High energy and enthusiasm permeated the six halls of Labelexpo Europe 2011 in Brussels this year, a most welcome change after several years of economic struggle and uncertainty. While the label industry has not suffered quite as much as have other industries, converters and suppliers alike were reserving judgment in the weeks preceding the show, hoping for a positive Labelexpo experience and at the same time expressing caution. But they need not have worried. The industry came to Brussels with plans to expand its technology base, and that meant shopping for everything from presses to plates, software to slitters.
The show organizer reports that 28,636 visitors from 118 countries attended this year’s show – an increase of 18.6 percent over 2009. Labelexpo Europe attracted 550 exhibitors (up from 544 in 2009) was the largest in the event’s history.
Exhibitors heeded the axiom that they should feature new equipment and materials at every trade show. Labelexpo Europe started off on September 28 with the introduction by Avery Dennison and Gallus of the ThinStream process, a method of diecutting thin films with 12 micron release liner using cold temperatures, a first for the industry. From there it was new presses, more versatile dies, better performing inks, refined inspection systems, talented substrates, custom adhesives, and digital combinations of technologies.
By the end of the show four days later, dozens of exhibitors reported that they had gathered strong leads, commitments, and had executed sales on the show floor. Throughout the venue, a great many pieces of equipment sported placards that read “Sold.” Always a good sign.
UPM Raflatac chief: Demand is shifting
In his keynote speech at Labelexpo Europe, UPM Raflatac President Jussi Vanhanen presented some of the major findings from a recent market survey commissioned by the company. According to Vanhanen, growth in self-adhesive label demand will continue in Western Europe and North America at a slower pace than in the previous decade, while demand will increase especially in the emerging markets.
“In the developed markets of Europe and North America, the consumption of self-adhesive labels will follow the growth of packaged products. Self-adhesive labels will take marginally market share from other labeling methods. Therefore, the growth rates for the industry will most likely remain at around 1-2 percent per annum. The highest growth rates will be enjoyed in the food and beverage end-use segments where the penetration of the self-adhesive label is rather low,” said Vanhanen.
Nevertheless, on the global level, self-adhesive labeling will enjoy robust growth of around 4-5 percent per year. According to Vanhanen, some 80 percent of this growth will come from emerging markets. This also reflects the shift in global economic power towards the Asian and Latin American countries.
He emphasized that the labeling industry has to work hard for new business opportunities, particularly in the developed markets. “Growth will not come automatically. The industry needs to continue to develop solutions for ever more specialized applications. The self-adhesive label is the most versatile labeling method, and all participants in the value chain need to continue to promote and develop products which make use of its strengths,” Vanhanen continued.
Another challenge to be addressed by the industry is the sustained raw material inflation. “Over the next decade, consumption growth in the emerging markets will continue to drive raw material prices up even if there may be some short breathers in times of economic uncertainty. The best way to combat this inflation is that substrate suppliers and printers develop and commercialize thinner, fit-for-purpose material constructions and leverage the fast-developing recycling opportunities,” Vanhanen emphasized.
2011 Label Industry Global Awards
A select few of the label industry’s leading companies and individuals were recognized At Labelexpo Europe for their outstanding contribution to the sector as the winners of this year’s Label Industry Global Awards were unveiled. Held at the Event Lounge in Brussels before an audience of 550, the awards celebrate and honor those who promote best practice in the label industry.
Helmut Schreiner, executive manager/owner of the Schreiner Group, collected the R. Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Avery Dennison. A global provider of functional labels, the Schreiner Group, under Helmut Schreiner’s leadership, has become a world-leading innovator by developing new applications in areas including electroluminescent labels, printronics, RFID and anti-counterfeit technologies. The Label Industry Award for Continuous Innovation – sponsored by Label & Narrow Web, Labels & Labeling and NarroWebTech and – was presented to Brazil’s Novelprint. Honoring a long-established supplier or converter which has demonstrated innovation over a period, Novelprint was singled out for its exemplary customer service and long-standing track record in pioneering the science and technology behind label manufacturing.
EskoArtwork triumphed in the Label Industry Award for New Innovation category, which is designed to underline technological advances made in the previous year. Facing stiff competition from Nilpeter and Durst, which were both highly commended by judges, the Belgium-based winner’s HD Flexo version 2 was judged on the degree of its innovation, environmental efficiency and sustainability along with the practical and economic impact on its service delivery.
The European Converter of the Year Award – sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web – was awarded to Kolibri Labels. The company’s reputation for innovation and excellence in sales and product development has established it as one of the Netherlands’ leading self-adhesive label printers.
Alphasonics UCS won the Green Award for its AS1000 Trojan Parts Washer. The company was judged to be the most environmentally-friendly product at Labelexpo Europe 2011.
Out on the show floor
The 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division has obtained UL recognition for product security and identification solutions that combine the core range of UL recognized 3M label stock materials with five of the leading digital UV ink jet label printers and ink systems. High durability of UV inks and high quality print capability is important for label converters who often need to supply product identification labels as UL/cUL recognized components for labeling of consumer electronic equipment, cellular communication equipment, garden equipment, and power tools, where in all cases the label identification system must be durable for the lifetime of the product. 3M also featured its new Durable Resin Ribbon 92904, which stands up against harsh organic solvents such as acetone, Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), and toluene. While many product identification labels subjected to harsh environments are often pre-printed and then overlaminated by the converter, 3M Durable Resin Ribbon 92904 combined with the recommended 3M label stocks provides the needed durability without an overlaminate.
AB Graphic International featured the latest developments in its Omega and Vectra range of label converting and finishing lines with the focus on fast job changes, reduced waste and non-stop production. Two versions of the company’s Omega Digicon 2 label converting lines are running live demonstrations featuring non-stop operation with semi-automatic turret rewinders to eliminate additional finishing. One model is demonstrated with off-line turret rewinding to allow the machine to slow down when the finished roll terminates; the second features Nordson automatic gluing. The new Omega ATR inspection rewinder is equipped with a turret rewinder to allow the operator to visually inspect the web while maintaining non-stop finishing. Featuring new software upgrades, the Digicon Sabre Xtreme laser cutter features non-stop digital die changeover and variable data capability. The system on display features cold foil application through inkjet technology to apply the adhesive without the use of printing plates.
USA based acpo ltd. exhibited its line of self-wound polyester and polypropylene overlaminate films in clear and matte finish, easy release, FDA compliant, photoluminescent, removable adhesive, thermal transfer printable, UL recognized and UV screening. Specialty items include overlaminates designed for digital printers, lamination on liner, form/tag reinforcement narrow width rolls and paint mask.
Advanced Vision Technology (AVT) enjoyed one of its best Labelexpo events, said Global Marketing Director Amir Dekel. “We negotiated sales of 25 systems during the show, which equates to some $2 million worth of business, and have received a welter of enquiries since the doors closed, which we intend to convert into more business.” The company presented its full range of quality assurance, process control and color control solutions for presses and rewinders. The most popular attraction was the PrintVision/Helios II 100 percent inspection platform with its complete workflow solution. The latest innovative solutions included Braille automatic inline detection, which works in parallel with print inspection, detecting every fault in the Braille dots on pharmaceutical labels. Color measurement and control solutions were demonstrated with the Microcolor/Mercury remote ink control for narrow web offset and the IΔeal inline DeltaE color measurement ensuring color consistency all through the print run. Other highlights included job verification to the original PDF, and 100 percent verification of bar codes and variable data codes and numbers.
Ahlstrom launched Acti-V, a new generation of release papers for silicone coating, at LabelExpo Europe. Acti-V will enable silicone coaters and PSA materials producers to increase their manufacturing speed and capacity, to save catalyst and energy costs, and simultaneously improve the product reliability, according to Ahlstrom. The technology transforms an inert carrier paper into an active player in the silicone curing and anchorage process. With Ahlstrom Acti-V release papers, silicone curing happens faster and requires less catalyst (platinum) and energy, the company says, adding that silicone anchorage is stronger and more durable. “This new technology is the result of several years of research, focused on the operational challenges of our customers,” says Daniele Borlatto, executive vice president, label and processing. “The outcome is highly innovative: It will enable our customers to greatly improve the productivity of their silicone coaters and to reduce the total cost of ownership of their product. Our customers will free the full potential of their equipment, gain in flexibility and increase their process efficiency in ways they never thought possible.”
Allen Datagraph drew crowds with its iTech Axxis Digital Label System, a tabletop printing and converting system that incorporates an Epson business inkjet printer. The printer typically prints at around four feet per minute. The finishing system, which is designed to operate separately and not inline with the printer, can run at speeds up to eight to 10 feet per minute. The finishing unit laminates, digitally diecuts, strips away matrix, slits, and winds into finished rolls. Shape cutting is accomplished by a blade. Allen Datagraph also unveiled a new product, the iTech Centra HS high speed digital finishing systems, which is four times faster than the original model. The Centra is targeted at converters who print labels on digital presses. The finishing system includes lamination, shape cutting, matrix removal and slitting in one pass. It can convert printed materials from any digital or analog platform in roll lengths up to 1,250 feet (381 meters) and up to 14” wide (356 mm).
