Labelexpo Europe Post-Show Report

By Steve Katz, Editor | November 21, 2013

Confidence and optimism permeated the halls of the show’s largest edition to date.

Labelexpo Europe 2013 reported its largest ever edition with record-breaking attendance figures. The show, which took place September 24-27, covered seven of Brussels Expo’s exhibition halls for the first time and attracted 31,795 visitors (up 11% from 2011) from 158 countries (up from 123 in 2011) and just under 600 exhibitors (up from 550 in 2011). Labelexpo Europe occupied 31,000 sqm; its largest show floor size in its 33 year history.

As the label and package printing industry’s major platform for product launches, Labexpo Europe 2013 saw the unveiling of over 150 new products, including presses, ancillaries and consumables. Major European product launches included Epson’s PrecisionCore technology and its Surepress L-6304 UV inkjet label press, Mark Andy’s award-winning ProLED flexo curing system, Ritrama’s Core Linerless Solutions and Screen’s Truepress Jet L350UV single pass inkjet press.

Several exhibitors increased their presence at 2013’s event including Avery Dennison, Durst, EFI, Gallus, HP Indigo, Mark Andy, MPS, Nilpeter, UPM Raflatac and Xeikon. By the end of the show, 86% of the space had already been rebooked for the 2015 edition – the highest ever onsite rebook rate., according to show organizers.

Labelexpo Europe 2013 also welcomed the successful debut of several new feature areas. The Package Printing Workshop showcased the opportunities both digital and conventional printing can bring to folding carton, lid laminate and stand-up pouch decoration. The Inkjet Trail put the different available inkjet technologies under the spotlight and compared their results when producing identical label designs on the same labelstocks.

Lisa Milburn, managing director of Labelexpo Global Series, remarks: “With the Eurozone now out of recession, confidence and optimism is beginning to return to wider global industry, and converters are starting to invest in their businesses again. This year’s Labelexpo Europe was without doubt another world-class event. Seeing the manufacturers and suppliers making sales here confirms that Labelexpo Europe is the best-selling platform in the label and package printing industry with printers prepared to spend high on capital equipment.

“Continued innovation across the various product groups and strong, sustainable growth in demand across the labeling and package printing market are being translated into sizeable order books. We’ve again had excellent feedback from exhibitors underlining that Labelexpo Europe is the show to secure significant sales with numerous reports of many presses being sold,” concluded Millburn.

On the show floor...
At Mark Andy’s Labelexpo booth, the press manufacturer showcased new technologies integrated into its Performance Series press platform. Mark Andy’s award-winning ProLED was featured on the Performance Series P3. ProLED is an integrated, curing system that uses LED, the most energy efficient UV curing source available. The system developed by Mark Andy cures specialty inks and coatings on a variety of substrates including thinner filmic materials, in most cases with no requirement for heat management, a significant benefit over traditional mercury curing systems. With a truly focused cure process, the carbon footprint of the press decreases significantly and converters can save more than 50% energy usage over traditional mercury UV systems. A full line of UV LED rated inks, coatings, and adhesives are readily available and have been tested and implemented successfully in production environments.

Mark Andy
Also on display was the best-selling of all Performance Series models, the Performance Series P5. The in-line press on-stand showcased its flexible platform, using multiple printing and converting technologies including the innovation award-winning diecutting platform, Quick Change Die Cut (QCDC). Developed to remove the workflow bottleneck caused by long die changeovers and slower stripping speeds, the component design of QCDC results in more consistent diecutting and little to no liner strikes. QCDC’s cassette and cart system allows dies to be changed on press quickly and efficiently, decreasing changeover times by up to 80%.

UPM Raflatac introduced at Labelexpo the “Label Life” concept together with a new, user-friendly tool to help label printers and end-users understand the lifecycle impacts of different labelstock products and get credible information on the environmental performance of their labels. Based on the most comprehensive lifecycle assessment (LCA) in the industry, the Label Life tool delivers reliable and easy to understand information to help customers make more sustainable choices. Performed in accordance with internationally recognized ISO 14040/44 standards, UPM Raflatac’s LCA helps to understand the environmental performance of labelstock products in terms of carbon, water, energy and the end-of-life impacts of liner recycling. It has been developed in cooperation PE International and is consistent with the methodology used by major brand owners to evaluate their own environmental impacts. “We have taken full benefit of our in-house expertise and capabilities to implement the LCA approach and understand the environmental impacts of the products we manufacture. Our holistic ecodesign approach takes environmental factors into consideration in both what we do and how we do it. The results of our LCAs transfer into practical actions, allowing us to best inform label printers and end users about the environmental choices open to them,” said Robert Taylor, environmental director at UPM Raflatac. “For example, the new Raflacoat Fit PEFC range offers up to a 17% reduction in CO2 compared to the older products.”

Anilox roll cleaning company Sonic Solutions introduced at Labelexpo its new Phoenix Series line of anilox cleaners. The Phoenix Series features modified power generators, which are external, interchangeable and easily replaceable. Using a safer level of ultrasonics – 68 kHz – it allows smaller bubbles to get into the smallest cells of the higher line count rolls. The Phoenix Series is also equipped with safety features, including fixed thermostat settings and a low level automatic shut off. The series is also enhanced with replaceable ultrasonic transducers as well as timing pulleys with bearings. “No anilox is too large, and the system is fully customizable,” said Joe Walczak, president of Sonic Solutions.

Esko demonstrated the newest release of its Full HD Flexo solution – Full HD Flexo for Labels – along with the popular CDI digital flexo plate imager. Following the successful release of Full HD Flexo for Flexible Packaging earlier this year, Full HD Flexo for Labels features adapted screening and standard operating procedures for the label and tag industry, and delivers high quality with impactful solids, smoother highlights and expanded color gamut. Full HD Flexo for Labels delivers enhanced print stability as well as a reduction of gear marks when using gear-driven presses.

