This year, over 550 exhibitors are preparing to demonstrate the latest equipment, to dazzle visitors with cutting-edge technology and spellbind them with systems and materials to improve business efficiency and increase profitability.
The following pages point the way to a few of the many ‘not-to-be-missed’ exhibits ranged throughout seven halls at the Brussels expo centre.
Mark Andy and Rotoflex advances
As regular show-goers will know, one of the first stands to hit the eye on entering Hall 5 (see picture above) is the Mark Andy/Rotoflex stand, where SArepco’s Paul Bouwer and his team members are always happy to greet fellow countrymen and explain the latest technology breakthroughs.
This year will be no different. ‘With exciting technologies recently introduced, this year’s show is on track to be even better than 2011,’ Paul remarks confidently.
Among highlights is the Mark Andy P5, a high-end combination printing and converting line. It features the FTA award-winning QCDC (Quick Change Die Cut) technology that eliminates the bottleneck of die changeovers and slower stripping speeds. ‘It allows 430mm-wide repeat dies to be changed easily and safely in less than 60 seconds!’ reckons Paul.
Another not-to-be-missed exhibit is the Performance P3. Designed specifically for conventional label production, it features Mark Andy’s integrated ProLED system that cures speciality inks and coatings on a variety of substrates, including thin films, without requiring heat management. ‘This machine introduces the latest in LED ink curing, featuring Flint Group’s EkoCureUV LED inks,’ Paul clarifies.
Another exciting development is Versa Max, Mark Andy’s mid-web flexible packaging press that features speedy changeover combined with top print quality. It promises to reduces plate costs with a minimum print repeat of 254mm, and to minimise ink waste.
From the Rotoflex stable, the VSI inspection-slitter-rewinder – widely used in traditional label and printed roll-to-roll inspection and rewinding – features the latest control system, called URC 2.0, an easy-to-use operator interface that provides unmatched defect detection and automatic sensor calibration to improve quality and productivity. Open access to the vertical web path offers changeover efficiency while low working height provides easy access for the operator.
‘The 330mm VSI 330 is the updated design equipped with the widely-used Nikka D1 100% ALIS (Advanced Label Inspection System),’ Paul explains.
He also mentions the VLI inspection-slitter-rewinder, available in widths up to 700mm, for tension-specific applications and high-speed production. With its large easy-access touchscreen display and well-placed auxiliary controls, it provides quality finishing. Like the VSI, the VLI features the URC 2.0 control system, along with Rotoflex’s eDrive web handling system that allows fast acceleration and deceleration with maximum control at speeds up to 300m/min.
‘The brand-new Rotoflex VLI 440 is the most updated design,’ Paul adds.
Rounding out these exhibits on the Mark Andy/Rotoflex stand is the VPM400, a video plate mounter that provides fast and accurate plate mounting to complement the print workflow.
‘We’re looking forward to seeing many of our current and potential customers at the show,’ Paul asserts.
Combining digital and conventional saves time, costs
The Gallus Print Shop Concept on show at Labelexpo demonstrates the cost- and time-saving advantages of combining digital and conventional printing technologies to produce labels.
On show is an all-new Gallus ECS 340 (pictured below) with the ‘Plus’ update-package; a Heidelberg Linoprint L digital drop-on-demand system with the Gallus ECS C digital-finishing-system; and a Gallus EM 430 S with its innovative short-web path controlled by a central MIS-workflow system.
‘Digital label printing is a key growth segment and offers our customers the potential to obtain additional business. In conjunction with the Heidelberg Linoprint L digital systems (pictured above), our solutions for flexographic, offset and screen printing enable label printers to significantly boost their competitiveness by meeting even the toughest requirements in terms of flexibility and quality,’ explains Klaus Bachstein, Gallus CEO.
In addition, Gallus is showing its Screeny Genuine plates for rotary screen printing, as well as underlining the efficient and quick process changeovers achieved with a multifunctional printing unit on a Gallus RCS 330.
Together with industry partner, Siegwerk, Gallus is exhibiting the Gallus EM 280 with a full LED UV curing system, printing Siegwerk’s latest UV LED inks.
Xeikon invites converters to ‘See the Proof’ of digital label printing
Also promoting digital label printing is Thunderbolt’s principal Xeikon.
A new programme called ‘See the Proof’ gives converters a simple way to test and evaluate the quality of digital printing – using their own projects.