Netherlands-based Apex Group of Companies, an anilox roll manufacturer its patented successor to conventional hexcell anilox surfaces: Genetic Transfer Technology (GTT). “Label and narrow web printers were captivated by the revolutionary quality and power of GTT,” said Apex Vice President of Sales Ken Ralton. “Our dedicated label roll – UniFli-GTT – enables reduced anilox inventory, combo printing on fewer ink stations, and predictable results at higher speeds.” Ink, plate, press, and mounting tape manufacturers met with Apex to develop packages which enable printers to image high definition flexo at a cost savings.
API Foils showcased its new range of metallic foil and holographic decorative product, HoloNique. Launched in January, HoloNique is a high impact, bespoke holographic design product that can be combined with customers’ own designs to provide customized, low-level security and product enhancements. Mock ups are produced in a matter of days and, according to the company, offered at hugely reduced costs. API also demonstrated the benefits of its new double embossing machine. According to API, use of this machine has already allowed the company to increase productivity and fulfill the increasing demand in the market for rainbow/super diffuser foil patterns.
Polyart WGA 70, specially designed for cold glue cut-and-stack labeling on glass, plastic or metal containers, was introduced by Arjobex. With its cavitated HDPE film and water absorbent coating, Polyart is has a touch and feel close to that of smooth premium coated paper. Its fast dispensing and rapid drying time on bottling lines makes it an ideal plastic solution for wet glue labels, the company says. Arjobex has also rolled out Polyart Digital, for HP Indigo presse, which has a high quality matte finish, and has been certified for use on Indigo WS4000 and WS6000 series presses by HP. Polyart LRU, created to replace PVC in outdoor applications, is now available for labels that require resistance to weathering. The chemical composition of LRU has been developed to withstand the degrading influence of UV light and moisture. Polyart IML is a new generation of high performance in-mold films available for both UV and conventional printing processes. Latest improvements show improved pick and place performance, no label drops, no creasing and blister free performance.
Ashland Performance Materials launched a new portfolio of products for narrow web printers at the show. Pureseal 23323E water-based synthetic cold-seal adhesive, for flexographic food packaging, can be applied as an overall coat or pattern. It seals BOPP, white OPP, metalized OPP, polyester, and other substrates suitable for food packaging. It also releases from release-treated films or release lacquer-coated substrates and complies with US Food and Drug Administration regulations for food packaging. Ashland’s other new adhesive technologies are UV curable low-migration varnishes and laminating adhesives. The instantaneous UV cure associated with these products is based on a stable, one-component system with near-zero volatile organic compounds. The products are designed for flexographic printing but are also suitable for other application methods, including gravure and multi-roll coating equipment.
Atlantic Zeiser developed its integrated Digiline Web 300 to meet an array of printing demands, which were demonstrated at Labelexpo Europe with the Delta 105i and Gamma 70 P. A benefit of the modularity of these systems is that practical applications are limited only by the customer’s requirements. Atlantic Zeiser’s Vice President Digital Systems Ralf Hipp commented: “To successfully produce high quality print and ensure customer happiness requires printers to be able to adapt swiftly to changing demands while delivering guaranteed quality assurance. With our modular solutions we can meet various requirements from tax labels, lottery tickets, event tickets and labels.” Comparable to common printing technologies with printing width of 300 mm, a resolution of up to 600 dpi and at a top speed of up to 150 m/m, the Digiline Web system consists of a modular continuous feed unit, digital inkjet printers, curing technology and controller unit. It has an automatic splice station that detects, marks and splices printing errors within the production process and continues the print job seamlessly. Its modularity ensures cost efficiency for printing, coding, serialisation and personalisation; even with late stage customization and just-in-time production.
A new diecutting technology called Avery Dennison ThinStream allows the diecutting of labels with a liner as thin as 12 microns, half of the current minimum in the market. ThinStream technology also eliminates die strikes, one of the industry’s main quality concerns. The patented technology for ThinStream has been licensed to the Gallus Group, which has created the Gallus Cold Die Unit to accomplish this advance in diecutting technology. According to Avery Dennison, diecutting with liner caliper below 23 microns was virtually impossible until the advent of ThinStream. With conventional kiss-cutting, the die can cut through the liner and cause operational and quality problems during converting and dispensing. In the cold die process, the facestock is delaminated from the liner before cutting. The face material is then chilled abruptly to -22° C or lower and then cut with a solid or flexible rotary die. The materials are then re-laminated within milliseconds. A RotoMetrics die was used in the demonstration of ThinStream at Labelexpo, and the development of the technology was supported by the die manufacturer. “Liner was a top item on our innovation agenda,” said Don Nolan, group vice president, Label & Packaging Materials for Avery Dennison. “We wanted to combine our extensive material manufacturing expertise with technologies that allow us and our customers to further enhance label performance while also reducing liner waste and providing environmental and cost benefits. ThinStream is proof that collaboration across key industry disciplines places Avery Dennison and our partners at the center of a whole new wave of innovations in the label and packaging industry.”
AzTech Converting Systems exhibited its ISR Series slit and rewind system combined with Erhardt + Leimer’s NYSCAN 100 percent print inspection system, which detects any voids and automatically places the defective material precisely at the point of the rework table. The BSR2X dual rewind slitter rewind system with AzTech’s proven ET electronic tension system demonstrated the ability to slit and process 1 mil unsupported film as well as all standard substrates. The UDB series unwind and the RW series rewind modules, also shown, may work in tandem with one another or independently with existing equipment. AzTech also showed its RollRunner series of mobile roll handling carts.
Baumer introduced its intermittent coating system and digital Braille printing. The hotmelt coating was demonstrated at the push of a button and the most diverse patterns were generated live. The basis of the coating head is the patented HP-500 electro-pneumatic gun, which is characterized by the integration of the air valve into the head. The shorter airways obtained by this action allow faster clocking and a compact design, allowing installation in tight spaces. The Xdot Braille printing system featured four print heads on a running web, with operation on an intuitive, easily learnable user interface.
Cartes reported success at Labelexpo Europe with a large turnout at the booth and several sales of equipment. The company introduced the Laser350RF diecutting machine with a 350 Watt source and radio frequency control. Also featured were HS CombiLaser configurations with laser diecutting, UV varnishing, corona and primer, silkscreen, hot stamping, embossing, lamination, and hologram application. Among customers who purchased Cartes machinery during the exhibition were Femaprint, Lenzlinger, Neo-Color, Indústria de Etiquetas Romano, and Etiquetas Modernas.
Cerm showed its newest electronic job ticket for digital printing. With the help of Esko Artworks Automation Engine, Cerm can now address the HP Indigo WS6000 press console directly. At the HP booth the company showed an end-to-end system: from Web4Labels to the press. At the Xeikon booth, Cerm showed its electronic job ticket with the X800 front end. Both systems displayed Cerm’s intelligent ganging of narrow web labels in “lanes.” In the Digital Print Workshop, Cerm teamed with EskoArtwork to show that automation in MIS and prepress allows for more orders with shorter run lengths.
Codimag showed the new VIVA 340 press with Aniflo print unit. The keyless anilox offset unit is now available on both VIVA 340 and VIVA420, and both presses were up and running at the show. To date, 15 presses have been sold with Aniflo technology. Of interest to customers, says the company, is the implementation of a color management system and a multi-colour process system. Because there is no ink key control or roller setting, no ink/water balance, the Aniflo unit offers a predictable and repeatable print system. Codimag also had a “Waterless Corner” at the booth, in cooperation with Toray, a supplier of waterless offset plates. Various applications of waterless offset were exhibited, including plastic cards, newspaper printing, commercial and security printing.
Color Logic’s Process Metallic Color System enables printers to consistently and reliably print process metallic spot colors and special effects using their existing equipment and print workflows. Color Logic image files can be created using all major graphic design software. The Color Logic Design Suite CD includes prepared color pallets and plug-ins for mainstream application programs such as Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and QuarkXpress.
With a speed of 50 meters per minute, the CSAT Model 600 digital inkjet label press is declared by the manufacturer to be the “fastest UV full color printer in the market.” Displayed in the digital hall at Labelexpo Europe, the CSAT press prints at a resolution of 600 x 600 dpi and a four-level gray scale to achieve an optical resolution of 1,800 dpi. Such precision, said Natalie Gilbert, president of CSAT America, is vital for pharmaceutical labels that require small font and bar codes. The press prints with Kyocera inkjet heads, uses UV LED curing for heat sensitive print materials, and can be used as a roll-to-roll or inline application into the production or finishing line. It runs on a variety of paper, plastics and foils. “Speed is the differentiator with CSAT,” said Gilbert, “and the press can interface with converting equipment.” The CSAT 600 label press comes with a price tag of €350,000.
