L&NW: I understand the theme of the recent Open House was “Your Passport to Packaging.” Can you further explain the meaning of this phrase and message you were trying to send label converters?
Claudio Semenza (CS): Our message is primarily directed toward converters who work in the label printing industry who need a "passport" – a new press – that will help drive them to successfully enter the packaging printing market. Offset rotary printing for flexible packaging is a convenient alternative to CI flexo and gravure technology, and it could be a great pressroom addition for new players who would like to enter in this lucrative market with a valid "pass."
L&NW: What does it take for a typical PS label manufacturer to make the transition into entering the flexible packaging and packagibg printing markets? How would you advise a label converter into undertaking such an endeavor?
CS: The package printing market is moving into new materials and new solutions. Flexible packaging allows brand owners to change the face of products on the shelf with less cost and less overall dimensions. For this reason a label manufacturer should make themselves capable of proposing different packaging solutions to customers – not only PS labels. The flexible packaging market has shown steady growth as of late, in particular we've noticed a strong increase in demand of hybrid-printed products. These products require both high quality performance, provided by offset technology, and high density printing, a flexo standard characteristic. Both these crucial requirements can be fully satisfied through Omet's flexo-offset hybrid technology.
Another tendency is to use solvents less and less, for health, safety and environmental reasons, and we are able to satisfy this important necessity by using food compliant offset UV inks and an EB curing system.
L&NW: Who is the target customer for the Varyflex V4 Offset press? What types of converters would benefit most from this technology?
CS: This press can target various sectors, in particular flexible packaging, either for food or not, and all those IML labels which today are still printed on sheetfed offset presses. Moreover, offset would be convenient also for short run jobs, thanks to the lower cost of the printing plates compared to flexo polymer plates and rotogravure cylinders.
Who can benefit? Flexible packaging converters, for one, who are looking to widen their market range, as well as potential label printers moving towards this technology. Also, sheetfed printers that have a lot of experience in offset printing and want to enter packaging market – they'd benefit quite a bit from the Varyflex V4 offset press.
L&NW: Was the Open House a success? How many attendees were there, and where were they from? What kind of feedback did you get regarding the event?
CS: The Open house invitation was sent only to selected customers – not everybody could have come and seen the press. But also, this is not a press that could be installed by all of our customers and potential customers, so we preferred to make a targeted selection who to invite. About 50 European attendees came and were extremely interested in the new press – feedback has been great – the live demo live was really spectacular and impressive.
L&NW: Can you give us a preview of what Omet has in store for the upcoming Labelexpo Europe?
CS: We are working on what we will have in store for the upcoming Labelexpo, but for the moment we cannot give a preview of what we will show – but stay tuned, as it will be the most important event for label market. Rest assured, Omet's iFlex and XFlex presses will be featured prominently.