Germany-based diecutting company Wink reported success at this year’s Labelexpo. In addition to it’s established range of SuperCut flexible dies, cylinders and steel rule dies, Wink launched in Brussels its ProShift technology, supported by Esko. In a conventional, symmetrical arrangement of labels, the greater the number and length of the crosslines, the more pretension is needed for these lines to be cut cleanly. With ProShift flexible dies, the impressions are staggered in web direction. This reduces the length of the simultaneously cutting crosslines, so that the cutting pressure can be considerably reduced. The advantages of the ProShift principle are not just in diecutting – the staggered structure of the labels also has a positive influence on the printing results and increases overall efficiency:

Nuova Gidue, an Italian press manufacturer, presented its M3 Digital Flexo press. This press features the company’s Digital Flexo 3.0 technology, where all press operations (set up, production, quality control) are fully digitally automated with no need for manual intervention from the operator. With the M3 technology, a digital camera called PrintTutor, developed by Gidue, is placed on each print unit to “read” the print quality and substitute the eyes of the operator. With seven servo motors per print unit, PrintTutor + substitutea the fingers of the operator by digitally adjusting the print pressures and register.

Dantex, along with partner with Screen Europe, introduced at Labelexpo a new single-pass UV inkjet digital press, the Truepress Jet L350UV. Offering optimized label printing to companies seeking high throughput, high image quality, straightforward operation, and stable output results, the system provides greater flexibility in meeting the increasing requirement for short run, rapid turnaround jobs with simplified processing. Combined with advanced color management technology, based on Screen’s EQUIOS universal workflow, the Truepress Jet L350UV is specially designed to create smooth, vivid gradations.

Channeled Resources Group (CRG) has provided cost savings to the label industry for 35 years, and the company featured at Labelexpo its value added substrates to the flexo and offset industries. CRG presented its wide range of pressure sensitive substrates and release liners with an emphasis on direct thermal PSAs. In addition to supplying the industry with labeletock, CRG’s other on-going focus has been to lead sustainability endeavors throughout the label and packaging industries. The company works with manufacturers of specialty papers and films to find environmentally responsible outlets for their byproduct. At Labelexpo, CRG, in conjunction with FINAT, introduced an initiative to turn PSA matrix waste into renewable energy.


Durst and Spartanics teamed up to offer high-speed, in-line laser diecutting with the 13-inch Durst Tau 330 UV inkjet digital label press. In-line diecutting increases efficiency by eliminating production steps; for example, retrieving a digital image from an electronic file and finishing it to a ready roll can be completed in a single pass. Laser diecutting eliminates conventional plate or cyli   nder costs, lowering material waste and reducing time lost to changeovers and job set-up. Unlike other in-line solutions, the versatile Durst and Spartanics systems can be operated as a fully integrated in-line solution, or as completely separate off-line systems. Importantly, the laser diecutting solution from Spartanics can match the Durst Tau 330’s maximum print speed of 157 linear feet per minute, along with supplying converting options to produce a completely finished product.

Polyonics exhibited its full line of halogen-free, REACH and RoHS-compliant label materials at this year’s show. Label materials on display included high temperature aluminum label materials that have been proven to survive the extreme temperatures found in the metals processing industry. Also on display were printed circuit board label materials designed to exceed the harshest requirements found in the lead-free reflow and wave soldering environments for PCB and electronic component processing. The anti-static materials meet all the durability standards of the company’s high-temperature product line with added features including low peel voltage, low surface resistance and quick static decay time.

Fujifilm showcased the new Graphium digital UV inkjet press developed and manufactured by FFEI Ltd. Graphium is a modular digital UV inkjet press designed to put choice, flexibility and productivity into the hands of printers and converters, enabling them to embrace complex projects requiring a wide gamut of colors on most commonly used substrates. Jon Harper-Smith, marketing manager, industrial and packaging, Fujifilm Speciality Ink Systems, said, “There are growing opportunities for printers to differentiate and expand their product offerings through the use of these new technologies. Graphium, in particular, represents a new caliber of inkjet press designed for the narrow web market and, when combined with the new Fujifilm Uvijet Graphium ink developed specifically for label and packaging applications, breaks new ground in terms of the performance that can be achieved from a digital label press.”

PC Industries featured at Labelexpo the Graphic-Vision (GV) 500 Series of digital web viewers. The Graphic Vision 500 features bar code reading capability, LED lighting and high frequency strobe lights. The Graphic-Vision 500 Series is an easy-to-use system designed with industrial, high-performance parts. “The GV 500 Series relies on long-lasting LED lighting, making it perfect for high speed applications,” said Jerry Stanford, sales engineer at PC Industries. The system is available in three configurations. “The GV510 is our most economical solution, offering a manually adjustable camera traverse. The GV520 offers motorized traverse and dual strobes. The GV530 and is available with advanced camera multi/programmed positioning,” explained Stanford.

Omet showcased a multi-process press combining flexo and offset with sleeves. The XFlex X6 shown at Labelexpo mixed 4 flexo groups and 5 offset units with sleeves, the latest innovation of the Italian machine manufacturer. Printing a beautiful production label courtesy of Campari and flexible packaging on PP+PE films of Ferrero snacks, the machine performed exceptionally during the four days and peaked the interest of major printers worldwide, some that secured orders during the show, said Marco Calcagni, sales and marketing director. Omet’s offset technology with sleeve integration was a focal point, showing printers needing “to go offset” how they can meet standardization requirements of brand owners. Calcagni added: “With this recent innovation, Omet strongly affirms its leading position in the label industry bestowing prestige to its engineering capabilities which, in turn, give uniqueness and value to the customers who choose to avail of Omet’s high-end machines.”

Sun Chemical hailed this year’s Labelexpo Europe its most successful ever with 40% more leads compared to the 2011 show. The company demonstrated its expertise across a number of its business areas including narrow web, color management, brand protection, special effects and inkjet. At the show, Sun Chemical launched its latest UV flexo white ink technology, Solarflex Neutron White, and also featured its low migration inks and brand protection products. Jonathan Sexton, European sales and marketing director for screen and narrow web, commented: “Customers were greatly impressed with the high quality and opacity of our new Solarflex Neutron White ink and the additional features like tactile varnishes and brand protection taggants featured on our capability label. The fact that we had a high number of visitors from developing countries also means we will be developing further our distribution channels for narrow web to these territories.”

