Highlights included new digital presses from leading manufacturers such as EFI, Epson and Screen. HP Indigo showcased its HP Indigo 20000 and WS6800 digital presses; Mark Andy showed its Digital Series and Performance Series P4; and both MPS and Nilpeter unveiled hybrid conventional/digital presses.
Apart from hosting the Label Industry Global Awards (see page 52), the Packprint Workshop was well attended with live demonstrations by Xeikon using its 3500 for digital folding cartons and Nilpeter showing its FA* flexo press for flexible packaging. The Smart Packaging Lab covered current developments in active and intelligent packaging with contributions from Avery Dennison, Blippar, EyeSee and Seido Systems, while another popular feature was the inaugural Linerless Trail, promoting the benefits of linerless labels.
Comments Lisa Milburn, MD of the Labelexpo Global Series: ‘Feedback has been phenomenal and exhibitors are genuinely pleased. Many press manufacturers experienced record sales and lead generation. The main trends coming out of this year’s show are the continued move to package printing with more manufacturers offering short-run production printing presses, and the ongoing dominance of digital as more and more hybrid presses flood the marketplace. We’ve had amazing testimonials – certainly a fitting way to celebrate our 35th anniversary!’
Backing up Lisa’s enthusiastic remarks is a seemingly endless stream of positive feedback from exhibitors.
All-round success for Rotocon’s principals
Giving a South African perspective, Rotocon’s Michael Aengenvoort reports great success for his company. Michael, Pascal and Patrick Aengenvoort were kept very busy on their various principals’ stands. ‘We had lots of visitors from Southern Africa,’ Michael relates. ‘Many of them participated in our “Rotocon trail” and are now in line to win valuable prizes in our lucky draw.’ (Results will be announced in the next issue of PPM.)
Among Michaels’ numerous success stories were sales of three MPS presses into Southern Africa, one Screen digital press, and two RotoControl units.
Additionally, Germany’s RotoControl, headed up by Marco Aengenvoort, clocked up 15 sales at the show, a variety of booklet label, digital finishing and inspection machines.
This was RotoControl’s third appearance at Labelexpo Europe, and the company received an outstanding number of confirmed orders and new leads.
Comments Marco Aengenvoort, ‘The show provided a convenient venue to demonstrate our range of finishing machines for label inspection, slitting, rewinding, die-cutting, overprinting, digital and booklet labels to a large audience of narrow-web converters. The five finishing machines on our stand attracted lots of attention. The Labelexpo organisers offer excellent pre-show marketing and the buzz is kept alive with ongoing posts leading up to and during the event. We look forward to returning in 2017!’
Another of Rotocon’s principals, Matthias Thor of Matho, also claims the most successful Labelexpo Europe since his company’s first participation in 1997, with numerous promising contacts and sales contracts during the show. One customer from Lithuania, for instance, ordered a central waste extraction system CP-6000 for the extraction of self-adhesive matrix from five presses and six edge-trim machines.
During the show Matho demonstrated the complete cutting system Cuttopipe and introduced a new baler Cuttopress CP-2000.
‘Visitors were impressed by our capabilities and reasonable prices,’ says Matthias. ‘The new baler, for instance, is designed for mid-size label converters to handle sticky waste from up to five presses and pack it into a highly-compact bale. This concept allows converters to handle waste in an efficient way.’
Brian Filler, president of Screen Europe, another of Rotocon’s highly-valued principles, has this to say: ‘This has been a phenomenal show for us. Two years ago we entered the label market for the first time with the launch of the Truepress Jet L-350UV digital label press. Since then we’ve sold 30 presses worldwide and have earned our place as a premier label press manufacturer. At this show we met visitors from all over the world looking to invest in digital technology and we sold a press every day of the show, including a second system to Rever in Spain and one to UK trade specialist Baker Labels. For companies looking to invest in digital, there’s lot of choice and it’s the manufacturers who offer the best combination of precision, productivity and price that are attracting the most interest.’
MPS unveil partnership with Domino
Wim van den Bosch, CEO of MPS, is equally happy with results. ‘With its large and broad attendance of narrow-web printers and converters, Labelexpo Europe provided an ideal opportunity to début our highly-automated EF Neo flexo press and the Symjet hybrid digital/flexo press. In addition to numerous orders from existing and new customers, and an unprecedented number of visitors from all over the world, we celebrated the first order for a Symjet digital/flexo press purchased by German printer Optikett.’
