Eminence Business Media

Eminence Business Media

Monday, October 31, 2011

AWA Label Release Liner Industry Seminar identifies challenges and opportunities.

Sustainability, raw material costs, and the relative use of paper- and film-based liners were the topics which characterized the industry forum that is the annual AWA Label Release Liner Industry Seminar. Held alternately in Europe and USA prior to the Labelexpo exhibition, this year’s event took place in Brussels, and attracted over 80 participants from the full breadth of the label release liner supply chain – from end users and label converters to raw material suppliers, laminators, equipment manufacturers, and recyclers.

Opening the proceedings, Corey M Reardon, President and CEO of AWA Alexander Watson Associates, reviewed the current market for release liner on pressure- sensitive labelstock – a market which, he said, continues to dominate global release liner demand, with a 51% share of total usage.

‘Growth is slowing worldwide, however, to about 4%’, says Mr Reardon, ‘with only China and India showing high CAGR prospects (9.24% and 11.53% respectively) in the medium term. Competition to pressure-sensitive technology from other labeling formats and flexible packaging, as well as the overall challenges regarding environmental/sustainability issues, together represent tangible threats.’ Despite these challenges, AWA’s research projects consistent growth for release liner pressure-sensitive labeling in the medium term.

Film liner focus
While paper release base still dominates across all market segments, especially pressure-sensitive labelstock, annual demand for film-based labelstocks is growing, Mr Reardon says, ‘at multiples of that for paper-based labelstocks.’ The growing interest in film liner is driven by its characteristic strength and smoothness, which deliver high performance on press and on the label application line.

Mr Reardon singled out a major emerging trend in the label market’s infrastructure: the growing popularity of in-line silicone coating and lamination of labelstocks alongside the printing, diecutting, and matrix-stripping processes.

Market dynamics
Some of the other label market trends highlighted in Mr Reardon’s presentation were the continuing control of market dynamics by the major retailers; shorter, more frequent label runs and shorter lead times; reduced inventory levels; more frequent changes in design and branding, and changing/reducing product life cycles; and the need for cost transparency on the part of label suppliers -- a key requirement for the major retailers and brand owners.

A global perspective
Next on the agenda was a label producer’s view of the world of release liners from CCL Label’s Business Development, Director, Kari Virtanen, who presented a particularly detailed view of the label release liner market geographically and by end use. In Europe, he confirmed, paper – particularly glassine – dominates, as it does in Canada in Mexico, but in the United States, PET is much in evidence, with calendered kraft paper also in common use. In Asia and South America, paper remains the preferred release base. Wherever they are used, PET film liners are now thinner than ever, and they present practical challenges for press minders – in many areas, including diecutting, web tensioning, ghosting, embossing, and static electricity.

CCL’s opinion is that PET liners are indeed the future – but they are now as thin as is technically-feasible for everyone (including the die manufacturers), and any future developments must be able to employ the current installed base of label manufacturing/application equipment. Sustainability and recycling initiatives will also be future market drivers.

Why such emphasis on post-consumer waste?
An Vossen, Manager of Plarebel, the Belgium national recycling association for plastics, went on to provide an update on the whole field of packaging waste legislation, and asked why, in general, we concentrate on post-consumer waste collection – a particularly complex and diverse waste collection level - when it is much easier to sort and differentiate materials at levels further up the supply chain. This is certainly true for pressure-sensitive labelstock.

Paper vs film: life cycle analysis
Continuing on the theme of recycling and sustainability, Ahlstrom’s Vice President, Sustainability, Anna Wessman, presented the life cycle assessment of specialty paper versus film conducted by the company with the PaperImpact organization. She demonstrated that, in most instances, paper’s credentials are superior to those of film. Competition for land (sustainably-managed forests represent an excellent carbon sink, but also make strong demands on land availability); and the need to reduce the impact on land eutrophication with effluent water are the paper industry’s main drawbacks.

A panel discussion on paper versus plastic, supply dynamics and growth drivers, followed, moderated by Corey Reardon. Panelists representing the lobby for paper were Marko Haveri from UPM-Kymmene and Anna Wessman, Ahlstrom; and film lobbyists were Bill Wells of Mitsubishi Polyester Film and James Godden, Polyplex. The debate about the products’ relative merits continued; but the outcome of the discussion confirmed that, overall, the label release liner industry’s long-term concern is the raft of impending packaging waste legislation – and the possibility that release liner may be declared (across Europe at least) to be packaging waste, and therefore subject to a punitive financial levy.

Silicone status
Silicones are as central to label release liner today as release base, as Hardi Döhler, Innovation Manager at Evonik-Goldschmidt, showed. ‘Silicone release coatings provide very low surface tension, a highly-flexible backbone, and extreme freedom of rotation’, he said; and described how current radiation-cured silicones are meeting the market’s needs for good laminate aging properties and the influence of silicone transfer on adhesive properties – especially in terms of peel and loop tack.

Ultra-thin film labelstock
After lunch, Niall Moloney, Business Development Director for Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials Europe, detailed a film labelstock innovation initiative – Avery Dennison ThinStream -- which enables the successful diecutting of a thin film facestock on an ultra-thin 12 micron film. The initiative, involving the use of a special cold die unit, is being commercialized in partnership with Gallus, and involves in-line delamination of the facestock, diecutting, and relamination.

State-of-the-art label application
Applying pressure-sensitive labels was the next topic on the agenda. Udo Weusthoff, Sales Director, Labelling Technology, of Krones, whose high-volume labelling machines today span the world’s fmcg markets – particularly food and beverage and personal care products. Their machines can combine stations for both pressure-sensitive and cold glue labels; and machines handling linerless pressure-sensitive labels are also on offer today. ‘Linerless is a prime trend’, said Mr Weusthoff, ‘and we know we can handle it!’