From now until September 15, label converters around the world can upload their own digital label designs to a special website (www.seetheproof.com).
Labels will be printed on five different label substrates – paper, a structured wine label material, a metallised substrate, transparent and white PE materials. All will be printed with the new ICE toner that Xeikon is also demonstrating at Labelexpo; and finished labels can be picked up during the show. Uncollected labels will be delivered to the owners after the show.
‘We’ve launched this programme specifically to help label converters overcome any last doubts they may have about the quality of digital label printing,’ explains Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s director, business development. ‘The message we’re sending to label converters is this: “Try it for yourselves, without any commitment or risk.”
‘We’re confident they’ll love the results,’ he adds. ‘It may be the last proof they need to erase any myths and convince them of the need to invest in a Xeikon press to grow their businesses.’
Variable-size web offset for flexible packaging
Another Thunderbolt principal on show is Müller Martini. As a market leader in variable size web offset printing, this company is showcasing the numerous options that its presses offer for the production of labels, shrink sleeves and flexible packaging.
Web offset offers several financial benefits for packaging printers, including lower printing costs, more varied substrate options and a reduced environmental impact.
Müller Martini will illustrate these advantages using the VSOP and Alprinta V. Both variable size presses enable a high degree of diversity. The integration of flexo, rotogravure and digital printing for package printing is possible, as are a wide range of inline finishing processes. Any number of innovative print samples will demonstrate the breadth of printable substrates.
Visitors to this stand can view layout combinations using jigsaw pieces on a special magnetic wall to identify the optimal printing press configuration for their needs! (Guess where you’ll be likely to find this journalist?!)
Jason Gould, representing the Thunderbolt team, will be on hand at both the Xeikon and Müller Martini stands to answer specific queries from South Africa’s packaging printers/converters.
Goss’s game-changing web offset technology
Also punting web offset for packaging is Goss International, using Labelexpo to introduce the Sunday Vpak web offset press for label, folding cartons, flexible packaging and preprint applications.
This press is designed to allow packaging producers to exploit the productivity, print quality, process automation and low-cost short-run agility advantages unleashed by the latest advances in web offset technology.
Quick-change sleeve technology allows infinitely variable repeat settings, making it fast and simple to match cylinder circumference to each specific job. Force-loaded cylinders extend the versatility, accommodating a wide range of substrates.
The Goss Sunday Vpak press incorporates proven presetting, inking, dampening and control systems to simplify short-run applications. With options for integrating an array of printing and finishing stations – including flexo, gravure, screen and digital – to form a hybrid production line, Vpak presses allow packaging printers to benefit from the inherent advantages of offset with added flexibility.
Codimag goes live
According to the Beswick Machinery team, great excitement is expected on the Codimag stand.
‘Codimag is doing something that no-one has tried before,’ Bruce Beswick explains. ‘Called AniFlo Live 2013, this feature sees customer jobs printed live at the show on a six-colour Viva 340 AniFlo press.’
Codimag has installed a special webcentre where customers can upload test files (offset only without hot-foil, screen or die-cut) and then watch the conversion process and approve any modifications.
All prepress steps are automated and plate-making will take place at the stand. Visitors will be able to see just how quickly they receive their colour proofs.
‘This is an ideal way for converters to differentiate Codimag’s Viva 340 AniFlo press from its competitors in terms of predictability and flexibility, especially competing head-on with flexo and digital,’ Bruce continues.
The six-colour press on the stand features hot-foil, flexo varnish, screen-printing and die-cutting stations.
The plan is to run around eight jobs/day (including the AnifFlo Live jobs), and to analyse set-up times, production speeds and waste.
‘At the end of each day, we’ll show how many jobs and labels have been run, the relationship between set-up time and production time, and the set-up waste factor. We’ll be assisted by a French company, Thetis, to implement an ERP system for label printers,’ Bruce says. ‘We’re looking forward to seeing many South African label printers on the Codimag stand.’
Affordable mounting automation
Another of Beswick Machinery’s several principals on show is JM Heaford, demonstrating its range of mounters. Included in the line-up is the award-winning FTS model that has radically simplified and speeded up the mounting process – as the company puts it ‘providing automation without the usual automation price tag’.
