Comments Labelexpo MD Roger Pellow: ‘This year’s show exceeded all expectations. Exhibitors and visitors were enthusiastic about the exhibition and what it offered them in terms of value for their business – whether educational content or buying, selling and networking opportunities. The show floor had a vibrant atmosphere as business was being done and initial feedback suggests that many presses were sold to buyers from North and South America, and even Asia. As the largest show in the Americas, there really is no better place to see the latest technology in action and find out how to maximise opportunities for growth and success. As we saw at last year’s Labelexpo Europe and Labelexpo Asia, the market appears to be recovering with converters investing in new technology and materials.’
And you can always rely on a seasoned journalist for an impartial view!
Yolanda Simonsis, editorial director of Paper, Film & Foil Converter, remarks: ‘Comments I heard on the show floor described it as a “buying show”, which indicates to me that label converters were investing in technology to make them more competitive, efficient, and productive. I’ve never seen so many new product introductions announced at one show, and I’ve been doing this for 34 years!’
Other upbeat comments included this from Esko’s director of marketing communications: ‘For years, we’ve believed in the power of Labelexpo to draw our customers and Labelexpo Americas 2012 was no exception. The aisles were busy, as was our booth. This year we hosted visitors in the largest Labelexpo booth we have ever staffed. They spent quality time looking at our new Suite 12 portfolio of software solutions including the PantoneLIVE support, our CDI flexo plate imagers and Kongsberg finishing tables.’
Nilpeter presses – major attraction
In terms of visitor attraction and sheer size, Nilpeter a leading exhibitor. The Danish press manufacturer introduced two new UV-flexo label and packaging presses, the FA-4 and FB-3, and demonstrated the latest four-colour Caslon inkjet press, now available with a white or spot-colour print head. Also launched was the FP-4 flatbed hot-foil and embossing unit that offers enhanced finishing options.
The equipment was shown to a receptive audience under Nilpeter’s latest corporate banner ‘NEXT – Your Challenge – Our Commitment’. The message represents the company’s commitment to supply customers with innovative technologies designed to meet future challenges. With optimised production efficiencies, Nilpeter claims that users of its presses can develop new areas of business.
The famous Nilpeter Bell rung 13 times and, in addition to these confirmed orders, Nilpeter’s sales staff recorded many further promises or purchases by their global customers.
‘We successfully launched our two new presses,’ says sales & marketing director Jakob Landberg. ‘Visitors were impressed by the quick job changes from the printing units and die-cutting tools on both the FA-4 and FB-3. They also appreciated their ergonomic designs, with short web paths and overall user-friendliness. The new Caslon concept enabling UV inkjet white was equally well received, as was the new FP-4 flatbed hot-foil and embossing unit. Visitors also gave positive feedback to our NEXT concept, which focuses on adding value for our customers by optimising printing processes.’
The FA-4 for high-quality labels and flexible packaging has a maximum web width of 420mm, an extra short web path and a top speed of 175m/min. The sleeve-based UV-flexo press is controlled by the PMC (Press Management Centre), augmented by ACS (Air Control Satellite) for wireless press operation.
The FB-3 label printing press offers fast job changeovers and minimum waste. It features speeds up to 228m/min from a maximum web width of 350mm, while servo drives give automatic adjustments for saving, loading and changing jobs, and for handling job pre-setting, impression settings and side register load. The press includes an automatic plate positioning system and print-to-cylinder register. Quick-release systems for handling anilox rolls and plate cylinders are augmented by the company’s quick-change die-cutting system.
The heavy-duty Caslon inkjet module has an optional spot-colour print head to add white, a spot-colour or a varnish to the CMYK set using UV-cured inks. Inks are comparable to conventional flexo and screen inks and offer high adhesion, as well as scratch resistance without varnishing. Options include a variable data printing facility and a PDF interface. The Caslon can run with a standard Nilpeter FA-4 platform using conventional UV-flexo units and converting modules, or operate as a stand-alone printing press.
For more information on Nilpeter presses, contact CSM Machine Sales.
Prati sells two machines
‘It was a great show,’ says an enthusiastic Chiara Prati, Prati’s sales director. ‘We are proud to have sold two machines!’
Together with area managers for North and South America – Claudia Fabbri and David Benerecetti respectively, Chiara and her team spent three days meeting existing and potential customers and passers-by attracted by the machines on the Prati stand.
‘This event is a must for us,’ Claudia stressed. ‘We strengthened our brand and presence on the American market and were surrounded by top-quality customers who showed a true interest in our VEGAplus LF 330 Booklet and Saturn Booklet machines.’