Delta Industrial Services ran a live demonstration of an integrated inline web converting and packaging system at its booth. The system showcases a variety of processes such as island placement, tight tolerance diecutting, vision inspection and heat seal pouching. In addition, Delta offers inline digital print finishing and laser cutting. The company offers converting systems for a variety of complex medical, pharmaceutical, label, security, RFID, packaging, and cosmetic products. Delta Industrial Services is an engineering intensive manufacturer of custom equipment that covers a range of processes, including digital printing, multi-laminates, precision diecutting, RFID, metalized labeling, flexographic printing, hologram labeling, semi-rotary diecut printing, thermal printing, bar code printing, flexible diecutting, and laser diecutting.
DigiFlex, an Israeli manufacturer of computer to plate processing systems, launched its Flexojet1724 Inkjet CtP system for flexographic and letterpress plates during Labelexpo Europe. The inkjet CtP jets DigiFlex Bi-component patent-pending ink on any flexographic analog plate, creating a mask. The company says that its focus is to address the market need for an affordable, efficient computer to plate system, to produces high quality flexographic and letterpress plates for label and tag printers. DigiFlex and its distributor, Jet Europe, announced the purchase of Flexojet 1724 systems by Reklam Speciaaldruk, the Netherlands, and by Labelor in Belgium.
The new FV-Series by DMS represents an advance in rotary hot stamping system technology, the company says. Featuring an interchangeable die shaft design, the FV-Series allows the converter to your existing hot stamping dies, as well as a wide range of specialty dies, bases and mandrels. The FV-Series allows for more tooling options and applications. Also new is the FormsFoiler sleeve die and mandrel system for common repeat hot foil stamping, featuring DMS’ Heat / Cool technology. The high performance FormsFoiler system meets or exceeds the higher running speeds, control and accuracy typical of solid brass tooling, but with a die that is lighter, easier to handle, and less costly to purchase and ship.
Domino displayed two technologies for offering fast and efficient digital label personalization and short to medium run printing: the K600i single color high resolution modular print bar, which can be integrated into an existing press or finishing line or as a standalone roll to roll solution, and the next generation N600i four color 13” (333 mm) web UV ink jet digital label press. Both systems incorporate the features of Domino’s i-tech intelligent technology and are based on UV curable ink jet technology, printing with 600 dpi print resolution at speeds of between 50 and 75 meters per minute. The K600i is the first product Domino has launched that moves away from remotely mounted individual inkjet print heads to a system covering the full web with a single digital inkjet module. Delivering quality output that is comparable from that of pre-print, the K600i operates at double the speed of most high resolution digital systems. The N600i Digital Label Press operates up to 75 m/m and offers both a high 600 dpi native print resolution as well as four grayscale levels.
DuPont Packaging Graphics announced a global agreement to market a series of print adapters and adapters for CDI imaging manufactured by Inometa, as part of the DuPont Cyrel round flexographic printing workflow. The Inomota compressible adapters are specially designed to optimize the fast performance of both Cyrel round thin sleeves and Cyrel FAST round thin sleeves, as well as provide excellent register accuracy, low dot gain and outstanding print quality from run to run. Made of precision fiberglass, they are engineered to be sturdy and smooth running with minimal run-out. The adapters have a rubber stop and bayonet locking system for superior handling and long life, and are available in all standard sizes.
The Tau 150 8C digital inkjet press from Durst Phototechnik, which made its debut at Labelexpo Europe 2009, continued to command attention at the 2011 show with its quality production, print speed of 48 m/m (157 fpm) and its inkjet spot varnish capability. The short run press runs a maximum web width of 6.5 inches, has variable ink drop size and eight level grayscale technology that delivers an apparent resolution of more than 1,000 dpi. Durst’s proprietary Single Pass UV Inkjet Technology features standard CMYK plus white, as well as orange and violet, thereby offering 90 percent of the Pantone color gamut, depending on the substrate used. The Tau can be equipped with a digital varnish print module for digital spot varnish applications, generating different gloss levels with one fluid in a single pass at the same time the labels are printed. The RIP software, powered by EskoArtwork, has built-in substrate calibration and color management to ensure high image quality and consistency.
The new FL-350, launched at Labelexpo Europe by Edale, is a versatile flexographic label, film and ticket printing press designed in conjunction with existing Edale customers and utilizing servo technology to provide pre-register, auto-register and print length control features. It employs Edale’s Pit Stop Colour Change system, enabling operators to complete a full color change in less than 1 minute 30 seconds per print station. The pre-register system locates print cylinders in register before any substrate is used; servo technology gives accurate control of printing and converting; auto-register is standard. Job storage allows production settings to be stored and recalled in the future. Inking and impression ‘strike’ features allow print stations to be set up with minimal material wastage.
The new EFI Jetrion 4900, the latest in the company’s generation UV digital inkjet press, was launched at Labelexpo Europe. The system combines five-color inkjet printing, with inline laser finishing for label converters. The press is available in Europe for €625,000, and in the USA for $875,000. “EFI’s Jetrion 4900 is a robust industrial press that is ideal for label converters looking to transfer high cost, short and medium run jobs to digital systems, from print file straight through to finished roll,” said Sean Skelly, vice president and general manager of EFI Jetrion. “It produces top quality labels with cost savings that go straight to the bottom line, a must in today’s business environment where Lean Manufacturing and efficiency are required to compete.” The finishing system features dual lasers from SEI Laser Converting in Italy, offering such capabilities as diecutting, slitting and backscoring on a wide range of substrates. The first 4900 will be installed at Consolidated Products Inc., Knoxville, TN, USA. “We just quoted a job for one million labels with 25 different SKUs,” said Brian Rhoades, VP of operations for Consolidated Products. “How many setups will we do to complete the job from start to finish? One. EFI’s Jetrion 4900 means real savings, quality labels and peace of mind for our customers.
Epson unveiled its SurePress L-4033A, a short-run digital label press designed for fast turnaround, low volume, and multiple version label jobs. The Epson digital label press prints on a range of off-the-shelf papers and film up to 330 mm wide and at speeds up to 5 m/m (16.4 fpm) and fits easily into existing digital workflows. SurePress uses Epson’s micropiezo inkjet technology to provide precise drop formation and placement to deliver smooth gradations, color quality, and sharp detail for bar code readability, small type and line work. The press uses newly-developed six-color, water-based pigment inks. Epson is working with industry partners on every aspect of digital label production, from color management to substrates and finishing options, to deliver the control, performance and results with the SurePress.
Erhardt + Leimer, manufacturer of web guiding and inspection systems, introduced its Elpad live sensor and graphical interface on its web guiding system, which enables a line scan view of color line guides to manage web stability. The graphical interface displays the line scan of the colored lines in real time for web path consistency. The unit can be set to make web adjustments both automatically and manually. In addition, it can change with the push of a button to sense the web edge. On the inspection side, E+L introduced a new Tubelight – for illumination of the web during line scanning – that is LED based. “It’s more homogenous light on the web,” said Jim Wright, North American business development manager for inspection systems. “We started with high intensity focused light in our Nyscan system, but that didn’t work well with foil or metalized substrates. The LED Tubelight makes inspection of shiny surfaces so much easier.” A captured web image is validated against a PDF to assess the absence or presence of print defects. The company now offers a Nyscan system with two cameras controlled through the same PC for wider webs. The resolution of the captured image is doubled.
Taking center stage among EskoArtwork’s wide range of product introductions at Labelexpo Europe is the company’s newest advances in digital flexo technologies, including HD Flexo and the Digital Flexo Suite. “We see a major trend towards both industrialization and digitalization in the label industry, and it’s one that continues to advance rapidly every day. Through our technological advances, we are proud to be one of the leading parties in this evolution,” said Carsten Knudsen, CEO of EskoArtwork. The first release of HD Flexo enabled label printers to obtain significantly sharper images, smoother tints and a greater color gamut; new HD Flexo 2.0 improves the screening even further, delivering exceptional printing quality throughout the entire tonal range, including highlights with gradients down to zero, stable mid-tones, and higher ink density solids. In addition, the development of creating flat top dots generates sharper definition for outstanding image results. The latest release of WebCenter, a web-based platform that manages pre-production approval and project life cycle, includes a 3D viewer which enables users to upload, view and perform the full document approval cycle on 3D files (Collada and Zipped Collada files). Label converters now can use WebCenter as an online medium to share 3D mockups with clients, make changes to the artwork immediately and gain approval quickly and efficiently.
