A total of 2,820 converting professionals from 45 states and 44 countries descended upon the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL, April 9-11, for ICE USA 2013, to see the latest equipment and technologies on display from 345 exhibiting companies. These numbers represent an increase of 16% more attendees and 40% more exhibitors over the inaugural 2011 event. Some 120 first-time exhibitors joined this year, while show organizers reported that returning exhibiting companies took larger space to showcase more running equipment. Significant growth also occurred on the conference side of the event where more than 500 converting professionals attended the pre-show seminars.
“We are very pleased with the growth of ICE USA,” said Bob Chiricosta, show director, “but we are even more excited about the quality of the attendees.” The sentiment was echoed on the show floor, with many exhibitors excited about the decision-making level of the attendees and both the number and quality of the sales leads. Several exhibitors sold equipment on the show floor, Chiricosta said, adding, “ICE USA’s reputation as a machinery show continues to grow. We are now the largest converting event in North America and we’re growing fast.”
Bob Pasquale, president of New Era Converting Machinery, commented on the importance of bringing operating machinery to the show. He said, “We think for a show like this it’s important to have a lot of machinery on the floor so that customers can see what we do and how our machines run.”
Keynote presentations, which took place throughout the week, were free for all ICE USA attendees. Among the speakers were Paul Gaster, director, flexible packaging, at PCI Films Consulting Ltd, who presented “Opportunities and Threats in the Global Flexible Packaging Market.” Thomas Blaige, chairman and CEO, Blaige & Company, discussed “Merger and Acquisition Trends in the Converting Industry.”
The educational aspect of the show was not limited to presentations. ICE USA also brought back its “Ask the Experts” program, where five leading industry experts were available for private consulting sessions during the show. This year’s Ask the Experts panel was comprised of Edwin Cohen (web coating), Kelly Robinson (static), Dave Roisum (web handling and converting), Dave Rumson (slitting and rewinding), and Vincent DiTrolio (flexographic printing).
Harper Corp., Unilux honored
At ICE USA, anilox roll supplier Harper Corporation of America was bestowed the C2 American Innovation Award for its Phantom QD ink proofing system. The QD has the ability to simulate not only traditional flexo ink proofing but also flexo images, direct gravure, and offset gravure printing processes in a flatbed format, which can accommodate flexible and ridge substrates. Representatives from the HarperScientific division displayed the award-winning proofing system and provided information to interested attendees. The QD system was pitted against entries submitted by over 45 other companies and the award is one of six C2 American Innovation Awards for meeting the criteria of “groundbreaking” work and contributing to the flexographic field.
“We are honored to receive the C2 American Innovation Award,” said Tony Donato of Harper Corporation of America. “At Harper, we are continually looking for new ways to help our customers produce higher quality products. Additionally, we are constantly seeking ways to improve not only our products but also the support that we offer to each and every customer. The Phantom QD ink proofing system has allowed us to accomplish both of these goals while helping our customers push the limits of today’s flexographic technology.”
Throughout the event, representatives from Harper Corporation were on hand to answer questions regarding the company’s latest products and services, including the new HEX division and the HIVE series of anilox rolls.
Unilux was also honored with a C2 Converting Innovation Award for the development of its LED 2000 Series LED stroboscopic inspection lights. The new series of LED strobe lights combines the power of traditional xenon-powered strobe lights with the operating benefits of LED lighting, and has more adjustment capabilities for more effective inspection at full production speeds.
“Developing our new LED strobe lights was a team effort in every sense,” said Mike Simonis, president, Unilux. “Our customers and sales staff provided great feedback at every step of our design process to tell our engineering and software team what they needed to create an indispensable inspection tool. Winning the C2 Converting Innovation Award demonstrates how good things can happen when companies and their customers keep their lines of communication open.”
Unilux completely re-engineered the concept of LED-based stroboscopic surface inspection lights with the creation of the LED 2000 Series. According to Simonis, the new lights are five times brighter than Unilux’s first generation of LED strobes, giving the same lighting performance as the company’s xenon-based lights. They operate on only 25% to 35% of the power consumption of Unilux’s Lith-O-Light strobes. The new LED 2000 Series strobes are about one-third the size of their traditional equivalents and lighter, while replicating their power and increasing the flash-rate range.