On the FTS the plate is quickly and accurately positioned on the table using laser alignment, with a LED lighting system enhancing the register marks. Once the plate is positioned, the cylinder or sleeve is brought into contact with the plate by a precision air jacking system. The simple action of sliding the cushion table back and forth applies the plate around the cylinder or sleeve under constant balanced pressure providing uniform adhesion and eliminating the possibility of trapped air pockets that can occur using hand pressure.
Label converters have described the FTS as a ‘game changer’, noting mounting speeds four times faster than previous methods.
The mounters on the Labelexpo stand include sleeve and cylinder versions, tape dispensing systems, tape and plate knife cutting options and stepped camera options.
Banding and punching – see Blumer’s options
Yet another Beswick principal, Blumer, is showing label and card production lines for wet glue applied labels (cut-to-stack labels) for beer, soft drink and water bottles. Systems for the production of aluminium bottle neck and in-mould labels are also part of Blumer’s range.
On display is a D-18.M punching machine that’s an ideal start-up solution and a core device for most automated label finishing lines.
In addition to traditional label finishing processes, such as cutting and punching, an array of inline and offline banding solutions produce all kinds of label stacks.
Gidue shows digital flexo in Package Printing Zone
Gidue is taking take part in Labelexpo with a variety of innovations. Not only are this company’s printing and converting machines being exhibited on the company’s stand but also in the Package Printing Zone, where Tarsus has organised a workshop for selected printing and converting press manufacturers.
Through live demonstrations, the aim of this workshop is to show how narrow- and mid-web conventional and digital presses can be used for short- and niche-run packaging applications.
Underlining increasing demand for advanced printing presses that can provide personalisation opportunities combined with short lead times, Gidue and Xeikon have been selected to represent the latest ways of adding value to printing businesses by demonstrating production of flexible packaging, folding cartons and tube laminates.
For this demonstration, Gidue is exhibiting its new M3 Digital Flexo. The press is able to print on a wide range of supported and unsupported substrates with almost no manual intervention. This innovative solution delivers closed-loop automation of the press operations, standardisation of press performance, digital flow networking, all-in-one-pass production, high productivity and fast set-up times.
Present at the show is Gidue’s local representative, Bruce Allen of Ipex Machinery.
Great optimism as Prati prepares for Brussels
On Prati’s stand in Hall 5 visitors can see the latest innovations from its R&D department.
Prati’s huge optimism for the Brussels show is confirmed by sales director Chiara Prati: ‘In contrast to the economic gloom over recent years, we’ve grown exponentially. 2012 was a record year for sales, and turnover for the first six months of 2013 has more than doubled compared to the previous year. Interest in our cutting-edge technologies is evident from the fact that, even before officially revealing them to the world market, we’ve received orders for systems to be presented at the show. So we’re making preparations to be able to cater promptly for demand for these machines, which could well be higher than we initially expected.’
When it comes to commodity labels, Prati is keenly interested in the low value-added end of the market, endeavouring to transform this segment with its revolutionary STARplus machine.
According to Chiara, Prati is among the few manufacturers in the world to provide an alternative solution for converters who don’t need an inspection system. On the STARplus, glueless technology results in big savings in consumables and ensures a clean and eco-friendly process, as well as perfect tensioning of finished reels.
The STARplus off-line turret (four shafts) works in-line with any printing and converting machine. Its servo technology makes it suitable for the latest thin substrates, while high speed and perfect cycle continuity is ensured thanks to quick and automatic spindle change. A complete job change is said to take only 15 minutes.
With an eye on more traditional markets, Prati is presenting its Dual Turret semi-automatic rewinding system (pictured below) that fits the latest-generation Saturn and Jupiter models. Thanks to its double shaft, production outputs are increased by 50%. This automation cuts down the time required to remove the finished rolls and prepare the new operating cycle. It’s on show with a die-cutting unit for pre-printed and plain labels for working cycle optimisation.
At Labelexpo, Prati is officially launching its brand-new Alhena converting machine for the added-value IML (in-mould labelling) market. Accommodating large mother reels, it’s equipped with reregister die and a conveyor that delivers labels to the stacker where they’re automatically stacked to make packaging easier for the operator.
Aware of the potential expressed by these innovative systems, Prati is preparing for Labelexpo intent on attracting the interest of discerning buyers. Present to represent Prati’s South African agent, Ipex Machinery, is Bruce Allen.