ETI Converting described Labelexpo Europe 2011 as the best since the company was launched. Orders for equipment were placed, commitments were made, and the company received more than 100 “serious leads.” ETI exhibited its two new latest innovations, the Miniliner and the Linerless technologies. The Linerless technology is an environmental solution to release liner waste, and is an inexpensive alternative to conventional PSA construction requiring a release liner. The Miniliner, converts 12 micron PET or BOPP using a conventional die. ETI’s flagship Cohesio press was demonstrated at speeds of 150 meters per minute, from raw material to finished products: Silicone and adhesive application, printing, laminating and diecutting all in one step. This is what Cohesio is. ETI has installations in more than 35 countries.
ExxonMobil Chemical showcased its range of oriented polypropylene (OPP) label application technologies at Labelexpo Europe this week, including Label-Lyte OPP films for pressure sensitive labeling and wrap-around, cut and stack applications; ROSO films for roll-on shrink-on applications, and Digilyte films for digital printing. According to Kevin Frydryk, global marketing development manager for the label films business unit, an intensive and ongoing program of technology development is under way to meet market needs leading to new products focused on addressing customer requirements on product performance, decoration and labeling efficiency. ExxonMobil Chemical’s OPP films range includes high barrier, coated metalized, white opaque and clear films tailored to specific market or customer needs.
FLEXcon launched its new Thermlfilm HT at Labelexpo, a line of high-temperature polyimide films able to withstand the fluctuating temperatures, abrasion and chemicals inherent in the printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing process. The company also unveiled its FLEXmount Advantage Transfer Tapes (FATT) and heat stabilized polyesters designed for paint mask applications. The Thermlfilm line is available worldwide to manufacturers that need high-density bar code and alphanumeric PCB labels, including military contractors and manufacturers of electronics, aerospace and automotive goods. The PCB manufacturing process is one of the harshest environments to which pressure sensitive films can be subjected. The material meets industry standards and passes all requirements for this challenging environment. All Thermlfilm HT products are tested to ensure that PCB labels will remain adhered and legible throughout the manufacturing process. FATT tapes are designed for bonding and mounting applications in consumer electronics, automotive, white goods and graphics. Typical applications require transfer tapes in 25µ and 50µ although there are more challenging applications that require tapes out with these standards. The heat stabilized polyesters consist of a choice of two thermal transfer printable base labels (white or hazy silver). These labels are then designed to be overlaminated with the hazy clear product(s) either using one overlaminate or two on top of each other as a multi layer construction.
Innovation was the theme for the Flint Group team at Labelexpo Europe this year, and a range of new products aimed at providing value and innovation to printers were unveiled. “The secret of Flint Group’s success in product leadership and innovation lies with the company’s strong focus on customer needs,” says Niklas Olsson, global brand manager. Among the ink products highlighted at the show are: Flexocure Ancora, a high performance, low migration UV flexo ink designed to provide very low migration potential; Lithocure Premium, a printer friendly UV offset ink perfected for narrow web; and BioCure F, a UV curable flexo ink based on bio-renewale resin technology. Flint Group Flexographic Products showcased its portfolio of printing plates and sleeves, including nyloflex FAB and FAH plates for use with UV and solvent based inks. The hard flexo nyloflex ACE plate, as well as the medium hard nyloflex ACT, are suitable for water based inks. Rotec label sleeves developed for narrow web printing feature increased dimensional stability and edge stability.
Gallus Group reported strong sales of presses sold during Labelexpo, and the company “anticipates that business will be strong after the fair.” Gallus, which introduced its ECS 340 flexographic “rock press” two years ago, has expanded the capabilities of the press by making several options available to converters. These include register control, aluminum printing cylinder sleeves, diecut depth adjustment, machine software enhancements to further improve production, hot air drying, and a cross-cutting unit with sheet delivery. The trend toward digitalization has made digital printing systems available to Gallus customers, said President Klaus Bachstein. Heidelberg’s Linoprint DriveLine B rollfed inkjet press is on display at the Gallus booth, as is the new high end CSAT ITS 600. CSAT, a German manufacturer, was recently acquired by Heidelberg. Gallus also introduced a digital converting unit, created from ECS 340 modules and supported by the granite base incorporated into that press.
GEW featured the latest version of its VCP UV lamp head at Labelexpo, shown with an infrared (IR) cassette system for water-based inks. These inks and varnishes require hot air dryers to evaporate water content, and on certain presses could require rewebbing between hot air and UV curing systems. But the GEW IR cassette system is designed to simplify the process; it simply slides into the lamp housing in place of the UV cassette. The GEW touch screen automatically recognizes if it is UV or IR. Further enhancements have been made to the company’s e-Brick electronic power supply. The new supply is exhibited for the first time and is claimed by the company to be the smallest available on the market for multi-lamp systems. GEW’s integrated on-line UV monitoring system, also featured at the show, ensures continued UV performance by providing a method to determine the onset of any deterioration in UV output. This permits appropriate maintenance and spare parts planning and avoids premature lamps replacement.
Graymills displayed its award-winning Quick Change Peristaltic Pumps, along with its full line of centrifugal and diaphragm pumps. Additionally, the company showed a video of its new ultrasonic anilox roll cleaner. Also on display were a variety of ink pumps, cleaning systems, and filtration and cooling systems. The company’s mission is to help converters implement the four C’s of total ink dynamics: condition, clean, circulate and control. According to the company, implementing the four C’s can reduce operating costs, such as labor, energy, substrate, and ink, while increasing quality and repeatability.
This year, GSE Dispensing showed its automatic ink logistic systems for narrow web printers. The systems offer ink-yield increases of over 30 percent and significant improvements in color preparation and ink procurement as well as spot color accuracy. GSE also introduced new software tools that bring further improvements in color formulation efficiency, cost-analysis and traceability. GSE’s Ink Management Software IMS allows the printer to store a database of commonly used, complex ink recipe formulations. Standard integration with a Management Information Software package provides the production manager real-time information about recipe availability, enabling quick response printing. The integration with MIS also allows detailed ink cost-analysis of each order, and the ability to trace inks used on every job to the original base ink batch number. GSE and Cerm, a specialist in automation and print business management, have co-developed a software package that enables the management of ink requirements to be integrated within a label printer’s forward planning and scheduling systems. The new interface provides information about availability, costing and traceability of ink recipes and base inks.
Harper Graphics, licensee of anilox roll supplier Harper Corporation, attracted attention with its motorized Phantom QD Proofing System. The ink proofer is available in a flexo or gravure version. The Phantom QD comes standard with constant loading pressure, portability, magnetically loaded doctor blade, glass surface, hard coated finish, quick change anilox rollers, a solid handle without a spring, a snap-in blade holder, and interchangeable anilox and rubber rolls, among others. The competitively priced proofing system provides ease of operation and repeatability.
Adhesive manufacturer HB Fuller emphasized its range of label and tape adhesives at Labelexpo, including its Fulltak water based products with a focus on the SE75 range of dispersions. These are fully coater ready, calcium carbonate resistant, and utilize in-house polymer technologies to deliver enhanced adhesive performance. Jeff Burrington, application technical manager, said that HB Fuller has received “quite a lot of enquiries about UV flexo printable adhesives during the show.” The company has had the technology for about 10 years, he added, but said that much more interest is apparent in the converting industry this year than in prior years. Also on exhibit are the company’s Lunatack and Lunamelt hot melt adhesives, which are suitable for permanent self-adhesive labels, peelable labels, tapes and assembly applications, permanent closure of security bags, and specialty application insect traps.
HP took the wraps off its latest digital print products, the HP Indigo WS6600 and the WS4600 digital presses. The 6600, the second generation of the WS6000, is capable of printing more than 40 linear meters (131 feet) per minute in full color, and features a new inline priming unit. The WS4600, an evolutionary step in the 4000 series, has an option for full color throughput of more than 21 meters per minute (69 feet) per minute. Both new presses deliver higher throughput via a new Enhanced productivity Mode developed by HP. “With the Indigo WS6600, we can produce jobs of over 10,000 linear meters with the outstanding quality that our customers are demanding, and still deliver fast turnaround,” said Roger Gehrke, executive manager of digital printing at Rako Etiketten in Wizhave, Germany. Rako is a beta user of the 6600. For many CMYK jobs, HP’s Enhanced Productivity Mode increases throughput on the WS6600 by more than 30 percent, the company says, increasing the crossover point with conventional printing by up to 50 percent. The press also supports a white ink mode that provides high opacity and continued productivity, giving converters the ability to print at standard multi-color throughput levels. The 6600’s priming unit treats substrates with the coating required for printing on the press.
