The 100% privately-owned company is celebrating 100 years in 2019, and the open house showcased the company’s complete renovation to its factory and equipment. The all-new FA, FB-350, and Panorama presses were all demonstrated, showing their latest attributes designed to entice a new workforce of employees–one that grew up with disruptive technology.
“There’s a journey of innovation and automation that we’ve gone through at Nilpeter,” explained Paul Teachout, vice president of sales and marketing, Nilpeter USA. “In order to provide this level of automation for Industry 4.0, we had to go on the journey ourselves. Everything is basically a computer that perform a function, and that’s transcended every industry, from automotive to aviation and now to printing–we’re doing more with less.”
“Nilpeter represents everything that’s good about our industry,” said Dan Muenzer, TLMI president. “They commit their people to the things that help better our industry.”
The all-new FA has been designed with no knobs or handles, featuring Clean Hand technology. The operator can run the press with a tablet. The FA is the company’s flagship press, which includes seven motion control motors on every print station and is based on FIRST methodology. The press is intended to produce predictable results in half the make-ready time.
“Overcoming the workforce challenge is one of the biggest things we’ve had to do,” said Teachout. “We’re turning printing from a craft to a science. It’s more predictable at a higher quality and with greater efficiency. This has been a big operation and a big undertaking at Nilpeter.”
During the open house, Nilpeter also announced a key strategic partnership with Screen. The collaboration will bring enhanced know-how to the digital hybrid marketplace. Nilpeter’s Panorama press is offered in three versions, with Screen now playing a pivotal role. Whether printers opt for a standalone inkjet unit or a hybrid press linked with FA technology, Panorama can handle a wide range of applications.
“The alliance that we have with Screen now ties our sales force, our technical force, our inventories, our consumables and our support,” said Teachout. “When you buy a hybrid offering in the UV inkjet market, Screen Americas and Nilpeter USA have created an alliance that will be the ultimate solution for our partners and our customers.
“We’ve been very successful with this approach,” added Teachout. “We now have offerings that can overcome a lot of different challenges.”
TLMI Industry Update
As part of the Nilpeter Open House, Muenzer provided attendees with an overview of the labels and packaging industry, using member data to indicate the latest trends. Muenzer detailed a $13.5 billion industry, citing that half of the North American label industry is comprised of pressure sensitive labels. Food and beverage represents 60% of the market, and 67% of all labels are prime.
In terms of pressure sensitive labels, North America is more advanced than other segments of the world, noted Muenzer. The material split is near even, as films and paper are roughly 50% in usage. While 75% of pressure sensitive labels are printed on paper, films are seeing growth in the high single digits.
The market will see two significant trends in the future: increased personalization and security features. Nilpeter’s decision to team with Screen follows another key trend illustrated in the TLMI Ratio Study. Of converter members investing in new print technology, almost 70% say they are going to be investing in both flexo and digital.
“At the end of the day, this little cottage industry of label printers is growing up and making money,” added Muenzer.
Of the 2,500 converters in North America, TLMI states that the industry saw 6% growth last year. TLMI’s median size printer is valued at $11 million. Many businesses, now in their second and third generation of ownership, will be looking at new ways to generate revenue streams. This is where new technology will continue to help converters.
“We’re getting a lot of interest from outside the industry, be it from flexible packaging or from private equity firms,” explained Muenzer. “It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s a different thing; it’s consolidation. I think that number of 2,500 is going to continue to drop. At the end of the day, the majority of the people leading the consolidation are label people. It’s someone who understands the industry and is trying to find the sweet spot. We’re going to have more $100-300 million companies. There is going to be a shift, in my opinion. It doesn’t mean the small label printer is going away, though.
“Technology is coming, and label companies are investing.”