Edale, AB Graphic International announce technology partnership
Edale and AB Graphic International are using Labelexpo to launch the Digicon 3000, a 762mm wide finishing system that enables printers to convert pressure-sensitive labels and flexible packaging printed on the HP Indigo 20000 digital press.
After initial discussions in early 2012, Edale and AB Graphic International entered into a collaborative development agreement based on customer demand for a converting system for the soon-to-be-launched HP Indigo 20000.
The two companies together bring more than 100 years combined technical expertise – AB Graphic International having worked with HP for 15 years and Edale having worked with AGFA Graphics for 12 years.
While the Digicon 3000 will be manufactured by Edale, the machine will benefit from the companies’ combined intellectual property.
The HP Indigo 20000 is poised to transform the film and label converting market with its capability to produce the vast majority of label and flexible packaging applications digitally. The press supports a 762mm wide roll with up to 1 118mm repeat length, ensuring an easy fit into existing production lines.
The Digicon 3000 will run its first live demonstration on the HP stand at Labelexpo (Stand 5C105 in the Patio area).
Edale to showcase next-generation UV flexo
Taking up residence in Hall 7 (Stand 7M60), Edale is running its next-generation UV flexo FL-3 label and flexible packaging press throughout the four-day show to simulate a real production environment, highlighting the machines focus on high productivity, low waste and super-fast setup and changeover times.
Against the focus on digital, Edale’s aim is to demonstrate a cost-effective alternative and the company invites visitors to witness how economical its modern-day flexo press really is. Reports of plates used, time to setup, a range of short and medium run lengths, consumables and volume of completed label and filmic jobs will be published at the end of each day.
Comments James Boughton, Edale’s MD: ‘The FL-3 provides the simplicity of a printing technology that the printer understands. Its versatility, fast changeovers, inline finishing, smaller footprint (just one machine) and lower initial capital outlay makes the Edale FL-3 flexo press a reliable option for those considering the move to digital.’
The Edale FL-3 has already been well received with numerous installations in the UK, Germany and Mexico, with more installations imminent. The FL-3 boasts dramatically short set up times (under 10 minutes), less than 20m of set up waste, and the capability of running up to 200m/min.
It boasts Edale’s special UniPrint technology, printhead geometry that ensures consistent quality whatever the format size. Additional value-added options such as screen and lamination units can be mounted above the press on an easy-to-manoeuvre rail system – the model on show at Labelexpo has a turn bar and cold foil unit.
Automated roll handling from Martin
America’s leading manufacturer of automated roll handling, Martin Automatic (Stand 7K90), is exhibiting the latest versions of two popular models: the MBS unwind/splicer and the LRD rewinder.
The compact MBS, designed for the label and narrow-web markets, is capable of running a wide variety of substrates. The latest version comes with standard features that include ultrasonic sidelay sensors and spiral grooved rollers for handling film, paper, pressure-sensitive label stock, paperboard, tube laminates and filter media.
It features a touchscreen operator panel with expanded diagnostics to match the LRD rewinder, with which it’s is often paired.
The latest LRD transfer rewinder (pictured here) handles 800mm diameter rolls as standard, with larger diameter models available.
In addition to high visibility and expanded diagnostics, the new touchscreen control of the LRD includes recipe functions so operators can quickly and easily store and recall winding parameters for repeat jobs.
An optional inline slitter package has been enhanced to offer lateral adjustment of the slitter and anvil roller assembly for quicker set-up, fine-tuning and changeover between jobs.
The LRD offloads finished rolls automatically via one of several standard doffing ramp designs for full width, multiple ribbon or loosely wound rolls, without the need of a cart. If product rolls are small, or require special handling, an optional articulating arm automatically delivers finished rolls through the side of the unit for easy removal.
Since introducing the newest MBS and LRD models at Labelexpo Americas in 2012, Martin Automatic has delivered units to Europe, Asia, Africa, and both North and South America.
Converting lines feature MIS workflow
UK-based AB Graphic International is exhibiting developments from its comprehensive portfolio of label converting and finishing lines.
Exhibits range from entry level Digicon Lite machines to higher-end equipment for the beverage and cosmetics markets.
Two laser cutting lines including one stand-alone system and one integrated within a Digicon Series 2 platform also feature. Both will display ABG’s Digiflow and Digilase products. This software integration identifies and loads job parameters automatically and is capable of reporting live production activity to an MIS system every 30 seconds through JMF files.