Idempapers launched a new line of specialty papers at this year’s Labelexpo. The specialty papers division of Idempapers covers the production of coated one side papers for self adhesives, release liner base papers, offset and digital poster papers and also carbonless papers for self adhesive applications. Idempapers also launched Idem Label SA 70 gsm, a green product, which has physical and mechanical characteristics very close to the standard 80 gsm proposed by the company’s competitors. According to the company, downsizing the substance while keeping the required specifications gives a key environmental benefit and major savings to not only the whole chain of converting, but also for end-users.
Impression Technology Europe, the main European distributor for Rapid label machines, exhibited the X1 and X2 models at Labelexpo. Using the Memjet print head, these machines produce 18 m of high quality color labels per minute. The high productivity, high quality systems also come with a low capital outlay
InkSpec, a Canadian manufacturer of viscosity control systems for the flexo, gravure and corrugated markets, expanded its presence in Europe this year with the exhibition of its Intelligent Inline Sensor (IIS). Benefits of the IIS include stable, real time viscosity control, improved color consistency, improved color density on every print job with reduced manpower, precise viscosity control within five CPS, and cost savings. InkSpec has been the recipient of many awards in recent years for its technological advancements. Among these are recognition from the Packaging & Label Gravure Association, the Flexographic Technical Association, the Gravure Association of America, the National Bank of Canada, and the Montreal South-Shore Chamber of Commerce.
Innovia Films launched Rayoface NB, a range of films suitable for linerless label applications. The films have been developed for use on Ravenwood Packaging’s line of Nobac linerless label applicators. The films are available in white and transparent grades and in thicknesses of 92µm (suitable for replacing carton board sleeves) and 60µm (for conventional pressure sensitive and wraparound label replacement). In the pressure sensitive market, Innovia has launched a high opacity white 51µm film, Rayoface WDI 51µm, complementing the existing WDI 59µm with similar opacity but at reduced caliper. The company has expanded its RayoForm family of BOPP films for in-mold labeling with the launch of RayoForm ICS clear and RayoForm IWS white. The new RayoForm films allow for easy nesting of containers, accurately fitting flat lids and can reduce scrap levels. Innovia also unveiled Rayoface CZ Plus (clear) and Rayoface WZ Plus (white), which are additions to its squeezable BOPP film range.
A group of companies in the narrow web industry have collaborated to create an inline digital UV inkjet press system that features UV LED curing and laser diecutting. INX International built the five-color press, Spartanics developed the cutting module, and Phoseon and Integrated Technologies (IT) supplied the LED curing equipment. The press, called the Evolve, can operate at a maximum print speed of 80 feet per minute, which would vary due to the complexity of the print work. The internal process starts with a substrate treatment to receive inkjet ink, followed by UV pinning (partial curing, using IT’s air cooled equipment). White is next, followed by pinning, then CMYK and pinning. Clear varnish is in the final station, followed by the full UV LED cure by the Phoseon water-cooled unit. The laser cutter from Spartanics varies in speed depending on the complexity of the shape being cut. The price of the complete system is $389,000. The printer without the laser cutter is $299,000.
K2 Flexo exhibited its 440mm wide FastAction flexographic press, specified for label and film production. The press featured full UV curing and IR drying at each printing station and was demonstrated running a six color, 40 micron shrink film job for beverages. The servo driven press was sold to Uniparco, one of the biggest, privately owned cosmetics companies in Senegal, and will be used in-plant, said Managing Director Russell Oddy. Designed for high speed operation, the FastAction press with chill drums and fully automatic register controls permit a wide range of films to be processed, and is optimized to meet the demanding requirements of the cosmetics industry. A full specification included die station with side adjustment, rotary crush cut slitters, print cylinders driven by helical gears, inks pumps, delaminating and relaminating with turn bar, video web inspection and corona treater.
Kocher + Beck, well known for its solid and flexible dies and tooling, showed its new UR Precision rewind/unwind system at Labelexpo Europe, along with several new products in its flexible die portfolio and its new rotary screen printing product range. The company announced that Jerry Wynia, of Northern Graphic Solutions, has been named K+B’s representative in Canada. Wynia’s background includes more than two decades in the flexographic industry, with expertise in printing and prepress. The UR Precision winding system features a servo driven integrated isolation dancer on the unwind that compensates for the time of acceleration required for a new roll of material, avoiding changes in tension that can have negative effects on the moving web. The five-servo rewinder features a scissor cut for a clean slice, and avoids substrate fold-back with its vertical web path to the turret rewinder. The UR also transfers energy from the unwind braking system to the rewind system. The company estimates that a converter could save an average of €3,000 per year in energy costs. The Tec Screen line of products include screens in a range of meshes, colored dark red to help reveal any irregularities. The screens are of a stiffer material than others on the market, and are offered at a lower price, says Executive Vice President Frank Hasselberg.
Kodak reinforced its Concept to Consumer theme at Labelexpo Europe with presentations in its
educational K-Zone. The Kodak Flexcel NX System now includes the new Spotless Flexographic Solution that can accurately predict spot colors on press. Improved workflow automation and the role of the Design2Launch Brand Manager in managing workflow assets from the brand owner’s perspective were also featured. One presentation focused on brand protection and how to add advanced security measures, such as the newly announced Kodak Traceless AD System for Antidiversion that combines an invisible ink and proprietary detection system. The Kodak Flexcel Direct System simplifies the platemaking process, eliminates the variability associated with the traditional flexographic processes, removes the need for chemical processing, and is useful for in the round applications. Unified workflow systems such as Prinergy Powerpack and its Packaging Layout Automation Software automate time-intensive prepress tasks and reduces operator errors.
KPG launched its Euroflex One Press, designed for multiple packaging applications. It is capable of printing polyamide casings, polybags, ABL/PBL tube laminates, packaging and shrink films, labels and small cartons. Based on one or two temperature controlled central impressions drums, pin-point print registration and consistent web tension control is assured, the company reports. An range of options is available, including different print processes, UV varnish and converting features. The KPG scraper system enables 360° printing for all-around graphic designs. It is available in web widths of 270 mm and 400 mm and with up to 16 colors located on 1000 mm or 1800 mm steel central impression drums, as well as UV, IR or hot air drying systems and with open or closed ink chambers.
Version 6.1 of Label Traxx, a popular print business management software for narrow web flexo printers, was launched at Labelexpo Europe. Now in beta testing and scheduled for full release following the exhibition, Label Traxx Version 6.1 includes expanded JDF integration and communication between Label Traxx and digital partners HP Indigo and EskoArtwork; upgraded database engine technology, for increased speed and functionality; a new Label Traxx E-Traxx module, providing a web portal through which brand owners can access and manage their label orders and quotations online; and a new report writer, offering expanded capability and a simple user interface. “At Label Traxx, software enhancements are driven by our very active user group,” said company President Ken Meinhardt. “Users continuously make their needs and desires known, and we respond with software updates twice each year or more often.” Meinhardt was a featured presenter at the Digital Print Technology Workshops throughout the show.
Flexible die maker Lartec showcased its standard dies as well as its range of special die series for narrow web label converting. The Altius series is designed for diecutting thick materials such as RFID labels, multi-page booklets, cardboards, adhesive foams, and multi-layer technical materials for electronics. The Vac-Edge series features holes across the plate, allowing for the suction or air expulsion of waste material resulting from diecutting; these dies require the use of a specially designed magnetic cylinder with an air system. The OCS series offers the ability to cut inline with offset machines, and the Art & Cut series allows for the creation of textured surfaces to materials.
Luscher shows its versatile hybrid platesetters Multi DX and XPose! Flex. The hybrid technology makes possible the print plate manufacturing for flexography, offset, letterpress and rotary screen printing processes in one single platesetter. Multi DX can also expose all rigid rotary screen print plates and plates with photoresist designed for hot foil, embossing and diecutting applications. With the new Continuous Calibration Technology, the printer receives a standardized printing plate and a high level of process stability. The modular setup also permits optimum adaptation to customer specifications.
Mark Andy, manufacturer of narrow web flexo presses, brought its case against digital short run printing to the European market with the full range of its Performance Series of presses: P3, P5 and P7. “Mark Andy has spent extensive R&D efforts to design a completely new solution to meet the specific demands of short run, while addressing a variety of other converter business challenges as well,” said Jeff Feltz, technical chief at Mark Andy. “Costs, setup times and ease of operation are all arguments used to position digital printing as the sole solution for short run projects. The technology of the Performance Series shatters these perceptions.” Central to the Performance Series’ design for short run printing is its print station/print deck design. A plate roll system allows for repeat sizes as small as 5½”, and new web path designs and advanced registration capabilities can reduce setup waste as much as 60 percent over conventional inline flexo presses, Feltz said. Mark Andy announced at Labelexpo that it has became the first flexo press manufacturer to receive HD Flexo certification by EskoArtwork. HD Flexo is a recently developed quality level for flexo printing plates. Mark Andy’s Performance Series P7 was selected for certification because of its design and print control system aimed at high quality printing. The HD Flexo seal is only offered only to companies that have passed EskoArtwork’s strenuous HD Flexo certification tests.
