Digital delivers and flexo flex’s its muscles

30 October 2017

Digital delivers and flexo flex’s its muscles

Labelexpo Europe, that largest international event dedicated to the label and package printing sector, had its biggest-ever edition this year with record-breaking numbers of visitors and exhibitors, and its largest floor space to date, with the event occupying nine exhibition halls – a 12% increase than 2015. Converting Today looks at the highlights, and speaks with exhibitors about their show experiences.

Labelexpo Europe, that largest international event dedicated to the label and package printing sector, had its biggest-ever edition this year with record-breaking numbers of visitors and exhibitors, and its largest floor space to date, with the event occupying nine exhibition halls – a 12% increase than 2015. Converting Today looks at the highlights, and speaks with exhibitors about their show experiences.

Held at Brussels Expo over 25–28 September, Labelexpo Europe 2017 hosted 679 exhibitors, including 198 new exhibiting companies. Attracting large delegations from Brazil, China, India and Japan, the show reported 37,724 visitors; an increase of 5.6% on 35,739 visitors in 2015.

While labels remained central to the overall experience, the show floor reflected its continued diversification into flexible package printing with a wider appeal for brand-owners and wide web converters. With 25% more working machinery demonstrated at the show, this year’s event saw a large number of product launches, with new machines unveiled by many of the leading press manufacturers.

Digital developments

Running alongside the Linerless Trail and educational master classes from the Label Academy, the Automation Arena  – run in partnership with AVT, Cerm, Esko, Grafotronic, Kocher + Beck, Matho, MPS, Wasberger and Xeikon – made its debut, highlighting the latest automated label and package-printing technology. As industry 4.0 becomes a reality for label printers, the Arena was used to show the complete automated workflow in action from job creation and prepress through to finishing and customer invoicing.

Growth in the digital printing technology sector remained evident, with many high profile launches including Mouvent, a joint venture between Bobst and Radex. ebeam Technologies, Uteco Converting and INX Digital International jointly introduced Gaia, the industrial end-to-end digital narrow web system for mass-personalisation of indirect food contact packaging and labels. Other digital launches included Durst’s new high resolution Tau330 RSC; Xeikon’s Panther PX3000 technology, which expanded its UV inkjet capabilities; HP Indigo unveiled its GEM technology that allows the application of digital embellishments in one pass; and hybrid offerings came from many major conventional press suppliers including Glallus, Mark Andy, MPS and Nilpeter.

There was also a wealth of new conventional flexo press developments on show with enhanced features for automation, package printing and increased efficiency for short runs. Highlights included Gallus marking the European debut of its LabelMaster press and OMET introducing a film package for its iFlex press.

“The Labelexpo team have worked incredibly hard to deliver outstanding content for what was a very bold show, and thanks to the commitment and support of our exhibitors and industry partners, we’ve created a very successful business environment for the industry,” said Lisa Milburn, Labelexpo’s managing director. “This edition has broken all previous records and its success is testament to the fact that the label and package printing industry continues to see Labelexpo as being the place to be. We are still extremely ambitious for the show’s future, and we look forward to returning to Brussels with an even bigger and better event in September 2019.”


Quotes from exhibitors at the show:

David Peters, API: “Labelexpo Europe proved the perfect show to launch our new TA+ cold foil and label samples, as designers, printers and brand-owners saw first-hand its exceptional ability to boost brand packaging and labels. This combined with the entrants of our #shelfie competition, the latest packaging trends report and a record number of leads has resulted in this year’s show being the most successful yet.”

Pierre-Arnaud Hommel, Armor: “Labelexpo Europe 2017 has been an exceptional edition for Armor with the launch of inkanto. As Labelexpo gathers labelling and traceability specialists from all over the world, Armor’s partners and prospective consumers could discover inkanto in detail and feel the benefits of distributing the new brand with its differentiating visual identity and the unparalleled line of services. Armor is a long-time partner of the Labelexpo Global Series and will continue to be so. The shows have resulted in many highly professional contacts to support Armor in each of its territories.”

Dietmar Fritz, DIENES: “DIENES, a full-range supplier and specialist for all kinds of industrial cutting solutions for web materials, was a first time exhibitor at Labelexpo Europe 2017. The fair turned out to be a great success. Many interested visitors came to our stand, although we did not have a prime location. We presented the fully automated cutting system Label slit 4.0, which attracted great attention and interest. We are looking forward to analysing a large number of leads. For this reason we immediately booked a new stand for 2019.”

Frank Maeder, Epson Europe: “Labelexpo Europe has been fantastic for us, not only in terms of footfall, but also in terms of the calibre of visitor and the seriousness of conversations we have had. There has been massive interest in the new SurePress L-4533 Series aqueous inkjet press, of course, but also the UV model, the SurePress L-6034. This has been a commercial success with brisk sales; Labelexpo is much more than a showcase event. Brand-owners and manufacturers visiting have shown interest in our Colorwork and LabelWorks devices and they have been impressed by the additional applications we can offer, such as RFID and the use of special substrates, like clothes tags.  We have been delighted to welcome printers and end users from every continent on the globe.”

