During the course of the three-day show, which took place September 25-27 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, IL, an increase in attendees to 16,413 from 86 countries passed through its doors. The Latin America region was strongly represented, with a 95% increase from its 2016 show attendee total. Day three, traditionally a quieter day, saw over 11% more visitors than on the same day in 2016. By the end of day three, the show organizer reported an 83% rebook rate for the 2020 event.
Labelexpo Americas 2018 featured key press unveilings, including: the Gallus Smartfire, the Mark Andy P9E, P7E and P5E; Xeikon’s entry-level label printing and converting option, Label Discovery; Epson’s UV LED cured L-6534 digital press; Grafisk Maskinfabrik’s DC330 Mini converting machine; and AB Graphic’s new ILC760 inline coating machine.
Among the many products launched at the show were: Avery Dennison’s heat sealable reclosure technology; Flint Group’s portfolio of food compliant inks for short-run flexible packaging, including the web-based Vivi Color Solutions; Phoseon Technology’s FireJet FJ605, a self-contained and air-cooled UV LED curing lamp for flexographic applications; Kodak’s Flexcel NX Ultra Solution, a solvent-free, VOC-free, water-based system; and GEW’s E4C UV curing system, engineered to offer converters access to higher power in a compact footprint.
Tasha Ventimiglia, Labelexpo Americas event director, commented, “The tremendous feedback we’ve had from exhibitors and visitors alike at this year’s Labelexpo Americas demonstrates that there’s a real momentum in the industry right now, and that was reflected in the buyers’ mood, with numerous sales achieved on the show floor and a strong international focus. This year’s theme ‘Explore your Future’ really was evident, with more fascinating innovations than ever before, providing even more choices for buyers and a significant increase in exhibitors. It really shows that press manufacturers and the industry supply chain are upping their game. The Automation Arena and TLMI Ecovillage proved to be huge hits, with many packed out demonstrations on the show floor and are further proof that the industry continues to evolve. This show is very much about the visitor experience, and it was fantastic to see this pay dividends with 140 exhibitors and 800 attendees opting in to our brand new Label Connections 1:1 matching program, and all attendees using our lead retrieval touch NFC badges offering for the very first time. These really helped connect suppliers and buyers more effectively than ever before.
Micheal Lane, CEO, The Meyers Printing Companies, who took part in the conference CEO panel discussion on day one of the show, said, “You sense a positive buzz from the economy, clearly we are in a good economic cycle, people are buying. This show is as good as any I’ve ever seen. And there’s more options, more solutions, than perhaps ever, and this whole idea of digital and flexo, melding together to create different solutions that have never existed before – there’s booth after booth after booth that’s an example of where that technology is going. My expectations this year for Labelexpo have been exceeded.”
Adam Gray, president and CEO, SheetLabels.com, who presented a conference session on the rise of print-on-demand, said, “We have attended Labelexpo Americas for 10 years now and have always learned something new. Most importantly, we’ve established many long-lasting relationships with other converters, vendors and many great people in our industry. I would encourage anyone in the labeling and packaging industry to go to this show.”
On the Show Floor
Mark Andy’s booth featured both digital and flexo options, as well as inspection, rewind and finishing equipment from Rotoflex. Live demos of the Digital Series HD and Performance Series P7E full-production presses allowed potential customers to see in-action the continuous enhancements of each machine. Digital One demos spanned throughout the day and drew large crowds to the booth, as well. Building on Mark Andy’s 2017 FTA Technical Innovation Award win and increasing hybrid install volumes, the company brought the next installation in its Digital Series to the show for its North American Labelexpo debut. The Digital Series HD ran four different applications with a total of 23 SKUs on two different substrates, all under 15 minutes, showcasing its versatility. The introduction of the Performance Series P9E – available in web widths up to 26" – allows Mark Andy to thrive in flexible packaging and labels, offering solutions for shrink sleeves, bottle wrap and foil lidding with more ergonomic tool loading and automation. Attendees were able to experience the new press model with the interactive print stations on stand.
On the evening of day one of the show, Mark Andy Print Products and DuPont Advanced Printing hosted a customer appreciation event.The festivities were kickstarted with a live demonstration of the Mark Andy Performance Series P7E featuring DuPont Cyrel Fast Easy EFX plates and a job mix of shrink, EG flexo print, and digital inkjet screen printing through the Digital Plus Screen retrofit solution.The DuPont Cyrel Fast Easy EFX thermal processed plates are designed for the highest quality printing of halftones, linework and solids at high-speed printing. During this time, attendees also received an exclusive sneak peek at the Performance Series P9E, Mark Andy’s newest addition to the Performance Series platform. The P9E addresses market demand for film and flexible packaging, especially those short run in nature, with its 26" web width option.
Domino Digital Printing North America brought its “Digital Printing Spectrum” Open House concept to its booth during Labelexpo Americas. Domino hosted an insightful program, with something new and different each day of the show, including live on-stage guest presentations from some of the most respected and influential industry experts, L&NW Editor Steve Katz among them. Inviting visitors to “See More. Learn More. Do More,” attendees to the Domino booth were able to see live demonstrations of the N610i digital UV inkjet label press in various configurations, including roll-to-roll, inline and nearline with ABG finishing, along with a dual bar K600i digital UV inkjet printer integrated on a Delta ModTech machine.
MPS demonstrated the hybrid flexo-inkjet EF SymJet press during Labelexpo, combining the MPS EF flexo platform with an integrated, Domino N610i inkjet engine. The press allows converters to combine flexo and digital printing, as well as converting, all in one pass. Tim Fox, president of MPS Systems North America, commented, “This year’s Labelexpo Americas surpassed all our expectations. We knew hybrid printing was a hot topic that show visitors were keen to see, but selling four of our EF SymJet hybrid presses at the show proved the industry is eager to adopt this technology as the future, combining the best of both worlds in digital and flexo label printing.”
Intelligent label solutions that boost efficiency and provide consumers with interactive brand experiences, high-quality digital printing solutions and adhesives that enable fast, efficient digital printing were primary elements of Avery Dennison’s “Change the Game” zone at Labelexpo. “It’s an exciting time to be a part of our industry,” said Mariana Rodriguez, business director - intelligent labels, Avery Dennison. “Game-changing labeling innovations add value to the work converters perform to help their customers reach consumers in new and unique ways. It’s our job to not only help converters reduce costs while increasing efficiency with printing, facestock and adhesive innovations, but also to provide breakthrough technologies, such as intelligent labels, that ultimately enhance the consumer experience.”
AB Graphic (ABG) exhibited 13 machines over four booths at Labelexpo, covering a wide range of finishing applications. ABG highlighted a monster beverage specification Digicon Series 3, showing the all new fast flatbed screen printing module, the Big Foot 50 ton flatbed hot foil unit, and its little sister, the 25 ton flatbed hot foil unit, with a new swivel head allowing foil to be fed both along and across the web like the Big Foot. This setup ran two beverage labels, highlighting the quality and the extensive embellishment capabilities of the machine. Launching at the show was the Jetfx digital embellishment module – an off-line, fully digital system creating amazing varnish and foil effects. Also, the popular Digicon Lite was shown with a sheeter and conveyor option. ABG’s turret rewinders were shown in several different configurations, including the best selling AutoSet, available as a standalone turret or integrated on a Digicon Series 3. ABG’s German manufacturing division brought six different fleyeVision 100% inspection cameras, including two of these seamlessly mounted on slitter inspection rewinders. There was also a booklet machine at the ABG booth – last shown six years ago – capable of processing up to 36,000 booklet labels per hour.
Delta ModTech featured a high-speed finishing system, vision inspection demonstration and a compact coating system. Visitors got to witness the speed and flexibility of the Spectrum finisher. Delta’s truly modular design is the most flexible in the industry, the company says, with new options like the programmable Dienes auto-slit unit. Also, Edge laser diecutting or hot foil/embossing can be added at any time without a major rebuild. Also on display was Delta’s MOD-Track vision system, which fits seamlessly into any Delta ModTech converting machine and allows for closed loop registration to any die station, product conformance inspection and easy on-screen setup. In addition, the Delta ModTech booth included a demonstration of the Frontier DynaCoat. This compact coater is the ideal solution for lab, pilot or production coating. The slot die strip coating demonstration was well received, and the machine was running throughout the show. Delta ModTech acquired Frontier in 2016, and the DynaCoat showcases the synergy of Frontier’s coating and drying expertise with Delta ModTech’s modular approach.
