The label industry showcased a wide range of innovations in Düsseldorf.
Every four years, the printing industry converges in Düsseldorf, Germany for drupa, the two-week trade show dedicated to printing. More than 314,500 attendees visited drupa 2012, visiting 1,850 exhibitors in 19 halls. As always, the label and narrow web industry has a sizable presence, particularly on the digital side.
HP had a major presence at drupa, with the Indigo systems front and center. Christian Menegon, business development manager, Indigo Division, graphic solutions business, Hewlett-Packard, noted that the company has new Indigo offerings.
Menegon noted that packaging is a market where Indigo had yet to make a major mark, as its previous machines run 13-inch widths, and upcoming Indigo products will aim for that segment. “There are a number of products that can be run in smaller run lengths,” He said. “Brand owners want to put products on the market that will have run lengths of less than 100,000, so the demand is there. However, we needed a certain width to do packaging. It was a physical limitation that we have overcome with our HP Indigo 20000 and HP Indigo 30000.”
The HP Indigo 20000 is web-fed and is designed for flexible packaging, and the HP Indigo 30000 is sheetfed, and is designed for folding cartons. Both are 30-inch widths. “That changes the whole picture, as 22% of SKUs are 13" wide, but 75% are 30" wide or less,” Menegon said. “Also, 30" is more standard for finishing lines and the B2 format. The HP 2000 and 30000 should be ready for the market in a year to 18 months. We h ave met with brand owners and printers who have seen it printing here and they want it shipped now, but we want to get everything worked out.”
“Drupa has been great, which amazes me,” Menegon added. “T
he key players in the label industry are here. I didn't know it was also a big label show. We have gotten a number of leads in label and packaging applications, which proves we have a role to play. There is certainly a fit for what digital can do for the label industry.”
Xeikon serves numerous markets with its digital presses, and drupa 2012 provided the company with the opportunity to preview its newest offering, its Trillium High Viscosity Toner (HVT) vegetable oil-based technology. HVT technology is expected to enable printing at high speeds, high image quality and lower costs, while also emphasizing eco-sustainability.
“Drupa is going very well,” said Michel Peeters, marketing communications project manager, Xeikon International BV. “Attendees like what they are hearing. We are aiming at two applications, label and packaging. We have four major criteria: productivity, flexibility, high quality and sustainability. Inkjet can’t do 1200 dpi and is not sustainable, so we said no. We did find a technology that would work, and that is our Trillium high viscosity liquid toners. We are currently printing at 60 meters/minute, and will be up to 120 meters/minute when it is released.”
Stork Prints highlighted a wide variety of equipment, including its Stork DSI versioning press for the label market. “The Stork DSI is our versioning press for labels,” explained Desiree Ordelman, communications manager, Stork Prints B.V. “We keep expanding the DSI, and it now can print varnish, spot colors, do inline converting and versioning. It offers more modules for customers, which can either be a stand-alone or used for inline converting, such as die cutting and slitting. It can vary print positions, to print a primer or spot colors, and has up to 10 print positions. It can also vary print width form 135 mm to 530 mm.”
“Drupa picked up after the first weekend,” Ordelman said. “The people who do come are very highly interested.”
EFI showcased its vast array of digital systems, including the Jetrion 4900 for the label and narrow web segment. “The Jetrion 4900 integrates our 4830 print engine and inline laser die cutting,” noted Jennifer Renner, senior product manager, EFI. “It has been well received, and customers are very happy.
“Drupa has been really busy,” Renner said. “We have had people lined up in front of the 4900 as well as the Vutek printers. Our key advantage is that we have everything for printers, from our Fiery rip system and our printers and inks. There’s nothing worse for a customer than being shuttled around, and we work together to create an integrated solution.”
