Labelexpo Americas 2010

October 11, 2010

An upbeat crowd

Allen Datagraph VP Mark Vanover (second from right) is nearly lost in the crowd of eager attendees at Labelexpo Americas.
Any pre-show jitters about attendance at Labelexpo Americas 2010 pretty much evaporated on the first day, as a river of converters flowed into and through the three halls at Rosemont Convention Center in Chicago last week. The show producer puts the count at 12,671 for the three days, up significantly from 2008.

The energy among attendees and exhibitors was palpable. Two years ago converters brought themselves to the show, but this year they brought three, four, five or more colleagues to watch demos, talk tech, scout deals, and network. One exhibitor, a newcomer to the label market, realized early on that he didn't bring enough co-workers to handle all the booth traffic. There were a few complaints about attendance, but these were isolated and clearly in the minority.

New products – understood as a requirement for the successful exhibitor – were ubiquitous: new presses, new press capabilities, new printing plates and diecutters, new directions for substrates, and much more. Digital label systems, now well established, attracted a great deal of attention; digital inkjet presses, still jockeying for position in the converters' hearts and minds, were present at several competitive booths.

Overall it was a successful show, clearly a relief to all who participated. "We found what we were looking for," said one converter after it was all over. "We're going to make it final next week and make room for some new equipment."

Another upbeat sign: By the close of the show, 83 percent of the space for Labelexpo Americas 2012 had been booked by exhibitors.

Avery Dennison revealed the results of two years of work on product innovation, unveiling a collection of new products and concepts in a variety of label applications. Curve Appeal is a patent pending system encompassing special Fasson Curvy film labels that work together in a machine application process. Curvy film combines a wraparound look with the shelf appeal of pressure sensitive graphics, and creates up to 30 percent more space for primary labeling than current flat surfaces. Also new is ThinStream, which combines an ultra-thin PET liner material with patented machine technology to enable production of a liner only 12 microns thick, or half the thickness of a human hair. With a thinner profile, ThinStream yields 17 percent more labels per roll and reduces liner waste. ThinStream diecutting employs a delam/relam process, a special web control system and chilled dies, so the liner is never touched. It can diecut labels at high speeds with excellent quality and registration control. The ThinStream diecutting head eliminates die strikes and web breaks for uninterrupted productivity.

Primera Technology introduced the RX900 Color RFID Printer. The company says the RX900 is the world's first and only full-color RFID on-demand label printer. Labels are printed, encoded, verified and dispensed one at a time, making the printer ideal for applications where one or more labels at a time are required. All popular linear and 2D bar code symbologies are supported. The RX900's print resolution is up to 4800 dpi. Separate cartridges for cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink make label production economical since only one color at a time is replaced. Also, full-color print speeds of up to 4.5" (114mm) per second make label production fast and convenient.

Using the theme "It's Prime Time!", UPM Raflatac introduced a renewed digital labelstock portfolio that includes products certified for use with HP Indigo's WS6000 digital press, as well as new products for specials applications – including ultra removable labelstocks and products for industrial and chemical applications, tire labeling and security labeling. The company also featured next generation direct mail and charity labeling products, an expanded wine labeling portfolio and RP48AT – a high quality, high performance, all-temperature adhesive. The company also served as a material supplier for the Labelexpo Technology Workshops, which featured four working presses, each using a different printing technology, but striving to produce the same results on identical substrates.

AB Graphic introduced a new module to its popular Digicon converting systems – the carton series, which converts short run carton and boxes using semi-rotary cutting and creasing. "Using semi-rotary technology means that the converter doesn't need to change cylinder sizes," says Al Spendlow, managing director of AB Graphic Inc. The company also demonstrated its flat screen and flat foil system for the first time in North America. It features a repeat up to 12", and speed for foil up to 7,200 impressions per hour, and 3,600 impressions per hour for screen printing. Multiple foil and screen units can be incorporated into the press.

RotoMetrics introduced AccuPrint sleeve cylinders, lightweight cylinders designed for servo driven presses. The cylinder consists of a polycarbonate inner core, aluminum outer casing and locking ring. Each is coated with the company's Hardcase surface technology, which inhibits scratches. The company also unveiled a new rotary diecutting module, a completely customizable unit available in widths from 10" to 34". It can be configured for paperboard, flexible packaging and all other types of materials, with different designs for different substrates. The module includes an integral cooling system, which keeps the substrate stable during high speed runs. It can be configured for use inline or offline. In addition to its wide range of solid and flexible tooling, RotoMetrics also presents its foiling station, built by Pantec in Switzerland and featuring an electrical heating element inside the magnetic cylinder that contains encapsulated oil, offering heat that is more even and better directed, and avoiding the possibility of oil leaks.

