one resounding theme: ”Technology to the Rescue.” It at- tracted approximately 400 exhibitors and involved 18 confer- ence sessions. The event showcased state-of-the-art engi- neering, designed for high throughput, fast turnaround, quick changeover, minimum waste production, high degrees of automation and very low levels of volatile organic compound emissions. Simplicity of operation was stressed. The seeming goal: Eliminate all need for operator intervention. Kicking off the educational sessions was an assessment of the industry—labeled a global business—to include its size, scope, accomplishments, trials, tribulations, and of course its trump card—technology. Furnishing the snapshot was show sponsor The Tarsus Group, represented by Roger Pellow and Mike Fairley. Describing the industry as “developing,” “changing,” and “transitioning,” Pellow singled out six specific trends that can’t be ignored. • First: “End-user requirements are changing.” Label con- verters can no longer view themselves as mere printers; they must identify their activities and roles as those of “a true service provider.” Focus must be on what interests the customer—the consumer product company. Namely: high value labeling and packaging that includes ac- curate registration, high line screens, expanded color gamut; as well as the deployment of color management techniques, automated workflows and the willingness to engage in full supply chain integration. • Second: “Run lengths are decreasing. This business is all about customization, personalization, individualization, differentiation.” • Third: “Shorter product lifecycles are changing the way converters think.” 56 FLEXO oCToBeR 2010 www.flexography.org IndusTRy IndiCaToRs FLX_Oct10_mech.indd 56 10/15/10 12:32 AM
Sustainable Fall 2010