Colordyne Technologies (CDT) exhibited its CDT 1600-PC Laser Pro, a digital label printer powered by Memjet technology, which the company touted as “offering true, flexo-like print quality at unprecedented cost effectiveness.” President Sean Marske said: “Brand owners should not have to settle for finished labels that look and feel differently from traditionally established and accepted print methods, just because they are digitally produced. At Colordyne, our mission has always been to engineer digital printing solutions for the converter that effectively augment their CMYK flexographic printing services, and the CDT 1600-PC Series achieves this goal.”


At the Mühlbauer stand, two new RFID personalization systems, PL 20000 and PL 60000, as well as a single tag handling machine was introduced. The PL 20000 reaches up to 20,000 units per hour and works with all common chip types available on the market, thereby providing highest flexibility in the production of personalized RFID labels. A special feature comprised the removal of bad-tested labels and tags. The PL 60000 represents the latest evolution of the RFID chip encoding and print personalization lines and runs at a top speed of 60,000 units per hour and incorporates Impinj’s new encoding technology - for the first time fully integrated into a Mühlbauer system. The flexible PL platform works on a reel-to-reel basis. Extra features include an output station for single labels, bar code reader, and printer with UV curing. The single tag handling machine is based on a basic handling system combined with STP technology and includes an inkjet printer as well as a bad unit reject for bad labels.

Announcing more than 100 visitors a day to their stand, DigiFlex demonstrated its inkjet-based computer-to-plate system for flexographic, letterpress, dry-offset and rotary silk screen printing. DigiFlex ran live demos of the FlexoJet 1725, the 17x25" format device which was first introduced at drupa in May 2012. Now, within a year of starting commercial sales, DigiFlex has reached its 50th booked unit. Hezy Rotman, CEO of DigiFlex, commented: “We would like to thank our growing number of satisfied customers and to our distribution channels for their great trust and commitment.”

Kocher + Beck presented new GapMaster systems. Based on an anvil cylinder, the system is used to adjust the gap between the anvil body and the magnetic or cutting cylinder in ultra-precise steps, even when the machine is running (adjustment travel is ± .0040“ in the standard version). With the GapMaster, the  machine operator is able to safely process materials with varying thicknesses of liner material. The company also showed its Quick Change Die Cutting Station, where tools can be set offline while other jobs may continue on the press. A newly designed non-stop winding system UR Precision 440 was on display, connected to a sophisticated cutting system for thin liner.

Label Traxx
Label Traxx, to coincide with the launch of the HP Indigo 20000, announced the inclusion of the new press’ costing model in the Label Traxx MIS software estimating module. The 20000 model prints up to 29" wide and is aimed at converters who also print, or are moving into flexible packaging applications. The speed and cost model of the press has been built into the software prior to general release to give converters a head start. Companies thinking of investing in the press can run trial estimates and do cost crossover comparisons with other press technology they already run or are considering. Label Traxx also announced that its estimating module will support HP Indigo’s Enhanced Productivity Mode (EPM). EPM converts four-color artwork into a three-color job by using a mix of CMY to create the color black. Using three colors rather than four creates cost savings and also means that the press can print 33% faster.

The Harper Corporation team provided demonstrations of the Phantom QD ink proofing system. Additionally, the company presented products from the newly developed HEX division. This branch of the company focuses on plate and bridge sleeves that are in compliance with OEM specifications and provide an enhanced level of support to customers via innovative features, such as a patent-pending replacement notch system. Harper Corporation also displayed its HIVE, or high imaging volume engravings, anilox roll series.  “We were impressed with how many attendees participated in Labelexpo Europe,” said Harper Corporation’s Alan Rogers. “This was the perfect event at which to lay the foundation for our new strategy to support clients in Europe and throughout the rest of the world. We have certainly been able to use this event to educate industry leaders about our hew HIVE products and HEX division.”

No fewer than 61 live demonstrations and workshops gave visitors to the Gallus stand an overview of its entire range of printing methods – from screen, flexographic and offset to rotogravure and digital. Booth visitors were able to see how to efficiently combine the benefits of each technology. With the Gallus Print Shop concept, Gallus introduced a new method for combining the advantages of digital and conventional printing methods by networking the individual presses and controlling the production process centrally using innovative CERM MIS workflow software. This concept is designed to make label production extremely easy, whether all-digital, entirely conventional or hybrid with “pre-print & insetting.” It also turns traditionally machine-based production planning and control into a smart, comprehensive end-to-end solution that improves machine utilization, enables the dynamic and flexible application and combination of all printing methods (new, innovative design and product decoration options) and reduces the overall order planning and processing workload. Gallus said that the Shop concept provides fast and cost-effective label production with possible savings of up to 20 percent.

MPS launched at Labelexpo its EB high-performance and cost-effective press designed for label printers in all market segments. The press features a combination of MPS high-quality printing, performance, and affordability. Engineered with features such as short-web technology, iStop and a pre-register system to minimize waste and set-up time, the EB press is available with a print width of 360 mm (14.17"), a material width of 370mm (14.5"). With a configuration of up to ten print stations, the EB press is equipped with a double die station suitable for front and back side diecutting, sheeting and slitting. Various converting applications such as web turn bar, de-lam/re-lam, and laminating systems including cold foil can be implemented at any location along the press using the MPS flexible positioning rail system. MPS Technical Director Bert van den Brink said: “It was a challenge to design a press comprising of high-quality components, technologies and ergonomic build without exceeding the budgeted costs to meet the attractive price point we wanted to achieve. With the EB press we proudly met our design goal.”

Domino used Labelexpo for the worldwide launch of its next generation full color digital inkjet label press. This latest offering is designed to deliver maximum productivity benefits, greater variable data printing and color capabilities and the highest definition output for an even wider range of applications. Visitors had the opportunity to view this technology for the first time in a series of live demonstrations. Highlights included integration into a working AB Graphics Digicon finishing line as well as a separate standalone press. An integrated AVT quality inspection system was also on display. Building on the success of its N600i four color digital inkjet system, Domino’s new label press combines the productivity of flexo with the flexibility of digital printing. In addition, the new, modular system will ultimately provide advanced color capabilities to deliver a much wider color gamut to suit a greater range of label applications. Philip Easton, director of Domino’s digital printing business, commented, “We were delighted by Labelexpo Europe 2013; our visitors were up 60% on the 2011 show, helped by the Inkjet Trail. It is also good to see the Labelexpo team continuing to innovate and refresh the visitor experience.”

