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  • Too big to fail – will European governments step in to help COVID-stricken giants?

    Too big to fail – will European governments step in to help COVID-stricken giants?

    The German business magazine Handelsblatt has no time for sensationalism. It was all the more surprising to read its recent analysis of Heidelberg, the German print machinery maker often described as “too big to fail.” The recent departur…
    John Penhallo 06.04.20

  • Who will bet on offset?

    Who will bet on offset?

    With elections coming up in France (municipal) and in Germany (regional), there is much talk about front-runners and who will gain if so-and-so pulls out. In the narrow web printing world, flexo and digital make the running, outdistancing all other t…
    John Pennhallow 04.03.20

  • The healthy, wealthy business of pharma labeling

    The healthy, wealthy business of pharma labeling

    The annual Pharmapack show in January of this year hosted more than 400 exhibitors, including around 50 directly connected with labels.
    John Penhallow 03.05.20

  • If you want to make money…

    If you want to make money…

    Readers of this column may remember the recent acquisitions by Italy’s Fedrigoni group, now becoming a major European producer of labelstock. The company’s security printing division is still waiting to know if it has won a major contract…
    John Pennhallow 01.31.20

  • Want a quanta?

    Want a quanta?

    Every other press release you read today seems to announce a quantum leap, which usually turns out to be nothing more exciting than a slightly improved widget. Just occasionally, however, the label world experiences a change so radical it would have…
    John Penhallow 11.15.19

  • Countering contraband

    Readers of this column may remember that in conformity with European legislation, France recently introduced measures to combat cigarette smuggling by using security labels. The Imprimerie Nationale (now renamed IN Groupe to make it sound a little le…
    John Penhallow 10.11.19

  • French leave

    With Labelexpo Europe on the horizon, you could expect Europe’s label sector to be in a white heat of frenzied activity. Except that it isn’t, or at least not in August in France. The minimum length of annual paid leave here is five weeks…
    John Penhallow 09.06.19

  • Weapons of mass instruction

    In the old days, all you needed to run a press was a high-school education and a set of spanners. Nowadays, at places where label gurus meet, you cannot throw a spanner without hitting a lecturer in one or other of the arcane specialties of the label…
    John Penhallow 07.10.19

  • Cherishing plastic

    Cherishing plastic

    In this column, your correspondent recently reported the death of IPEX, the packaging show that for many years was billed as Britain’s answer to drupa. Now another UK show is aiming to rise up and take over the mantle. The combined Packaging In…
    John Penhallow 05.31.19

  • Norway looking up

    When was the last time you read an article about Norway in the label trade press? Could be some time ago, so here is a quick briefing on one of Europe’s most discreet – and most successful – countries. A mere thousand years ago this…
    John Penhallow 04.05.19

  • A royal flush for recycling

    A royal flush for recycling

    This month’s article contains subject matter you may find hard to stomach, so if you’re reading this over lunch, better put it aside until later. Still there? OK, what is the least savory type of paper you would expect to see recycled? W…
    John Penhallow 03.14.19

  • Recycling dilemmas

    Recycling dilemmas

    In India, Egypt and other developing countries, the very poor can earn a small pittance by collecting and helping to recycle the used cans and plastic bottles that richer folk have thrown away. Not so in Germany, where the returnable PET bottle is n…
    John Penhallow 02.01.19

  • Green beer

    Green beer

    It is well known that in Germany they like their beer to be pure and free from all harmful ingredients (apart from alcohol). It is maybe less well known internationally that a lot of German beer comes in returnable glass bottles. This means the beer…
    John Penhallow 11.16.18

  • Suitable statistics

    Suitable statistics

    We all know how Winston Churchill viewed statistics – “Lies, damned lies and statistics.” He, like some other heads of government, was not averse to picking out the statistics that suited him. But when European label association FIN…
    John Penhallow 10.12.18

  • Sticks and carrots

    Sticks and carrots

    In the July/August issue of L&NW, Calvin Frost, author of Letters from the Earth, took a hard look at sustainability and recycling. He concluded that to get from here to there America needs markets, technology and education. Much the same appli…
    John Penhallow 09.10.18

  • Old Wine in Old Bottles

    Old Wine in Old Bottles

    A couple of thousand years ago, the Greek colony of Antipolis, now Antibes on the French Riviera, was an important trading post. Amber, tin, slaves and wood went south in exchange for Mediterranean specialties like olive oil and wine. In the Antibes…
    John Penhallow 07.13.18

  • Now is the month of Maying…

    Now is the month of Maying…

    When merry lads are playing. And here in France they had lots of time for it this month. The first (Mayday), eighth (VE Day), 10th (Ascension Day) and 21st (Whit-Monday) were all public holidays. Then we have the tradition of the “Pont,”…
    John Penhallow 05.25.18

  • Viva Italia!

    Viva Italia!

    Readers who remember the Converflex and Grafitalia shows in Italy will be surprised not to find them this year. Along with the Inprinting show, they have all been amalgamated into Print4All (they say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,…
    John Penhallow 04.09.18

  • Roll-to-roll solar energy

    Roll-to-roll solar energy

    The name of Count Lev Perovski may not be familiar to all readers of this column, but it was he who, in 1839, discovered and named perovskite, a compound of calcium, oxygen and titanium. This remained a geological curiosity until 10 years ago when a…
    John Penhallow 03.09.18

  • Good news in unexpected corners of Europe

    Good news in unexpected corners of Europe

    The fourth quarter returns for 2017 are not in yet, but Europe’s economy is at last looking up, with 2.2% year-on-year GDP growth for the Euro area (running neck-and-neck with the US), and industrial production (a better indicator for label dem…
    John Penhallow 01.26.18