The year 2016 was chock full of activity. Events such as Dscoop, drupa and Labelexpo Americas saw the global and regional introductions of breakthrough digital technologies. Hybrid printing – processes combining flexography and digital technologies – have also made major inroads in the label market. Over the last few months, numerous digital and hybrid press installations have been announced from converters of all sizes, and I only expect the rapid pace of digital press purchasing activity to continue into 2017.
Inkjet printing technology keeps improving with regard to speed and quality and will continue to challenge and compete with the leading electrophotographic (EP) press manufacturers. There are numerous digital press manufacturers now, and of the newcomers, it will be interesting to see who emerges and who falters.
In addition to major equipment acquisitions forthcoming, I also envision some major M&A announcements. I predict big players will make big moves, thus throwing their hats into the label ring – and digital will prove to be a driving force. Recent developments have been Brother acquiring Domino, Bobst acquiring Gidue, Heidelberg adding Gallus, and Flint Group acquiring Xeikon. I’m anticipating more moves like this to come.
Innovation is fueling the growth of the label industry on both the converter and supplier levels. Brand owners and end users are getting accustomed to and are now demanding innovative, personalized labels. The bar has been set high, and we at L&NW, are looking forward to what’s in store for 2017. To stay on top of the label industry, be sure to subscribe to both the print issue as well as our weekly e-newsletter.
All the best and happy holidays to all!
Steve Katz is editor of Label & Narrow Web. Follow Steve on twitter at @LabelSteve.