Industry recycling initiatives
Delegates then heard from the proponents of two recycling concepts in the area of glassine liner recycling developed by and for the label industry. Marko Haveri of UPM Kymmene Fine & Specialty Papers outlined the new program, developed in conjunction with French paper recycling specialists Vertaris, for the collection of liner waste across a broad area of Europe and closed-loop recycling to new paper manufacturing. Petri Tani, President, Cycle4Green, revisited the drivers for liner recycling – including high waste tipping fees, the need to reduce manufacturing and packaging waste, and legislation – and underlined the need to scale up the volume of recycling to a level where the value of the recycled goods created can ouweight the recycling costs. Not only that: ‘a 10-15% reduction in carbon footprint can be achieved when you recycle 50,000 tonnes of release waste’, he said.

Linerless labels
Linerless labels are the prime focus for UK-based Catchpoint Ltd; and Business Development Manager Mike Cooper showed how far the technology has advanced in recent years – and how much can now be achieved in terms of high-quality label results, even involving shaped (not butt-cut) labels. There is now considerable interest in the linerless concept in both the cost-saving and the sustainability lobbies.

A label printer’s ‘wish list’
Eric White, Managing Director of Skanem Scandinavia, ended the presentations with a label printer’s ‘wish list’ for the provision of pressure-sensitive labelstock. He asked that any supply chain innovations should take into account the printer’s needs and any possible additional costs – eg for new dies in the case of thinner materials. He asked, too, that release liner should be available in a limited range of standard sizes. He observed that the industry still needs to develop a film liner at an acceptable cost and environmental profile; and finally added that ‘the next step in the development should be a linerless solution.’

Corey Reardon closed the formal proceedings with thanks to the seminar’s sponsors, including platinum sponsors UPM and Evonik Industries and gold sponsors Ahlstrom, Mitsubishi, Polyplex and Siliconature; and the day ended with cocktails courtesy of Evonik Industries and UPM – an opportunity for delegates and speakers to network prior to attending Labelexpo.

The AWA Global Release Liner Industry Conference and Exhibition 2012 will be held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22-23 February 2012.

Certwood invests in Meech “In-Mould” labeling systems

Certwood Ltd, based in Luton, UK, and distributing technical plastic injection moulding solutions worldwide, has recently invested in two Meech to help provide quality moulded automotive parts to customers. These comprise a Meech 994 IML static generator and accompanying Hydra pinning head fitted to 6 axis robots. Specialising in the injection moulding of a range of automotive plastic components, the Meech systems will allow Certwood to accurately pin labels within these moulds replacing the hand applied adhesive labels previously used.

In addition, Certwood moulds and assembles stadium seating for major events, as well as producing its own ‘Storsystem’ range which includes moulded trays and wooden or metal furniture foreducational, medical and industrial applications.

“This is the first time we have worked with Meech and the support provided so far has been excellent. Through the introduction of the Meech ‘In Mould’ labelling system, we can establish an automated method of applying a label directly to the surface of the moulding tool and over- moulding. The label then becomes bonded to the part surface. We predict that this approach will generate a cost saving and, more importantly, a significant quality improvement over the use of traditional self adhesive labels,” explains Simon Rooke, Technical Director at Certwood. “Before committing to the purchase, Meech loaned us the equipment to ensure that early development could take place. This gave our customer confidence in our proposed method.”

Connecting simply to the Meech Hydra IML pinning system, the 994 IML static generator provides 0-20kV, negative polarity. The ultra-light Hydra pinning system comprises a resistively coupled distributor, which controls arcing and provides independent operation of the pinning heads, and either four or six pinner cables. Certwood intends to install the IML system on to two different machines for different types of labels. Using a six axis robot, the Hydra IML will be used to place the labels into the moulding tools within 0.1mm of the required position, repeatedly pinning with no degradation.

“Having spent time investigating a variety of suppliers, we chose to work with Meech because they provided us with the best product support to suit our requirements. We can’t speak more highly of the sales team who were very helpful with technical advice and with the loaning of their demonstration units at short notice,” concludes Simon.

Paragon Labeling Systems launches new PLS500

Paragon Labeling Systems is “continuing the legacy” by using the over 30 years of experience in creating a product line that is modular and flexible for specific customers, industry, and compliance needs. Paragon is committed to engineering and manufacturing high quality Automated Labeling System that are user friendly to set up and maintain.   As a result Paragon Labeling Systems is launching the ultimate label application solution, the PLS500.

“The PLS 500 design is dedicated to maximizing organizations' productivity.  In looking at the competitive landscape the PLS-500 offers more standard features, superior modularity, higher performance, cost-effectiveness, built-in reliability and a greater ROI to its users” said Craig Blonigen, Senior Director at Paragon Labeling Systems.

“We are particularly excited about the feature-rich enhancements and ability to streamline the end users’ processes” said Kathe Copeland, Vice President of Operations at Paragon Labeling Systems.  All Paragon Labeling Systems products have a clear upgradable path that can be based on how the end users’ business grows and changes. Offering what we believe are the best-in-class automated labeling solutions, we are poised to lead the next revolution in automated labeling systems.

SMAG Graphique scores success with screen printing lines and I-CUT 330 at Labelexpo 2011

SMAG Graphique, the French screen printing, finishing and inspection systems manufacturer , enjoyed a very busy and successful Labelexpo, confirming sales of six Galaxie Digital screen presses, five I-CUT converting machines, and the first converting unit to Australia.   

Digital Galaxie makes screen viable in short run markets
The Galaxie roll-fed modular flat-bed silkscreen press has achieved 290 installations since its launch in 1995. It has proved popular because of its full finishing capability and the possibility to integrate digital, flexo, hot foil and screen print stations in-line.

