High energy and enthusiasm permeated the six halls of Labelexpo Europe 2011 in Brussels this year, a most welcome change after several years of economic struggle and uncertainty. While the label industry has not suffered quite as much as have other industries, converters and suppliers alike were reserving judgment in the weeks preceding the show, hoping for a positive Labelexpo experience and at the same time expressing caution. But they need not have worried. The industry came to Brussels with plans to expand its technology base, and that meant shopping for everything from presses to plates, software to slitters.
Exhibitors heeded the axiom that they should have new equipment and materials at every trade show. Labelexpo Europe started off on September 28 with the introduction by Avery Dennison and Gallus of the ThinStream process, a method of diecutting thin films with 12 micron release liner using cold temperatures, a first for the industry. From there it was new presses, more versatile dies, better performing inks, refined inspection systems, talented substrates, custom adhesives, and digital combinations of technologies.
Though the attendance appeared to be similar to that of 2009, the atmosphere was far more charged. Dozens of exhibitors reported that they had gathered strong leads, commitments, and sales on the show floor. By the fourth day of the event, a great many pieces of equipment sported placards that read “Sold.” Always a good sign.