Comments Roger Pellow, Labelexpo MD: ‘With so many product launches, there’s nowhere better to see the latest technology in action and to meet key suppliers.’
The following pages present an overview of what visitors can see.
Nilpeter takes label printing to the next level
South African label printers visiting Labelexpo Americas and looking for a familiar (and friendly!) face need look no further than the Nilpeter stand (Hall B/3105 & 3205) where they’ll find Del Wiggill of CSM Machine Sales.
Nilpeter’s ‘NEXT’ initiative signals the company’s intention to add value by optimising the packaging-label printing process and generating opportunities for expansion into new markets. This means strengthening its commitment to R&D as a basis for enhancing its FA and FB flexo and MO offset print-converting lines with smarter workflows and a broader palette of configurations.
Explains Peter Eriksen, Nilpeter’s chief operating officer, ‘Faced with volatile raw material prices and the trend to shorter runs, label and flexible packaging converters need smarter ways of delivering without compromising quality. We see the challenge becoming greater, as brand owners look for printing partners who have the versatility to offer a broader range of decorative solutions, with the identical look and feel anywhere in the world. Through our NEXT initiative, we’re refocusing our resources, people and expertise, to overcome these challenges and support converters with long-term, competitive advantages.’
Among other things, this initiative heralds investments in the company’s Customer Care division and its technology centres.
Jakob Landberg, Nilpeter’s sales and marketing director, comments: ‘By expanding our technology centres, we’re showing our strengthened commitment to driving innovation, a central pillar of the NEXT concept. With accessible, well-equipped facilities, converters have an accelerated, low-risk means of bringing ideas to market, without losing production time or having to invest in dedicated technology to perform trial runs.’
ABG’s label finishing systems on show
On the nearby AB Graphic International (ABG) stand (Hall B/3226), another exhibitor that’s locally represented by CSM Machine Sales, visitors can inspect a comprehensive range of label converting equipment for finishing traditional and digitally printed labels, packaging and cartons.
Label converting lines include the Digicon Lite, an entry level model, a Series 2, high-speed Digicon running on or off line with an HP WS6600 printer and a similar version aimed at high-quality label production. The latter features semi-rotary flexo and die-cutting capabilities as well as hot foil stamping and embossing. Also on show is an automatic flexible die loading system.
From its Vectra range the company is demonstrating its SGTR330-4 glue-less turret rewinder and ECTR430-4 mode, running together with Omega converting and unwinding equipment to show start to finish solutions.
An entry level HSR430 inspection slitter/rewinder is to be introduced with Flytec PC-based vision inspection and for the first time in the US the company’s FAST (fully automatic slitting terminal) system is to be shown demonstrating servo-precise, rapid slitter knife setting.
ABG’s latest B-5010 booklet making machine for extended label converting requirements is also being shown for the first time in the US. This includes enhancements to booklet in-feed equipment which the company now manufactures itself and full servo-driven web transport for speeds up to 40m/min.
Rotocon presence on MPS stand
Following last month’s news of Rotocon’s acquisition of the MPS agency for South Africa, Patrick Aengenvoort is representing Rotocon on the MPS stand in Chicago, where the press manufacturer is unveiling four innovations.
To automate press settings and reduce label print costs, especially in shorter runs, MPS has introduced Automated Print Control (APC) technology which automates servo control of all relevant press settings. With APC, the die-cutting pressure is set automatically, is extremely easy to operate and replicate through job memory, and results in virtually no set-up waste.
A second innovation offered by MPS, called iStrip, is a new tension-controlled stripping system. The iStrip technology allows the press to die-cut and strip matrix at extremely high speeds, even when the label shape and/or material are difficult to strip.
MPS is also running live demonstrations of its third-generation EF-press, to show visitors true press automation. The MPS APC technology allows operators to automatically change between jobs without set-up waste. During the live demonstrations, the audience will be invited to select different jobs including diverse substrates. Simple using an iPad, the presenter will automatically set up the entire print and converting system with virtually zero waste. Also being demonstrated is the latest M2M automatic length and cross register camera system that guarantees minimal set-up waste (including short web technology).
The EF-presses are available in three print widths and have numerous converting systems which integrate into the press controls through iControl, a user-friendly operator interface. New converting options will also be presented including on rail (flexible positioning), cold and hot foil non-engaging print units, dual web handling, in-register lamination, crossover units, and automatic tension control lamination.
An alternative to printed sleeves, MPS has designed a new E-sleeve – a patented concept that consists of a tube with metal material without a compressible inner diameter. MPS claims that it provides no wear, is less susceptible to damage and allows traditional cutting techniques for cutting and mounting tape on sleeves. Finally, MPS is also showing its EXL-packaging model (pictured above). This flexible press is suitable for printing with UV, water-based and solvent-based inks. Although it’s a flexo press, different printing and converting units can be integrated, including screen, gravure, laminating, hot foil and cold foil units.