Two new slitter rewinders are displayed for the first time with integrated vision systems and new features for the Omega converting lines and Vectra automatic turret rewinders including a new automatic core loader.
Completing the exhibit range are new vision inspection systems and rewinders (for pharma labels) as well as a booklet label machine with the latest modifications and options.
ABG’s inline finishing systems are also on display on the HP and ETI stands.
Durst’s high-speed UV inkjet label press
On the Durst stand (local connection: Kemtek), offering a complete digital end-to-end workflow, the Tau 330 high-speed UV inkjet label press is on show with inline digital laser finishing that incorporates Spartanics leading-edge die-cutting technology. The powerful 1 000W laser ensures high productivity and automatic job changeover when handling multiple jobs in a single run. For a complete finishing process, optional UV coating and lamination can be added.
As a further highlight, Durst is introducing Tau low-migration UV Inks from Sunjet.
Using these inks, the range of suitable applications for the Durst Tau 330 is expanded to unsupported foils, such as blister packs and yoghurt lids.
This means that Tau 330 users may now choose between standard UV inkjet inks for industrial applications or low-migration UV inkjet inks for food, health care and pharmaceutical applications.
Screen to showcase packaging portfolio
Another Kemtek principal, Screen, is showing its commitment to the label and packaging markets with its expanded portfolio of label and package printing-related products.
The Truepress Jet L350UV digital label press makes its European commercial debut at the show where it is being demonstrated by both Screen (Stand 9G50) and European reseller Dantex (Stand 5D20).
Screen developed the Truepress Jet L350UV to address exploding demand from major brands for value-added packaging that increase product differentiation. Shown as an early prototype at drupa 2012, this innovative inkjet label printing system boasts photo-realistic quality, fast job turnarounds and stable output that requires almost no daily maintenance. The new press prints widths up to 322mm and prints at a top speed of 50m/min. It leads the industry as an inkjet printing system for labels with productivity of 16.1m2/min. Lamination, die-cutting and other post-press processing devices can be connected inline to automate label production from beginning to end.
Combined with advanced colour management technology based on Screen’s EQUIOS universal workflow, the Truepress Jet L350UV creates smooth, vivid gradations. To provide a wider colour gamut than is typical with the four-colour process, the Truepress Jet L350UV uses Screen’s proprietary high-definition UV inks. Optional opaque white ink further boosts colour vibrancy while enhancing application versatility by allowing printing on transparent film and metallic foil. The press incorporates single-pass greyscale piezo printheads with a minimum droplet size of 3 picolitres. Printing resolutions of 600 x 600dpi combined with the very small droplet size gives sharp, well-defined images and text.
The press is engineered as either a roll-to-roll press for near-line finishing, or with the ability to feature automated in-line finishing such as lamination, die-cutting, foiling, coating and embossing.
Rotocon on parade
Also out in force is the Aengenvoort family/Rotocon team, backing their three key principals at Labelexpo, RotoControl, MPS and AVT.
On the RotoControl stand narrow-web converters can see leading-edge finishing machines, including the LeoMat brand, for inspection, slitting, rewinding, die-cutting, overprinting, digital labels and booklet labels.
To be unveiled is the new DT340FC digital finishing line featuring an automatic knife positioning system and an integratedautomatic four-spindle turret. The DT340FC is a fully modular, versatile finishing machine, rich in standard features plus a full complement of optional finishing modules designed to complement digital printing operations. Standard with a fully integrated flexo printing station and a semi-rotary die-cutting unit including high accuracy register control, the DT340FC is suitable for varnishing, diecutting in register, slitting and rewinding of printed or blank labels.
Also being demonstrated on the RotoControl stand is the DSP340 pharmaceutical inspection machine, the P440S high-speed die-cutting machine, the P340 basic high-speed slitter, and the company’s flagship RSC 340 high-speed slitter including a 100% inspection system.
In Hall 11, MPS is introducing the newly-broadened EF multisubstrate flexo press line now available in three versions. The EF press comes as a standard with a basic automation package. Two additional packages in print setting control can be configured to increase productivity even further.
MPS is also unveiling its cost-effective EB flexo press. Additionally, the company is introducing introduce the MPS LED UV dryer technology and its track-and-trace functionality, connected and integrated into machine job memory.
Additionally, show visitors can see live demonstrations of the EF-Flexo and the EXL-offset press lines.