Following pre-show announcements that MPS would present a new hybrid press at Labelexpo, the company used the show to unveil its partnership with Domino in the development of the new EF Symjet – a symbiotic combination of a flexo press on the standard MPS EF platform and a Domino digital N610i inkjet printer. With the flexibility of flexo and digital printing, the EF Symjet gives converters a range of new print possibilities.
The Domino digital unit uses Kyocera print heads to print at 600×600 dpi, in up to six colours and opaque white. The 340mm web width on the Domino combined with the 430mm on the MPS allows converters to run more labels across the web when running in pure flexo mode and at a higher speed.
Comments Bert van den Brink, MPS technical director, ‘By combining the stability of our existing flexo EF platform with Domino’s well-proven N600i inkjet engine, we have created a highly flexible machine that allows converters to combine flexo and digital printing, or use separately inline, as well as converting in one-pass – filling the gap between conventional flexo and digital printing machines.’
Mark Andy’s ‘resounding sucess’
When Labelexpo Europe closed its doors, Mark Andy, pronounced it ‘a resounding success’! The company claims interest and orders from many new customers and opportunities for the two new machines on European début.
The new Digital Series was demonstrated to packed crowds during five live demonstrations each day. Mark Andy says this is the ‘first-ever truly hybrid system’ displaying the most robust integration of flexo and digital printing, foil stamping and converting with multiple die changes of any digital technology at the show. The Digital Series ran at 74m/min, one of the fastest inkjet performers at the show, and visitors were able to watch live demos of three complete job changes in only 10 minutes, including a substrate change!
The company believes the Mark Andy Digital Series design and technology is truly ground-breaking. It’s now ready for commercial use, with beta sites already selected, and machines being installed in the US, and Mark Andy’s sights are now set on Europe for early 2016.
The new Performance Series P4 also made its global début in Brussels and was the most comprehensive new flexo platform shown at Labelexpo. Visitors were able to see first-hand how the award-winning Performance Series platform can adapt to the varied tooling available in the industry, and advance converters’ productivity with full servo technology. Five machines had been sold prior to the show, and Mark Andy is predicting strong sales activity in the months to come.
CEO Kevin Wilken comments on the event: ‘This year’s Labelexpo was tremendous for Mark Andy. Our Digital Series was an impressive front-runner to the many digital options shown at the exhibition, and many customers gave us positive feedback about its speed, quality and versatility. This just reaffirms that our platform and technology are on target, and reaching our goal of driving productivity and profitability for the converter. I’m very proud of the dedicated team that has envisioned the right digital solution for the future.’
Present on the Mark Andy stand was SArepco’s Paul Bouwer, Mark Andy’s South African agent, who also reports a great show, with more South African visitors than he’d expected. However, he comments with a wry smile, ‘Many of them were “kicking tyres” because of dismal exchange rates!’
Apex International’s ‘best Labelexpo yet’
Apex International enjoyed its best Labelexpo to date, shattering previous records for visitors to its stand (24% more than in 2013), sales leads and orders taken during the show.
Apart from energetic pre-show promotional activity – using a mix of social media, print advertising and multiple mailings – this outstanding performance is attributed to the strategy of showcasing value through cooperative partnerships.
Says Doug Jones, Apex VP (marketing): ‘We owe thanks to our OEM partners for helping us demonstrate the value of our products. Visitors saw our GTT anilox as part of Revo demonstrations at Bobst and Soma Engineering stands; and we also showed a cross section of possibilities for four- and seven-colour fixed palette systems in conjunction these two companies – again driving a great deal of traffic to our stand. In addition, we were privileged to work working with Omet, MPS and Lombardi to demonstrate our conventional anilox solutions.’
Apex provided information on the applications and benefits of its proprietary GTT engraving technology for the label industry and for flexographic printing. ‘We spent a great deal of time explaining the advantages of a fixed palette approach and, more importantly, what has changed in the past two years,’ Doug Jones continues. ‘We had many places to direct visitors so they could see these results first hand. Projects such as Revo are springboarding more and more trials. And the results are going to get increasingly impressive. We’re a critical part of the process that makes fixed palette a viable tool for successful Pantone simulation and we believe the hard work done by our engineers is changing flexography forever.’
Multiple orders were taken during the show, including several from first-time buyers. ‘Several large orders were placed directly at our stand,’ comments Matthew Turner, area sales manager. ‘Our technology is really starting to gain industry attention. For instance, we’re testing applications and seeing success in areas such as opacity that no other anilox company in the world is able to duplicate,’ he claims.