The new Toyobo UV flexo plate – water washable photopolymer – was among the many offerings at Labelexpo by Anderson & Vreeland. The plate is suitable for UV flexo inks, can be processed in plain tap water, and features a short process time – press ready in under 30 minutes. Plate processing equipment, materials and software designed for tag and label printers were also on display by A&V, including EskoArtwork digital flexo plate and film imagers, multi-function plate processors, and digital proofing systems.

Actega WIT, formerly Water Ink Technologies, announced that its integration with Radcure will be completed by December 2010. Under its parent company Altana, Actega WIT is poised to become stronger, with more resources and locations. Altana has 43 companies and 35 production facilities. Actega WIT also announced at Labelexpo key personnel changes within the company. Pat Hague, longtime co-owner of Water Ink Technologies, has announced his retirement effective October 5, 2010. Mark Wallace was introduced as Actega WIT's new chief operating officer. Also introduced at Labelexpo was Mark DeSandre, the company's new director of sales.

Wilson Manufacturing, a maker of solid and flexible rotary dies and tooling, introduced its new solid dies with spring powered plungers for waste ejection. In runs where parts of diecut material can get stuck between cutting blades, the mechanical plungers will eject the unwanted material with every rotation of the die. Wilson also displayed its vacuum dies, which are increasing in popularity. Also on display was an anvil roll with a mirror finish. The high shine makes it easier to see when the roll begins to wear.

At the opening of Labelexpo Americas, Hewlett Packard announced that it achieved a milestone of 1,000 HP Indigo press installations worldwide. The company also showcased a number of new technologies designed to decrease turnaround times and help converters grow their businesses, particularly into the flexible packaging market. Alon Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager for HP's Indigo division, says that HP Indigo customers will benefit from technological performance upgrades to the WS6000, which was on display at the show. The new WS6000s will come equipped with 20 new features, including new blankets for better substrate compatability; a new primer designed for synthetic substrates; a new enhancement unit for the photo imaging plate; compatibility with the HP Indigo Print Care diagnostics and maintenance program; and Continuous Color Control, a tool that gives operators added assurance of consistency on long runs.

Press manufacturer Mark Andy acknowledges the growing demand for short run label printing, as well as digital printing's surfacing as a dominant force in the short run sector of the market. At Labelexpo, however, the company presented new press technologies that have been developed that greatly enhance the capabilities of flexo printing and provide a strong argument against a transition to digital. One of these is the Performance Series, which features a newly developed print station/print deck design. With this advancement, the Performance Series measurably changes the output and performance of flexographic printing. The printing platform, redesigned with a focus on streamlined productivity, substantially alters traditional on-press workflow, resulting in measurable material and ink waste savings and greater ease of use for the operator.

Earlier this year, Xeikon, manufacturer of dry toner-based digital label presses, added a 20" wide model, the 3500, to complement its 13" Model 330. This week the company unveiled two new presses aimed at attracting entry-level customers. The Xeikon 3050 and 3030, are slower versions of the 3500 and 3300, respectively. The flexible print width of the Xeikon 3050 allows customers to print according to the job requirements. Depending on their size, labels can be imposed more efficiently, which results in higher throughput. The press speed of 31.5 fpm (9.6 m/m) can be maintained regardless of whether four or five colors are printed. Like the other Xeikon presses, the 3050 is an LED-array-based digital press, printing at 1,200 dpi imaging resolution. It can print on a wide range o substrates, including such films as BOPP, PVC and PET.

Erhardt+Leimer introduced several new features on its inspection systems, as well as new web guiding technology, including the presentation of the latest wide band sensor and touch screen easy setup control panels for the next generation of web guides. The intuitive touch screen guides the user through easy set-up menus to select his/her application and necessary features that will fit the need of the application. The Elscan 4 inspection machine featured new dual lens technology with no moving parts and new illumination features.

The Finecut Laser Cutting Systems from Spartanics were operational at the company's booth, as well as at the EFI Jetrion stand. The cutter, which can replace solid and flexible diecutters with cutting by a laser, was performing at speeds up to 300 fpm on basic label shapes. "Waste is nil for setup," says Spartanics' Mike Bacon. "It would use up about five labels. Savings come from the lack of tool costs, as well as from damage to tooling." Bacon says that most damage to rotary tooling comes during the transit from storage to the production area. Software innovations have removed the glitches that plagued laser cutting systems in the past, he adds. "Using a laser cutter is a natural for digital labels, where images on one roll can vary," says Bacon.