Martin Automatic exhibited its MBSC butt splicer for the first time in Europe, which was operational throughout the show at the Labelmen stand. Also at Labelmen was a Martin STS automatic unwind/splicer, complemented by an STR turret rewinder. “The MBSC is the most economical narrow web, short and long run splicer on the market, combining an affordable price with high performance and offering great value to converters,” says Gavin Rittmeyer, Martin’s VP of sales and marketing. “The MBSC and the STR turret rewinder together deliver extraordinary waste savings, productivity increases and print quality improvements through non-stop press operation.” At Martin Automatic’s booth, demonstrations were held with the MBS butt splicer and LRD rewinder. The former is popular for non-stop, fully automatic splicing in narrow and midweb processes of substrates ranging from labelstock to unsupported films to cartonboard. The LRD rewinder features a moving cantilevered spindle arrangement for rewinding and automatic unloading of finished rolls.
The MaxPro software suite has been developed to bridge the gap between high-end professional prepress systems and the desktop publishing environment. With its three core applications, MaxPro, MaxPro RIP and MaxStep, operators can quickly and efficiently create press-ready files for digital, offset or packaging printing processes. Through the use of cutting-edge design and technology, MaxPro delivers a prepress product that is fast, easy to use and cost effective.
Meech International, manufacturer of web cleaning systems, added a third product to its range – TakClean – that accompanies its ShearClean non-contact web cleaning system and its Tornado contact cleaning unit. TakClean works by running the web through a pair of transfer rollers, whose surface is treated with silicone and a very light adhesive tack. These then move the collected debris to sheets of stronger adhesive wrapped around rollers. The sheets are perforated so that after cleaning they can be removed, given to the customer as proof of cleanliness, or discarded. “That depends on the company’s policy, the operator, or the customer,” said Adam Battrick, director. The TakClean system can operate at a speed of 250 meters per minute. The ShearClean can run up to 550 m/m, and the Tornado can reach a speed of 1,200 m/m.
Melzer introduced its most advanced RFID converting line: the SL-600. With the capability of producing up to 6,000 products per hour, the machine is designed for industrial production of small RFID labels, such as those required for alcohol brand protection, pharmaceutical fraud protection, vehicle identification, and other high quality mass applications. Because only 100 percent functional and tested products are suitable for these applications, Melzer’s patented inline selection is suitable for cost-efficient production. The growing complexity of label structures requires a smooth and controlled production process. Even the testing and selection of UHF transponders can be performed reliably in a six track stop-and-go process.
Mimaki exhibited its multiple printing products, from an entry-level short run label production system up to highly specialized and customized label printing with metallic, varnish and white inks. The company offers the CJV30 series and the UJF-3042 series. The CJV30 series is an integrated inkjet printer and cutter. It comes in four different models (60, 100, 130 and 160 cm) and has a maximum print speed of 17.5 m2/h. The UJF-3042 series is a UV LED flatbed printer. According to the company, it offers outstanding print quality and reliability, as well as a space-saving, compact design. It can print directly on substrates up to 5cm thick and offers simultaneous printing of both color and white.
Momentive Performance Materials exhibited its SilForce odor free UV curable release coatings,
for sensitive applications where odor may not be acceptable to end users, such as for tapes on disposable diapers and feminine hygiene products. SilForce UV9880C photoinitiator is an odor-free catalyst, produced without the use of organic solvents, for use with Momentive’s SilForce low odor UV curable polymers. The product features low temperature cure typically needed for thermally sensitive paper and film substrates. SilForce UV9800 and SilForce UV9815 silicone release polymers are new products offered for use with SilForce UV9880C photoinitiator for odorless release coating applications.
Mondi exhibited its range of release liners for self-adhesive products. Their release liners are used in products for the graphic arts, hygiene, medical, label and sealant industries, among others. Product lines include glassine papers, supercalendered kraft papers, 1- or 2-side polyethylene coated papers, polypropylene films, biaxial oriented polypropylene films and polyethylene terephthalate films, among others. Additionally, customers are able to participate in the Mondi Academy, which gives customers access to Mondi’s extensive technical experience and the opportunity to learn about the latest trends and technologies in the market. In addition to seminars, the company also offers product training to its customers.
Mprint’s digital label printing system, Mlabel, both prints and finishes labels in one step. Since the unit is fully modular, the customer can design their own ideal machine configuration. Modules include: material unwind, thermal transfer print engine, cold foil unit, RFID module, inkjet print engine, UV curing, central operating station, laminating station, diecut module, web inspection, RFID write/read unit, material rewind and sheet catcher.
MPS showed its new EXL offset press to the label industry at Labelexpo Europe this week, which uses sleeves for the plate and blanket carrier. The fully automated press, with ink trains based on a Goebel design, has automatic inking and variable sleeves, and is available in 16” and 20” widths. All of the servo press settings are in job memory, allowing the print job to be run via a USB drive, an iPad or other remote device. The press on display also included a flexo station mounted on rails above the offset units, allowing for application of flexo varnish at any point in the print run. “We embrace offset technology and take out the disadvantages,” said Eric Hoendervangers, managing director of MPS. EXL-Packaging press is a wider flexo version of the EXL. It is built up to 26” wide and operates at a speed of 300 m/m. A dedicated inking system has been developed with an ink chill option. The EXL-Packaging variant comes with Automated Print Control as a standard together with iControl and job memory. High speed hot air driers for both solvent based inks as well as water based inks are available. The EF is a multi-substrate press that controls material compensation by servo positioning technology. Complete print settings are automated and can be stored in job memory. The flexo press is built in various web widths, including 20”. A multiple range of converting models is available, as well as different inking systems.
Multitec, specialists in flexographic printing equipments, introduced the Ecoflex press. According to the company, the Ecoflex’s modular design and precise, rigid construction provide the versatility and reliability necessary for the most difficult jobs. The press is available in 13” and 17.5” widths with a range of options, making it capable of handling a variety of applications on a broad range of materials.
Nanovis introduced its Nanocleaner NWC for cleaning of flexo label press parts using a cleaning cabinet and a non-volatile cleaning agent. Cleaning takes place in a closed loop under vacuum. Due to minimal emissions, it can be installed directly in the production area next to the presses. This saves on parts transfer, and additional ventilation is not necessary. The cleaning process is fully automatic. The cleaning agent developed by Nanovis for flexographic printing inks receives its cleaning efficiency by electrical activation of the active substances. It has a high flashpoint, is environmentally sustainable and does not evaporate. It does not lose its cleaning strength, even after many years, according to the company.
Nilpeter reported that it received 22 firm orders for new equipment at Labelexpo Europe, and some major order enquiries. The company introduced its Revolver die mounting system, which received a “highly commended” award from the judges in this year’s Label Industry Awards competition. A literal example of the Lean SMED principle – Single Minute Exchange of Die – the Revolver allows the press operator to load the die required for the next print job in advance of the die change, then simply revolve the unit and install the die automatically in a matter of seconds. At Labelexpo, a RotoMetrics AccuStrike die was used in the Revolver demonstration. The Danish press manufacturer promoted its new cLEANinking system on the FB press line. Each print station on the flexo press utilized a chambered doctor blade system from Tresu that seals link completely into a reservoir. The Caslon digital UV inkjet system from Nilpeter was shown mounted into the company’s FA flexo press, resulting in an inline combination process that also can include the addition of screen printing, foil application and any number of optional processes, followed by diecutting and rewinding. Introduced several years ago, the Caslon unit has been installed at 20 locations around the world, the last three in North America.
Nuova Gidue reported unprecedented visitor and sales figures at Labelexpo 2011 exhibition. Attendees were attracted to the new QN35, a converting section that allows for production of up to nine pages of coupon labels, with five layers on top of the other, at top speeds of over 100 m/min. The SnowBall matrix rewind system, which allows for 30 to 40 percent minimum more productivity in labels production, also attracted attention. The company’s “Digital Flexo” was also an attraction: flexographic presses with fully automated print pressure and register, digital information flow with RFID communication through the press to virtually eliminate errors, “digital” setup wastes (just a few meters) and a “digital” quality control during production. These features were demonstrated on the Master M5 press. Nuova Gidue introduced four press lines at the exhibition: Combat M1 for the production of labels and coupons; Combat M3 for labels and packaging; Master M5, the “Digital Flexo” press; and Xpannd M7, the offset multiprocess platform.