The new generation Digital version was a crowd-pleaser at the show. This is specially adapted with intermittent technology, so that a range of label sizes can be converted without recalibration of the machine, saving tooling and set-up costs. This benefit has been especially appreciated by printers in the short-run label markets who seek to apply screen alongside the digital process, in an affordable manner. At this year's Labelexpo, the Digital Galaxie was sold to label converters in Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia, Italy as well as to France.

Stéphane Rateau, SMAG Graphique's general manager, comments: "These agreements are a clear sign of the growing demand for high-end decorative packaging solutions in Eastern Europe's emerging markets, whose converters are showing greater confidence to compete in the global label market."

SGV high speed screen unit boosts productivity levels
SMAG's high-speed semi-rotary flat-bed screen printing unit made its début at Labelexpo. The unit enables speeds of up to 30 m/min. High speeds are possible thanks to servo motors that power both the cylinder, paper web and screen, and the web's limited contact area with the screen.

This leap in productivity means that the advantage of flat-bed screen, namely, its lower conasumable costs than rotary alternatives, becomes accessible to those who wish to print higher volume jobs.

I-CUT 330 makes an impact with digital users
Another popular exhibit was SMAG's new I-CUT 330 digital converting machine, which offers off-line laminating, varnishing and die-cutting / finishing at up to 40 metres / minute. Five units were sold at the Labelexpo stand. It is proving popular with digital label converters especially because of its accessibility and high speed changeover times of just three minutes. This offline system therefore is a viable option for printers who have many short run jobs. One new customer will be Lenzlinger Etiquettes in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, where the new I-CUT will convert labels printed on its HP and Xeikon digital presses.

Based in the south of Paris, SMAG Graphique, a division of SRAMAG, specialises in the manufacture of roll-to-printing and converting equipment for conventional and digital label and flexible packaging applications. During its more than thirty years of operation, SMAG has a global network of agents and distributors and has installed more than 800 machines in 35 countries and formed strategic partnerships with the leading label and flexible packaging suppliers.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Edale appoints Rotary Technology as its distributor in Thailand

Edale, the UK-based manufacturer of narrow web printing presses and converting equipment, has appointed Rotary Technology Partnership as its distributor in Thailand. Rotary Technology sealed the partnership with a sale of a 5-color Edale Alpha compact flexo press with UV drying, cold foil and video inspection – said to be the fastest ever sale by an Edale distributor. The press was sold to EVA Enterprise in Bangkok, which will use it to produce a variety of products including cosmetic and pharmaceutical labels.

Rotary Technology represented Edale at the recent Print Pack International Show held in Bangkok. Tony Law, sales manager  of Rotary Technology, said: ‘The Print Pack show was a great platform to promote Edale and we received a large number of enquiries; in particular for the Gamma printing and converting line – which is ideal for cartons and other types of packaging with substrates up to 600 micron.’

Jeremy Westcott, Edale’s head of sales and marketing, commented: ‘Edale are thrilled to have signed Rotary Technology Partnership to cover Thailand and this was confirmed with the recent sale of the Alpha. I have no doubt that they will continue on this path of promoting Edale successfully within the Far East.’

First Newfoil Machine Installed In Barbados

Caribbean Label Crafts was established in 1986 on the beautiful island of Barbados to meet the need for a supplier of premium quality labels to the regions rum and distilled spirits industry. Caribbean Label Crafts have recently installed into their digital printing department, a Newfoil 5500 hot stamping converting machine (250mm web width), with its electronic web re-register system working alongside the Jetrion inkjet system.

Martin de Reus, the Operations Manager, says: "We have spent quite some time looking at the options available in the digital converting market and feel that the Newfoil fits our operations perfectly". He also went on to say, " This investment in our digital / short run department, is in line with our continued development strategy for our self-adhesive labels, allowing us to provide cutting edge solutions to the challenges that our Caribbean and Latin American customers meet as they compete in a global environment"

Torraspapel unveiled its newest products at Labelexpo

Torraspapel, part of the Lecta Group, successfully participated in the largest edition of Labelexpo to date. A total of 28,636 visitors from 118 countries attended this year’s industry event, an increase of 19% over 2009. 550 exhibitors occupied six exhibition halls at Brussels Expo, a record in the show’s 30-year history.

Torraspapel’s expectations were exceeded by the number of visitors to its stand interested in learning about both the Company’s new investments aimed at increasing metallized and self-adhesive production capacity and the new developments in its product lines for labels: one side coated paper, metallized paper, high-gloss paper, thermal paper and self-adhesive materials.

Despite the current economic climate, Labelexpo Europe clearly demonstrated that the label industry is continuing to innovate and invest in new equipment and services. The show remains the must-attend event for doing business, networking and seeing new technology and product launches.

Torraspapel, a manufacturer of pulp, coated paper, base paper and specialty papers, has a total production capacity of more than 1.1 million tons. The company has invested heavily in its seven Spanish manufacturing sites, all of which have been equipped to specialize in specific product lines, with a high level of integration and technological know-how, thereby ensuring enhanced product knowledge, superior product quality and excellent environmental positioning.

Mark Andy P3 Receives 2011 FlexoTech Technical Innovation Honor

The Mark Andy P3 was awarded the Technical Innovation honor at the 2011 FlexoTech Awards held 19th October in London, England.  This is the second innovation award for the Mark Andy Performance Series press line in 2011.

The ground-breaking design and technology integrated into the Performance Series has proven itself with printers and converters worldwide; more than 110 machines have been sold and installed into 24 countries.  Recognizing the significant impact to productivity and consistently high quality output, several buyers have invested in more than one, replacing multiple older style presses with Performance Series technology.

Criteria for the award included special and successful use of new techniques and environmental benefits using machinery, equipment and materials for the advancement of flexography. The P3, with its revolutionary load-and-lock inking system, simple drop-and-lock setup to load print cylinders, and the open architecture allowing for a significantly shorter web path than traditional machines, convinced the judges that this industry-changing technology is the new benchmark in narrow-web flexo presses.