Gallus Inc. inaugurated its North American road show for the new Gallus ECS 340 by making the first stop of its tour at Labelexpo. The entire booth featured the road show theme with the new Gallus ECS 340 in operation – on the trailer of an 18-wheeler – just as it will be presented at other stops following the show. Gallus has scheduled a major road trip across the country to show as many people as possible what this press concept is all about. The new Gallus ECS 340 is an affordable flexographic press with a technical granite core. The press features easy set-up and a very short web path for cost-efficient, high quality commercial label printing. The granite core, along with an integral water cooling system, gives the press a long service life and makes it quieter and more stable than any other presses, according to the company.

Sekisui STA Industries, a manufacturer of overlamination films, has formed a partnership with Label Traxx maker Tailored Solutions to facilitate ordering of Sekisui's products. Users of Label Traxx, a print management system for flexographic printers, will soon be able to simplify their orders of Sekisui overlaminates. Benefits include faster receipt of materials and improved inventory management. Recent Label Traxx developments include support for digital presses, such as the HP Indigo, integration with EsoArtwork's BackStage, press capacity planning, direct press data collection, package printing features, and multiple currency capability. Sekisui also has developed 2100DL and 2106DL, clear and matte polypropylene overlaminates for labels printed on digital presses. The adhesives on the films are constructed to protect the integrity of the images printed digitally on the labels.

At Nilpeter's booth, the new FA-6 press was featured, a 22" wide press for printing of unsupported films. Films as thin as 12 microns in width can be printed on the midweb press, as well as labels. During demonstrations, an eight-color job on the FA-6 press was completed in 4.5 minutes, including change of ink pans. Making its debut in the Americas was the Revolver die station, a module that permits instant exchange of dies using a revolving turret. The operator can set up the dies for the next job when the first one is running, and rotate the new die into place immediately. Aso on exhibit were Nilpeter's popular FB press, as well as the FG press, which features printing sleeves and full servo drives.

Stork Prints presented the enhanced RSI rotary screen integration modules, the new DSI (digital system integration) inkjet module, and software innovations in direct laser engraving. Three RSI modules were in operation at the booths of Nilpeter, Mark Andy and Omet. On display were re-engraveable RotaMesh screen for the RSI systems, and the reusable RotaPlate screen for non-Stork systems. Stork Prints also launched the digital label printer DSI 4330L to the Americas. The short run four-color UV inkjet label printer with 13" width operates at speeds up to 35 m/min and is modular in design.

Sonic Solutions, a manufacturer of ultrasonic cleaning systems for anilox rolls, reported a high degree of success in sales and prospective customers at Labelexpo Americas. "Several printers in North, Central and South America have seen the value of the equipment we offer and have placed orders for systems," said Joe Walczak, president. "In this economy, people are seeing the real value and benefits to our products. We really make a difference in their operations. Our equipment isn't sexy, it just works." Walczak said that the company is planning to introduce new products in the near future, as early as within the next six months.

Press manufacturer Omet, celebrating its most profitable year since its founding in 1963, exhibited its X-Flex press printing high-resolution flexo. Demos were carried out using 4,000 dpi printing plates on six-color print subjects, including a metallic color. Visitors to Chicago saw live operations of OMETChannel, the new system for remote control though video connection. It works by providing the customer with a helmet fitted with a Wi-Fi camera that is integrated in the machine network. This allows transmission of images from the production line. Using OMETChannel, the company's technicians receive data fast and securely through the TCP/IP protocol, and can then interact with the person in charge at the customer's plant. A laser pointer improves the detail shot and lets the converter work as if an Omet technician was at his side.

Ritrama featured its numberless self adhesive materials based on natural and gloss papers,
polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester. Among the showcased products was the Wine Range, featuring a series of papers and films devoted to labels for hi-quality wines and champagnes, as well the Digital Roll Range for label printers who're already running HP Indigo digital presses. Also on display was the Industrial Range, including polyester-based face materials for hard-wearing, long-lasting applications. In addition, Ritrama's Beverage Range offers a wide choice of PP materials, including low thickness and high clarity adhesives for eye-catching effects, while the Personal Care Range features polyolefin-based face materials for squeezable packaging that combine high transparency and conformability.