S-One Labels & Packaging exhibited at Labelexpo Americas for the first. Booth visitors could see printed examples, its latest products, as well as demonstrations. Narrow web label printers who are interested in breaking into flexible packaging found inspiration for all their endeavors. S-One’s Shellie Terry said, “We welcomed several artisan food brands to our booth, who partnered with us to enhance their branding through newly designed, modernized packaging. Their projects include primers, overprint varnishes, flexible packaging films and more – all available through S-OneLP.
Xeikon announced the newest version of its X-800 digital front end (DFE). It is designed to deliver maximum automation to enable the most powerful workflow on the market. The X-800 6.0 combines consistent print with enhanced productivity to enable digital printers to process their print jobs, no matter how complex, in the fastest, most flexible and secure way. It is upgradable to all press models, from the Panther UV inkjet presses – the PX3000 and PX2000 – to the Xeikon 3000 series to the Cheetah series for labels and the Xeikon 8000 and 9000 series for the graphic arts markets. The product enables print service providers to reduce job preparation time, automate converting and serve new businesses that can only be enabled through digital print such as variable data. “We are constantly innovating our press portfolio and, as a result, our software solutions that support them, so our customers can maximize their production possibilities,” commented Filip Weymans, vice president of marketing at Xeikon. “The Xeikon X-800 6.0 DFE builds on our highly successful and established dedicated Xeikon press software platform that works with open standards and delivers scalable functionality. It will allow all our customers to add value no matter their specialty area. From label and packaging converters to operations with high-volume data throughput requirements, the latest version will help them streamline their workflow, reduce job preparation time for even the most complex work and become more responsive and efficient.”
Phoseon Technology introduced the FireJet FJ605 UV LED self-contained air-cooled curing lamp for flexographic applications at the event. The FJ605 introduces air–cooled irradiance levels up to 20W/cm2 with a three-year standard warranty. It has increased total UV output power performance for excellent dose delivery, an advanced control interface, and is available in lamp lengths that cover the gamut of narrow and mid-web presses. The FJ605 was designed for press manufacturers and converters looking for market-leading performance and digital control. It is ideal for applications that require up to 1,000 fpm (300m/m) in print widths of 600mm or 675mm and advanced digital interface capabilities for tight process control such as low-migration processes for food packaging. “The FJ605 has several advantages over its competitors in the market,” said Sara Jennings, Phoseon’s senior technical marketing engineer. “For example, it’s a high-performance, self-contained air-cooled solution that doesn’t require exhaust blowers or water chillers. This uses less system power when compared with traditional mercury and water-cooled offerings, saving converters energy expenses while still operating presses at high speeds.”
Prati celebrated the official launch of Prati USA along with its customers. At the show, Prati, the Italy-based converting and finishing machine manufacturer with more than 2,500 installations worldwide, celebrated the start of its new operations in the USA, having opened a sales and service office in Dallas, TX. Prati USA is being managed by Frank Hasselberg, whose experience in the market spans nearly 20 years. Prati USA serves the domestic market in the US and Canada, providing local support to label printers. In addition to sales activities, the company will provide its own technical assistance network to allow for fast troubleshooting and to provide qualified service. Comprehensive training sessions will be organized and on-site guidance offered for operators, which will help Prati’s customers learn the best job processing methods directly from local experts. “Our commitment to the North American market has never been stronger,” said Chiara Prati.
GEW reported a record number of its UV curing systems were in operation at Labelexpo Americas 2018, with GEW lampheads running on the majority of the leading manufacturers’ presses at the show. These were installed on a wide range of OEM presses and used for working demonstrations, showing that customers have found success with the technical achievement and reliability of GEW UV systems. Marcus Greenbrook, director of international sales at GEW, commented, “The number of GEW lampheads in operation was over 25% up on the previous Labelexpo Americas, and it was a delight to see our equipment in use on so many stands. It provides a strong testament to the quality and dependability of our UV curing systems.Every GEW UV system installed today is ready for LED operation, and Labelexpo attendees were particularly keen to find out about our ArcLED hybrid UV system, which offers printers the most cost-effective upgrade path to LED UV on their flexo presses. It is this combination of strong customer focus and GEW’s uncompromising quality standards that sees our lampheads used as the de facto solution by so many of the world’s leading press manufacturers.”
During the show, acpo featured the expansion of its coated film product offerings to flexible packaging converters and brand owners, now offering high end barrier coated films under the O2xBloc trademark. The O2xBloc films were developed to meet the most stringent oxygen barrier requirements for flexible packaging. These clear films give converters a cost-effective alternative to multi-layer and PVDC coated barrier films while providing ultra-high oxygen barrier properties, flex crack and thermal resistance to support high speed filling on packaging lines and pouch converting equipment. Excellent print reception eliminates the need for a third layer, which supports package lightweighting and efficiency.
Epson showcased its label and package printing solutions, including the SurePress line of digital label presses. These automated solutions feature workflows using the Wasatch RIP software, as does the ColorWorks on-demand color label printers. On display were Epson’s SurePress digital label presses, including the SurePress L-6034VW and L-4533AW. Epson’s label presses can be tailored to meet various needs and budgets, and provide media flexibility for pressure sensitive, shrink and in-mold labels, as well as flexible packaging. Epson also presented its line of ColorWorks inkjet label printers, which deliver fast, efficient, custom labels on-demand, thus saving time and reducing costs. Epson booth visitors were able to see in action the SurePress L-6034VW, Epson’s single-pass industrial press that uses the company’s PrecisionCore linehead technology and low migration LED UV curing ink. This enables high-speed printing that’s ideal for producing labels designed for scratch and weather resistance. The L-6034VW integrates functions required for label production, including a corona treater, white ink, digital varnish, an additional UV curing unit, and automated maintenance and printhead monitoring.
The 2018 Labelexpo Americas was an exciting event for Cyngient, a new company making its first appearance at the show. Based in Fairfield, NJ, Cyngient, led by managing partners Andrew Wasserman and John Dreyer, brings to the industry more than 100 years of combined experience. The company is a full-service, technology-driven provider of inks, coatings, adhesives and custom-built solutions for the flexographic and labeling industries. “This was our first Labelexpo, and we truly see a real opportunity to interact with industry leaders while exhibiting Cyngient’s capabilities and new products,” Wasserman said. “Our recent partnership with MPS and Imageworx brings to market the first 3-D optic lens inline to produce multi-dimensional labels, which could be used for security and promotional labels without having to wear 3-D glasses – it is truly groundbreaking.”
Global anilox roll supplier Harper Corporation of America exhibited under the slogan “Explore Your Future” at Labelexpo. The company showed several of its products and discussed how its programs, services and anilox technology can enhance print repeatability and improve profitability. One of the systems on display was Harper’s award-winning patented QD ink proofing and flatbed printing system, which uses flexographic and gravure processes. This system has become the color-matching proofer of choice by many leading ink manufacturers and is able to be configured at four different speed units. The maximum travel speed is 150 fpm (45 m/m), and travel distance can be adjusted anywhere from 12" to 33" in one-inch increments. It is also available in either a 2.75" or 5" proofer width.
Martin Automatic captured the imagination of both domestic and the larger-than-usual international presence at this year’s Labelexpo Americas with its extreme space saving butt splicer, which requires only 67" in the running direction to install. “Our vertical festoons allow us many advantages, including the ability to orient machines into very unique footprints that seemingly ‘create space’ for our end users when they thought it was otherwise impossible to fit in automation,” reported Gavin Rittmeyer, VP of sales and marketing for Martin Automatic. The combination of the extreme space-saving MBS and popular Martin Automatic LRD rewinder displayed at the show gave a bookend presentation requiring the smallest footprint for full-featured automation for label presses. Martin also premiered 1/12 scale models of its machines for various other industries beyond labels. These models inspired much conversation among visitors and showed the full range of Martin’s capabilities.