Martin Automatic featured the newest versions of two of the company’s most popular machines for label and narrow web production, with running demonstrations of the MBS splicer and the LRD rewinder. The MBS butt splicer, the flagship of the Martin line of splicers for the label and narrow web markets, is known for its versatility in running a wide variety of substrates. The latest version comes with even more standard features, including ultrasonic sidelay sensors and spiral grooved rollers, for unwinding and splicing many clear film structures, in addition to paper, pressure-sensitive label stock, paperboard, tube laminates, filter media and more. The frame and control enclosure have been optimized to enable the MBS to fit more easily in limited floor spaces. Additionally, the MBS now features a touchscreen operator panel for even easier operation with expanded diagnostics. The new touchscreen matches that of the LRD rewinder, with which the MBS splicer is often paired.

Spartanics showcased its inline and offline laser diecutting systems at Labelexpo, while celebrating 50 years of manufacturing diecutting systems. On display were two of its latest innovations for the label, packaging and converting markets – the Spartanics L350 Laser Cutting Machine and the NW140 UV Inkjet Digital Narrow Web Press. The Spartanics L350 is a modernized laser cutting system that can cut configurations on the fly with speeds up to 100+ meters per minute. The L350 is also equipped with Spartanics Optimization Software and XY registration, as well as bar code automatic changeover capabilities. Mike Bacon, VP of sales and marketing, said, “Laser diecutting is gaining momentum in the label market and we feel that offering a variety of solutions is key to technology acceptance. By showcasing laser capabilities and educating the label market on certified materials for laser cutting, we feel that attendees walked away from the show better informed.”

Advanced Vision Technology (AVT) introduced its new Hologram Inspection System. The 100% automatic inspection system combines traditional print inspection technologies, holographic foils inspection and hologram print applications. AVT also introduced the next generation of its PrintFlow print quality database, featuring an upgraded user interface, a new roll map display and expanded production management capabilities. Additionally, AVT featured its ZeroSet Automated Inspection WorkFlow, which was developed in partnership with HP.  The ZeroSet closely corresponds with the HP Indigo Print Your Future concept, which was demonstrated for the first time on the WS6600 press at Labelexpo.

Rotoflex had on display a variety of models and configurations of machinery and demonstrated a full set of offline finishing systems to enhance the finishing workflow. Leading the way this year was the Rotoflex VLI, debuting for the first time in Europe. The VLI is a fully redesigned, highly precise film and packaging rewinder available in widths up to 28.25". The unit has been configured to provide more advanced, tension-specific applications and higher speed production. Featuring a large easy-access touchscreen display as well as well-placed auxiliary controls, the VLI offers an exceptional operator-friendly experience, for flawlessly finishing a variety of applications and substrates. The VLI also features the latest URC 2.0 control system, boasting an operator interface designed to deliver unmatched defect detection and automatic sensor calibration, all which significantly increase product quality and workflow productivity.

AzTech Converting Systems featured the Colordyne PC1600 series high-speed inkjet print system (powered by Memjet) with In-Line LasX laser diecutting and finishing, the BSR Series dual-spindle slit and rewind system with automatic PLC web tension control, and a modular unwind and rewind system with precise servo web tension for both continuous and intermittent web speed. The high resolution digital printing system by AzTech was designed to combine the print resolution and speed of Colordyne’s CDT-1600 PC print engine with LasX Industries’ high-speed Laser Diecutting System to make for a fast and affordable integrated printing and converting system. The system integrates LasX Industries’ V400 Laser System to kiss-cut, slit, or perforate label materials. Colordyne’s 1600 PC Laser Pro may be equipped with a complete flexographic print/coating station with UV curing, a lamination tower for applying overlaminate, a pneumatic waste windup, and an adjustable underscore unit to provide a complete in-line printing system with short set-up and run times.

Siegwerk and Gallus teamed up for live demonstrations of the advantages of LED UV drying technology, using the new ink series Sicura Screen LEDTec and Sicura Flex LEDTec to print with a Gallus EM 280 LED machine. “Visitors witnessed the advantages of the new ink series first-hand,” said Michael Müller-Samson, vice president business unit sheetfed & narrow web. The companies ran two printing jobs per day and visitors were able to take printed samples home with them.


Prati presented the most recent breakthroughs of its R&D department at this year’s show, including the STARplus off-line turret, an alternative to the traditional slitter/rewinder. It works in-line with any printing and converting machine. Also featured was the SA Dual Turret semi-automatic rewinding system, able to equip the latest-generation Saturn and Jupiter models. The company made its official entry into the packaging sector with the brand new Alhena IML series, in one of its most advanced segments – in-mold labeling.

DuPont Packaging Graphics showcased its latest innovations in flexo printing plates – the new DuPont Cyrel Performance Plates DFP and DSP. These plates are formulated specifically for the highest solid ink density combined with excellent dot gain characteristics. The DuPont Cyrel solvent-process DSP and the thermal process DuPont Cyrel FAST DFP are standard workflow digital plates, and are fully functional with all standard LAMS-based platesetters. The new Performance Plates incorporate a special engineered surface that enable printers to meet the higher solid ink requirements of brand owners using a standard digital workflow. These new plates do not require additional expensive investments in digital prepress, laminating or alternative exposure technologies.

Phoseon displayed what the company touts as the most advanced UV LED curing solution for digital label and narrow web printing. The company’s technology was also being showcased at more than 15 OEM partner stands throughout the show. The products were shown on a wide range of presses for digital inkjet and flexographic printing. At the Phoseon stand, the FireJetT FJ200 12W/cm2 air-cooled UV LED curing family was exhibited, along with a wide array of other UV curing products. While bringing the three-tiered benefits of UV LED curing – advanced capabilities, operating economics, and environmental advantages – Phoseon’s products are designed to add additional capability with excellent performance, integrated control, and reliability for tough curing environments.

