Narrow Web Europe

  • Forty years on

    Forty years on

    There has been much comment in the world’s press to mark the anniversary of the day in 1973 when a packet of chewing gum was adorned with the world’s first bar code. It is hard to imagine a world not only without bar codes and digital…
    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor 05.31.13

  • Always look on the bright side…

    Always look on the bright side…

    If the future looks bleak for you, take comfort in the fact that it could be worse. You might for example be the organizer of Ipex, which used to be billed (unofficially) as Britain’s answer to Dusseldorf-based Interpack. The German packaging s…
    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor 04.10.13

  • Horses for courses

    Several years ago, a number of cases of Bovine spongiform encephalopathy or “Mad Cow Disease” were diagnosed in England and several other European countries. Beef sales nosedived, and there was an export ban covering all countries where t…
    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor 03.13.13

  • Fearing migration

    Fearing migration

    Many European countries, most notably Germany and Britain, seem to have an almost pathological fear of migration. Not the kind that has boat people landing in quiet creeks (though lots of people are afraid of that too), but the migration of nasty che…

  • I like it, I’ll take five

    I like it, I’ll take five

    Rako, one of Germany’s top label and packaging converters, is back in the news again. In September of this year they announced that they had bought no less than five of HP Indigo’s latest label press, the WS6600. Roger Gehrke, Rako&rsq…
    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor 11.29.12

  • No business like trade show business?

    Last month’s Narrow Web Europe column reported on European trade shows, several of which are struggling. Prospects for the UK-based Ipex show, coming up in 2014, took a knock when HP announced that it would not take part. Now comes the double-w…
    John Penhallow 10.09.12

  • Old wine in new packs

    Old wine in new packs

    If this column frequently reports on wine labeling it is not because the product interests your correspondent (although it does). Wine labels are very big business in Europe, which produces 20 billion bottles of the stuff (or 60% of total world consu…
    John Penhallow, Contributing Editor 09.01.12

  • An East European backwater opens up

    An East European backwater opens up

    Belarus is not the easiest European country to do business in
    John Penhallow 07.10.12

  • Label materials business booming

    Label materials business booming

    Between raw material price hikes and stagnant European demand, not many labelstock manufacturers are making really good money at the moment. Meet the exception: Herma, based in Germany, which has just announced record 2011 sales of €237 million.…
    John Penhallow 05.22.12

  • Never say no to nano

    Never say no to nano

    The trouble with nanotechnology is that even some moderately intelligent people like your correspondent don’t really understand it.
    John Penhallow 04.19.12

  • Fire sale in Germany, Renaissance in Italy

    The Manroland saga continues to make headlines in the European press. The German press manufacturer, until recently a world leader, filed for bankruptcy in late 2011. Its three production plants, all in Germany, have been offered for sale separately,…
    John Penhallow 03.08.12

  • ‘Man’ the lifeboats

    ‘Man’ the lifeboats

    “Too big to fail” was what they said about Heidelberg, when Europe’s biggest print machinery manufacturer ran out of cash in 2009. The German government, and the banks, duly dipped into their pockets and the patient recovered (and p…
    John Penhallow 01.18.12

  • Anyone for for granite?

    The strength of the alpine franc poses challenges for Swiss manufacturers.

  • Beers all round

    Malt beverage growth in Russia, plus reports of label industry movement in Turkey, Egypt and France.

  • Pulp fiction

    Paper manufacturers might not be making a killing after all. Some are pointing to China’s demand as a top reason for price hikes. It is no news to anyone in the label business that raw material prices are rising. So paper manufacturers must b…

  • China looks West for investment

    The time is fast coming when we will all have to learn a little more about the geography of China. Most of us could probably locate Hong Kong and Beijing, give or take a few hundred miles, but what about Jiaxing in Zheijiang province? Do I see any ha…

  • Finnish Phoenix

    Metsäliito is not a name that trips easily off the tongue when label people congregate, or even when they don’t. However, this Finnish lumber-to-paper group, via its subsidiary M-real Zanders, has just launched several brand new series of…

  • Label events proliferate

    As reported in last issue’s Narrow Web Europe news, European trade shows in general, and the November packaging show Emballage in particular, are still plagued by falling attendances. This ambient depression does not seem to be affecting prepar…

  • JPL: A survival tale

    Few people outside France have heard of the JPL Group. By all the laws of economics it should have gone bankrupt. This family-owned label converter played double or quits on a series of acquisitions over the years from 2002 to 2008. When the crisis h…

  • New liners for old

    In an age when almost every type of paper-based product is being recycled in a cradle-to-cradle process, release liner stands out as a black spot on a green horizon. Nobody loves spent liner, and end users have to pay good money to have it taken away…