LabelExpo 2010 marked the first anniversary of Durst's entry into the label industry after the launch of the Tau 150 and Rotoworx 330 in 2009. Durst marked the occasion by showing four new machine configurations. The Tau 150 is Durst's standard printing press featuring CMYK and white. Based on piezo-electric drop-on-demand grayscale ink jet technology, it utilizes liquid ink technology and is capable of producing high-performance images at an apparent resolution over 1,000 dpi at 157 fpm. The white color is pinned, i.e., partially cured, as the first color to be printed. This provides a uniform film layer on which the remaining colors can be applied in a "wet-on-wet" process before the final cure.

Automated Print Control (APC) was the major attraction at the booth of MPS, the Dutch press manufacturer. The company exhibited its EC flexo press, a fully servo driven machine, at Labelexpo. APC allows the operator to take advantage of automation to calibrate the press based on the type of substrate, the plate, the speed of the press, and more. MPS says the press setup time and job changeover waste are reduced enormously. The new EC and EF presses are both label and film presses with standard short web paths and print sleeves. MPS also the EXL-packaging press with Crisp.Dot technology for the flexible packaging arena.

EFI made its first appearance with Radius Solutions, which it acquired three months ago. "Radius reached a level of critical mass, and had saturated the market," said David Taylor, former president of the company, who is still active in the business. "Now we can extend the portfolio to the rest of the world." The brand is known now as EFI Radius. Radius produces a print management software system aimed at the larger companies in the label business. "EFI saw that their product line had a gap in the packaging sector, which is now filled," Taylor said. EFI Jetrion announced at the show that it has added LED curing to its Model 4830 UV digital inkjet press. LED curing uses less heat and lower power than conventional UV lamps, and the bulbs will last much longer. The press utilizes Phoseon LED equipment, and the LED capability will be available as an upgrade for those who own 4830 presses already. Jetrion manufactures it own inks, and has unveiled new flexible inks, which it says are shrinkable up to 90 percent.

Allen Datagraph Systems Inc. showcased its iTech Axxis SR Digital Label System at Labelexpo, an affordable digital label printer designed for converters who require on-demand proofing and prototyping of labels of any shape. The system is also useful for end users with short run labeling needs. The system enables the printing and digital diecutting of labels – of any shape – in a matter of minutes. It uses an Epson B-500DN inkjet print engine at 720 x 720 dpi. With a wide range of available substrates including paper, polyester and polypropylene, the system can print in widths from 4" to 8.5" in rolls with a maximum outside diameter of 11 inches. The finishing portion of the iTech Axxis SR laminates and digital diecuts, along with scoring the facestock for the easy removal of matrix waste.

BST Pro Mark announced the launch of its Shark LEX 100 percent inspecation system coupled with the company's Lector Work Flow module. The system can be integrated into a rewinder or on a press up to 22" wide. The Shark 100 percent inspection system identifies both random and repeating defects as small as 0.05 square milimeters, including missing print, fill-in, splash, spots, misregister, hickeys, dirty print, web crease, haze, smudges, diecut variations, and other imperfections. The new system also includes PDF inspetion, which compares the actual on-press print against the customer approved PDF, and identifies any variations. Lector Work Flow is a software tool for managing print quality and throughput from printing to shipping across multiple machines. It displays and evaluates process job data to help manage throughput; for example, it catalogs all defects noted by the Shark and references their positions on the roll, so that the operator or quality control manager can determine how the defect should be handled.

Harper Scientific, a division of anilox maker Harper Corporation of America, has enjoyed success with its popular Phantom hand proofer, which features a miniature anilox roll, doctor blade and rubber ink transfer roller. After extensive field experience with customers, the company has made significant improvements to the device, improving its performance. The original device is a handheld unit that is rolled along a test piece of substrate for proofing purposes. Users found that varying pressure applied to the unit resulted in uneven results. To remedy that, Harper has altered some of the functions of the unit, and has created a cradle that permits even rolling of the proofer by removing the need for hand pressure. A further development is an automated cradle assembly, which moves the proofer along the test substrate at even pressure and speed using a motor.

GEW, a manufacturer of UV curing equipment, announced the launch of the next generation of its e-Brick power supplies that incorporate new design elements to increase energy efficiency. Users can now select the power level required for the job depending on the properties of the ink, coating or adhesive at the appropriate press speed. Rather than being manufacturer-set, users are now able to select whatever power they need to print a specific job, whilst being assured of the highest level of energy efficiency. The company also introduced Service+, an option that allows GEW users to increase their warranties to three years, subject to using competitively priced lamps and parts from GEW. Free 24-hour worldwide telephone support is included, plus support and advice on UV curing solutions.