Channeled Resources Group (CRG) celebrated its 40th anniversary at the show. Starting in August 1978 in traditional recycling, CRG has evolved into a global supplier of coated, treated, and laminated papers and films. The evolution brought silicone coating, pressure sensitive tape laminating, and blank label manufacturing into the company’s portfolio of products. Now, well over 50% of CRG’s products meet ISO requirements and are used in adhesive and sealant, medical, fastening, and construction applications. While Channeled is a recognized leader in developing alternatives to landfilling of the same products it manufactures and processes, it continues to add capacity in silicone coating and blank label manufacturing. “We are pleased to share this exciting anniversary with the entire Channeled Resources family of employees, customers and suppliers,” said CRG’s Calvin Frost.
Colordyne Technologies announced the development of its second-generation 3600 Series AQ technology. Partnering with Memjet, Colordyne uses DuraLink, Memjet’s next-generation printing technology, to power its second-generation 3600 Series AQ engines. This new custom print technology delivers speed, quality and affordability to reach new markets and opportunities. Currently, Colordyne is looking for additional sub OEM partners and beta sites for the second-generation engines. The first installations are targeted for the second half of 2019. “Colordyne designs and engineers print solutions to meet the specific needs of our customers,” said Andy Matter, president of Colordyne.
Dantex demonstrated its line of inkjet label presses, the PicoJet and PicoColour. The PicoJet prints 13.78" at 250 fpm while offering high resolution at 2.5 pl. This modular system can be configured to include: pre/post white, varnish or additional colors to give a wider color gamut, and multiple finishing options. PicoColour provides quality, finished labels from a small footprint with a low cost of ownership. PicoJet and PicoColour inkjet label presses are designed and built in the United Kingdom by Dantex. Graphic Republik, a European supplier of software solutions for prepress, color conversion and proofing, joined Dantex at Labelexpo. Steve Donegan, MD at Graphic Republik, commented, “To fully complement the needs of the label industry, Star Plate was shown producing Imagesetter-quality high-definition films from inkjet devices, perfect for producing negatives for use in flexo and letterpress platemaking.” There was also a focus on enhancing print quality with presentations of Smart Screen, an award-winning flexo and letterpress screening application.
At the show, Gallus’new Smartfire digital label printing system was unveiled to the North American market. The Smartfire focuses on new target groups who are looking for low risk, easy entry into digital label printing,” explained Michael Ring, head of Digital Solutions at Gallus. “Incorporating Memjet technology allows us to offer an inkjet printing press that produces labels with a quality of 1600 × 1600 dpi – while establishing a new, low investment price point in the market.” The Memjet water-based inks and printheads mean that labels produced by the Smartfire are eco-friendly, with a minimal ecological footprint. Virtually “plug and play,” the Smartfire uses an ordinary power outlet, needs no exhaust equipment, is extremely compact, and does not emit VOCs which make it suitable for any work environment. Gallus and Heidelberg now offer a complete print shop solution for label printers with reliable equipment, parts, service and consumables support – all from a single source. The Gallus portfolio also includes the Labelmaster, a cost-effective flexo label press. From the economical base model to the fully equipped version, Gallus says the Labelmaster is redefining conventional flexographic label printing, and its modular design enables customers to configure the press to the needs of their business. On the digital side, in addition to the Smartfire, Gallus’ Labelfire was featured. Labelfire is an advanced hybrid inkjet press that was developed with Heidelberg and Fujifilm, and is setting the standard for UV inkjet image quality with the lowest cost of production in its class, Ring said.
Maxcess highlighted new technology from Fife, Tidland, MAGPOWR, Webex, Valley Roller, Menges Roller and Componex. “Labelexpo is a great opportunity to connect with our narrow web and label customers face-to-face, providing them with a hands-on-experience while previewing the latest technologies in web handling,” says Greg Jehlik, CEO of Maxcess. On display from Maxcess was a range of products: the Webex and Menges Roller and the debut of a low-inertia carbon fiber idler roll from Webex, as well as heat transfer rolls, vacuum and idler rolls. The Valley Roller features rubber compounds that offer outstanding resiliency and help customers achieve substantial productivity improvements.Componex highlighted the WINertia dead shaft idlers, which maintain constant traction on high-speed webs and include built-in “air vents” that remove trapped air 7.5 times faster than any other idler roller on the market. Fife offered a sneak preview of a new sensor technology using multiple cameras, enhanced digital sensor technology, as well as the next-generation inspection system (VEO 700), and the Tidland Control Series electronic knifeholder, an all-electronic knifeholder that offers auto-calibration of side force and blade overlap to increase slit accuracy and consistency, was discussed, too. MAGPOWR’s DLCA-NET, a tension amplifier with networking capabilities, offers the ability to transmit calibrated tension values over communications. In addition, the ISR/CSR integrated sensing idler rollers were on display at the Maxcess booth.
Arrow Systems showed how it is “revolutionizing” the digital narrow web space with the introduction of several advanced, new systems that solve many of the issues faced by label producers and end users alike. Over the past 30 years, Arrow has upheld its industry presence as the largest international distributer of Gerber systems and materials. More recently, the company has turned its focus toward the label and narrow web space, distributing professional digital printing and finishing systems around the world. Arrow Systems is a global distributor of label and narrow web printing systems. “As digital technology is advancing year over year, Arrow Systems is constantly innovating new solutions that solve tomorrow’s challenges, today. From Anytron laser finishing systems, to one of the fastest blade finishers on the market, the DB-S, Arrow Systems is leading the way in offering cutting-edge solutions to our customers,” said Davis Tiburzi, sales manager.
MGI and Konica Minolta showcased the strength of their shared roll-fed digital industrial print solutions with the JETvarnish 3D Web embellishment and AccurioLabel 190 printing presses. The JETvarnish 3D Web print enhancement press is a 100% digital solution for 2D/3D UV raised spot coats, dimensional textures, embossed Variable Data Foiling (VDF) and artistic CMYK highlights. These eye-catching decorative special effects are now available without the traditionally expensive use of dies, screens or tooling on label rolls up to 16.5" (420mm) and at speeds up to 8,220 ft/hr (2,520m/hr.) The JETvarnish 3D Web offers features and benefits that include: rapid prototyping for new product launches, complete customization of text, images and special effects on every job, faster short-run turnarounds to fuel greater productivity and profitability – as well as a high-volume production design that includes automatic web tension calibration, rewinder and semi-rotary diecutting options. Additional available substrate management tools include electro-static corona energy treatment and flexo primer coating stations. The JETVarnish 3D Web brings new embossed Variable Data Foiling (VDF) personalization and short-run customization power to flexible packaging printers and label converters seeking to provide elegant, attractive and eye-catching packaging materials to their brand-owner customers.
As part of the flurry of activities and live machine demonstrations taking place at the Bobst stand at Labelexpo Americas, Bobst hosted a daily REVO master class for converters looking to adopt ECG technology and move to a fully digitized workflow. A full lineup of knowledgeable experts from each of the REVO team partners - Apex International, AVT, Bobst, DuPont, Esko, Flint Group, Saica Flex, Stora Enso, UPM Raflatac and X-Rite Pantone – took participants through the different technologies that make up the REVO fully automated workflow. Other topical business issues relating to ECG advantages, total cost of ownership and the like, were also discussed. A dedicated live demo of three REVO printed jobs on one of the Bobst narrow web exhibited machines completed the master class. “ECG printing is definitely set to change the way converters will print labels and packaging in the future, and the REVO Digital Flexo technology offering to the industry is truly unique. This is so in terms of color and print quality, consistency and repeatability, validated by global digital quality standards, as well as operational efficiency,” explained Federico D’Annunzio, Strategic Products marketing director of Bobst Business Unit Web-fed.