NuCoat featured at Labelexpo its newly developed PRESSCoaT, a line of new press-ready image coatings designed specifically for the narrow web label and tag marketplace. PRESSCoaT is preformulated to integrate easily into current production whether it is flexo, gravure, or rod coating. “Our coatings allow you to make products on demand bypassing the need for costly and hard-to-find face sheet materials,” said NuCoat’s Frank Shea. “Utilizing the same narrow web press you have in-house, our technicians can help you add the direct thermal or inkjet coated surfaces you need in today’s digitally produced and fast-paced market places.”

The new generation of eltromat’s 100% print inspection system was displayed for the first time at this year’s show. Twin_check 2.0 is based on a brand-new camera illumination unit including RGB line scan cameras, which the company said doubles the resolution and leads to a brilliant image quality. The new, patented illumination unit allows for best inspection results on different materials. Even reflective materials or holograms can be inspected without pseudo errors. With this system, the size of the inspection unit could be reduced by half. Possible horizontal and vertical mountings and a reduced weight result in flexibility of machine integration.

ETI Converting Equipment showcased the Mini-Cohesio, a servo-driven, in-line coating technology specifically designed for label printers seeking compact and more affordable equipment to manufacture PS material or labels after printing. This equipment is ideal for converting into a finished PS label an unsupported film or paper, that was previously printed via flexography, offset, rotogravure, digital, etc. This new Mini-Cohesio is a coating and laminating machine with a 13" web width. It comes equipped with the Pellicut technology which enables diecutting down to 18 micron release liners with a nonstop turret rewinder. The Mini-Cohesio was developed in response to the request from customers attracted by the possibilities of manufacturing in-line their own pressure sensitive material, but stopped by space constraints and investment. “We are always proud to offer our customers a solution that responds to their needs,” said Francois Bayzelon, CEO.

GEW showed a brand new range of UV curing products: the E2C low-energy UV lamp and RHINO control technology for the E2C lamphead range. The E2C low-energy UV lamphead is the result of a two year development program which the company said has simultaneously improved energy consumption and curing performance, enabling converters to produce high quality labels at full production speeds using as little as 90 W/cm of power, substantially increasing profit margins and press capacity. The company also launched the new RHINO control technology for the E2C lamphead rangem which is said to reduce energy consumption by 46%.

Allen Datagraph Systems Inc. demonstrated two digital label systems for the first time in Europe: the iTech AXXIS HS Digital Label System and the iTech CENTRA HS Digital Label System. The iTech Series digital label systems are complete turnkey systems that allow label converters to digitally print and finish smaller quantities of consumer-quality labels, in any shape, without costs and delays associated with analog production. Allen Datagraph exhibited on the heels of winning two Must See ‘Em awards at PRINT 13 in the US. The iTech AXXIS HS Digital Label System received a Best of Category award for Pressroom - Digital Presses. The iTech AXXIS HS Digital Label Finisher received a Must See ‘Em within the Postpress and In-Line Finishing category.

Erhardt+Leimer presented at Labelexpo its ELCAM Pattern Guiding System for “cut-to-mark” applications. The ELCAM Pattern Guiding System allows the operator to control the position of labels during the slitting process. E+L also featured the ELCAM Matrix and Missing Label Detection (MMLD) system. This camera-based system replaces the conventional arrays of ultrasonic or optical sensors and makes their complex, time-consuming setup superfluous - now a quick teach-in process is all that is required. E+L also presented a camera-based system that detects defects in the transparent coat of varnish applied to labels after the printing process.

Ritrama showed its new Core Linerless Solutions, which the company touts as offering a workable, competitive, efficient, and environmentally sound linerless label for the home/personal care and beverage industries. This new system, developed in collaboration with finishing specialist Prati and labeling equipment supplier Ilti, aims to revolutionize the use of linerless technology. The company also showcased a wide range of self-adhesive products ranging from standard papers to advanced films such as Globalflex. Ritrama also showed its range of adhesives, which includes the new rubber-based RP 3000.

With a champagne toast, Flint Group celebrated its winning the Label Industry Global Award for Innovation, which it shared with partner Mark Andy, for its EkoCure UV LED curing technology. Flint Group was presented with the award at a gala awards ceremony during the first evening of Labelexpo Europe. In addition to EkoCure, Flint Group Narrow Web showcased more than 25 new products for differentiation, sustainability and improved profitability. “We know that only through a continuous innovative mindset we will be considered the market leader,” said Global Product Director Flint Group Narrow Web, Jennifer Joyce. “We honor our history of innovations in our promise to never stand still; we know that the narrow web market is continuously looking for differentiation, sustainability and improved profitability. We are very enthusiastic to be able to announce well over 25 new innovative inks and coatings products at Labelexpo 2013.”

RotoMetrics showcased its newly launched flexible die portfolio, the Accu-Series, designed to offer a full range of features within a newly refined portfolio. The Accu-Series is designed to deliver value across the entire spectrum, from short run jobs through to the longest running abrasive or high speed film applications, with manufacturing and service locations on four continents for superior customer responsiveness. For today’s typical short to mid run projects, AccuSmart is the economic choice, explained Ryan Greis, global director, marketing.” For more cutting options, AccuPrime converts a wider range of substrates and liners. For the most challenging applications, AccuStar UltraFilm delivers exacting cutting precision to the most challenging synthetics, while AccuStar Life targets the most abrasive materials converters face today,” he said.

Xeikon launched its unique dry toner technology, the new ICE toner. “Xeikon ICE is the first dry toner capable of printing on PE, a label substrate that is particularly important in the health and beauty segment where brand owners seek not only exceptional shelf appeal, but durability through the life of the product as it is handled by the consumer,” said Filip Weymans, director business development and marketing, Labels and Packaging. Xeikon featured its 3300 and 3500 digital label presses on stand, as well as software. “The Xeikon 3300 and 3500 are powerful additions to any converter’s production platform,” explained Weymans. “But we also understand that installing a digital label press, in and of itself, is not enough. That is why we are committed to the development of a variety of software solutions that make the transition into digital easier for label converters while adding significant value for their customers.”