“The ability to control the lights’ output is one of the major innovations in strobe light technology,” Simonis said. “Light output is controlled by varying both the light intensity and the duration or ‘on’ time of the light. The perceived light intensity seen by the user is actually a relationship between the intensity of light and the light duration. A longer pulse rate, 100 microseconds, for example, provides more light, but the sharpness of an image frozen by the action of the strobe degrades with longer durations. A longer duration can work well for repeat patterns with larger images. But when inspecting something with a short repeat pattern and fine detail, a shorter duration is required for improved clarity.”
Simco-Ion introduced at ICE USA its Pinner Easy integrated charging bar. Combining a static charging bar and charging generator in one, the Pinner Easy’s design provides a space-saving system for many applications including in-mold labeling, catalog stacking, card insertion, roll-to-roll transfer, and bag making. Using a low 24-volt input, the Pinner Easy eliminates the need for high voltage wiring, providing a simplified installation. To ensure longevity and continuous performance, the Pinner Easy features long-life tungsten emitters that are current-limited for increased safety. The Pinner Easy’s fully serviceable and replaceable generator and bar assemblies allow for maximum productivity with minimized downtime for maintenance. For installations where a PLC or machine control system is in place, the Pinner Easy offers a connection to fully integrate into the existing system. The Control Module provides remote monitoring of bar power, mode, HV on and fault and allows for adjustment of output settings. With nine bar lengths available, and voltage or current control operation, the Pinner Easy incorporates the latest advancements in customized charging technology.
Tension measurement and controls manufacturer Dover Flexo Electronics, Inc. (DFE) demonstrated the EasyView tension indicator, a compact, low-cost general-purpose web tension amplifier and display device for web printers, converters and web process manufacturers. It mounts on a machine frame in its enclosure version, or may install into a panel cutout on an OEM operator panel or in a cabinet.
The EasyView is powered by 24 Volts DC and amplifies a web tension signal from tension transducers installed in a machine’s web path. It displays an accurate tension reading on an analog or digital meter while supplying an isolated 0-to-10 VDC tension signal output to a PLC, drive or controller.
PCMC/Aquaflex featured its ELS Max, a fast changeover inline press that holds extremely tight register. With the press, printers can save up to 50-75% in both waste and setup time by having the capability to store and recall virtually every setting on the press. Stored jobs can also be shared between multiple presses with just a touch of a button. The ELS Max can run solvent ink along with standard water-based and UV ink. The press is available in web widths of 24", 28" and 32", and has a maximum run speed of 1000 fpm.
Label Vision Systems (LVS) showcased its LVS 7000 Print Quality Inspection, a vision-based system designed to inspect print quality while providing approved PDF-to-Image check; Master-to-Label and Carton Comparison; Delta E Color Process Control; 1D and 2D Bar Code Verification and ISO Grading; Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Optical Character Verification (OCV) Inspection (including duplicate checking and random or sequential data validation); and the new Auto-Scan web viewing module. Throughout ICE USA, LVS held several live demonstrations of the LVS 7000 on a Lederle rewind/inspection table, along with other LVS print quality vision inspection systems.
Meech Static Eliminators USA featured its brand new static elimination bars, the Hyperion 971IPS and Hyperion 929IPS, along with its recently released non-contact web-cleaner, the CyClean. “We always take customer feedback into consideration whenever we decide to update our equipment,” explained VP and General Manager for Meech USA Matt Fyffe. “For instance, we tailored our two new static bars to OEMs that have a preference for simpler installations; as a result, we are confident we have further improved the overall quality of Meech’s static elimination services.” Fyffe also explained what sets the CyClean apart from Meech’s previous web-cleaning products. “In order to deliver higher levels of cleanliness, we designed a web cleaner based on a brand new technology for Meech that incorporates fluid dynamic principles.”
Delta Industrial, a designer and manufacturer of specialty web converting and packaging equipment, showcased its custom engineering systems in a medical process and packaging demonstration. Delta offers engineering expertise in developing and building converting machinery for a variety of complex medical, pharmaceutical, label, security, RFID and cosmetic products. Delta engineers were on hand to confidentially discuss specific application requirements. The company demonstrated island placement technology, a solution for precise part placement that minimizes waste. The end product of the demo was a custom medical product in a cold seal package.
ICE USA 2015 will be held once again in Orlando, FL, February 10-12, 2015. For more information on ICE USA visit www.ice-x-usa.com.