Baldwin Vision Systems (BVS) presented its latest developments and new features for its growing portfolio of defect detection and color management technology.The new Vision Systems business unit of Baldwin Technology Company, Inc. unites former brands PC Industries, QuadTech, and Web Printing Controls into a “print technology powerhouse,” according to Isaam Lutfiyya, director of global sales and marketing for BVS. “Visitors to our booth got a first look at some truly exciting new technical achievements,” said Lutfiyya. “It is clear now that combining engineering talent and resources is already bearing fruit, bringing proven technology to the next level.” One “first look” was the Guardian R, a new real-time quality monitoring and reporting tool for the Guardian PQV advanced 100% print inspection. Guardian R uses a central server to monitor, collect and display real-time inspection data for multiple presses and jobs – and even across multiple plants – on a simple, uncluttered dashboard user interface.
INX Interntional Ink Co. unveiled its Prodigy EBGA, the new EB low migration product from its popular line of industrial and packaging application inks. SGIA’s 2018 Product of the Year for Digital Inks - Industrial and Packaging - the premium inkjet ink cures by electron beam using Uteco’s GAIA printer. It is the first inkjet machine offering electron beam technology, eliminating the need for photoinitiators, the company said. EBGA inks provide strong adhesion to a range of traditional label material and film, wsith high chemical and scratch resistance. Available in CMYK, they can create custom spot color in addition to orange, green and violet. A complete assortment of AquaTech water-based tag and label inks and coating solutions, including the new AquaTech ION-X series, were on display. Known for their strong performance and excellent print stability, these inks are formulated to provide premium strength for today’s higher line anilox rolls and excellent cure rates at high press speeds. Whether it is AquaTech or a solution for sheetfed or web offset, flexographic, UV hybrid, HUV and LED or electron beam printing, INX had on display those inks and coatings at Labelexpo.
Transcoat unveiled its new patent-pending technology designed for label printers to make their own laminate while saving time and money. The Transcoat labelstock laminator unwinds faceless rolls (consisting of adhesive and liner only) and laminates any face material (paper, film or other) to generate the final PS construction. Faceless rolls are offered in different widths and adhesive technologies (hot-melt, UV acrylic or emulsion acrylics). “With a very small footprint, the Transcoat labelstock laminator is easy-to-use and does not require support from highly skilled operators, quality control chemists or product development specialists. Transcoat is a budget-focused solution, costing a fraction of traditional labelstock suppliers’ price,” said Transcoat president Frederic La Brie.
CRON-ECRM highlighted its HDI 400, the latest addition to the HDI family. “The HDI 400 is a true game changer for smaller label printers,” said Marshall Hogenson, VP Americas, Flexo Business Unit. “Many businesses cannot afford the high price tag and prohibitive maintenance contract costs of other units. With an introductory price of $49,900, now almost every label printer can afford to move into digital plates. The 17" x 22" format is perfect for many, and with up to 5080 dpi resolution this unit offers equal or better quality than much more expensive devices. And the icing on the cake is the two-year parts warranty that comes with every CRON ECRM HDI machine.” Attendees can also experience the HDI 920H+, CRON ECRM’s best-selling model, with resolution up to 9600 dpi and speeds up to 48 sq. ft. per hour. The CRON HDI Flexo 920H+ is a highly flexible CTP for small and medium formats such as label printing, paper cups and cartons. It offers excellent quality, high productivity and cost efficiency on a very compact footprint, making it a viable choice for all packaging converters.
Flint Group Narrow Web introduced its most complete portfolio of food-compliant inks for short-run flexible packaging, the “Fastest Ink for Shrink,” and the new benchmark for color management – VIVO Colour Solutions. Each offering is designed to simplify the converter production process and enable higher productivity and efficiency. “This year, our ink portfolio for short-runs of food-compliant flexible packaging included new UV curable and water borne inks. This means customers with multiple, different press technologies can rely on us to provide a food compliant product for nearly all their printing needs,” said Kelly Kolliopoulos, global marketing director, Flint Group Narrow Web. “Also, if our customers are seeking to increase their productivity in printing shrink sleeves, or need one product that runs at high speeds on either a conventional UV or LED UV press, EkoCure XS has unique rheology and curing properties with terrific on press performance. In head-to-head benchmarking, at customers and in our own press facility, it is truly, ‘the Fastest Ink for Shrink.’ And finally, we are very excited to introduce VIVO Colour Solutions, which is a web-based color management solution, the first of its kind, designed to significantly reduce press down time and substrate waste due to difficulties on press with color matching.”
The Flexographic business of Flint Group demonstrated how it adds value to prepress and press side operations with its latest product offerings in nyloflex printing plates, plate processing equipment and rotec sleeves and adapters for label and narrow web printing. “As a solutions provider, Flint Group is able to share its expertise in the different flexo printing components to develop products that synergistically work together to deliver added value to our customers,” said Jim Rogers, vice president/general manager, Flexographic. “For example, we used our technical competence in the area of inks to foster our development of the nyloflex XVH thermal printing plate to work optimally with low migration UV flexo inks to ensure longer and cleaner print runs.”
Ritrama, an Italian company with 20 production facilities on five continents, highlighted its latest products. Two years after its last participation in the main event of this sector, Ritrama landed at Labelexpo Americas with a complete new spirit and look. In fact, the group arrived with many new products that respond to the changes and needs of a constantly evolving market. The company has opened a new and highly advanced production plant in Spartanburg, SC, USA. Designed to be the most modern and productive plant within the whole group, this 30,000 square meter production plant exploits cutting-edge coating technologies and the most recent systems for internal logistics and packaging, as well as a fully automated plant for product storage and handling. The production unit does not only host the headquarters of Ritrama Group in the USA but also serves as a logistic platform and distribution center for North, Central and South America, upholding the corporate payoff: “An Italian family company with a global reach.”
Precision AirConvey introduced its new ComPac product. The ComPAC “compacts” the waste from matrix removal systems. Benefits of the ComPac include: Reduction of raw material costs, increasing press speed, reducing labor costs and reducing waste transportation costs. “Labelexpo 2018 turned out to be a very impressive show for attendees, as well as exhibitors. We unveiled a new product at Labelexpo, the ComPac single press trim/matrix handling system. The response was very positive to our existing and new potential clients. We may look to feature a product launch in a future show,” said Kevin Bock, director of technical sales for Precision AirConvey Corp.
Cartes displayed its Gemini Series finishing solution and focused on laser converting. The company’s laser converting unit offers an unlimited lifetime and a semi-sealed source. The company guarantees constant power and excellent cutting quality, as well as reduced management and maintenance costs. With Radio Frequency Laser power control and “Cut on the Fly” software, Cartes’ machinery achieves maximum perfromance with diecuts of any shape and cut through, micro-perforation, engraving, and progressive and regressive numbering. The machine also operates in a right to left web direction. In addition, Cartes highlighted ILC (Invisible Laser Cutting), which makes it possible to diecut dark printed labels and avoid the “white edge.” The same system also prevents adhesive from overflowing out of diecutting label edges. The technology is even applicable for linerless materials and IML labels.
Roll-2-Roll Technologies featured its Web Guide Retrofit or Replacement Kit, which enables easy upgrade of any existing web guiding system with the next generation sensing and control technology. Users can keep the existing web guide mechanical assembly and replace the sensor, controller and actuator with this retrofit kit solution. These replacement kits are compatible with most common web guiding systems in converting lines. The company makes the integration process seamless with its drop-in web guide solution. Roll-2-Roll Technologies Web Guide Retrofit or Replacement Kit enables easy upgrade of any existing web guiding system with the next generation sensing and control technology. Keep the existing web guide mechanical assembly and replace the sensor, controller and actuator with the retrofit kit solution. Displacement guides, steering guides, unwind stands and rewind stands can be upgraded with this kit by properly sizing the actuator.
Tower Products, a manufacturer of environmentally-sensitive pressroom chemistry for the graphic arts industry, exhibited its full line of pressroom products for the flexographic industry. According to Mark Principato, director of Flexographic Product Sales, this marked the third time that Tower Products has exhibited at Labelexpo Americas. The company featured its Smartflex line, a series of specialty chemicals tailored to fit any flexographic and packaging pressroom and highlighted the LED/UV portion of its product line.