In South Africa, Apex International’s representation is a two-channel system – Beswick Machinery for wide-web applications, and Presstec for narrow-web.
Prati registers a ‘resounding success’
Labelexpo was an immense success for Prati, proving to be the perfect platform for building on existing customer relationships and generating important new sales leads. Visitors came principally from Europe, Asia and the Middle East, and were attracted to the Prati stand by its theme based on the company’s ability to fly label finishing companies to success.
Prati is, of course, represented in South Africa by the Ipex Machinery team.
Focusing on customer priorities, such as improved productivity, less downtime and flexibility to respond to the market’s quickly-changing demands, Prati presented its latest innovations.
Designed in conjunction with major printing groups, the new Jupiter WF slitter inspection rewinder cuts time and overheads from every process. By implementing fully-automated quality control and corrective action via an exclusive software element, the WF system enables converters to streamline production, improve efficiency, reliability and quality, minimising the risk of human error. Moreover, the machine can be fitted with all camera brands.
Ultimately, however, it was the Digifast One that turned out to be the major attraction on the stand. Visitors were impressed by its remarkable processing speeds and minimal set-up time between jobs.
In addition, many visitors gathered to watch the Vega+ die-cutter with a new-generation non-stop turret rewinder. One company, Raining Labels, was running its own ‘post label’ job on the Prati stand, wowing visitors with the Vega+ finishing capabilities and reaching an astonishing 112 000 linear metres in just 24 hours, making premium quality finishing look absolutely effortless.
Comments Prati’s marketing director, Chiara Prati, ‘It was an intense four days in Brussels at the most successful Labelexpo yet!’
She goes on to sum up: ‘We received countless visitors from all corners of the globe particularly interested in learning more about the Digifast One. We sealed numerous contracts during the show and expect to conclude outstanding business over the next couple of months. A lot of effort went into this exhibition, so I am happy to say we expect a busy autumn and decisively positive results at the end of the year.’
HP brings creativity to the fore
Among the several thousand international visitors to HP’s Labelexpo stand were key decision makers from some of South Africa’s leading label and packaging companies, such as Advanced Labels, Didget Printing, Golden Era, Label-It, Pyrotec, Rotolabel, Uniprint, and many more – all keen to see the latest innovations.
Highlights on this busy stand included live demos of the WS6800 Digital Press, HP Indigo’s most advanced narrow-web press for high-volume labels and packaging production. Featured inline on this press was an ABG Digicon Series 3 finishing unit, with integrated electrical controls and components. A Digicon 3 Lite entry-level machine was also demonstrated.
Packaging printers were wowed by the capabilities of the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press. Winner of the 2014 InterTech Technology Award for innovation, this machine allows converters to produce flexible packaging, labels and shrink sleeves on film or paper.
During the show, HP celebrated its 1 000th WS6000 Digital Press machine sale – going to Italian group, Eurostampa – plus 70 confirmed orders from customers around the globe.
Additional product developments included new-generation HP ElectroInk Premium White, fluorescent pink and fade-resistant inks, along with One-Shot Colour technology.
An on-stand ‘colour challenge’, presented over 300 times throughout show, was used to demonstrate HP’s superior colour capabilities.
As always, a prime feature of Labelexpo are the Global Label Awards (see page 52), and this year HP scooped the Award for Innovation for its SmartStream Mosaic software. This exciting design package enables automatic creation of millions of images based on core patterns, and offers fast turnaround of highly-customised campaigns where every copy is different. The technology has already been successfully adopted by Coca Cola in Israel for its ‘Stay Extraordinary’ campaign and, most recently, by Bud Light for its limited-edition Festival cans.
Ashe shows automatic core loading
Yet another enthusiastic response to Labelexpo comes from Matthew Godbold of Ashe Converting Equipment, among Ipex Machinery’s principals on show, taking advantage of the show to display its latest automatic core loading facility on the proven glueless four-spindle turret rewinder non-stop finishing machine.
‘Once again,’ says Matthew, ‘we saw huge interest in our glueless turret rewinder with many orders completed at the show.’
According to Matthew, the no-tooling setup when changing core diameters on the machine minimises machine downtime when changing jobs.
In seconds, each core is individually loaded and the system sets gaps between each loaded core. The system operates for cores with internal diameters from 25mm to 76mm.