Says Patrick Aengenvoort: ‘I’m looking forward to meeting our existing customers and other South Africa converters at Labelexpo Americas. On the MPS stand they’ll see innovative press technology and live demonstrations. Numerous MPS presses are already installed throughout South Africa, proving the value of this leading UV flexo press manufacturer.’
Under the EkoCure brand Flint Group Narrow Web is introducing a series of ink technologies for UV LED curing. They’re the first commercially available inks designed for combination print, formulated specifically for UV LED curing. The benefits with this technology are both economic (lower energy consumption) and ecological – lower energy consumption, no ozone development and mercury-free lamps.
‘As a true innovator, we’re pleased to present what may be the next-generation UV ink technology,’ claims Niklas Olsson, global brand manager. ‘While UV LED lamps have been used in other industries for some time, these are the first-ever UV flexo and screen inks that are cured using UV LED and can be printed in perfect combination. Not only are we introducing this ink concept at Labelexpo, we’re proud to partner with Mark Andy in showing it in a live press run on the Mark Andy stand.’
EkoCure is developed using specially selected photo initiators that match the narrow and targeted wavelength area that’s typical for UV LED.
‘The ink series is based on bio-renewable resin technology as an added effort to address sustainability,’ Niklas explains. ‘Bio-renewable resins for UV products are a new development that will see increasing use. By combining this aspect with lower energy-consuming UV LED lamps, it was a natural fit to brand this technology as EkoCure.’
In addition to the EkoCure launch, Flint Group Narrow Web is also showcasing CombiScreen, a silicone-free UV rotary screen ink with stunning colour strength, and excellent printability, perfected for combination printing.
Also on show is Flint Group’s ‘Flexo-to-Screen’ concept for printers who run both UV flexo and UV rotary screen. Briefly stated, UV flexo ink is converted to UV rotary screen ink to provide a robust screen ink that allows reduced inventories.
Last, but not least, the show sees the North American introduction of Flexocure Ancora, a low-migration UV flexo ink designed specifically for food packaging applications, providing exactly what label printers need – an ink that ensures that packaging passes stringent migration tests with absolutely no compromise in performance.
Results that make you smile
Esko is participating in Labelexpo Americas with its largest presence ever, demonstrating products and services for label printers – with ‘results that make you smile’ – which follows the company’s drupa theme.
In addition to products introduced at drupa, the company is unveiling new solutions of specific interest to tag and label printers.
At Labelexpo Americas, visitors can expect the commercial availability of PantoneLIVE support within Esko’s workflows. PantoneLIVE delivers an end-to-end colour management and colour communication system that addresses the needs of all disciplines within the packaging supply chain. The brand manager sees an accurate representation of on-press colour early in the design process, while the converter can be assured of first-time-right colour proofing and easy-to-match colour on press. Experience with beta sites are said to show very positive ROIs.
In a related development, Esko recently developed an improved ink model. This is a critical component to the definition of colour from the PantoneLIVE cloud. The new ink model helps to predict how Pantone colours interact and overprint on press, using spectral analysis.
Historically, when labels are produced with hybrid printing – typically a screen or flexo press in tandem with a digital press – separate workflows are required to drive each station. That’s because each printing process requires different parameters such as inks and distortions. Esko is introducing automated production software that requires just one workflow to drive all stations – with the elimination of many steps, and reduction of errors as a result.
Esko’s digital finishing highlight will be the new Kongsberg XN, a versatile and productive digital finishing table that can be configured for a wide range of applications from kiss-cutting to packaging mockups, heavy-duty milling and simple to complex flexo plate cutting with ID marking. This new table is equipped with the impressive milling spindle MultiCUT-HP, boosting overall milling productivity.
Along with the Kongsberg XN20 will be the Kongsberg i-XE10 Auto, a versatile and productive digital finishing system, perfect for all kinds of labels. Equipped with a stacker and sheet feeding system, the Kongsberg i-XE10 Auto finishes small-format, short-run digital printed materials.
Esko’s Digital Flexo Suite automates and improves plate preparation activities in the flexo plate room and reduces plate waste by at least 15%, as well as significantly reducing errors and labour. By nesting label artwork on to plates and cutting them automatically on the Kongsberg cutting table, printers save plate material and produce label artwork faster.
A passion for partnerships
HP Indigo and Esko have a close, successful strategic partnering and pioneering relationship in digital print for labels and packaging. This collaboration has been well received by converters who are making the transition to digital production in a highly competitive market. The combination of Esko’s leading workflow tools and the unmatched quality and efficiency of HP Indigo digital presses has set a lofty standard for labels and packaging. HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging workflow solutions, powered by Esko, simplify prepress and color management in digital label and packaging workflows for HP Indigo industrial presses. Advanced capabilities include color space conversions and color management, bar code generation, step & repeat and variable data capabilities. To demonstrate their partnership, photos of visitors taken in front of a green screen on the Esko stand will be processed through Esko Automation Engine 12. Completed images will be sent to the HP stand and printed on an HP WS6600 digital press as personalised portraits in front of a Chicago landmark.