Dow Chemical Company announced the launch of its new Release Modifier technology, SYL-OFF SL25 Release Modifier, at Labelexpo. “SYL-OFF SL25 Release Modifier represents a new standard in pressure sensitive labels,” explained Joanna Giovanoli Potts, market manager of Pressure Sensitive Industries at Dow. “As processing and converting conditions become more challenging, performance requirements also increase. SYL-OFF SL25 Release Modifier is designed to meet these demands offering a flatter release profile.” In addition to its benefits during processing, SYL-OFF SL25 Release Modifier is a solventless and olefin-free formulation. The performance profile of the pressure sensitive construction can be tuned to meet the low release forces that enable high-speed matrix stripping operations while simultaneously delivering the higher release forces needed at end use applications such as hand-peel.
Having not missed a single Labelexpo since its creation in 2000, Canada-based ETI Converting Equipment exhibited a 22" width ETI Cohesio machine, which was equipped with the most recent technologies developed by the company. Attendees had the chance to see the equipment in operation for the duration of the show. Following the show, this 22" width Cohesio was installed at the facility of Heartland Label Printers in Wisconsin. This machine is equipped with two flexo printing stations; an adhesive coating station equipped with a coating head capable of applying as little as 12 grams (½ mil) of UV hot-melt adhesive, as well as nine grams of regular hot-melt; a silicone coating station; ETI’s patented Pellicut diecutting technology capable of diecutting very thin liner materials without marking; equipment to produce linerless label products; heavy duty perforation station; and patent pending auto peel-off.
The HP booth featured live demonstrations from the entire HP label and packaging solutions portfolio, including workflow, printing and converting. HP also showcased a range of applications from worldwide converters transforming and growing their businesses with HP Indigo’s Liquid Electrophotography (LEP)-based digital printing. HP SmartStream Collage, a new twist in automated, variable design for HP Indigo printing, made its worldwide debut at the show. Following the success of HP SmartStream Mosaic, HP SmartStream Collage offers unique designs by manipulating elements randomly for unlimited brand impact using logos and symbols. The HP Indigo 8000 digital press was printing shrink sleeves and labels at 262 fpm inline with the ABG Fast track semi-rotary die. Finished products produced during the live presentations were being made available for visitors. The HP Indigo 6900 digital press showed new applications and effects while running inline with the one-pass digital embellishment unit, the new HP Indigo GEM. This end-to-end solution allows printing of any label in a simple, more productive and profitable way. The commercially available HP Indigo Pack Ready for Labels solution was also on display. The solution enables production of high-resistance labels for food, household, and chemical applications.
AVT revealed new solutions for streamlining quality process workflows, which stem from integration with sister company offerings within the Danaher Product Identification Platform (PID). AVT also featured the North American premiere of two of its newest 100% inspection solutions, as well as a host of other systems for digital press inspection and control, inspection for labels and packaging web applications and next-generation automation. The Helios S Turbo+ and Helios Turbo HD+ are advanced inspection systems for label and narrow web applications. Each offers high-resolution capabilities even at top speeds, with 100% inspection performed at full press and rewinder speeds without sacrificing inspection quality and bar code verification.
Screen demonstrated two Truepress Jet L350UV+ label presses, among several other label production solutions, at the company’s Labelexpo booth. The twin machines were not identical siblings, though. One was the L350UV+ and the other was the L350UV+LM. They both deliver the same fast run speeds of up to 60 m/m. They both feature Screen’s 3-picoliter drop size and four-level grayscale technology for excellent print quality and wider color gamut achieved with Screen’s CMYK+W+Orange inks. The presses also come with enhanced uptime, productivity and substrate versatility. The L350UV+LM is equipped with low migration ink capabilities for food label print production. Labelexpo attendees visiting the Screen exhibit were able to explore all aspects of digital label production from workflow to color management and enhancement to finishing. Both Screen presses printed on a wide range of label substrates that showcased their print prowess and versatility for label print and converting operations.
Siegwerk showed how it is supporting its customers to address upcoming trends by meeting their individual needs with new ink solutions. Booth visitors could “explore the future” with Siegwerk’s experts to discuss label and package printing innovations, trends and learn more about the company’s inks and services. “At Labelexpo we gave visitors insights into our newest ink developments,” said Tom Hammer, head of technical marketing at Siegwerk. “We debuted our new Sicura Flex ORBIS ink series, a new generation of UV flexo inks especially developed for pressure sensitive paper, film labels, as well as unsupported films and shrink sleeve applications.” Sicura Flex ORBIS offers high color strength and low viscosity for an improved print performance at higher speeds. It is a monochromatic base ink series that provides a wider expanded color gamut that increases productivity.
Elkem Silicones announced that it is expanding its silicone offering, introducing new products and added capacities, to support the growing needs of the label and packaging markets. The company showcased its full range of technologies at Labelexpo. To meet the increasing demand for solventless thermal silicones, Elkem Silicones has expanded global capacity for its Silcolease Optima systems by 15%. “We are growing in-step with market demand increases, both in volume and in performance requirements of our materials,” said Ron Hanks, Elkem Silicones business director. Silcolease Optima solventless systems offer users a flexible solution to meet their specific needs, whether it be low temperature cure, increased line speeds for faster throughput, or optimizing platinum catalyst dosing to manage cost.”
Due to the high demand of variable content while also maintaining premium designs, Kurz introduced two digital foiling units to the narrow web market, and both were premiered live at the show. Kurz demonstrated its built-on unit, which was connected to an 8-station Nilpeter press. This DM-Liner UV-Ink Roll-to-Roll: Built-on unit is a flexibly engaged retrofit module for flexographic and offset printing machines. It can be integrated into the production line when required via the rail system and has impressive design freedom thanks to up or downstream color printing. Its UV-Ink Roll-to-Roll:Built-in unit partnered with the mlabel machine from mprint, demonstrating distinct digital printing decorated with Digital Metal. This is an inline enhancement module for digital roll-fed presses that can be integrated directly into production chain. The mLabel printing system is a modular concept for a fully digital production process. During Labelexpo, featured demonstrations showed the benefits of foil in a digital and traditional web environments while exhibiting the versatility of variable information with real metal decoration.
Nilpeter showcased three presses – the all new FA, the Panorama digital hybrid, and the new FB-350. The FA and the Panorama Hybrid were on display at the Nilpeter booth while the FB-350 was located at the Kurz booth. All three presses made their US debut at the show following the worldwide product launch at last year’s Labelexpo Europe in Belgium. Nilpeter’s new offerings are ideally suited for the next generation of printers and the needs of Industry 4.0. By automating almost all processes, Nilpeter has maintained a competitive advantage while solving challenges for today’s print workforce. The new FA, for example, offers complete clean-hand operation from wireless tablets, handheld or positioned anywhere on the front of the machine. All new machines offer total job store and recall, completely automated controls and full connectivity. Furthermore, by applying module methodology to both mechanics and software, printers are able to enhance and execute new opportunities without a complete reinvestment. The FA is the latest addition to Nilpeter’s flexo program, built around the modern press operator and designed to accommodate the printer’s ever-growing needs. The FA provides a maximum level of stability, the tightest register tolerance, and excellent printing results on multiple substrates.
BST North America highlighted its comprehensive range of quality assurance products for label printing and the narrow web market. The company’s products include 100% inspection, web monitoring and web guiding, which were discussed at its booth alongside its subsidiary AccuWeb. Among the products that were displayed: the Super HANDYScan 4100 and the POWERScope 5000. Launched in the North American market at the 2016 Labelexpo, the POWERScope 5000 features a high level of operating convenience. It can be operated via the hotkeys of the external keyboard or using the intuitive gesture control of a multitouch monitor. In both cases, operation is reduced to the essential functions, providing maximum user friendliness. The web monitoring system also features a wear-free electronic zoom and excellent image quality thanks to the high-resolution camera and LED flash. A Shark 4000 Lex system for 100% inspection and the TubeScan eagle view inspection system were also exhibited in the BST North America booth. Shark 4000 Lex has been developed especially for a variety of uses in the narrow web and label printing industries. The easy-to-use Shark 4000 Lex reliably detects the smallest defects in real-time and is suitable for web widths up to 600mm.