Codimag demonstrated the VIVA 420 Aniflo, an anilox offset printing unit, which eliminates production variables. As the ink volume is distributed by an anilox roller, it provides control over the ink volume and density. No ink key adjustment is required. The Aniflo does not use a relief plate and prints using a rubber blanket; dot gain, therefore, is not related to the print pressure. "This allows printers to have very reliable press fingerprinting, which cannot be jeopardized by too much ink, too much print pressure or a wrong roller setting," said Pascale Duchêne, managing director. "As the Aniflo system is predictable and repeatable, press makeready is much faster and setup waste much lower."

Polymag Tek has taken its Four Roll Web Cleaner and made a new Four Roll Web/Sheet Cleaner with patented tape oscillation and compact controls package. The web/sheet widths can range between 2" and 40" and run maximum speeds of 700 fpm. Pneumatic cylinders separate the rolls when the machine stops for easy access to rolls. The Polymag patented oscillation is used to spread slit edge contamination over a 2" line of travel, thereby increasing the life of the tape by at least 16 times. It also assures continual cleaning of the entire CCR face Length surface. The equipment cleans a broad range of materials, including film, foil, carton board, newsprint, recycled paper and more. The machines are designed to remove loose particulate contamination from web and sheet substrates or process rolls.

Linerless labels have the advantage of using no release liner in the printing and application process. They are, however, coated on one side with adhesive, on the top with silicone, and they are limited in range of shapes. Polykote Corporation, however, introduced a new technology – Silgon – which uses no silicone and hides the adhesive until just before the application of the label. In the hand the paper or film exhibits no sign of adhesive. But activate the coating on the back side of the label – using high energy light, radiant heat, hot air, or other source – and the coating becomes an adhesive, ready to apply. "You are litterally able to process a web that does not require a release liner and that isn't sticky. You don't need silicone on top. It's like handling regular paper or film," said John Guzzo of Polykote. He says that the process allows for much more creativity in label shapes, as well.

EskoArtwork demonstrated a variety of technologies, including Suite 10, a major release of its software for packaging prepress, 3D structural design and quality assurance, collaboration and automation, and color management. In addition, the company's HD Flexo 2.0 made its debut at the show. With Suite 10 and the new Automation Engine 10 come new releases of all editor applications: ArtPro 10, PackEdge 10, DeskPack 10, ArtiosCAD 10 and Studio 10. The workstation software is more integrated than ever, with a focus on adding capabilities to the automation of repetitive tasks, and taking more human interaction out of the prepress production process. Among the software features is Studio Toolkit for Shrink Sleeves, a solution for resolving the distortion of shrink sleeves, automating the design and prepress process in Adobe Illustrator. EskoArtwork's HD Flexo technology uses high screen rulings and advanced screening to produce plates that print near-offset quality.

At the Martin Automatic booth, the company discussed the recent use of its machinery at Flexographic Trade Services (FTS) in South Carolina. FTS gave the company high marks for productivity and ease of use of Martin Automatic's MBSC butt splicer and STR turret rewinder combo. "We tested the MBSC/STR automated splicer and rewind system on jobs that we've been running for up to 10 years, so we had solid production numbers to compare to," said Art Fields, president of FTS. "When we ran jobs on a Mark Andy XP-5000 with Martin roll automation on the ends, we were able to increase throughput performance by 60 percent, and that was with students running the press. An experienced operator can easily increase throughput performance by 40 percent."

Squid Ink promoted the advantages of its VDP In-Line printing system at Labelexpo. The system is designed to cost-effectively print variable information in-line on an existing narrow web flexo press. The machine mounts on the web press or rewind station and thus the job does not have to be taken off line for a second pass. With the VDP In-Line, users have the ability to print on non-porous surfaces such as uncoated paper, or on porous surfaces such as films, foils, or coated stocks with Squid Ink's library of compatible inks. The machine's printhead uses piezo technology to print up to 2.1" of sharp text, bar codes, logos or small characters. It uses a single print engine, so no stitching is required. The VDP mounts above the press using Squid Ink's Platform Unit that locks into the pre-existing hole patterns between each printing station.