Adjacent to the Esko stand, DuPont Packaging Graphics and Pitman Company are displaying the CDI Spark 2530, showing how plates can be imaged and labels automatically cut on the Kongsberg XN.
Hybrid production with Gallus and Heidelberg
Continuing the emphasis on hybrid production with digital and conventional processes working side by side, Gallus is collaborating with Heidelberg to showcase label production in a hybrid production environment, with digital and conventional machines and specialised workflow products.
Called the Gallus Print Shop concept, it’s set to demonstrate how digital and conventional printing processes can complement each other in label printing. Crucial support is provided by corresponding software products used to select the most suitable printing method for a particular job and workflow software to manage the entire process.
To support digital printing of labels, blister packs and films, Heidelberg has incorporated the inkjet systems of CSAT (a digital print specialist acquired last year) into its portfolio under the name Heidelberg Linoprint L, a drop-on-demand system for cost-effective printing of short to medium label and film runs and jobs with variable content. With the Linoprint L from Heidelberg, Gallus offers label printers a system to execute short runs and pioneering applications such as smart labels, security printing and traceable labels.
The portfolio also includes the Gallus ECS C. Under the banner of ‘high-performance digital converting’, this digital converting system combines the best aspects of conventional label printing with the possibilities offered by digital printing. Based on the Gallus ECS 340, the heart of the digital converting system is an innovative, format-free die-cutter. Minimal changeover times and virtually waste-free job changes facilitated by front loading, a sleeve system, chambered doctor blade, presetting and an extremely short web path. The robust design, based on technical granite, and its register control function combine to ensure exceptionally smooth operation and high quality even at high speeds.
Gidue promotes digital flexo
And over on the Gidue stand, visitors can see the capabilities of Digital Flexo 3.0, the company’s latest generation of digital flexographic technology. The new system is billed as delivering excellent production output compared to other digital printing technologies, and to be ideal for any length print run.
Comments Matteo Cardinotti, Gidue’s operations manager: ‘Digital Flexo 3.0 on the M5 press beats digital printing technologies over 1 000 metres and in many jobs can compete – and win – well below 1 000 metres. The same press is also profitable for medium and long runs on any substrate with multiple converting in-line solutions.’
On show is the M5 430mm eight-colour UV flexo press with three die-cutting units. Digital Flexo 3.0 features Gidue HD cameras (trade-named PrintTutor) that read the printed image on each print unit and automatically adjust print pressure, register and density.
The automated adjustments are performed by seven servo motors per print unit. The operator doesn’t touch the printing units for adjustments, while print quality and set-ups are ‘digitised’ and automated in a closed-loop, digitally-controlled print unit. Quality is also digitally controlled during speed changes and roll changes.
Excitement is building around the M5 Digital Flexo 3.0 press – the system is due to be delivered to one of the world’s largest corporate labels and packaging converters.
Says Gidue MD, Federico d’Annunzio, ‘The introduction of the Digital Flexo 3.0 offers a brighter future for self-adhesive label printers. Performance difference between press operators is greatly reduced, very short runs with high profit margins can be produced using the UV flexo printing process, and the excellent throughput quality is consistently repeatable. Labelexpo Americas is the perfect event to demonstrate the power of the M5 Digital Flexo 3.0 system.’
Prati’s shows ‘fastest booklet label production’
At Labelexpo Americas, Prati is demonstrating the benefits of off-line production of booklet labels, including higher speed and enhanced productivity if compared to in-line finishing systems.
Specifically designed for off-line production of booklet labels, Prati’s 75m/min VEGAplus LF 330 Booklet has a web width of up to 330mm and can apply, in register, a booklet label on the base label. It’s ideal for the pharmaceutical, agro-chemical and food sectors, where this type of label is perfect for promotional content. It runs unsupported and self-adhesive labels – standard, coupon, flat, curved and thick booklet – regardless of diameter.
The new Saturn Booklet inspection machine also on show at Labelexpo is equipped with the BKL web path up-grade, big idlers, special nipping wheels and an out-standing web guide system. It delivers highly quality BKL labels inspection using the Nikka camera even for ‘irregular face’ labels. It’s specifically designed to finish the production process of coupon and booklet labels with slitting, rewinding and full inspection operations.
At the show, visitors can witness how the pre-printed reel is inserted in the VEGAplus which then applies the leaflet in register with the base label. The booklet labels are laminated using a rotary lamination unit and then die-cut in register and rewound. The next step is the inspection process in the Saturn Booklet, which grants 100% error free booklet label production.
‘With the combination of the VEGAplus Booklet and the Saturn Booklet we offer a one-stop-shop for complete booklet workflow,’ comments Prati’s sales manager, Chiara Prati.
Ipex Machinery represents Prati in South Africa.
[Ed’s note: Entry to the show costs $55 and badges are valid for all three days. Visitors can preregister online at www.labelexpo-americas.com.]