Mactac presented its advanced label solutions throughout Labelexpo Americas 2018, displaying products at its own booth and several other exhibitor booths. Mactac’s PSA-coated papers and films, which are available in roll-to-roll form and various weights and thicknesses, textures, colors and opacity levels and conformability/rigidity ranges, can be found in hundreds of label applications. “To further showcase our advanced label technology, we partnered with industry leaders to visually show converters and other Labelexpo 2018 attendees how Mactac’s high-quality, high-performance solutions successfully meet diverse label application needs,” said Allie Braham, marketing manager, Mactac Performance Adhesives Group. In addition to Mactac’s booth, Mactac label solutions were showcased in several partner booths, including INX International and RotoMetrics.
Omet launched to the North American market its new hybrid Omet XJet, powered by Durst, which can be configured with a range of X6 print and converting units along with the Durst Tau digital engine. The press is 13" (330mm) wide with a print speed up to 255.1 fpm (78 m/m). Also on display, and with live demonstrations, was the latest version of the iFlex, which is now equipped with chill rollers.
Flexo Wash exhibited its latest offerings at the show, which have been established in the industry for more than 25 years. More than 3,000 converters and printers have chosen to use Flexo Wash anilox cleaners to improve their printing process. The company released its Flexo Wash Laser Anilox Cleaner at Labelexpo. Converters and printers viewed the FW 2000 Laser Anilox Cleaner and discussed their printing process cleaning needs with Flexo Wash representatives during the show. Ryan Potter, vice president of sales for Flexo Wash, attested that, “Our customers and prospects are excited to finally have an open and truly comparative conversation about the pros and cons of each technology. Flexo Wash provides the ‘Flexobility’ for converters and printers to choose which system works best for them.”
MacDermid Graphics Solutions continued its commitment to innovation in the flexographic industry with the new LAVA NW-M Plate Processing System and the latest LUX In-The-Plate (ITP) product line additions. The product launch of LAVA NW-M represents the newest advancement in thermal platemaking technology. LAVA NW-M is specifically designed for narrow web to mid web applications to improve productivity and workflow. This thermal processing system is an ideal solution for the tag and label industry due to its smaller footprint and ability to output press-ready plates in less than an hour. “In this dynamic and ever-changing market, it is critical we offer innovations that advance our customers’ printing and platemaking capabilities,” said Alicia Gibson, strategic marketing and portfolio manager at MacDermid.
PPG showcased Teslin labelstock at Labelexpo. The Teslin substrate is a highly printable, synthetic material that excels in applications that demand tough, high-performance requirements. It is available in four standard labelstock varieties – General-Purpose Permanent, Ultimate Bond, General-Purpose Removable and BS 5609-Certified. It also can be produced in custom configurations for nearly any label application. Teslin contains micropores that absorb inks, toners, adhesives and coatings, locking them into its structure for long-lasting durability and security. This characteristic makes Teslin labelstock ideal for applications that include GHS-compliant chemical containers, brand protection, tamper-evident security, medical/pharmaceutical products and high-end wine and spirits. Teslin labelstock is widely compatible with print technologies, from digital inkjet, laser and thermal transfer to flexographic and offset. It offers bubble-free application and provides a long-lasting adhesive bond that can endure extreme conditions.
Kocher+Beck’s TecScreen Processing Unit is a compact and economical device that serves as the ideal solution for the fully automated washing and drying process of all nickel based screen-printing plates. According to the company, it guarantees consistently high results in the prepress stage. The TecScreen Processing Unit made its public debut at Labelexpo Americas. The whole development process was driven by experts out of the Kocher+Beck TecScreen department. “We were very happy to present the newest Kocher+Beck innovation. The new processing unit enables time savings and an optimization of costs to our customers,” said John Fehrenbacher, product manager, TecScreen.
AstroNova’s Product Identification business units – QuickLabel and TrojanLabel – demonstrated new products at Labelexpo Americas. QuickLabel premiered the Kiaro! QL-120, which builds on the Kiaro! color label inkjet printing platform. Meanwhile, TrojanLabel displayed the Trojan T4, a compact digital label press and finishing system, for the first time at a US trade show. Visitors were able to attend product demonstrations and learn more about the latest technologies. Based on the flagship QuickLabel Kiaro! digital inkjet label printer, the second generation Kiaro! QL-120 features enhanced print speeds increased by 50%, up to 12 ips (inches per second), seamless network integration into desktop or enterprise platforms and high-quality color labels that rival flexographic printed labels. With the ability to generate both extremely short and particularly long runs (up to 10,000 labels per hour), the QL-120 is built for exceptionally flexible in-house label production for brand owners of all industries and sizes.
Kodak Prinergy Workflow Solutions unveiled “Prinergy Tools” for Packaging and new “Ink & Plate Usage Services.” Live demonstrations were available on a pre-scheduled basis due to demand. Prinergy Tools is an Adobe Illustrator Software-based suite of design tools created specifically for packaging printers and all print applications – digital, flexographic and offset. Kodak also demonstrated its Ink & Plate Usage Service, poised to automate the process of estimating and analyzing usage of inks and coatings in the press room for precise job quoting and inventory control for inks and coatings.
EyeC presented its wide range of print inspection systems for labels and flexible packaging. Visitors had the opportunity to see the newest EyeC systems in action at both the company’s booth and the Rotoflex booth. EyeC demonstrated fast and precise print sample testing on an EyeCProofiler 600 DT. This system’s latest software version now offers combining print inspection and dimensional measurement capabilities in just one system. Furthermore, those customers associated with the pharmaceutical world can take advantage of EyeC’s new pharma workflow, offering improved data integrity, data security,and an easier audit trail review.
Meech Static Eliminators displayed its new Hyperion SmartControl. Also present was the company’s Hyperion 233v4 Pulsed DC Controller, its Hyperion range of anti-static bars (971IPS-15, 971IPS-30, 929IPS, 924IPS), the Hyperion BarMaster programmer, the CyClean non-contact web cleaning system, and IML generation equipment. Matt Fyffe, general manager at Meech, said, “Labelexpo Americas provides us with the perfect platform to highlight the ways in which our technologies can improve product quality in the labeling and flexible packaging markets. We strive to develop products that suit our customers’ needs. Our range of static elimination, static generation and web cleaning technology that we presented at the show is testament to this, and we were excited to showcase a new product alongside them – the Hyperion SmartControl.”
Klear Plastic Ventures (KPV) introduced PET heat shrinkable films for sleeve labels with a minimum 29% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) content. “Labelexpo Americas was the perfect forum for Klear Plastic Ventures (KPV) to introduce PET heat shrinkable film, from Far Eastern New Century, with a minimum 29% PCR content. This product produced from recycled PET bottles has a 20% smaller CO2 emissions footprint than 100% virgin content film. This is made possible by ‘melt to film’ technology. In one continuous polymer process, the PCR is broken down chemically, re-polymerized with (71%) virgin raw materials and converted into PET shrink film. This technology also produces high-quality virgin PET film at a very competitive cost,” said George Pinter, partner, Klear Plastic Ventures. The PCR content has been certified by SCS Global Services. Emeryville, CA-based SCS Global Services has been providing global leadership in third-party quality, environmental and sustainability verification, certification, auditing, testing, and standards development for three decades.
SEI Laser demonstrated “True Digital Finishing” on its Labelmaster digital finishing machine at Matik’s booth during Labelexpo. SEI Laser’s Labelmaster digital finishing machine delivers a cutting and finishing solution that fits the complete digital workflow process. SEI Laser’s True Digital Finishing demonstrates on-the-fly cutting of a variety of printed jobs, including through-cutting, kiss-cutting, perforating, micro-perforating, and single pass engraving. With the Labelmaster digital system, SEI Label has showed how jobs of one to one million labels can be cut without die tooling. This can all be done on roll to roll, roll to sheet, and roll to part cutting, producing intricate designs, cutting and engraving on a variety of substrates (paper, PP, PET, BOPP) – at speeds up to 230 fpm with excellent quality.