"Mark Andy is honored to have been recognized with this highly regarded industry award," states Greg Palm, vice president of sales and marketing for Mark Andy Inc. "Our engineering, design and manufacturing teams worked together with converters worldwide to develop a pivotal product for the flexo press market. The significant global acceptance of this technology is only further proof that the future of flexographic printing is bright."

NiceLabel holds No. 1 position for 5 consecutive years

NiceLabel has claimed first place in the ranking of labeling software products for the fifth year in a row, being recognized as the best professional barcode software for both SMEs and corporate enterprises. Ease-of-use, barcodes, connectivity, integration, communication, compliance labels and help/support were among the areas where NiceLabel rose above its competitors, according to the TopTenReviews Team. “The variety of design and compliance tools offered by NiceLabel places this software above the rest. It includes every feature that we were looking for…” TopTenREVIEWS.com

Many years of strategic partnerships with leading hardware manufacturers, system integrators, value added resellers and end users have contributed to NiceLabel being independently ranked the world’s number one professional label design and print software. Throughout the years, NiceLabel has consistently been at the forefront of new and innovative features.

“NiceLabel leads its competitors with its excellent combination of innovative technology, technical know-how, tools and components. Also most importantly the story doesn’t end when the product is finished and placed in the market. We totally understand that satisfied customers turn into a long term business partnerships” said Matej Košmrlj, Managing Director at Euro Plus.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Gallus ECS 340 goes to TPL Labels, UK

TPL Labels, the East Kilbride based label printer, ordered an 8 colour Gallus press on the last day of Labelexpo Europe. The firm will install the Gallus ECS 340 press in January 2012 as part of an on-going major investment programme that will aid the company in its expansion plans within the industrial, automotive, healthcare, food and drink markets. The Gallus ECS 340 is a short web path, fully servo-driven, multi-pass flexo and cold foiling machine with front loading dies, print and anilox sleeves.

The new Gallus press will join this family-owned business’s existing range of flexo presses and will add a significant increase in capacity for the production of labels and short-run flexible packaging such as filmic wrappers and small cartons. The company will also be adding digital printing to its existing processes shortly. 

Muller Martini demonstrated its expertise in label and package printing

Muller Martini attracted more visitors than ever to its stand at LabelExpo 2011, the world’s largest show for the label industry, in Brussels. The VSOP printing unit, which was used to showcase stepless, variable size offset printing and its applications, met with great interest.

This year’s LabelExpo made abundantly clear that package printing is a strongly growing market. Even on the first day more visitors came than in previous years. Muller Martini also benefited from the great interest displayed by show visitors. “Our stand was very well attended on all four days and we made a lot of new contacts," said Andreas Hitzler, head of marketing and sales at Muller Martini Printing Presses GmbH. “The VSOP printing unit used to showcase stepless, variable size offset printing and its applications went down very well with visitors.”

The expert presentation given by Bernd Schopferer titled “Web Offset Printing with EB Drying” in the Package Printing Zone was also well attended. The product and marketing manager of Muller Martini Printing Presses GmbH reported on the many benefits of electron-beam hardening (EB drying) for package printing. “EB drying is especially well suited to foodstuff packaging, since the ink film is immediately hardened all the way through,” Schopferer said. “The result is a high-quality, low-odor and low-migration print product, manufactured under reliable production conditions, without the use of photoinitiators or the emission of pollutants.”

Muller Martini also provided information about the printing of safe food packaging using electron-beam hardening at the exhibition stand of ink manufacturer Sun Chemical. The stand showcased industrially manufactured packaging that had been printed on VSOP printing presses by combining offset and flexo printing techniques. The printing inks on these items were hardened by means of electron beams.

It came as little surprise therefore that this year the interest of many LabelExpo visitors was focused on the printing of flexible packaging (especially food packaging), rather than on labels first and foremost. Muller Martini used its VSOP (Variable Sleeve Offset Printing) press to demonstrate great benefits for package printing. The print products which Muller Martini produced specifically for LabelExpo were sought after by visitors and not just for their content.

basysPrint strengthens US presence by appointing New Agent

basysPrint has strengthened its position in the North American market after adding Ivan Verheye to its team of US agents. Verheye will distribute basysPrint’s systems and provide support to the company’s US sales team.

Verheye’s appointment underlines basysPrint’s commitment to the US market. He brings 33 years’ print industry experience to his new role. Verheye spent more than 20 years at Strobbe Graphics, which he helped establish as a leading supplier of conventional plate-making and plate-bending equipment to the US business forms and direct mail Industries.

Verheye has occupied a number of senior roles during his career. When Punch International acquired Strobbe in 2000, he stayed on in the role of the company’s US President. Verheye was also heavily involved in the takeover and integration of US-based Xeikon in 2002, and basysPrint a year later. Ivan left Punch Graphix in 2005 and set up a specialty print finishing company, AddValue2Print.

Christophe Lievens, Director of Sales and Marketing at basysPrint, comments on the appointment:  “Ivan’s record in the print industry is outstanding and we’re delighted he’s joined us as a basysPrint agent. He knows the US market inside out, having held a number of senior positions at leading pre-press equipment providers.

“Our customers and prospects will feel very reassured that they have easy access to a print expert with an excellent understanding of the US market and the challenges they face.”