The new Omet XFlex X4 flexo press made its industry debut in Brussels. The X4 is the younger sister of the XFlex X6, which came out in 2007. The X4 is a low cost press capable of short runs with a minimum 5.5” circumference plate cylinder, print consistency to reduce waste levels, and short setup times. Twin servo motors drive each each print unit, and integrated pre- and register system (Vision-1) offer automatic register precision. Omet ran demonstrations on its Varyflex V2 combination press, with 530 mm width and including the Vision-2 high-speed register control system. Also featured is the XFlex X6 430 mm, with full electronic sleeve technology, equipped with different finishing units including a new moveable hot foil printing system that can be located at any point in the press line, as well as a new high performance waste stripping unit. Also on display was the new Omet offset unit with sleeves, which will be integrated into the XFlex line shortly after Labelexpo.
OWN-X Kft introduced the WideStar 2000 high-speed wide format printing system powered by Memjet, a provider of color printing technologies. The WideStar 2000 prints single pass, full color, large format images on a wide range of substrates. “Memjet technologies and components are changing the way people print and how they use commercial print by bringing affordable, fast color where it was never before thought possible,” said Jules Farkas, chairman of OWN-X. “This means color on demand is now accessible to customers without waiting or doing large print runs to realize economies of scale – a significant shift for the industry.” The WebStar 2000 delivers more than three billion drops of inks per second for print speeds up to eight times faster than traditional inkjet technology, Farkas says. It uses five Memjet 8.77” (222 mm) Printheads for a total of 352,000 ink nozzles (70,400 per color CMYKK). It has print speeds of 6”/sec (15 mm/sec) or 12”/sec (30 mm/sec), and resolution up to 1,600 x 1,600 dpi print quality at 6”/sec (15 mm/sec).
Pantec GS Systems demonstrated Rhino, an inline flatbed hotfoil embossing system. The system
can work at 120 m/min with tight register and micro-embossing structures. “High speed with foil saving for large volumes not only allows higher press usage, but economizes foil,” said Pantec CEO Peter Frei. Rhino’s revolvable head allows multiple strokes for single pass manufacturing of ambitious designs, with combinations of foil and blind embossing, still running at a speed of 40-60 m/min. “Flatbed hot foiling allows for the use of cheaper foils, and tool costs are a fraction compared to rotary,” Frei said. “The powerful foil saver rounds off the list for saving potentials. Tools, foil, saver and speed enable payback times of below a year.”
PC Industries introduced the next generation of defect roll mapping software for its Guardian PQV 100 percent print inspection systems. The technology provides an easy to use operator interface, one button roll synchronization, and detailed management productivity reports to help ensure accurate and efficient press runs.
Phoseon Technology, maker of UV LED curing systems, introduced the water-cooled FirePower product family with three curing length options: 150x20 mm, 225x20 mm and 300x20mm. FirePower contains Phoseon’s SLM technology, which provides high power 16 W/cm2 of UV LED light for maximum UV energy; sophisticated control electronics for simple system integration, and advanced structural capability for improved field serviceability. “The three-product FirePower family provides breakthrough performance for system OEMs,” said President Bill Cortelyou. “These products prove that UV LEDs have the power and long-life capability to replace older mercury-based lamp technology. Current alpha-site customers are enjoying the benefits of energy-efficient, reliable and safe UV LED curing.”
Prati showcased additions to its expansive modular portfolio of self-adhesive label print-finishing, covering inspection, diecutting, rewinding, slitting, and overprinting systems. The company reported sales of 21 machines to converters in Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Tunisia, Middle East, India, South Africa, and the US. The main attraction was the Saturn servo slitter inspection rewinder. The DIGITplus modular line featured the latest in laser technology, featuring a Flower UV flexo head for full varnishing or spot varnishing. It will demonstrate its ability to produce UV full varnishing, laser diecutting, matrix stripping, slitting, counting and rewinding of digitally printed labels. The Pharmacheck Light inspection system was launched, featuring a Nikka camera and two security inspection monitors for error detection. The Saturn Linerless system creates raw material savings while its linerless module produces zero liner waste. It also has two interchangeable rewinder shafts to rewind the lanes in an alternate mode, to avoid rolls sticking. The latest Jupiter inspection system was demonstrated, featuring a new graphic touchscreen interface.
Primera Technology brought its tabletop CX1200 to Labelexpo Europe along with its new companion, the FX1200 finishing system. The FX allows for lamination, diecutting, matrix removal, slitting, and rewinding. Cutting is accomplished by up to four knife blades. “That hasn’t been done before,” said Vice President Mark Strobel. “This is fast. The printer moves at 16.25 feet per minute, as will a typical cut job. Of course, the more intricate the cut, the longer it takes.” The CX1200 features a CMYK toner-based laser printer, a Lexmark engine at its core but significantly modified by Primera. “We modify the RIP, firmware and mechanics,” says Strobel. The changes allow for continuous web printing and control of dot placement.
Pulse featured the latest developments in its range of inks and varnishes, including EL165 UV flexo varnish for linerless applications with minimal noise levels. Extensive blocking and aging tests have shown that the long term release is the same and in some cases better than the standard cationic product, the company says. EL165 also gives a cost saving of 20 percent over the cationic varnishes and eliminates the danger of free radical contamination, making it easier to handle. EL165 is complemented by EL088 UV flexo semi-gloss release varnish for peel and read applications. Both products offer good adhesion and resistance properties and are suitable for use on coated paper and board and treated PE and PP substrates.
Rexroth’s ED series of pressure regulators are designed to quickly and accurately adjust deviations in compensating rollers. According to the company, trouble-free, continuous operations are as important as high speeds when working with paper and foil webs. Rexroth’s electropneumatic pressure regulator enables automatic web tension; a pneumatic cylinder supports the compensating roller in its function. The ED02 is the smallest pressure regulator of the ED series. Deviations of the compensating roller can be quickly adjusted due to the ED02’s high dynamic capabilities. Its external dimensions are 76x60x30mm, making it suitable for universal use in printing presses.
Rogers Corporation displayed its range of cushion mounting products for flexographic printing. R/bak cushion-mounting materials offer various compressibility levels. The performance properties of the SA 2000 open cell polyurethane mounting tapes absorb shock better, which contributes to improved operating performance through faster startups, higher line speeds, fewer press adjustments, and less damage. In addition, the SA 2000 products include a poly coated paper liner and differential acrylics adhesives in a special construction designed to provide easy handling and long-lasting performance. Rogers also exhibited its range of R/bak PSA2 Thin Tape series of cushion mounting tapes. The rubber based adhesives offer the highest adhesion and shear properties in comparison to acrylic or silicone. They are best used in printing applications that are susceptible to UV and elevated temperatures.
Rotocontrol presented new finishing machine options, including the EPOS (electronic knife positioning system), a single die station addition to the RSC slitter rewinder family, the SVS (Sensing and Verification System) option, and The Vacuum Splice Table option. The company reported that orders were placed for 18 systems. EPOS fully automates the slitting setup, reducing job change time to less than a minute even with shear systems using upper and lower blades. The RSC slitter rewinder family can now be augmented with a single die station, allowing convertors who want to maintain the benefits of the vertical inspection zone while diecutting in register. Rotocontrol uses Kocher + Beck die stations as standard, driven by S-Drive servo motors and tension control. The SVS option features powerful algorithms to detect repeated printed images on most material types including clear on clear, IML and butt-cut labels to provide missing label and matrix detection feedback to the machine. Secure sensing technology is key to providing customers with accurate counting. The Vacuum Splice Table, an option available on all Rotocontrol RSC and RSP slitting, rewinding and inspection machines, automatically places mill-splice/flags, matrix/missing labels and vision detected defects right on the vertical inspection plate for reworking.
Rotoflex, a manufacturer of rewind and finishing equipment and part of Mark Andy, attracted buyers with its Genesis advanced control and web handling system at Labelexpo. The control system, available on every Rotoflex machine, offers a variety of features appealing to converters, including 100 percent matrix and missing label detection, optimized label counting and job recall functionality. Sales of Rotoflex models had already been strong since the launch of Genesis in 2010, but the numbers have nearly doubled since Labelexpo. Several machines – VSI, VLI, DSI, and DLI models – have already been sold as a result of the show. Some of these machines are being installed in Europe, including Wikingraf and KDS in Poland, Oktawest in Georgia, and SATO, a multinational business enterprise headquartered in Japan.
The introduction at Labelexpo Europe of the AccuStar range of flexible cutting dies has increased
the portfolio of RotoMetrics. The laser hardened flexible die incorporates the technologies of both RotoMetrics and of Gerhardt. “AccuStar provides industry-leading die life on extensible film substrates and thermal transfer materials,” said Cory Gegg, marketing manager for RotoMetrics. The company says that the die offers the highest accuracy and the most exacting tolerances available “because they are precision finished and laser hardened to master the most challenging applications. We have combined our 100-plus years of experience to bring you the ultimate in flexible die performance.” RotoMetrics’ Flex Premier coating is applied to the die for use on thermal transfer materials. Another unveiling was the TexturFlex flexible die, which utilizes a soft anvil roll surface to create embossed textures on paper substrates in a wide variety of patterns. RotoMetrics also introduced its AccuStrike Anvil, which features Dual Adjust Technology. The anvil allows press operators to adjust blade clearance on press with extreme precision. Highly sensitive controls enable adjustment of bearers independently or together for unparalleled control over die strike on various liner thicknesses. The AccuStrike was featured at Nilpeter’s booth on its award-winning Revolver die changing module. RotoMetrics also supported the development of Avery Dennison’s new ThinStream technology.