Chiara, Claudia and David were also guests at the prestigious Label Industry Global Awards Gala Dinner on the first evening of the show. ‘We could not miss this prestigious event. I’m sure that one day we’ll win the Label Industry Global Award for Continuous Innovation or the Award for New Innovation. To win such an award would confirm our place in a very select group and generate enormous publicity,’ says Chiara.
‘We won’t give up!’ she adds (referring to the fact that Prati was a nominee this year). ‘At Labelexpo Europe 2013 we intend to grab one of those awards!’
For more information on Prati finishing systems, contact Ipex Machinery.
MPS shows true process automation
Visitors to the MPS stand saw live demonstrations of the EF-410 eight-colour press and witnessed the easy and fast changes of designs and materials.
MPS partnered with Kodak and Reproflex3 for exciting ‘Do more with 4’ live press demonstrations about Spotless Printing Technology.
For more information on MPS presses, contact Rotocon.
Improving shelf appeal and sustainability
Avery Dennison announced a self-adhesive labelling innovation that gives returnable bottles greater sustainability, differentiation and shelf impact.
Tests have shown that Avery Dennison’s MultiCycle can withstand more than 30 product cycles, reducing the volume of label substrate used, and providing the same superior decoration options offered by other self-adhesive labels.
The patent-pending permanent self-adhesive film label construction is resistant to the stresses a container is exposed to during its lifetime and can withstand the high-temperature caustic baths used during the bottle washing process.
The poly-propylene label is engineered with a sandwich construction, so the printing ink is protected with an over-laminate.
At the end of a bottle’s useful life, MultiCycle labels can be processed similar to other filmic self-adhesive labels. Unlike direct print, there’s no need for heavy metals in the inks, which allows the glass bottles to be recycled in the regular processes.
Rototec director visits three principals
Antron Hendricks represented the Rototec team and enjoyed a successful visit to Labelexpo Americas where he forged closer relationships with his principals on the Apple Die, Cartes and Omet stands.
Following the article in PPM’s Issue Eight, reporting on the sale of Apple Die South Africa’s 10 000th flexible die since the company’s inception in 2006, it’s interesting to learn that the idea of establishing the South African operation was born at Labelexpo Americas in 2005 – so bringing the story full circle.
This year’s show in Chicago served as a platform for Antron to reaffirm his family’s commitment to the Apple brand and their US partners. It also provided an opportunity to cement relationships with two Italian companies – Cartes and Omet – to take their marketing activities in South Africa to the next level.
‘Since renewing our marketing and promotional activities on behalf of these companies, response has been so overwhelmingly positive that two of our customers have visited the Cartes factory in Italy – and our first sale is imminent,’ Antron reports proudly.
‘My visit to Chicago confirmed our belief in the two brands we’re now promoting in South Africa; and by inviting South Africans to visit the Cartes and Omet stands we secured exciting prospects that I’m confident will result in further sales,’ Antron says.
Big news at Labelexpo was the launch of the Cartes GT 360, an all-in-one custom-made machine, configurable with silkscreen, hot-stamping, flexo varnishing, flat die-cutting and laser die-cutting units suitable for producing a wide array of luxurious labels ensuring minimum waste material and minimal time loss during set-up of new jobs.
Other big news at the show was the launch of Omet’s 530mm Xflex X6, a press characterised by its ease of use coupled with multiple innovations that make it fast and efficient. Its ergonomic and appealing design and intuitive adjustment make it easy to use in all its functions.
‘The 530mm XFlex X6 is a dream come true,’ comments an enthusiastic Marco Calcagni, Omet’s sales and marketing director.
The printing unit ensures high quality and excellent control of print register, while its high level of automation allows significant waste reduction when combined with the shortest web path in its class on the market. The high precision and stability offered by this press eliminate vibration in favour of quality and a reduction of maintenance costs. It’s possible to combine different printing processes, which are completely interchangeable, such as hot and cold foil, lamination, screen, reverse side print, print on adhesive, at any print station make the machine particularly versatile and suitable for supplying different finishing solutions.
Digital low-migration ink technology
UV inkjet printing is now becoming established in label and packaging applications. SunJet, the inkjet division of Sun Chemical, launched EtiJet LM UV, its low-migration UV curing ink range for the digital label market.
Suitable for all types of piezo print heads, it demonstrates migration levels of <10ppb in inks cured in air with standard mercury lamps. All components appear on the European positive lists – Swiss Ordinance and EuPIA – and the inks don’t use materials specifically excluded in the Nestlé list, meaning they meet industry standards for food packaging. Brand owners, package designers and converters are aware of the capabilities of digital printing and are keen to factor the new process capability into the design stage for many applications including those involving foods. However, EtiJet LM UV can also be used in non-food applications on standard label stocks, providing maximum operational flexibility. Gidue reinforces its Digital Flexo concept
Nuova Gidue reinforced its pioneering technology: Digital Flexo.