Ivan Verheye comments on his new role: “basysPrint has an unique reputation in the print industry. I’m looking forward to announcing to my customer base that they now have fast, easy access to basysPrint’s systems. I’ve no doubt they’ll be very impressed by the impact these machines will have on their print environments.”

basysPrint, a division of Punch Graphix, is the inventor of UV-CtP and has been offering internationally proven systems for the digital exposure of conventional UV printing plates for more than 10 years. These systems are characterized by a high level of economic efficiency for print companies of all sizes. Through the use of UV plates, users are able to benefit from a stable and environment-friendly production process delivering ultimate imaging quality. Detailed information is to be found at: www.basysprint.com

Edale reports successful Labelexpo with the company’s highest number of enquiries

Edale has reported a successful Labelexpo Europe 2011 with the company’s highest number of enquiries ever taken at a show to date. The enquiries received were a mix of repeat and new business and came from around the world.

During the event, Edale unveiled its new servo driven flexo press aimed at the high quality label market, the FL-350. Demonstrations of the new press were held three times daily and drew in large crowds at each session.

The demonstrations saw Edale’s print application engineer, Chris Chappel, running two separate jobs and witnessed him break the 90 second ‘Pit Stop Color Change’ challenge record on day two when he achieved a full print station color change in just 71 seconds.

Jeremy Westcott, Edale’s head of sales and marketing, said: ‘The results from Labelexpo exceeded our high expectations of what the show could provide, not only through number of enquiries, but also the huge volume of traffic visiting the Edale stand each day; it was great to be able to meet so many of our existing customers as well as new contacts and prospects and we were delighted to see the response to our latest press, the FL-350.’

DPLenticular blows out 10 candles

DPLenticular, the acclaimed European leader in the supply of Lenstar lenticular material for 3D and multiple changing animation application for the graphic arts industry, is pleased to announce its 10th anniversary. Founded on September 4, 2001, by Daniel Pierret, DPLenticular acquired a vast experience in the lenticular market, and has earned its reputation as a trusted and leading provider of lenticular products in the EMEA.

The company started as LPC Europe (The Lenticular Plastic Company of Europe), but changed its name and corporate branding to DPLenticular in 2008. Today, the company is still headquartered in Ireland and has secured a leading position in a unique niche market. DPLenticular offers offset and digital printers in the graphic arts industry the highest quality lenticular sheets, as well as a reliable technical support and customized training services.

Lenticular runs through the veins
Everyone knows them, those nice 3D postcards, posters or other 3D gadgets, but if someone asks you how they are made, most of us don’t really know the answer. Ask founder and current Managing Director Daniel Pierret, and you immediately understand why he is one of the leading experts in this field. “Since my childhood, I have always been passionate by photography. At one time, when I was a photographer’s agent, I discovered that an American company was proposing real 3dimensionnal photography. I understood that this could be a new standard in the imaging world, and started proposing 3D photography already back in 1994. I remember selling the first 3D bus shelter’s campaign on the European continent. I guess lenticular and 3D runs through my veins, and as such, many people see me a bit as an evangelist of this magnificent technology.”

Combination of sales and service is unique
Throughout the years, many printers relied on DPLenticular to make the move to lenticular printing. Daniel Pierret sees several reasons for that: “We are not the only supplier of lenticular material on the market, but the combination of sales and service makes us unique. In 2005 Gilles Letouche joined the company and Bob Marriott in 2007. They brought solid hands-on technical experience to our team and have been instrumental in building long term relationships with our customers. Lenticular printing is no rocket science, but without initial training and support, it is very difficult to achieve good results. Every printer has to go through the same learning curve, and we help them in acquiring the basic knowledge about the technology. Once they have that experience, they can manage on their own.”

Abundant availability of lenticular stock material
According to Daniel Pierret, another reason for this success is the abundant availability of lenticular stock material. “Most companies reduced their stock levels, but since printers rely on our stock levels to respond quickly to market demand, we did exactly the opposite. With success, and I must thank my partner Rüdiger Finze for this. He always encouraged us in this way. We store not less than 9 different Lenstar™ lens designs and a total of 42 different articles in our warehouse. Thanks to this large stock in the centrally located port of Antwerp, we are able to deliver our European customers in the shortest delivery times possible. A huge advantage compared to some of the other vendors on the market.”

Collaboration with the main players in the printing market
Over the years, DPLenticular worked together with many different manufacturers of press and print equipment. During drupa 2004, they collaborated with Heidelberg and IST Metz, and at drupa 2008 they had lenticular material printed on many stands like Heidelberg, Fuji Screen, Agfa, Manroland, Presstek, and others. They also work closely together with the main software suppliers as you can see on their website. The 10th anniversary is also a milestone in the successful collaboration with Pacur in Oshkosh WI. Rick Knapp, VP Sales at Pacur, comments: “Ten years ago, Pacur and DPLenticular developed a collaboration with the purpose of promoting Lenstar Lenticular sheet in Europe. This collaboration has been very successful for both of our companies.  We continue to enjoy this relationship and look forward to another 10 years of collaboration."

Bright future for lenticular print
Promoting lenticular print as a creative way to communicate products and services to target audiences is another goal of DPLenticular. With this in mind, DPLenticular and www.lenstar.org introduced the Lenstar Lenticular Print Award (LLPA) earlier this year. Daniel Pierret: “We looked for a way to encourage and reward companies and individuals in the development and use of lenticular printing throughout the communication mix. The response was overwhelming, and we are already preparing next year’s edition, in partnership with drupa. We will also be present at the drupa Innovation Park in 2012, and judging from the many interesting contacts we had at drupa 2008, it looks very promising.” Despite the recent economic letdown of the last years, DPLenticular saw increasing sales figures year after year, supporting the fact that lenticular print is the perfect tool to stand out and generate a strong visual attraction and buying impulse. With this last thought in mind, Daniel Pierret is very confident in the future of lenticular print.