SisTrade exhibited SisTrade Print, an ERP developed based on the most recent IT tools, offering access to all features through the internet, simplifying the company management from anywhere. This ERP is a web-oriented system with a 100 percent web interface and a database in the SQL server. The company has also developed a tool within Sistrade Print, called Scheduling. The tool has as input confirmed job orders and tasks and as output, scheduled job orders and tasks. It has been designed to help organizations schedule, control and plan their activities, resource by resource.
The highlight at SMAG Graphique’s booth was the new high-speed semi-rotary flatbed screen printing station that operates at speeds up to 30m/m. With a maximum print width of 340 mm and a 340 mm repeat length, the print station operates mono-color on a Digital Galaxie at the show, in conjunction with a semi-rotary flexo station and a semi-rotary diecutting station. “This high-speed flatbed screen printer enables label converters to deliver the advantages of screen printing including opacity, chemical resistance, and tactile effects more easily and cost-effectively than ever before,” said Stéphane Rateau, general manager, SMAG Graphique. “Visitors to our stand at Labelexpo will be able to see this printer in action, along with our full range of products for label converters.” Also new on the SMAG Graphique stand is the I-CUT 330, part of the entry level finishing and converting series for digital label converters. The I-CUT 330 (330 mm) offers speeds up to 4 0m/m. The unit complements the established I-CUT 250 (250 mm is a more compact model delivering speeds up to 15 m/m). After the show, the company reported that six Digital Galaxie units were sold, as well as five I-CUT 330s.
Sonic Solutions, a manufacturer of ultrasonic anilox roll cleaning systems based in the United States, continues its success at Labelexpo Europe this year. “Printers have taken notice of the value of our systems,” said Joe Walczak, president. “We don’t offer systems with unnecessary features. They are simple and they work, just like our customers.” Walczak said he was surprised at the reception Sonic Solutions has had this year, considering the state of the world economy. “Everyone is looking for value,” he said, “so I can see why people are looking for us.” Through the second day of Labelexpo, Sonic has sold six systems. On display at the show are two of the most common anilox cleaning systems: the SS-2800 and the most popular SS-6500. “Shows like this,” Walczak declared, “further prove that Sonic Solutions is a global organization working to help printers around the world.”
Stork Prints showed its expertise in different aspects of digital and screen label printing at Labelexpo Europe. On display were the DSI digital label printer and engravers, along with rotary screen printing modules and screens. The DSI UV inkjet label printer combines photographic reproduction quality with a rotary screen “look and feel”, the company says. It achieves visual resolution on labels of up to 1,000 dpi, 3D effects that resemble screen printing, and tonal values as low as 1 percent. Repeat lengths of up to seven meters are possible. The press is modular in design, and can be used for stand-alone printing to use inline with semi-rotary converting. Stork Print’s Rotary Screen Integration (RSI) technology was represented with four printing units at the booth, as well as at the booths of Nilpeter and Omet. The RSI printing modules can be seamlessly integrated into the architecture, software and mechanics of the latest generations of printing presses throughout the industry. Benefits include full interactivity, user friendliness and a shorter learning curve.
Sun Chemical introduced new narrow web ink products at Labelexpo this year. SolarFlex Lightening White is a new ultra-high opacity UV flexo white for maximum hiding power and it works equally well with high volume channeled and standard aniloxes. SolarFlex Nova SL is a low-odor in system based solely on Nestle’s positive list of photo initiators and features excellent UV flexo performance properties. SunCure Starluxe is a UV offset product range designed to provide the highest print quality to labels and packaging. The series has been proven to offer reliable and robust press performance on a range of paper, plastics and metalized substrates. SolarScreen Colours range has been upgraded for higher speed rotary screen printing without loss of definition for increased productivity. Sun Chemical also showed its portfolio of low migration products for narrow web, including SunCure FLM UV offset inks, SolarFlex LM UV flxo inks, SunBeam ELM EB offset inks and SunCure LM Coatings.
Tools & Production, manufacturer of a wide range of custom, high speed rotary punching equipment, enjoyed a busy Labelexpo 2011 in Brussels, closing new orders at the booth and meeting customers and distributors from many countries around the world. The level of booth activity during the first three days of the show exceeded expectations, and the show was probably one of the busiest Labelexpo shows in memory for T&P.
Tresu, a manufacturer of chambered doctor blade systems for narrow web presses, reported a strong level of interest in its products at Labelexpo Europe this year both from OEMs and from converters. The FlexiPrint Reservoir system was on display at the company’s booth, as well as on the FB 330 press at the Nilpeter stand. Tresu Sales & Technical Manager Henrik Kristensen explained that the chambered system does not require ink to be pumped in or out. “The operator can judge by eye when the reservoir needs replenishing, or the system can use an optional float with a sensor to indicate when more ink is needed,” he said. The chambered system has advantage over an open blade configuration, Kristensen observed. With the open blade system, increased press speed can result in splashing from the ink pan and meter roll operation, but in a chamber the ink is sealed completely in the unit. Tresu’s patented sealing technology keeps ink from escaping the chamber, resulting in a reduction in ink waste and a clean press.
Waterless platemaking specialist Toray Industries worked with press manufacturer Codimag to
showcase its product capabilities at Labelexpo. Equipped with Toray plate processing capabilities, Codimag’s VIVA 340 ran four jobs a day to highlight live changes, proof-matching and day-to-day reproducibility. The VIVA420 ran one job per day in combination with hot foil. Both featured the innovative Aniflo unit (keyless anilox offset) that offers a predictable and repeatable print system for reliable color management.
Under the theme “Take the label to the limit,” UPM Raflatac highlighted thinner and higher performance materials, such as its expanded ProLiner PP30 product family, which now includes a filmic face for food applications. Also introduced was Retail Eco SWP for self-service weigh-price labeling. New materials for pharmaceutical, tire labeling and security labeling also were unveiled. Committed to designing products with sustainable lifecycles, reducing waste, sourcing raw materials responsibly and offering recycling options, UPM Raflatac educated attendees on RafCycle, which now incorporates several ways to give film and paper liners and other labeling byproducts a second life as an alternative to landfill or incineration. The company is also continually expanding a range of FSC certified products, the latest including the FSC-certified wine range and high-volume Raflabrite FSC paper faces. UPM Raflatac is present at the Digital Print Workshops, demonstrating a new labelstock printed on a UV inkjet press. Optimum Extra is
a range of mid-gloss papers targeted at HP Indigo and UV inkjet digital presses. The company’s
new website for label and packaging designers, prolabelstudio.com, allows designers to browse label face materials and renders previews of the selected materials on different packaging. The tool also introduces a range of prototype materials that offer fresh combinations of color and texture to create innovative labels.
Wilson Manufacturing, a tooling manufacturer from the United States, made its first appearance at Labelexpo Europe. VP Wade Fouts described attendee interest in the company’s solid and flexible dies as “excellent.” The company’s products include a wide range of solid rotary dies for pressure sensitive substrates as well as metal-to-metal and a variety of specialty materials. Flexible dies are available in standard and extended life versions. Wilson also offers a range of other products, including magnetic cylinders, print cylinders, anvil rolls, male/female folding carton dies, sleeve dies, vacuum insert dies, and removable blade sheeters and perforators.
Digital press manufacturer Xeikon exhibited its 3000 series of label presses, and introduced
VariLane, a software plug-in for its X-800 Digital Front End, at Labelexpo this week. With VariLane, printers can create imposition schemes for label runs with different references and with labels of different sizes. This offers printers flexibility to optimize the amount of material used and to maximize print time, further improving production capacity. The company launched a new version of its QA-I toner in spot red and orange at Labelexpo Europe. The new colors feature improved light fastness up to a level six on the Blue Wool scale, and meet FDA food safety requirements for both direct and indirect dry food contact. The range of substrates that can be used on the Xeikon press expanded to include cast polyethylene supplied by MACtac. “To date, the market perceived that it was impossible to use dry toner technology to print on PE,” says Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s business development manager for labels and packaging. “Visitors to our stand are finding out that it is now 100 percent achievable and with the highest levels of print quality. We are printing on cast PE material at the show using the Xeikon 3500, so visitors can see the quality for themselves.”
A record year in Brussels
Brand owners are using smart labels to ensure product authenticity and value, while improving productivity and the customer experience.
Published November 17, 2011