Asahi Photoproducts, a supplier of photopolymer printing plates, presented its new AWP water wash plates to the industry. The plates have been in development for a decade, according to VP Sales & Marketing Joseph Bauer, and are for use in digital imagers. Asahi aims to challenge the market share of thermal plates in the narrow web industry. "The Asahi water washable plate outperforms the best digital flexo plates, holding smaller dots than those of thermal processed plates – the prevalent technology used by narrow web label printers – with superior stability on press," said Bauer. "Extensive AWP plate trials and live production jobs have proven its ability to print down to 2 or 3 percent dots, using classical round dot screening. With the latest screening technologies, the plate is able to reproduce a vignette fade to zero."

A new digital inkjet press made its debut at Labelexpo, introduced to the market by CSAT. The ITS600 press is a four-color inkjet machine using Kyocera print heads and UV curing using LED lamps, which utilize lower power and produce less heat. According to Natalie Gilbert, managing director of CSAT America, the press can operate at speeds of 130 fpm (40 m/m) using four colors. The roll-to-roll press has a web width ranging from 4" to 8". The ITS600 can run offline or inline, and has a price tag of $350,000. It also features web retracting, causing the stopped web not to lose print on material when restarted.

After several years testing the marketplace and refining its technology, Epson has gone commercial with its digital inkjet press. The SurePress L-4033A Digital Label Press "brings Epson image quality to the label market – that's our value proposition," said Mark Elsbernd, North American region sales manager. At a list price of $285,000, the press "has received a positive response," adds Elsbernd. "A lot of smaller label converters want to get into the digital market." The press utilizes water based inkjet ink, which Elsbernd says is "not the traditional water based product."

Flint Group Flexographic Products announced that it will launch a new, UV exposure technology for flexographic printing plates that offers significant advantages over existing technologies. The new exposure technology, currently in beta testing, will enable digital flexo plates to achieve 1:1 file to plate imaging, improving print image reproduction. The technology creates flat-top dots and high line screen imaging without the use of a lamination step or inert gas technology. Also at Labelexpo, Flint Group announced an expansion of its new "Ultra Thin" plates – those that are just .030" thick. The new line includes nyloflex FAB digital, ACE digital and potentially other materials in the near future.

Graymills showcased Chillter, its new ink cooling system that the company touts as a cost saving product that also improves print quality. A recent EPA study showed that the cost of hot ink could top $56,000 per deck. Chillter provides savings by reducing ink consumption, improves density consistency and viscosity control, and allows for less wasted solvent. In addition, Graymills said, it provides for better dot structure and fewer "donuts." Graymills adds that it's also easy to use: Replace the cover of the Graymills ink filter with the Chillter, hook it up and it's ready to go.

tesa tape showed two recently introduced specialty products with silicone adhesive systems designed for temporary masking applications. Tesa 50650 and 50600 join the company's masking product line that ranges from general-purpose to highly-specialized masking tapes. Constructed of a durable polyester film backing coated with a silicone adhesive, the tapes are designed to perform well in harsh and demanding conditions, including withstanding temperatures of up to 428° F for up to 30 minutes.

MACtac Printing Products launched a new line of durable films, 12 new products that cover a range of applications requiring high-performance labels. The company also showcased its Indie line of certified digital labelstocks. Designed to address the extreme application needs of several markets, including lawn and garden, chemical drums, appliance and nameplate, and wet-cell batteries, MACtac's durable films are tested and recognized by industry standards, such as UL and British Standard 5609.

Visitors to the booth of Meech Static Eliminators were treated to the debut of ShearClean, a non-contact web cleaning system. The non-contact aspect of the system, said Matt Fyffe, VP of Meech USA, makes it ideal for surfaces prone to scratching, special coatings or decorative labels destined or premium consumer goods. ShearClean incorporates two cotton-covered rollers, which are positioned 0.5 to 1.0mm on either side of the web. The rollers spin at high speed – 4,000 rpm and upwards – in the opposite direction to the travel of the web. The air currents generated break up the boundary layer on the surface of the web, allowing ShearClean's vacuum system to remove extremely small particles that would otherwise be trapped in that layer.

Mitsubishi Polyester Film announced a breakthrough for the closed loop sustainable recycling of polyester release liners. Company officials said the new Mitsubishi Reprocess Spent Liner Recovery Program will satisfy the cradle-to-cradle expectations that the labeling industry has been seeking. The company has created a way to blend new and recycled materials into a new product. Using technologies developed over the last three years, the company's proprietary process is being implemented to allow the production of first quality release liners containing significant recycled content. Performance has been verified in value chain field tests, the company says.

Ryeco exhibited its range of systems designed to ensure that converters will never ship bad product to customers. Featured were Ryeco's Edge Marking and Lane Marking Systems. With the Edge Marking System, code and/or defect marks are made
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