To learn more about DPLenticular and its unique range of Pacur Lenstar lenticular sheets, please visit: www.dplenticular.com 

World Demand for Labels to Reach 51.6 Billion Square Meters in 2015

World demand for labels is projected to rise 5.2 percent per year to 51.6 billion square meters in 2015, valued at $110 billion.  Advances will be driven by gains in manufacturing activity, which will increase from a low 2010 base.  Pressure sensitive labels will remain the largest product type and continue to take market share from glue-applied products in major packaging applications.

Above-average demand growth is also expected in other label segments such as stretch sleeve, heat-shrink and in-mold labels, though gains in these relatively newer label technologies will stem from small bases.  These and other trends are presented in World Labels, a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., a Cleveland-based industry research firm.

In 2010, pressure sensitive labels accounted for 52 percent of the global label market (in volume terms), a share that is expected to increase even further in the coming years.  While demand for glue-applied labels will see below-average growth, this segment will remain the second largest overall, accounting for more than 30 percent of global label market volume through 2015.  Smaller label segments such as stretch sleeve, heat-shrink and in-mold labels will see some of the fastest growth through the forecast period. 

The Asia/Pacific region will see the most rapid gains and remain the largest regional market in the world, due to its large manufacturing industries.  Central and South America, Eastern Europe, and the Africa/Mideast region will also experience above-average growth.  Overall, the fastest growth will occur in Asia, specifically in India, China and Indonesia.  China alone will account for 31 percent of global label market volume gains between 2010 and 2015.

In contrast, advances will generally be below average in North America and Western Europe, where markets are more established.  The US, which accounted for 18 percent of global sales volume in 2010, is the largest national label market in the world.  Other large, but generally mature markets include Japan and Germany.  While Japan will remain one of the largest national markets in the world, the country is forecast to see the slowest growth rate through 2015.  Nonetheless, good opportunities will still be found in developed countries, especially for digitally printed labels that capitalize on trends favoring shorter label runs and mass customization.

More info available on www.freedoniagroup.com

Channeled Resources adds a new component to its recycle / reuse pressure sensitive labelstock business

A worldwide leader in the field of reprocessed specialty paper and film, the Channeled Resources Group has opened up another pathway in its growing portfolio of solutions for recycling and second use of the components of pressure-sensitive labelstocks: Hotmelt Adhesives. Sourced directly from adhesive manufacturers or from pressure-sensitive laminators, these adhesives can easily and safely enjoy a useful and cost-effective second life.

Says Calvin Frost, CEO, Channeled Resources Group: ‘It makes sense to close the pressure-sensitive components loop.   We already recover and reuse surplus facestocks and release liners.   Adding hotmelt adhesives to the equation enables us to offer the market the chance to create economical pressure-sensitive laminates.Hotmelts have a long shelf life, and deliver low-cost, general-purpose performance;  and with little or no solvent content, they are safe to handle and transport.’

Having fully evaluated the options, opportunities, and challenges, Channeled Resources established a special unit last year, dedicated to collecting, storing, and shipping hotmeltadhesives for second use.   Rich Hoffman, VP, Global Supply for Channeled Resources explains:  ‘Emerging geographies – particularly China – are showing particular interest in the programme. Hotmelts can be readily laminated with facestock and liner on small laminators, to create perfectly serviceable labels, especially for the variable information printand hand application markets.’

Channeled Resources is encouraging hotmelt adhesive manufacturers and coater/laminators to take advantage of the new option, and turn their surplus adhesive into a revenue stream, by contacting their Chicago office or logging on to www.channeledresources.com.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

EFI's Jetrion 4900 digital label system offers end-to-end production

EFI has launched the Jetrion 4900, a revolutionary UV inkjet digital printing system that combines high-quality digital printing with in-line laser finishing for label converters. The new system makes short-run digital label jobs even more efficient and profitable by eliminating set-up time, substrate waste and inventory requirements associated with the label finishing process. It produces eye-catching, durable labels on an array of substrates. The Jetrion 4900 was on display for the first time at EFI Stand 9H55 at Labelexpo Europe 2011.

"EFI's Jetrion 4900 is a robust industrial press that is ideal for label converters looking to transfer high-cost, short- and medium-run jobs to digital systems, from print file straight through to finished roll," said Sean Skelly, vice president and general manager of EFI Jetrion. "It produces top-quality labels with cost-savings that go straight to the bottom line, a must in today's business environment where lean manufacturing and efficiency are required to compete."

By integrating printing and finishing for the entire production run, the Jetrion 4900 offers label converters substantial savings with no additional plates, dies, change overs and make-ready labour needed. By just migrating existing flexo jobs, the system can easily generate savings of more than 1,000 euros a day.

EFI's Jetrion 4900 is a versatile system that combines the proven performance of EFI's market-leading Jetrion UV digital presses with an industrial web finishing and transport system. The Jetrion system prints four-colour and highly opaque white UV inks in a single pass, delivering flexo-quality labels that are heat, cold and chemical resistant, and UL-certified on select substrates.

The finishing system features advanced, high-powered dual lasers from SEI Laser Converting, offering comprehensive capabilities such as die cutting, slitting, and backscoring on a wide range of substrates from paper, foil and film to speciality stock. It runs standard flexo rolls and offers inline and offline modes for special jobs.

Brian Rhoades, vice president of operations for US-based Consolidated Products, Inc., says the Jetrion 4900 fits right in line with its lean label operation. "We just quoted a job for one million labels with 25 different SKUs*," he said. "How many set-ups will we do to complete the job from start to finish? One. EFI's Jetrion 4900 means real savings, quality labels and peace of mind our customers can count on."

"Demand for targeted, variable label content continues to rise, and our system allows converters to keep these frequently outsourced short-run jobs -- and profits -- in house," added Skelly.

As with all EFI products, system users benefit from the power of EFI integrated workflow and colour management software, as well as its global infrastructure for customer training and rapid-response support anywhere EFI products are sold.