The theme on the MPS stand is ’The Choice is Yours’, illustrating the wide range of press solutions now offered by MPS in response to market demand, from efficient, cost-effective solutions to high-end, fully-equipped advanced machines. The entire range of EB, EF and EXL press lines will be presented.
Moving to Hall 6, Advanced Vision Technology (AVT) is introducing its new hologram inspection system. This 100% automatic inspection system combines traditional print inspection technologies, holographic foils inspection and hologram print applications.
AVT also plans to introduce the next generation of its established PrintFlow print quality database. PrintFlow 2.0 features an upgraded user interface, a new roll map display and expanded production management capabilities. In addition, AVT will showcase its signature PrintVision/Helios II, the company’s industry-leading 100% inspection technology designed to meet the requirements of any label and narrow web application. The sophisticated solution inspects all print technologies – both on press and on rewinder – and offers a range of additional tools and modules for increased versatility.
Other AVT print inspection solutions on display include:
Workflow Link: A solution that utilises information directly from the press inspection database to automatically stop the rewinder, avoiding the unnecessary duplication of defective products.
SpectraLab: An add-on module to the Helios II family, featuring inline spectral measurements according to international ISO standards. SpectraLab provides absolute color measurements, L*a*b* color scale information, and density readings – all toward matching a brand owner’s color standards and design while maintaining perfect color matches throughout a run cycle.
PrintFlow Server: As central storage for AVT’s PrintFlow data base, the server allows users to store, backup and monitor all aspects of print quality from one access point, regardless of site structure and location.
Nilpeter introduces innovative flexo presses
‘NEXT – Your Challenge – Our Commitment’ is the overall theme on Nilpeter’s two adjoining stands, occupying 600m2 in Hall 7. As is customary, waiting to welcome South African visitors is Del Wiggill and the team from CSM.
With its expected focus on innovation, the Danish press manufacturer is introducing two new flexo presses – both for the first time at a European event.
The FB-3 and FA-4* occupy two distinct niches and are based on new platforms. They include many innovative features designed to optimise production and maximise investments, with the accent on adding value to premium-quality labels. Press demonstrations will feature the production of value-added self-adhesive labels for the wines and spirits, food, and health and beauty sectors.
Adding value is a major feature of two other exhibits: The new FP-4 flatbed hot foil and embossing system for flexible inline production; also the G-4 inline gravure unit for printing value-adding metallic inks and other coatings on Nilpeter presses.
Nilpeter’s FB-3 flexo press is among the market’s fastest label presses, delivering a top speed of 228m/min with no compromises to print quality on webs up to 350mm wide. Although a high-performance press, the FB-3 remains competitive over a wide range of run lengths, including short runs.
Standard equipment includes Nilpeter’s Press Management Center (PMC) giving central control over press functions. It’s augmented by the Air Control Satellite (ACS) for wireless press operation, and Nilpeter’s Automatic Plate Positioning Systems (APPS). The press runs with either hot air dryers or inter-deck UV-curing lamp units. Other options include freely-positioned units for rotary UV-screen, as well as hot and cold foil.
Also new in Europe, Nilpeter’s sleeve-based FA-4* has a web width of 420mm, an extra-short web width of 420mm, an extra short web path and a top speed of 175m/min, making the press a good choice for producing high-quality labels and flexible packaging in short runs with various repeat lengths.
As with the FB-3, the F-A4* incorporates Nilpeter’s PMC and ACS. Extra features include a new print-to-cylinder (P2C) register system. Optimal chill drum positioning facilitates printing of heat-sensitive substrates.
The feature-rich FA-4* includes Nilpeter’s Cleaninking system for water-based or UV-cured flexo inks, a quick-lock system anilox rolls, and the PowerLink control system. Units that add value while minimising waste include Nilpeter’s Quick-Change magnetic die module developed together with Kocher & Beck. It allows fast release of flexible dies, off-press die preparation, and easy-load tooling. Options include freely-positioned rotary UV-screen, hot and cold foil printing.
Revolutionising linerless technology
Ritrama is announcing an exciting development at Labelexpo – an innovation that the company says offers a workable, competitive, efficient, environmentally-sound linerless system for use in the beverage, personal care and household products sectors.
Developed in collaboration with finishing specialist Prati and labelling equipment supplier Ilti, the system aims to revolutionise the use of linerless technology.