Avery Dennison
Avery Dennison introduced a total of 17 new products designed to drive sustainable growth. “Avery Dennison is constantly striving to develop label and packaging innovations that can help converters solve the performance and sustainability challenges they face today,” said Angelo DePietri, vice president and general manager of Avery Dennison Materials Group Europe. The Avery Dennison booth featured products and services that help converters differentiate and gain a competitive advantage. One such product, introduced in North America last year is CleanFlake, a pressure sensitive solution that improves the recyclability of PET containers. The Avery Dennison CleanFlake (Bottle-to-Bottle) Film portfolio can help increase rPET yields thanks to an innovative adhesive and film combination, that separates cleanly and efficiently from the PET flakes produced during the recycling process. The result is PET flakes pure enough to be used to produce new packaging films and shells, which conserves virgin PET resources and supports beverage industry leaders’ desire to increase their use of recycled PET bottles.

HP announced in Brussels the introduction of new silver ink for the HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press. The new ink is positioned as a means to create breakthroughs in digital print possibilities for converters and print service providers. HP also announced at Labelexpo its continued market momentum with more than 500 HP Indigo WS6000 series digital presses now sold worldwide. The volume of labels printed on HP Indigo digital presses grew by more than 25% in Q3 2013 versus a year ago. The company also announced it has experienced strong market acceptance of the HP Indigo WS6000 enhancement package that improves press performance as well as new end-to-end solutions for the packaging portfolio.  “Today’s brands demand high-impact packaging and fast turn-around times, and they are requesting HP Indigo technology to meet their needs,” said Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager, Indigo Division, HP. “Our unprecedented growth in the labels market reflects our commitment to help our customers stay on the cutting edge by continually introducing new solutions that will help converters continue to differentiate themselves.”

At Labelxpo, Edale ran the “Five Hour Production Challenge” where the next generation FL-3 label and flexible packaging press ran continuous production from 11am – 5pm daily with a variety of short, medium and long run jobs across a range of substrates from 12 micron – 450 micron, as well as a number of additional processes including metallic inks and foiling. There were eight jobs run each day showing off the versatility of the press, highlighting the FL-3’s focus on high productivity, low waste and super fast set up and changeover times.

Epson introduced at Labelexpo the SurePress L-6034VW, its first single-pass industrial press, and the first to use Epson’s new PrecisionCore linehead technology, as well as Epson’s new LED-cured UV ink with in-line digital varnish technology. Available in two models – CMYK with digital varnish and high-opacity White ink (SurePress L-6034VW) and without white ink (SurePress L-6034V), the compact digital label press is designed to deliver precise quality with maximum reliability, flexibility and performance. “The SurePress L-6034VW joins Epson’s current SurePress L-4033A/AW and puts Epson in the unique position to offer two very different digital label press solutions with two different ink sets – aqueous for short-run labels, especially on uncoated and textured paper, and now UV for short- to mid-run labels on a wider range of substrates,” said Mark Elsbernd, North American region sales manager, Epson America, Inc. “Prime label and packaging converters now have two options to best suit their client portfolios, enabling them to compete effectively for profitable, high-value business while managing costs.”

Bluestar Silicones launched several new products in its Silcolease range. For the Cationic Silcolease UV 200 range, a new odorless catalyst system, Silcolease UV CATA 243 was introduced along with subsidiary mono-component systems using this technology.  For the Free Radical Silcolease UV 100 range, a new catalyst system Silcolease UV CATA 102 was introduced. Ease of use through a lower viscosity and better silicone compatibility combined with a lower toxicity than many traditional free radical photoinitiators are the main features provided by this new offering. This new PI product is joined by a reactive diluent Silcolease UV ADD 152, as Bluestar continues to widen its offering in this growing technology.

Meech International showcased its full web-cleaning and static control ranges. “We are very pleased to be back at Labelexpo, but this is not just an opportunity to exhibit our latest products,” said Business Unit Director for Cleaning Systems, Adam Battrick. “Being fully aware of the ever-growing importance of the labeling market, and with a long heritage in static and web-cleaning, our key aim is to explain to visitors just how Meech solutions can benefit companies in this sector and advise them on some of the issues if static and/or contamination is left untreated. We are confident our offering will attract a good deal of interest throughout the show.”

AB Graphic International Ltd. exhibited a range of new developments from its portfolio of label converting and finishing machines. Exhibits ranged from entry-level Digicon Lite machines to higher-end equipment for the beverage and cosmetic markets. Two laser cutting lines, including one standalone system and one integrated within a Digicon Series 2 platform, were also featured. Both displayed the new Digiflow and Digilase. This software integration identifies and loads job parameters automatically and is capable of reporting live production activity to an MIS system every 30 seconds through JMF files. Two new slitter rewinders were displayed for the first time with integrated vision systems and new features for the Omega converting lines and Vectra automatic turret rewinders including a new automatic core loader.

SPGPrints, formerly Stork Prints, celebrated 50 years of innovation with demonstrations, samples and a happy hour every day. One of the main attractions at the stand was the DSI UV inkjet label printer. This digital printing press features excellent color strength and brilliance, at speeds up to 700m2/hour, while keeping costs low. The DSI is modular in design, and suitable for everything from standalone digital printing to use in complete lines with in-line (semi-rotary) converting. Multiple demos were given for markets such as personal care, food and industrial.  Stork Prints also presented its latest innovation in digital exposing, a hybrid direct laser exposer for digital prepress. The new system is called the variLEX, referring to its versatility in product applications, such as rotary screens, flexo and dry offset plates.

Kodak, MPS and Reproflex 3 teamed up for live presentations designed to show Labelexpo visitors how to “Do More With Less.” Continuous demonstrations highlighted how leading prepress and press technologies come together to deliver outstanding, consistent print quality at the lowest delivered cost. “We are looking to change the mindset of what is achievable in flexo today, and thanks to Kodak’s innovative plate and prepress technology, we are able to demonstrate just how far flexo has come. Visitors are seeing incredibly challenging design being produced without the use of spot color inks and have outstanding shelf impact,” said Olivier Claude, general manager for print & vice president commercial business EAMER, Kodak.