The EFI Jetrion 4900 is available now from EFI. For more information, visit EFI at Labelexpo or go to www.efi.com/jetrion.

SMAG's SGV screen printing head offers productive label converting

SMAG Graphique has launched a new high-speed screen printing unit that can achieve up to 30 metres per minute. The SGV Screen Head features a cylinder to support and drive the web, underneath a flat screen. High speeds are possible thanks to servo motors that power both the cylinder, paper web and screen, and the web's limited contact area with the screen. With a maximum print width of 340mm and a 250 mm repeat length, the unit is compatible with all UV screen inks. The unit offers a competitive means of adding high-end features to self-adhesive labels printed by digital, flexo or offset methods, in off-line situations.

Because of its ability to apply ink or varnish thicknesses of over 300 micron in a single pass, screen printing is ideal for creating a host of high-impact features, such as opaque colours, raised images to highlight an icon or brand name,  thermo-chromic inks, holograms, conductive inks and Braille dots.       

The flat-bed process has traditionally been an attractive screen-printing option for short label production runs, because of the relatively low cost of screens and imaging equipment.  It is economical for label printers to bring the complete screen imaging cycle in-house, and offer a responsive, flexible service without reliance on external engraving houses.

"The SGV Screen Head combines the benefits of the flat-bed process's low-ownership costs and ability to achieve high quality with high productivity as well," comments Stéphsne Rateau, general manager of SMAG Graphique. "As a result the unit offers a competitive screen printing alternative for longer label printing runs."

The unit was a highlight of SMAG's stand at Labelexpo Europe 2011 where the print station was operating mono-colour on a Digital Galaxie in conjunction with a semi-rotary flexo station and a semi-rotary die cutting station.

Label Traxx names new European Market Manager

Label Traxx- the print business management software for flexographic and digital narrow web label printers and converters—has named Katy Nightingale as European Market Manager. Nightingale, who was previously responsible for business development in the region, now also assumes responsibility for customer support and managing the efforts of European agents.

Announcing the promotion, Label Traxx president Ken Meinhardt commented: “Katy Nightingale has successfully brought Label Traxx to European customers through her efforts since joining the company in 2007.  Her long experience in the label industry, including her previous positions at Tarsus, the publisher of Labels & Labeling International, makes her uniquely qualified to manage the entire region.”

St-Luc Labels&Packaging is the first customer worldwide for the new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press

HP recently announced that St-Luc Labels&Packaging, of Nazareth, Belgium, has bought the first HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press which was launched at Labelexpo Europe, Brussels, Belgium. The new press, which boasts a range of hardware and software upgrades, including a production speed up to 40m/min (compared to 30m/min of its immediate predecessor, the HP Indigo WS6000 Digital Press) also features an inline primer unit to facilitate substrate treatment, reduce production times and cut stock inventories and associated costs.

For St-Luc, this is the company's first step into digital production. An established label producer with 100 employees and a turnover of €20+ million, the company specialises in self-adhesive labels, film applications such as shrink sleeves, cardboard packaging and POS (point of sale) materials. Its clients are mainly active in the food, cosmetics and petrochemical industry.

So why go digital now?
"We've always invested in the best available technologies," Niko Dhondt, managing director, St-Luc Labels & Packaging, explained. "When we learned about high definition flexo (HD-flexo) which could improve screening technology and further refine printing results, we decided to make the move. And indeed, we were able to increase the quality level far beyond the market standard."

In August, St-Luc became the first label converter in Benelux to receive the HD-Flexo Certificate from EskoArtwork, whose software supports the technology. HP prepress partner, EskoArtwork provides a number of HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging tools as well as the HP SmartStream Labels and Packaging Server, powered by EskoArtwork.

"The next step was to ensure a uniform quality for short runs," Dhondt continued. "The answer: digital printing. HP Indigo WS6600 performs at this high-end quality level, makes frequent job changes possible and is complementary to our HD-flexo process."

St-Luc chose HP as its partner to enter the digital area because it was convinced of the performance of the HP Indigo presses. The new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press offers a number of special features and therefore suits the company's requirements perfectly.

"The inline primer unit will be of great benefit," Dhondt said. "It makes running the same paper-based substrates for digital and flexo runs possible, so we won't have to handle additional stocks. Also the ease with which the in-line finishing can be configured is of great importance to us. We will simultaneously install a Digicon finishing line from HP finishing partner, A B Graphic International.

"In case of simple finishing, we will run the jobs in-line. For more complex jobs, requiring more elaborate processes, we will run the finishing device in an off-line configuration," Dhondt explained. 

Leveraging versatility
St-Luc plans to use the full capabilities of its 7-colour press by using it not only for label converting, but also for shrink sleeve, flexible packaging and folding carton production. St-Luc operates also Microbox Packaging, in Bondues, France, which focuses on cardboard packaging. St-Luc is confident that the HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press will be used for producing trial packaging and short runs to complement Microbox's production.

For St-Luc Labels& Packaging, digital print is the next promising step for the future, opening up new possibilities and goals. The company's digital and HD-flexo capabilities will complement each other perfectly and ensure that its customers receive the best quality regardless of the method of printing.