For this global launch visit Ritrama in Hall 5.
Kodak helps flexo printers stand out from the competition
Kodak is demonstrating its commitment to the flexographic market by showing visitors how to ‘Do more with less’.
On the Kodak stand, a raft of innovations show how stand-out quality on-shelf is achievable with more cost-effective label production methods. Among these are the Kodak Flexcel NX, Kodak Flexcel Direct and Kodak Spotless Flexographic systems, all supported by Kodak Prinergy Powerpack Workflow prepress automation tools to improve packaging productivity and connectivity.
‘Some printers have compared the results possible with Kodak Flexographic Solutions to the difference between normal TV and HD,’ comments Olivier Claude, Kodak’s EAMER general manager. ‘It’s that more intense definition we will demonstrate to visitors at Labelexpo. For example, flesh and skin tones used to be challenging with flexo, but this is no longer the case with Kodak technology, where higher line screens and smaller minimum dots are possible. More importantly, the technology drives a step change in stability and efficiency for flexographic printing, making more profitable short runs a practical reality, without compromising quality. That coupled with the production gains afforded by Prinergy Powerpack Workflow, customised for each individual operation, enables them to become more competitive and in turn profitable. The possibilities are opening up lots of exciting opportunities.’
Kodak’s award-winning Flexcel NX System is a complete solution for digital platemaking using imaging technology and innovative materials for unprecedented image quality, stability and predictability, The accurate process colour recipes generated by the Kodak Spotless Flexographic Solution leverage the wider colour gamut and stability achievable with the Kodak Flexcel NX System, allowing printers to do more with process colour printing and providing brand owners with greater design freedom at a lower total cost.
The capabilities of the Flexcel NX System are being celebrated by a new certification programme that assures printers and brand owners that Kodak Flexcel NX Plates produced by certified providers are made to a global standard. To achieve the certification and earn the right to use the certification mark, companies must demonstrate that the plates they produce are consistently made to a standard Kodak global specification, representing a feature set that drives industry-leading efficiency, stability, and quality in print.
Olivier adds: ‘Technological developments are making flexography a cost-effective printing and converting platform well suited for today’s packaging market. Offering shorter runs with higher quality, new features and designs, and combining them with other services through web-based solutions are examples of how packaging printers can combat increasing competition. Automating these processes will put you ahead of the competition, reduce errors and help control spiralling labour costs while offering new packaging opportunities.’
He concludes: ‘Evolving technologies, like the Kodak Solutions, are expanding the flexographic print production arena and we are delighted to be able to show label producers how we can help them create high quality labels extremely cost-effectively.’
Four Presstec principals on show
Four of Presstec’s principals are among Labelexpo exhibitors – Omet, Cartes. Grafotronic and Vela. And looking forward to meeting South Africans on these stands are the Presstec team of Antron and Linton Hendricks.
This year’s show is special for Omet as the company marks its 50th anniversary amid ongoing celebrations; and the company’s innovations on display in Brussels include the presentation on an international stage of the XFlex X6 with offset groups with sleeves, the return of the XFlex X4 in Brussels following enviable sales figures around the world and good news regarding the company’s tailored offer for flexible packaging converters.
The XFlex X4 has fast become a ‘must have’ in areas with booming economies and strong demographic growth – for instance, in many Asia-Pacific countries. It’s also gaining market share in more established markets such as Eastern Europe and Russia. Being the perfect product for start-up enterprises with low investment budgets and inexperienced personnel, the XFlex X4 has proved ideal for increasing productivity with a limited impact on costs. In Brussels, it’s handling some interesting print jobs to underline its potential in terms of quality and reliability.
Omet’s X6, a machine that rocked the printing business in 2007, remains an ‘incomparable jewel of technology, ease of use and bright results’, according to Omet’s press release.
The configuration presented this year is a mix of flexo and offset technology, typical of Omet, well known as a pioneer of multiprocess technology. The newly-born offset units are equipped with light sleeves to improve changeover speed, user-friendliness and general ergonomics.
Typical users of the XFlex X6 with sleeve offset are packaging converters. The mix of offset and flexo allows them to take advantage of the plus points of both, including lower prepress costs, ease of ink management and process flexibility. The XFlex X6 in the flexo-offset configuration is offered in widths up to 530mm.