In conjunction with its partner Spartanics, INX International Ink Co. demonstrated its NW140 inkjet UV digital narrow web press. INX also featured the AquaTech ION Label ink system at the show. Powered by the JetINX printhead drive and ink recirculation system, the NW140 press delivers excellent performance with UV-LED cure single pass output up to 80 feet per minute on any labelstock. It combines printing and conversion by using the Spartanics X140 laser diecutting station to provide vivid color, and can print 140mm wide while providing for easy separation of printed labels.

Nilpeter launched at Labelxpo its new high performance FB-3 flexo press. One of the fastest label presses on the market, it delivers a top speed of 228 m/min (750 fpm). Each of the ergonomically-designed printing units include five servo systems to automate all adjustments for saving, loading and changing jobs, as well as for job pre-setting, impression settings, and side register load. A dual axis servo transport system ensures high levels of print reproduction and precise registration. Standard equipment includes Nilpeter’s Press Management Center (PMC) giving central control over press functions.

At partner company RTI Digital’s stand, IPT Digital introduced the JFlex870 digital label conversion system, a retrofit unit designed to turn an existing press into a high-speed digital printing platform. Using Memjet inkjet technology, the drop-on-demand thermal inkjet system has four print heads printing CMYK with an optional fifth print head for spot color. “The JFlex870 acts as a slave to your current press or web control platform allowing easy installation and minimal operator training,” said Peter Kuschnitzky, president of IPT Digital. “With a wide range of suitable material readily available, labels can be finished using your existing varnish, laminating and diecutting equipment.”

Codimag, the manufacturer of the VIVA ANIFLO label press, ran customer jobs live at its booth. Touted as an industry first, Codimag emphasized that no other press manufacturer has ever done live customer demonstrations at Labelexpo. Prior to the show, Codimag established an Esko web portal that customers uploaded their test files to; Codimag then sent a digital proof to customers for approval. Customers then confirmed a date/time to visit the Codimag booth to see their files imaged onto Toray waterless offset plates using a CTP device – the plates were mounted on press and run using a seven color expanded gamut print process.

Primera Technology presented its new products, the AP550e Label Applicator and LP130e Laser Marking System at Labelexpo. AP550e is a new semi-automatic label applicator designed to make it fast and easy to precisely apply product and identification labels onto a wide range of flat surfaces. The LP130e enables fast and easy in-house production of labels and tags for use in a wide range of severe and harsh-duty applications, including IUID program labels, UDI labels for medical devices and healthcare equipment, automobile VIN and under-hood part number, warning and instruction labels, aerospace and solar panel labels, serial tags for outdoor equipment, automobile parts, building materials and much more.

Nanovis featured one of the three products nominated for the Sustainability Award this year, the partswasher Nanocleaner NWC 1200. The Nanocleaner NWC cleans the removable parts of open and closed flexographic printing equipment, like ink tanks, fountain rollers, squeegee rollers, chambered doctor blades, etc., with efficient and careful minimum spraying pressure. Mixing spoons, putties and other small articles made of most common materials can also be cleaned. The Nanocleaner only uses Nanovis’ non-volatile cleaning agent, which is constantly filtered in the integrated recycling system and thus never needs to be replaced. Only small amounts of dried paint remain, which can be easily discarded to the residual waste.

Apex Group of Companies unveiled its newest products for the label and narrow web market with its lightweight series of UltraCell anilox rolls, the ReadyRoll advance in-stock roll program and GTTLABEL, Apex’s successor to conventional anilox rolls. The GTTLABEL roller employs an Open Slalom Ink Channel geometry, which is designed to allow ink to flow onto a printing plate. For printers who don’t require the high quality and precision that GTT yields, Apex also offers its UltraCell and UltraCell+ conventional anilox rollers with an improved ceramic layer and all surface engravings possible: hexagonal, positive, tri-helical, elongated, etc.

Dow Corning showcased its portfolio of technologies, including release coatings, PS adhesives and additives. Among the products spotlighted were the flat-release Syl-Off brand Advantage Series solventless release coatings, Syl-Off brand emulsion coatings, and Syl-Off brand fluorosilicone release coatings. “The products we are showcasing at Labelexpo Europe demonstrate Dow Corning’s dedication to advancing PS and labeling performance and driving greater efficiencies by continuously improving our silicone technologies to meet our customers’ ever-changing needs,” said Kris Verschueren, packaging market manager at Dow Corning.

Munksjö introduced Acti-V LEAF 50 g/m2, a new lightweight release paper for production of thinner and lighter PSA labelstock laminates. With a tensile strength comparable to that of much heavier standard release papers, Acti-V LEAF uses less material, improves efficiency and sustainability, while offering high strength. Munksjö also introduced a dedicated range of release papers for pre-impregnated composite materials used by industries such as marine, aerospace, wind-energy, leisure and automotive.

Univacco, in conjunction with Flint Group, offered booth visitors a seminar on its cold foil collection and new technologies. Lynn Wei, marketing manager for Univacco, said, “Labelexpo Europe 2013 brought a satisfying outcome and feedback to Univacco. During the show days, we launched and introduced a series of its joint label collection with Flint Group and new cold foil application on shrink sleeve film.”

New Delhi-based Weldon Celloplast Limited exhibited and aggressively marketed its new and expanded range of tamper evident label materials for countering pilferage and also providing brand protection. The company also launched its new range of tamper evident security envelopes and exhibited its specialized developments for laser and inkjet labels.

Pulse Roll Label Products featured its new UV flexo ink ranges, UV curable varnishes for wine labels and screen varnishes for high build, tactile or Braille applications. Two new ranges of UV inks, all designed for label printing on narrow web presses, were featured at the show. The Digitech range featured includes varnishes formulated to exhibit excellent adhesion and resistance to heat, water and chemicals, as well as a range for wine labels where improved scuff and rub resistance is required. The new screen varnishes presented at Labelexpo have been formulated to optimize the adhesion properties for improved abrasion resistance.

