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FLEXO Magazine : August 2008
INDUSTRY INDICATORS Q: What are some new features at Labelexpo Americas 2008 that attendees can look forward to? Labelexpo this year will host a number of new features. Hall F will feature The Digital Printing Experience—a pavilion dedi- cated to digital developments. Companies such as HP Indigo, Xeikon, Epson, Sun Chemical and EFI will showcase their latest products; and visitors will be able to see live demonstrations of the different technologies in action. The Smart Label Zone is enlarged this year, and visitors will be able to see emerging trends in RFID and smart label technology, anti-counterfeiting and brand protection. With environmental sustainability an increasingly important ways to reuse it, such as converting it into an energy resource or building materials. The latest one I just came across was where it is being recycled into paper hand towels for washrooms. Other things that are going on entail re-examining the ma- terials, such as cornstarch to replace fi lms. There is a lot of work going on in that area. Labelexpo America will have a “Converters on the Green” forum where suppliers will gather and talk about their green products. Many converters are signing up to FSC and other programs. Schemes are developing in Europe for tracking carbon footprint- ing and putting that on the label. Other things are coming from the retail end, such as the Wal-Mart Score Card that encourages them to track, compare and improve their environmental friendli- ness. I encourage converters to adopt ISO 14000, which is a global environmental standard. It looks at your waste, materials, inks, energy effi ciency, carbon effi ciency chain, etc. Some are going down that route, others are not. It is very piecemeal. In Europe, some retailers are saying that converters must be ISO 14000, or else they will not get any further business. One of the real problems is that there are so many initiatives worldwide. There are so many schemes covering different areas of environmental impact. What we need is one, all-encompass- ing global standard. Q: What is the current state of RFID and printed electronics in labels? RFID is in a fairly healthy state but is not the optimistic fi gure that was projected a few years ago. This is because a lot of the key volume sectors rely on a set of standards that are still in the pipeline. The business is going well, just not as well as every- one thought. The biggest market is in ID-related documents, which are not particularly labels. It’s also in cargo and baggage handling. A lot of printed circuitry started with screen printing, which was slow but put down thick fi lms. Then it moved to gravure. There is some work here in flexo but it has not been adopted in a big way. If we could get FTA and other associations together and agree on a global standard for, say pharmaceuticals, you are really looking at massive explosion in RFID and smart labels. Then you can look at printing the circuitry. Even still, the volumes have got to get significantly higher before flexo can do this profitably. Fairley 34 F LEXO AUGUS T 20 0 8 www. f l e x o g r a p h y. o r g topic for the label industry, a new Gather on the Green pavilion will host a number of companies showcasing environmentally friendly solutions. Q: Q: How many exhibitors are registered to date? How many attendees are you projecting for the show? Just less than 400 companies are currently registered to ex- hibit, with more expected in the run up to the show. There are expected to be around 13,000 people attending the event. What is on the conference agenda that would be of interest to narrow-web flexographers? As previously, Labelexpo Americas 2008 will feature a confer- ence organized in collaboration with TLMI. The program will look at the current trends in both local and global markets and highlight areas for potential growth and development. It will cover security and brand protection, environmental issues and relevant legislation, managing in an uncertain economy, latest trends in technologies and the pressroom of the future. Of particular interest to flexo converters will be a session on day two discussing the opportunities available in flexible packaging, which will partly focus on advancements in flexo technology. ?
Flexo Sustainable Fall 2008