Melzer also exhibited at the Matik booth during the show, where it highlighted its patented system that detects and ejects defective inlays, delivering 100% quality product before insertion. Melzer RFID converting solutions feature a constant low-tension web design, minimum material deflection and an exit RFID reader that ensures the highest accuracy and output. Melzer RFID converting is available in a wide selection of converting solutions for dry or wet inlays, labels, tags, tickets and cards. The inlays are capable of handling an extensive range of substrates from film to paperboard, in a wide range of sizes. Inlay insertion is highly accurate and consistent. Changeovers are quick with minimal waste, making Melzer RFID converting systems extremely productive solutions.
ACTEGA North America featured Aquaprint in-mold coatings, ACTExact UV flexo ink systems, ACTDigi narrow web inline coatings and primers and special effects coatings at the show. ACTEGA introduced its guests to a wide array of ink, coating, adhesive and primer technologies that functionally and aesthetically enhance label and packaging solutions. ACTEGA introduced two new Aquaprint water-based, injection in-mold coating products that yield good appearance and proven value in molding equipment along with excellent scuff resistance.
Spinnaker Coating showcased a host of products at the show. “We were excited about Labelexpo Americas 2018 and being able to showcase how our strengths can help customers grow their businesses,” said Joel Ulrich, Roll Product marketing manager. “Not only did we have a new look in our main booth, we were presenting in the digital area, demonstrating our approved digital substrates and how we can help our customers be successful with digital printing.” The company printed samples of its approved digital substrates available, and it highlighted partnerships with many of the digital OEMs at the show.
Valloy unveiled the all new Bizpress 13R, a 13" single-pass LED roll-to-roll label printer. The 13" (340 mm) digital roll to roll label printer, Bizpress 13R uses an LED production printing engine, which the company said is known for being one of the best in the industry. According to Valloy, the printing speed of 7.26 m/m can handle 1000 m2 jobs easily by changing rolls 3-4 times with up to 1200 × 2400 dpi. Bizpress 13R can print on 60 to 300 micron thick papers, PET, BOPP, PE and PVC films. An embedded high-voltage ionizer prevents static problems while enabling easy printing on metallic coated foils. It uses 18K high-capacity toner (26K for black) and a 100K high-capacity drum. In addition to an inherent low-temperature fusing system, embedded cooling system and instant fusing mechanism helps promote a wider range of media compatibility. The pneumatic auto-tension control system drives 1km length rolls in a stable way, and the intuitive touch panel GUI helps for comfortable operation. A web guide system is optionally available, as well.
Brand enhancement specialist API Americas launched its new and improved TA-Plus cold foil in North America as it continues to focus on delivering brand enhancement products for the labels and packaging industry. The new generation of API’s cold foil range, TA-Plus cold foil, is designed for sectors whose products require filmic labels such as personal care; drinks, including wines, beers, and spirits; home and household care; and some industrial applications. Also on display at the API booth was the company’s custom decorative holography service, Holonique Boutique, through which it provides customers with its expertise in the use of holography and 3D designs.
Bringing its “Finish First” theme to Labelexpo Europe 2017, Rotocontrol joined EMT International in its first appearance at Labelexpo Americas 2018. With three machines showcasing a range of finishing innovations with live demonstrations, Rotocontrol urged printers and converters to finish first and in control, at a very crucial part of the printing process. Rotocontrol highlighted the DT-Series 340 for advanced finishing of digitally preprinted label rolls, the FC-Series 540 fully-automatic turret for rewinding of pressure sensitive self-adhesive labels, and the RSC-Series 440 high-performance, compact, robust label slitter/rewinder. EMT provided technical information and application support for its Chameleon high speed inkjet finishing solutions. Additionally, label punching, diecut units and a variety of label press auxiliary components including shafts, slitter holders, and plow folding solutions were on display.
Press purchases reported
MPS celebrated a new record of show sales at this year’s Labelexpo Americas. A hybrid EF SymJet press was located at the company’s booth, complete with daily live demonstrations. Plus, the EF multi-substrate flexo press made its debut at the Automation Arena, attracting lots of visitors and interest. Glasses of champagne were raised five times at the MPS booth during the 2018 Labelexpo Americas, celebrating show sales. MPS sold four hybrid EF SymJet presses, the MPS hybrid solution developed in cooperation with Domino. MPS also celebrated a sale of its flagship EF multi-substrate flexo press.
TLF Graphics, based in Rochester, NY, is a label printing company committed to producing high-quality print products under demanding timelines. The company has partnered with Durst on the new digital Tau RSC UV inkjet label press, which was on display at the Durst booth at Labelexpo Americas. “We knew that the RSC technology was ideal for our business, and that it would provide us with the best quality, faster turnaround and reduced printing costs. There are several key players in the market, and we also have other digital equipment,” said Bob McJury, partner at TLF Graphics. “However, when we looked at re-engineering our total digital and flexo printing environment to make it more efficient and profitable, we knew that adding the RSC Technology to our digital printing factory was the right choice.”
Durst showcased the press, as well as the latest developments in UV inkjet technology, web-to-print solutions and more at Labelexpo. Moreover, Omet showcased an inline hybrid solution featuring the X6 technology, and powered by the Durst Tau 330 RSC.
Additionally, Durst’s focus was on the power and functionality of the Durst Workflow software, which helps simplify issues with customer files without having to go back to prepress or Illustrator to make necessary changes.
Kala Packaging, a Utah-based labels and packaging converter, purchased its second HP Indigo 20000 digital press at Labelexpo Americas 2018. The move was made to help meet Kala’s upswing in demand for its digitally printed flexible packaging services. “The additional HP Indigo 20000 capacity supports our strategic move to expand heavily into digital flexible packaging, amid a sharp increase in our work,” said Maui Chai, Kala president and CEO, adding that while the label business is also strong, for Kala, “the lion’s share of growth is in flexible packaging.”
Kala’s key customers for the digital solution are from the health and wellness sectors – with a big market presence in protein powders and drink powders – where all work has been moved to digital for high versioning and rapid turnaround. Compatible with both aluminum and clear substrates, the 30" HP Indigo 20000 can print virtually any sized flexible packaging application with unlimited variation, supporting demand for growing SKUs, alongside benefits of reduced waste from minimal setup and production of only the quantities needed.
An early adopter of HP Indigo digital printing, Kala bought its first Indigo in 2002 under its Flextech brand. It is now operating a fleet of six HP Indigo labels and packaging presses with the addition of the new HP Indigo 20000 digital press, designed for flexible packaging as well as high-capacity labels and shrink sleeves.
Today, Kala’s business is more than 90% digital, driven by its HP platform of the HP Indigo 20000, HP Indigo 6900, HP Indigo 6800, and two HP Indigo 6600 digital presses.
Innovative Labeling Solutions (ILS) is the first US site for the new HP Indigo GEM unit. GEM enables a one-pass digital solution for label and embellishment printing on HP Indigo narrow web technology. The announcent was jointly made between the Hamilton, OH-based converter and HP, and it was subsequently announced at Labelexpo Americas.
At ILS, the HP Indigo GEM will operate inline with the HP Indigo 6900 digital press, creating the first fully digital, one-pass combination press for embellishing with combinations of foil, screen, tactile, varnish, cast and cure and other special effects, using a single point of control and one print-ready file.
“The HP Indigo GEM is a dramatic revolution in the digital printing industry. With the acquisition of this cutting-edge technology, we are once again positioned to disrupt, bringing a fully digital printing solution, including embellishments, to the marketplace,” said Jay Dollries, ILS president and CEO.