Prati generates sales of 21 finishing machines during Labelexpo

Labelexpo proved to be a hugely successful show for Prati with 21 sales agreed and a raft of new leads generated. Its continually busy stand attracted visitors from across the world who were keen to discover the company's latest label finishing innovations. 
The sales went to Italy, Austria, Germany, France, Tunisia, Middle East, India, South Africa and US. The main attraction was the cost-efficient servo slitter inspection rewinder Saturn also in the Booklet version, capable of finishing booklet labels, and the modular and versatile VEGAplus converting line, available in 330, 450 and 530 web widths, that has a powerful platform for rewinding, slitting, die-cutting, overprinting/coating, inspecting operations.
"If Saturn and VEGAplus were the sales queen, from leads and negotiations we can say that PharmaCheck consolidated his position of unique 100% label inspection system that meets the strict requests of the pharma industry, while the new DIGITplus proved to be a reliable solution for finishing and laser die-cutting of digitally printed labels." says Chiara Prati, Sales Director at the family-run company.
"We want to thank our customers for the confidence in Prati and all visitors for the interest in our solutions, while welcoming the new customers to the Prati community. This is confirmation that we going in the right direction and encourages us continue with our dedication to innovation."
Labelexpo provided Prati with the opportunity to introduce the new Saturn Linerless. The sustainable version of the slitter inspection rewinder features two interchangeable rewinder shafts to rewind the lanes in an alternate mode, to avoid rolls sticking. This enables it to perfectly manage the production of linerless label webs.

Label converters specializing in the beverage market were interested in the demonstration at Labelexpo of the Jupiter equipped with Proxima, the advanced detecting system. It delivers improved operator usability with clear labels, even at the maximum machine speed.

"We are extremely pleased with our Labelexpo results," comments Chiara Prati. "The show gave us the opportunity to reinforce relationships with customers, partners and establish new partnerships. The Saturn Linerless, a cost-effective and reliable solution for slitting, inspecting and rewinding of linerless labels received a great deal of interest and we see a lot of potential growth for this environmentally sustainable solution."

Initiatives Introduced by Finat at Labelexpo respond to the needs and challenges of the self-adhesive labelling industry

Finat, the international association for the self-adhesive label industry, reports on a very successful  2011 edition of  Labelexpo, that marked the 20th anniversary of the Labelexpo - Finat partnership. “In all respects this has been the best show ever,” says Kurt Walker, Finat President. “I heard very positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors.  Labelexpo gave a ‘motivational and comforting’ injection to the industry. Exhibitors demonstrated how new technologies such as digital print can create market potential in new segments. Labelexpo also revealed the ongoing initiatives taken for a greener and more sustainable industry. These in turn can result in additional business opportunities and value adding services.” 
For Finat in particular the show meant the reunion of old acquaintances, the renewal of contacts, the welcome of new members, the introduction of new initiatives such as the launch of Operators’ Day and the Finat Release Liner Recycling Programme. 
Leveraging the Recycling Opportunities
“The self-adhesive labelling industry received a wake-up call from UPM Raflatac’s President Jussi Vanhanen during the opening session at Labelexpo this year,” says Jules Lejeune, managing director at Finat. “Label makers were encouraged to ‘take the self-adhesive label to the limit’ and in this respect Mr Vanhanen gave the audience three pieces of advice: use the cost out opportunities, demonstrate the USPs of the label sector and mitigate the threats to the sector, a.o. by leveraging the recycling opportunities.”
“As for the latter topic,” Lejeune continues, “Finat recently introduced the release liner recycling initiative. This is meant to support member companies in exploring and exploiting common recycling solutions and to provide a gateway to identify opportunities for collection and recycling.”  
Finat’s Public Affairs/Issues & Recycling Manager Mark Macaré and several members of the Finat Recycling Group experienced great interest from visitors worldwide at the Finat Recycling Desk this year. “As we get many questions, we underline the economic and environmental importance of release liner recycling, stating that unlike some years ago, viable options now exist in the market. Moreover, these options not only offer solutions for the final recycling of release liner waste, but also for the collection of this waste at the end-user,” says Mr Macaré. During his recently held recycling presentation at the annual conference of Afera, the association for the self-adhesive tape industry, he witnessed similar interest and encouraged Afera members to leverage from the fast-developing recycling opportunities and programmes  available today. 
Networking, a major benefit for members, old and new
“As Finat’s congress 2012 will take place in Athens next year, we have seen a particular interest from Greek companies to sign up for membership,” says Mr Lejeune. “We anticipate receiving at least five new members from Labelexpo this year. Among these newcomers, we are pleased to announce that Prati confirmed its membership application during the show." 

“Finat is a well respected and important association promoting the interest of our industry,” says Chiara Prati, sales director at Prat, Italy. “Increased visibility, benchmark opportunities and sharing of best practices with peers in the industry are only a few of the many benefits we anticipate to receive from our membership.”
A pdf version of the Comprehensive Guide to Finat’s Membership Benefits that was made available to all visitors of the Labelexpo show will be posted on the Finat website end of October. Several visiting member company representatives took the opportunity to access the new online Finat Member to Member Community to complete their profile and review the possibilities of this new networking tool that was first launched at the Finat congress in Sicily last June. 
The completely revised Finat web portal has also integrated the former Finat Knowledge Hub and at the show, visitors had the opportunity to review the latest draft of an important addition on this Hub, the completely revised and expanded (300 pages) edition of the Finat Educational Handbook, soon to become available for downloading by Finat members.

Operators’ Day: a Hands-on Learning Experience
Operators’ Day, organised in cooperation with national label associations in Europe, attracted 155 participants from 10 companies based in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and France. The purpose of this special programme was to allow production personnel from label companies (design and prepress, plate production personnel, press operators (conventional or digital), converting operators, including die cutting, slitting, rewinding) to get a direct view of the global world of labeling and to receive further education and hands-on experience of new technologies. FINAT likes to thank the 22 exhibitor member companies that hosted the ‘Operators Show Trail’. 
Upwards and Onwards 
“Over the years, Tarsus has succeeded in continuously raising its standard and establishing a true brand personality of Labelexpo,” concludes Mr. Lejeune. “As the leading global trade show for our industry, Labelexpo Europe is an icon for the international label community. We are very much looking forward to the next edition. Our next stop is Labelexpo in Shangai end of November. To stay tuned on what is happening in our industry in these emerging markets and to further explore and acknowledge the opportunities and challenges of a globalized labeling industry.”