Now that it is part of Heidelberg, CSAT America, LLC had the opportunity to exhibit its advanced Linoprint digital color production systems at drupa. “The volume of interest in the Linoprint C has been wonderful,” said Ron Shepard, director of sales, CSAT America, LLC – Heidelberg. “The accessibility by Heidelberg has been tremendous. Some of their larger customers are interested in what we can do for them.”
Advanced Vision Technology brought a wide range of innovations to drupa. For the label and narrow web market, the company showcased its new PrintVision/Helios II system, which has the capability to print Braille. The system is installed on the HP Indigo WS6600 digital press, and includes the AVT’s SpectroLab, a full inline spectrophotometer.
“The reception was ecstatic,” said Amir Dekel, vice president marketing, Advanced Vision Technology. “PrintVision Helios is connected to HP, and we even have a system that inspects Braille. We also put SpectroLab on Helios.
“Customers and CPCs in both packaging and labels have been waiting a long time for this kind of system,” Dekel added. “We’re already selling machines here.”
Durst Phototechnik AG highlighted the Tau 330, its digital UV inkjet label press. The Tau 330 runs web widths up to 13", with speeds of more than 150 feet per minute. “The Durst Tau 330 is being shown for the first time here at drupa,” said Helmuth Munter, segment manager label printing for Durst Phototechnik AG. “Inkjet has a big advantage when it comes to speed and durability. It’s the right web width at 13 inches., and at close to 1000 meters per hour, it is definitely good for medium-sized runs, and can be an option to replace flexo machines. The reception has been very good, and we have even made our first sale. Shipping is expected to begin in Q4.”
Omet highlighted its Varyflex V2 and Xflex X6 systems during drupa 2012. “The X6 can do multiple processes inline, including flexo, inkjet, screen and cold foil, and is the only solution for marrying 4-color process screen and inkjet,” said Marco Calcagni, sales and marketing director, Omet srl. “The VaryFlex is ideal for quick changeover and very low waste, and version 2 can adjust quickly with no waste. It is a zero waste machine.”
“The show started a bit slowly, but it quickly became very interesting, especially the quality of the visitors,” Calcagni said. “We’ve sold some machines here, as our customers make their final decision when they see the press running and see the possibility of switching from sheetfed to roll and do everything inline.”
Tony Bell, sales director, AB Graphic International, noted his company showcased its Digicon systems. Digicon has new features, including a die load feature, semi-rotary folding carton unit and automatic slitting unit.
“Laser die cutting is the perfect partner for digital printing,” Bell said. “We convert the printed roll into die cutting, laminating, slitting, varnishing and more. Drupa has been very busy for us,” Bell added.
Stefan Hagn, head of marketing and product management for Gallus Stanz-und Druckmachinen GmbH, noted that Gallus showcased its new ICS 670 folding carton system at drupa. “We are really happy with drupa,” Hagn said. “People say this is an innovation for folding carton. The Gallus ICS 670 can do everything inline, from the roll to finished die cutting. We can do everything in one pass, and can integrate rotary screen, flexo and gravure. You can guide in modules in a couple of seconds.”
Timothy Gotsick, vice president of technology for MacDermid Printing Solutions, noted that the company had installed its 100th Lux system just prior to drupa, and the company continues to improve its quality. “Overall, drupa has been excellent,” Gotsick said. “Our sales and technical service people have done a great job with the Lux system. Decision makers are coming in to see us with specific requests, and we have been able to close a lot of deals here.”
ETI Converting Equipment highlighted its in-line coating and printing equipment that is dedicated to the label printing industry. “The show has been fantastic,” said Francois Bayzelon, chairman and CEO of ETI Converting Equipment. “We attend every drupa, and we see almost all of our existing customers.“
INX International Ink Company showed its wide variety of ink systems, with an emphasis on the latest offerings from its INX Digital branch. “We have certainly been busy,” said Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International. “It has really paid off to have Sakata INX and our digital arm, INX Digital, here along with INX International to show how our customers can use digital technologies in their everyday applications. A lot of people are interested in its potential.”