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FLEXO Magazine : September 2013
Drilling down further, Lejeune provides additional data on label consumption in European regions: • Against the marginal evolution of labelstock demand in the other aggregated regions of Europe (all record- ing increases or decreases within the plus-or-minus 1.5 percent range), Eastern European markets consumed 11.4 percent more self-adhesive label materials than in the preceding year (See Figure 3) • Total labelstock demand recorded in the Eastern Euro- pean countries (12 countries, 325 million inhabitants) amounted to 1.15 billion square meters (12 billion sq. ft.) and the region is now approaching Southern Europe (six Mediterranean countries including Turkey, 280 million inhabitants) with a demand of 1.28 billion square meters (14 billion sq. ft.) as the second-largest self-adhesive labelling region in Europe • Central Europe (six countries, 125 million inhabitants) is still far out of reach for the rest of Europe with 2.27 billion square meters (24 billion sq. ft.) The five countries accounting for 60 percent of label demand in Europe are Germany, the U.K., France, Italy and Spain (See Figure 2). PAPER, FILMIC DEMAND Of the 100 million square meters (1.1 billion sq. ft.) Europe added to its demand in 2012, 90 percent “ was generated by net increases in roll label materials demand” and “a majority of 48 million square meters (517 million sq. ft.) was achieved by the net increase in demand for filmic roll label materials, ahead of the 41 million square meter (441 million sq. ft.) net in- crease in paper rolls demand in 2012,” according to Lejeune. That increase is almost solely attributable to Eastern Europe. Further, he says that, “In the case of paper-based roll label demand, the net increase in demand of almost 80 million square meters (861 million sq. ft.) in the 12 Eastern European countries, offset the net decrease in the other regions by a factor of two. In the case of non-paper roll label materials, demand growth in Eastern Europe represented almost 75 percent of the net increase in demand across Europe.” (See Figure 3) MOVING FORWARD As Fairley notes, the evolution of the label market has sped up drastically in recent years. He cites advancements like the rotary letterpress in the 1980s, flexo process growth in the 1990s and UV flexo’s explosion in the early 21st century for new label press sales and digital printing’s rapid maturing. These numerous changes make choosing where to spend time and money more difficult. “T he key challenge today for any label printer is to decide what his new label printing press investment will be this year, next year or the year after,” Fairley says. “ Will it be another conventional UV flexo analog press? Or maybe an offset or combination process press? Some converters are perhaps still deciding whether to go digital. If so, will the investment be in toner or inkjet technologies?” Fairley also raises a wealth of other options press purchas- ers will need to weigh before moving forward: • A press’ environmental footprint and energy consumption might be an important factor. So might the press’ color gamut and the number of colors or print stations avail- able on the press • What added-value finishing options are available? Figure 3: Regional Figure 1: Per Capita Figure 2: Top 5 54 FLEXO sePTembeR 2013 www.flexography.org