Electro Optic promoted its latest Gold Line Special die as a solution to cutting on thin film liners down to 19 microns and less. “The number of contacts and visits exceeded the last two shows again,” said Dietmar Becker, sales manager. “Special thanks to all our customers interested in our high quality products and the technical discussions held at our booth.”

ExxonMobil Chemical introduced three new Label-Lyte oriented polypropylene (OPP) films for labeling applications at Labelexpo Europe. Designed to address market trends and key customer requirements for performance and cost, these technologies were on display for the first time. Solid white, 58 micron Label-Lyte 58SW247 OPP film delivers high yield and consistent quality. Label-Lyte 52LLC247 film offers a lightweight, white conformable facestock for pressure sensitive label (PSL) applications. Label-Lyte 29LL410 film allows fast, high-quality reel-fed labeling across all print technologies.

IIMAK showcased its new SP575 Premium Resin Thermal Transfer Ribbon, designed to provide maximum image durability for demanding environments. Featuring harsh chemical durability and exceptional abrasion resistance, SP575 is ideal for automotive and industrial environments where image survival is critical on heavy-duty labels. It was designed to withstand the most challenging abrasive environments. SP575 passes General Motors Specification GMW14573 (Global Performance Requirements for Labels Class A: Engine Compartment).

Herma launched a fundraising campaign to coincide with the start of Labelexpo Europe, resulting in donations totaling €35,000 ($55,000). Between the start and finish lines, seven cycling enthusiasts employed by Herma UK covered a distance of 300 miles. The journey took them to six destinations en route to the show doorstep. The funds are now supporting three charity projects. Division Director Colin Phillips, who was among the riders, presented Tarsus CEO Doug Emslie with a check for €8,750 to assist Events for Namuwongo – an aid organization that supports the community of the same name on the edge of Kampala in Uganda. Another member of the team, Paul Eggbeer, handed over €12,250 for Cancer Research UK to the FINAT President Kurt Walker. And Herma Managing Director Thomas Baumgärtner gave a further €14,000 to Tarsus Managing Director Lisa Milburn for Breast Cancer UK.

The new Harlequin Digital Hub for label printing made its debut at Labelexpo by first-time exhibitors Global Graphics Software. Harlequin Digital Hub has been developed to drive the industry’s inkjet presses and provides all the tools needed to produce consistent, predictable output. It is designed to offer exceptional color and screening capabilities, including multi-level and custom screens.

Delta Industrial showcased its Delta Mod-Tech system, custom designed to meet specific application requirements, improve profitability, and reduce risk. Delta systems are designed for ease-of-use in registration capabilities, tension control and process flexibility. The show demonstration featured a variety of processes including multiple rotary diecuts, tight registration and lamination capabilities. Other Delta systems may include additional capabilities such as semi-rotary, full rotary and laser cutting. Delta’s Mike Huss said, “Our booth was busy and our demonstration seemed to be well received as people were looking for ways to increase their productivity and minimize their material waste. Overall. Delta was pleased with the number and quality of new leads we generated.”

GSE Dispensing introduced new dispensing systems for label runs and process colors. The company featured its automated ink logistics systems for a lean, fast, waste-free means of achieving spot and process color accuracy on demand. The Colorsat range of ink dispensing systems covers short-run labels to lengthy corrugated board production. Accurate to one gram, the systems eliminate risk of overproduction and ink shortfalls, and can reuse press-return mixes in new recipes. The resulting waste elimination typically means ink-yield improvements of up to 30% compared with manual preparation methods.

Label Industry Global Award winners revealed
The brightest and best of the label industry’s international community were celebrated in Brussels as the sector’s elite, including many senior executives of leading press and material manufacturers gathered for the prestigious Label Industry Global Awards 2013. Held as part of Labelexpo Europe, the awards celebrated its tenth edition as it returned to Brussels’ Event Lounge to honor those label companies pushing the excellence boundaries in service and product design and performance.

Ritrama’s Tomas Rink received the program’s highest accolade, the 2013 R. Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Avery Dennison. Recognizing the vision and values of Stan Avery and his pioneering efforts, Tomas Rink joins fellow label industry leaders including RotoMetric’s Steve Lee, Helmut Schreiner and Lars Eriksen from Nilpeter.

Eshuis and its Coca Cola “Share a coke with…” project triumphed in the European Converter of the Year Award, sponsored by Flint Group. The judges were impressed by how Eshuis has played the lead role in the soft drink giant’s marketing campaign which involved bringing together 18 European label printers all under Eshuis’ direction as a major brand service provider.

The Award for Sustainability, sponsored by Xeikon, was presented to Avery Dennison for its Bottle-to-Bottle Portfolio of pressure sensitive labels. Developed to address critical barriers to the effective recycling of PET bottles, Avery Dennison’s Bottle-to-Bottle portfolio of pressure sensitive adhesives incorporate a “switchable” adhesive which adheres to PET surfaces until a bond is broken at the recycler, so cleanly releasing the label from the PET. The judges saw the innovation as offering major sustainability benefits for global consumer products end-users.

Attracting the highest ever number of entrants, the Label Industry Global Award for Innovation, sponsored by Label & Narrow Web, Labels & Labeling, and NarroWebTech magazines, was jointly won by Mark Andy and Flint Group Narrow Web. Flint Group was honored for its Ekocure UV LED ink technology which the judges described as providing improved cure response, cost and productivity savings, waste reduction, energy savings and enhanced safety that will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the future of the label industry. Mark Andy was singled out for its complementary ProLED ink curing technology, which delivers high production rates and energy savings in excess of 50% when compared to traditional HgUV systems.

Mike Fairley, chair of the judges, commented: “Congratulations to all of the finalists and winners. The label industry continues to serve as a shining example of innovation and passion for best practice in business. Striving to set the highest possible standards and raise the bar across the printing industry, the label sector is one of the most exciting, inspiring and vibrant marketplaces to work in and everyone who took part in this year’s awards program should be exceptionally proud of their achievements.”