A 520mm wide Opal glueless turret slitter for labels was operational during the show, and the latest design of die station was running on a 420mm wide Opal converting line. This form of rotary die station is loaded horizontally with the pressure load achieved via hydraulic rams, allowing precise and accurate loading of die cylinders. The design also allows for easy loading and unloading of die cylinders when fast changeover times are required for blank label production.
Complementing these features on the Opal series was a fully-automatic knife positioning system that sets both male and female knives simultaneously within 90 seconds.
‘We also received many enquiries for our range of wide-web slitter rewinders, with many label producers wanting greater control over raw material workflow,’ Matthew adds.
Great edition for Codimag
Codimag took the opportunity to demonstrate the latest viva 340 evolution press based on Aniflo technology. On show was a six-colour version that showed printers how they could benefit from extended gamut printing, and attracted many label printers already using digital systems with off-line finishing.
During the show, printers were challenged to print their jobs live on the stand, allowing them to witness the machine’s outstanding flexibility. With 25 jobs printed on the stand, the average set-up time was 12 minutes and average waste under 30m.
The press was equipped with Codimag’s brand-new platen unit that facilitates in-line added-value embellishment such as hot-foil embossing, flat-bed hot-foil, multilevel embossing and micro embossing.
This unit attracted great interest from label printers, particularly those involved in the wine and spirits sector. Thanks to its speed of 18 000 strokes/hour, a foil path along or across the web and a foil saver, this unit offers a cost-effective and productive solution to demanding requirements in terms of quality and lead time.
With such ground-breaking products and technological innovations, Codimag has reinforced its international development of new markets. ‘We signed two orders during the show, and new prospects have been amazed by our technology, which they tested live at Labelexpo,’ comments Benoit Demol, Codimag newly-appointed CEO. ‘We are extremely confident about our open solution model. We have shown our machines running with low migration inks from Siegwerk, after a joint development project, and Presstek Zahara water-washable plates. Emulation among industry providers and cooperation with all players is a major push for waterless offset, in terms of quality and price. It is good for everyone!,’ he adds.
The local connection is Beswick Machinery.
Label Industry Global Awards winners unveiled
Over 500 guests gathered to witness the Label Industry Global Awards ceremony in Brussels to find out which of the 17 finalist companies would be walking away with a much coveted industry gong. The event was held at Brussels Expo as part of Labelexpo Europe 2015.
Kurt Walker (pictured above), FINAT’s former president was presented with the esteemed R Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement Award. Sponsored by Avery Dennison, the award is given to an individual who has made a substantial and key contribution to the label industry over a minimum of 25 years. Kurt received the award in recognition of his work with FINAT and in driving innovation and best practice throughout the international label community.
HP Indigo was revealed as the winner of the Award for Innovation (for companies with more than 300 employees), sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web. HP Indigo was honoured for the development of HP SmartStream Mosaic software. Initiated by a request from Coca-Cola Israel, following the success of the Share a Coke customised name campaign, HP Indigo has delivered the ability to create millions of unique images and designs on labels and packaging from seed patterns using an innovative graphics algorithm.
Also sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web, the Award for Innovation (for companies with fewer than 300 employees), went jointly to GEW and Lake Image Systems.
GEW impressed the judges with its RHINO electronic power supply, developed to enable the lowest operating cost for a UV-curing system, operating at 95% energy efficiency to provide extremely low energy consumption and the lowest carbon footprint.
Lake Image Systems was recognised for developing MaxScan, the latest addition to its Discovery MultiScan family. Based on contact scanning technology, MaxScan provides key benefits over traditional line scan camera technology, such as uniform 600dpi inspection resolution and virtually no angular variation, to provide label converters with tools to detect print defects without the need for expensive additional rollers, redesigned web paths or complex optical assemblies.
Sponsored by Xeikon, Lintec took the Award for Sustainability. Lintec has developed a label facestock that uses the world’s highest percentage (80%) of recycled PET pellets. It has physical features equivalent to virgin PET films and has a lower production cost than other recycled materials, and is produced from mechanically recycled PET bottles as the raw material.
Mike Fairley, judging chairman, commented: ‘Choosing winners from such an impressive list of companies was always going to be difficult and all winners and finalists truly deserve our utmost admiration and congratulations. The awards are designed to showcase the depth and best of talent and achievement across the global label industry and all of this year’s entrants demonstrated enormous innovation, best practice and inspiring work. The awards go some way towards shining a light on the significant dedication, commitment and excellence going on each and every day in this exciting and dynamic sector.’