The installation of the GEM purchased by ILS at Labelexpo Americas is another first for ILS, making it once again a pioneer in operating HP Indigo’s entire line of digital equipment for labels and flexible packaging production. It also operates the HP Indigo 8000, a productive narrow-web solution, two HP Indigo 20000 presses for flexible packaging and high-capacity labels, in addition to the HP Indigo 6000 series platform.
The GEM supports HP Indigo’s unlimited variable printing options such as HP SmartStream Mosaic.
“This latest cutting-edge innovation allows our business to be dynamic and responsive to deliver a broad range of applications and creative capabilities. We are not limited to the embellishment being the same on every label, with the GEM also enabling variable embellishments,” Dollries continued.
The HP Indigo 6900 and GEM are powered by the new HP Production Pro for Indigo Labels and Packaging. First unveiled at drupa 2016, the HP Indigo GEM was developed with JetFX, and the commercial version will be sold by HP.
“The beauty of this new solution is the all-digital printing of labels with embellishments, in one process, saving time and costs and thereby creating an all-digital production floor,” said Alon Bar-Shany, general-manager, HP Indigo, HP Inc.
The HP Indigo GEM adds digital embellishments to the printing pass, enabling a fully digital, tooling-free, and streamlined production line. It enables an efficient print process for any label type and allows the application of digital foil, tactile silkscreen-like effects, spot varnish, mini textures, digital holograms, full flood varnish in gloss and matte, and more.
Mark Andy reported 15 digital and six flexo press sales at Labelexpo, including one to California-based Adcraft Labels. Building on the success of its Digital Series purchase at Labelexpo Americas 2016, Adcraft Labels ordered a Digital Series HD on the showroom floor. A few of the press capabilities that led to the decision is its hybrid functionality - offering web transport and flexographic printing, the digital printing and workflow, plus converting expertise all under one roof. The Digital Series HD allows for high throughput in the market while meeting the highest degree of print resolution.
Jet Label and Packaging, the largest label manufacturer in Western Canada, will install an HP Indigo 8000 digital press to double its digital capacity and print longer digital runs. The deal was closed and signed at Labelexpo.
The Edmonton-based Jet Label is printing at full capacity on its two HP Indigo WS6600 digital presses, running 24 hours a day, five days a week. Jet Label’s digital work continues to grow at a steady pace and runs are getting longer. So, instead of investing in another flexo press, Jet Label CEO Darrell Friesen decided to expand the converter’s capacity for digital printing, where the company is enjoying higher margins.
Friesen explains, “Looking at the numbers, the choice was easy. Digital is more profitable and that is why instead of investing in a new-generation flexo press we are adding the high-volume narrow web HP Indigo 8000.” More than half of Jet Label’s current digital jobs are over 30,000 linear feet, Friesen added.
The HP Indigo 8000 digital press prints at double the speed of an HP Indigo WS6800 press at up to 262 linear fpm. Designed to handle even the longest and most demanding jobs, the press enables converters to reshape business and move toward full digital production.
The color consistency from run to run delivered by HP Indigo is a key in maintaining the quality required by customers, Friesen noted. “Quality is now the first concern. Number two, is fast delivery, and price is third. HP Indigo printing is also delivering the superior color quality, graphics and versioning demanded by the industry,” he added.
The addition of the HP Indigo 8000 will also help Jet Label continue to deliver on its mission to complete job orders within four business days, a key company value for serving the fast-paced Western Canadian food industry, primarily made up of meat suppliers.
Jet Label is also beginning to expand its business within the craft beer market, while also adding a security offering with RFID and HP Link, with plans to supply secure solutions for the cannabis industry. Jet Label also operates 12 conventional presses.
Innovations by Avery Dennison, Hamillroad Software and RotoMetrics were among the category winners honored at this year’s prestigious Label Industry Global Awards, which took place on September 25 at Joe’s Live in Rosemont, IL, as part of Labelexpo Americas 2018.
Now in its 15th edition, the awards celebrate the most innovative, creative and successful work from the label and package printing industry across the globe in the last 12 months. The 2018 awards ceremony brought together 330 distinguished guests, featuring some of the biggest names from the international label community, and those working behind the scenes to constantly innovate and push this dynamic sector forward.
The Award for Innovation (for companies with up to 300 employees), sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web, was presented to Hamillroad Software for its new product solution, Bellissima, which combines the best-of-breed technologies of plate, anilox and screen. The system is a set of Digitally Modulated Screens (DMS), developed and optimized specifically for flexo. Imaged at 4,000dpi, Bellissima provides a high level of image reproduction (over 300 lpi equivalent), with no screen or content moiré.
The Award for Innovation (for companies with more than 300 employees), also sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web, went to RotoMetrics for its RotoRepel, a non-stick coating that’s available on its solid and flexible cutting dies. This technology minimizes adhesive pick-up and transfer and has resulted in significant benefits, including improved press efficiency, presses running faster, significant reduction in downtime, longer tool life, waste reduction and lower tool costs.
RotoMetrics’ exclusive RotoRepel treatment is changing customers’ expectations when it comes to adhesive control on the press, the company said. Additionally, customer feedback indicates that RotoRepel is an excellent no-stick and adhesive control product.
RotoRepel offers expanded benefits that improve performance, including: Reduction of adhesive buildup on all adhesive types, resulting in less die wear and damage; significant reduction in number of press shutdowns so presses run faster and longer; dies are easier to clean and return to inventory ready to run again; fewer missing labels and a reduction of blocking during rewind, thus reducing waste and inefficiencies.
According to RotoMerics, on a flexible or solid die, RotoRepel pays for itself in the first use. “RotoRepel offers a significant value to our entire production team. Operators report a huge drop in downtime due to reduction of shutdowns for die cleaning and longer runs between roller buildup. Our label rewind/inspection group is very happy because of fewer missing labels and reduced adhesive blocking in finished rolls,” reports a production manager of a label printer.
Additionally, new RotoRepel Rx formulation is compliant with US FDA regulations and is safe for intended use in the conversion of parts, devices and labels. It also meets the requirements for food contact applications.
Avery Dennison won the Award for Sustainability for its work in partnering with EcoVadis, a sustainability performance rating solution, to operate a collaborative dashboard providing sustainability ratings and performance improvement tools for their global supply chain. The platform delivers simple and reliable scorecards to monitor supplier best practices. A total of 21 internationally recognized sustainability criteria are reviewed and separated into four criteria themes: environment, social, ethics and supply chain.
The final award of the night, the R. Stanton Avery Pioneer Award, which was previously announced in June, went to Alex Knott of the Dow Chemical Company. This award, sponsored by Avery Dennison, honors the contribution an individual has made, which has really impacted the label and package printing sector, whether their pioneering work has spanned two years or two decades. Knott is a senior scientist in the company and leader of a global team that has pioneered the latest innovations in pressure sensitive silicone release liner coating technology, including the introduction of Dow’s Flat Release Systems.
This technology has not only promoted high speed, low coating weight, high performance and labelstock release liner production, but it has also been a key factor in helping to drive down silicone coating costs.
For the label converter and end user, this has contributed to enhanced waste stripping performance at ever-increasing press running speeds, as well as enabling much higher label application line speeds on the latest automated product decoration systems. This work has helped build Knott’s global reputation as a top authority on silicone pressure sensitive systems.
Mike Fairley, chair of the judges, commented, “This is an industry that dares to be different and push the boundaries of excellence and technology, but this would not be possible without the sheer determination and hard work of our many industry colleagues around the world. Our annual awards highlight these companies and individuals and share some of the fantastic innovations that have been achieved in the last 12 months. I, on behalf of the judging panel, would like to commend and congratulate all our finalists and winners, and thank them for this spirit of innovation that makes our industry so unique. These are the only awards of their kind in existence, and I sincerely hope this year’s winners will inspire others to push ahead with our industry’s continued development and drive it ever forward.”
The other members of the judging panel for this year’s awards were: Chris Ellison, president of FINAT; Dan Muenzer, president of TLMI; Steve Katz, editor of Label & Narrow Web; James Quirk, group managing editor, Labels & Labeling; and Rosina Obermayer, editor of NarrowWebTech.