Based on Gidue’s Print Tutor concept (launched in 2005) that was first applied to mid-web, then to offset multi-process presses, this Digital Flexo technology was introduced at last year’s Labelexpo Europe applied to flexographic presses.
This latest vision for labelling and packaging printing has resulted in a flexographic press with fully-automated print pressure and lateral and cross register.
It was demonstrated in Chicago, applied to a Gidue Combat M5 430mm eight-colour UV press, to emphasise reductions in waste and production time coupled with incomparable quality standards. Local enquiries to Ipex Machinery.
AVT’s SpectraLab cited as Most Innovative Product
Advanced Vision Technology (AVT)’s SpectraLab received the Label Industry Award for New Innovation for 2012.
SpectraLab is an add-on module to the Helios II family, featuring in-line spectral measurements according to the international ISO standards. It provides absolute colour measurements, L*a*b*, and density readings to match brand owners’ colour standards and design, and to help maintain perfect colour match throughout the run. SpectraLab is the only ISO-compliant spectrophotometer available on the market for the on-press, inline measurement of absolute colour and density values of colour critical packaging.
Says Mike Fairley, judging chairman: ‘These awards signify the importance of innovation across the labelling industry and we hope that such deserving wins for companies such as AVT inspire and encourage others to champion innovation within their business’
AVT’s products are sold to leading printing press suppliers, packaging, labels, commercial, semi- commercial, newspaper and speciality printers in the web printing markets worldwide and the company is now represented by Rotocon in South Africa.
Customer-driven innovations are Xeikon’s hallmark
Xeikon declared Labelexpo Americas to be an extremely successful event.
At the laser die-cutting workshop, Xeikon’s Vectorizor stole the show. Vectorizor (patent pending) is an automatic die-cut generator that defines a new standard in communication with laser die-cutting devices, creating new opportunities to automate label production and increase productivity. This was illustrated with the ‘Web2LabelProduction’ system shown on the Xeikon stand that’s designed to produce a great variety of short-run labels economically. The final result is an automated, web-enabled solution that produces finished labels, without any human intervention.
Another Xeikon innovation applauded by visitors was the Durable Clear Toner. This acts as a digital spot varnish for folding cartons and enables inline production of short run folding carton planes that are ready to be folded and glued.
Durable Clear Toner is printed and fused just like any other colour in the Xeikon 3000 Series of digital label presses. An extra curing step outside of the press transforms this clear layer of toner into a protective layer of varnish. The varnish can be printed digitally, leaving the flexibility to keep certain areas on the package open for glue strips and code markings to be applied later. While other digital printing systems rely on a separate spot varnish step, the Durable Clear Toner can simplify the production process of folding carton planes. This innovation makes it possible to truly exploit the benefits of digital printing for producing short-run folding cartons.
For the South African market, Xeikon is represented by Thunderbolt Solutions.
Is UV-LED the next best thing?
The working partnership of Mark Andy, Flint Group and Phoseon Technology showed its hand at Labelexpo Americas with the launch of ProLED, a new type of curing system that could change the face of UV in the printing industry.
Using solid-state semi-conductors, the principal difference of the new UV-LED technology compared to conventional mercury-based lamps is that it uses medium wavelength UV that avoids ozone and heat generation.
The partners claim that it offers advanced capabilities, with economy of operation, and ‘green credentials’ that leave existing systems far behind. Operating at 16-watts/cm2, the developers are predicting an ROI of less than 12 months, with a far higher level of press uptime than is currently possible.
The drawback is that the system will not cure conventional UV inks and lacquers, so a range of EkoCure inks (F for Flexo, S for Screen) is being offered, with development underway for coatings, metallics, shrink whites and laminating adhesives.
Designed for use on flexible packaging and folding cartons, as well as labels and shrink sleeves, UV-LED claims to consume 50% less power than existing systems. With maintenance also reduced (by up to 75%) because of an absence of blowers and ducting, and with no moving parts such as mirrors and shutters, the whole system has a footprint half the size of existing UV set-ups.
According to Greg Palm of Mark Andy: ‘This technology will bring UV to new users because of its low cost and simplicity. For existing users, it offers a deeper and faster cure, but it also brings in those who are running water-based inks.’
In fact, the Beta site in the US is a water-based press, which substantiates what Palm claims about attracting new business by having UV/WB combi capability. Designed initially for OEM fitment, the new system also has great sales potential in the retrofit market, where its size makes it an easy shoe-in on existing presses, UV or otherwise.
As evidence of the new technology’s reliability, Greg Palm adds: ‘In our five-year trial, we didn’t have single LED failure!’