Held at Brussels Expo September 25-28, Labelexpo Europe hosted 679 exhibitors, including 198 new exhibiting companies. Visitors and exhibitors alike enjoyed a massively enhanced experience thanks to the recent refurbishment of Brussels Expo. Attracting large delegations from Brazil, China, India and Japan, the show reported 37,724 visitors; an increase of 5.6% on 35,739 visitors in 2015.
While labels remained central to the overall Labelexpo experience, the show floor reflected its continued diversification into flexible package printing with a wider appeal for brand owners and wide web converters. With 25% more working machinery demonstrated at the show, 2017’s event was used for a large number of significant product launches with new machines unveiled by many of the leading press manufacturers. In addition, inkjet technology made a real breakthrough at this year’s show.
Running alongside the Linerless Trail and educational master classes from the Label Academy, the Automation Arena feature made its debut as it highlighted the latest automated label and package printing technology. As Industry 4.0 becomes a reality for label printers, the Automation Arena was put on to show the complete automated workflow in action from job creation and prepress through to finishing and customer invoicing. The ground-breaking special feature was run in partnership with AVT, Cerm, Esko, Grafotronic, Kocher + Beck, Matho, MPS, Wasberger and Xeikon.
Growth in the digital printing technology sector remained evident, with many high profile launches including Mouvent, a joint venture between Bobst and Radex. ebeam Technologies, Uteco Converting and INX Digital International jointly introduced Gaia, the industrial end-to-end digital narrow web system for mass-personalization of indirect food contact packaging and labels. Other digital launches included Durst’s new high resolution Tau330 RSC and Xeikon adding UV inkjet capability with the global launch of its Panther PX3000 technology. HP Indigo unveiled the GEM digital decoration system in-line with a WS6800 digital press. There was also the latest hybrid press offerings from major conventional press suppliers such as Gallus, Mark Andy, MPS and Nilpeter.
There was also a wealth of new conventional flexo press developments on show with enhanced features for automation, package printing and increased efficiency for short runs. Highlights included Gallus marking the European debut of its LabelMaster press, Nilpeter launching the latest iteration of its established FA-4* press and OMET introducing a film package for its iFlex press.
Lisa Milburn, Labelexpo’s managing director, comments, “The Labelexpo team have worked incredibly hard to deliver outstanding content for a what was a very bold show and thanks to the commitment and support of our exhibitors and industry partners, we’ve created a very successful business environment for the industry. This edition has broken all previous records and its success is testament to the fact that the label and package printing industry continues to see Labelexpo as being the place to be. We are still extremely ambitious for the show’s future and we look forward to returning to Brussels with an even bigger and better event in September 2019.”