To offer a valid alternative for packaging converters using sheet-fed or CI presses, Omet also offers the Varyflex presses in larger widths – now up to 850mm wide. This major overhaul brings this well-known multiprocess, modular in-line press into direct competition with traditional larger presses for packaging printing offering faster start-up, reduced wastage at makeready, interchangeability of processes, and all-in-one-pass quality printing results.
As per tradition, right alongside Mark Andy at the main entrance to Hall 5 is the Cartes stand. This year, a particular highlight of Cartes’ line-up is the GT series finishing machine (similar to the one recently installed at Coastal Labels in Cape Town), being shown in different versions – with and without integrated laser.
This modular production and finishing line is configurable with silk screen printing, hot stamping, embossing, flexo varnishing, flat bed die-cutting and laser die-cutting units.
With the GT series, Cartes has developed an innovative technology that allows high performance in terms of precision and productivity, suitable for long- and short-run jobs.
Apart from its well-established credentials in terms of strength, quality of materials and high precision, even when working at high speed, the GT series machines stand out for modularity and retrofittable options. Other prime features are automatic centering systems, fast job changeovers, energy-saving operation, and safety for operators.
Over on the Grafotronic stand, visitors can see the latest four-colour 80m/min bidirectional inkjet press. It includes an inkjet module, two flexo units for priming and varnishing and a combined semi-rotary/rotary die-cutting unit. Each module is servo driven and works independently; and it’s a simple matter to add extra units for different processes such as lamination, inspection or sheeting.
Once the last label in the sequence has been printed and dried, the web moves back and positions the label within a tolerance of 0,20 mm.
Another product on show is Grafotronic’s horizontal inspection unit, specifically designed for pharmaceutical labels. This compact machine, only 2,5m in length, has a high-speed servo buffer that allows 100% inspection at 200m/min.
Also being shown on this stand are die-cutting machines, operating at 220m/min, and equipped with Grafotronic’s semi-automatic turret rewinder installed on more than 100 machines during the last year alone.
‘We’re really looking forward to exposing our new products at Labelexpo and hope that both familiar and new faces show up at our stand,’ comments Grafotronic VP Mattias Malmqvist, a sentiment echoed by Antron and Linton Hendricks from the Presstec team.
On the Vela Labelling stand, visitors can witness the cutting of shrink sleeves, stretch sleeves and in-mould labels – all from one machine.
On show is the highly-versatile Vela CT400M that cuts all of these label types, offering high-accuracy cutting and turning out top-quality, static-free labels.
The core of the machine is a typical die-cutting system with three rolls and pressure adjustment, but its outstanding performance is assured owing to a photocell that offers fast response and allows in-mould labels and shrink sleeves to be cut on the same machine.
Tension control is a key point in obtaining these characteristics at high speed; and the machine also features a fully-equipped rewinder to allow sleeve perforation and rewinding of rolls.
‘The Vela CTM400 is a very trustworthy and versatile machine that allows converters to improve productivity at the lowest possible cost,’ explains the company’s commercial manager, Joaquin Vall-llosera Costa. ‘Thanks to its versatility the machine allows a converter to produce different types of labels with one highly-productive investment. We invite visitors to the stand to see for themselves.’
Registration now open
The place to see the latest innovations in digital printing, multi-substrate presses, inline decoration systems, RFID/smart labels and prepress and plate making, Labelexpo Europe 2013 also boasts several feature areas.
The Package Printing Workshops highlight new ways of adding value to a business and demonstrate how to produce folding cartons, flexible packaging and tube laminates.
The latest in available technologies and their applications are also under the spotlight. The Inkjet Trail shows how different inkjet technologies compare when producing the same labels on the same substrates.
Print Your Future, packaging innovation by HP Indigo and partners, are designed to demonstrate new solutions for labels, folding cartons and flexible packaging that differentiate packaging and products and add value for brands.
As Lisa Milburn, MD of the Labelexpo Global Series, sums up: ‘Labelexpo Europe 2013 is the best place to see the latest products, ancillaries and business development tools for the label and package printing industry. With solutions on show for every area of business – from industrial to food and beverages through to pharmaceutical and personal care – there’s nowhere better to source new technology, improve your supply chain management or learn about maximising value-added services that will help keep your business ahead of the competition.’
An early bird discount rate is available until 18 September with entry to the show costing €50. Show visitors can register to attend at http://www.labelexpo-europe.com.