Jules LeJeune, FINAT: “Another record-breaking edition of Labelexpo Europe behind us. Digitalisation, automation, compliance, sustainability and innovation as keywords in the increasingly wider world of labels and packaging. FINAT was again proud to be part of it!”

Marcus Greenbrook, GEW: “For GEW Labelexpo Europe was unquestionably the major event for the label printing industry in 2017. At the GEW stand, we presented our new LED and conventional UV-curing solutions targeted at label printing businesses of all types and sizes with an emphasis on the food industry. Labelexpo attendees were particularly keen to find out about our ArcLED hybrid UV offer that gives label printers the most cost-effective upgrade path to LED UV on their flexo presses. Labelexpo Europe is going from strength to strength, and increasing the show to five days may give the exhibitors time to catch their breath before speaking to the next customer on the stand.”

Paolo De Grandis, Grafikontrol: “We are delighted to have participated at Labelexpo Europe. It was a positive trade show, full of visitors from around the world, including Italy. We will continue to be present at this fair even in the future.”

Alon Bar-Shany vice-president and general manager, HP Indigo: “As we look back at this year’s Labelexpo, we see tremendous growth compared to two years ago, solid sales exceeding the very aggressive targets we set, and lots of leads and interest in our solutions, particularly the new value of the HP Indigo WS6800, from the Pack Ready for Labels to the HP Production Pro for Indigo L&P. As expected, the HP Indigo GEM received non-stop attention from visitors. While we closed many sales with clients spanning some 30 countries, our focus goes beyond the sale of presses. We focus on the growth of our existing customers and to developing solutions to allow them to scale easily. This is why we featured in the middle of the hall, our workflow and automation solution, as well as customer applications from all over the world. This was very well received. Attendance to the show was superb, evidenced by the fact that our booth was full at all times. We go back home extremely pleased with the results of this show.”

Edoardo Cotichini, Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe: “We’ve had a fantastic response from visitors to our stand. They were amazed at how far we have come since launching into the label market two years ago. Labelexpo Europe was an important platform for Konica Minolta to showcase its world-class technology and services, and the high level of interest demonstrated that the AccurioLabel 190 is a product that will sell extremely well. The in-line finishing option has been well received, as was the flexibility of running off-line too. We set ourselves specific business targets for the show, and they have been exceeded.”

Tom Cavalco, managing director at Mark Andy: “Interest was high for both our flexo and digital technology.  The new Digital Screen Plus unit fitted to the second generation P7 press attracted attention as a cost-effective alternative to screen printing.  Converters were also keen to see the solvent-less lamination job we were running.  On the digital side, many visitors stated that our Digital Series press is the most integrated line of all the hybrids available, and we now have more than 40 of them in commercial operation.”

Ashok Krishna, MDV Group and Ricoh: “MDV/Tech Folien had their most successful Labelexpo Europe. All of this driven by the many beautiful printed samples that were created by the co-operation between Ricoh, MDV and Color-Logic. All in all, a big thank you to Labelexpo for their efficient arrangements and for all those people who visited this year, we will see you all next time.”

Jakob Landberg, sales and marketing director for Nilpeter: “Labelexpo Europe was great. We especially enjoyed the first three days – the Nilpeter stand was packed, we saw a lot of interest in our new product offerings, closed some big deals and picked up a lot of interesting leads. This year, we took advantage of the opportunity to present our visions for modernized flexo printing alongside digital hybrid inkjet with the all new FA and Panorama Hybrid presses, and the response was great. The new stand design as well was very impressive and efficient. Our main takeaway is that the industry is in full ‘investment mode’, which provides us with a lot of opportunities, and we are very excited for the future.”

Tom Kerchiss, RK Coatings: “RK received a very positive response to our exhibits, and it was great to attend this popular show again this year at the improved expo centre. We are extremely pleased with the volume of traffic around the halls, and it was a pleasure to welcome new customers to the stand, and likewise strengthen key customer relationships. Labelexpo Europe remains a positive platform to display RK’s equipment, and we look forward to attending in 2019.”

Marc Larvor, Siegwerk: “The 2017 edition of Labelexpo Europe was a great success for Siegwerk. The show was perfect and the narrow web team had a great success in presenting our UV Low migration solutions with Sicura Nutriflex Pro, Sicura Nutriflex UV 59 and Sicura Nutriflex 10. Moreover Sicura Nutriflex LED Tec, the outperforming UV LED low migration flexo series received an outstanding interest. Visitors could also see our proven best sellers like Sicura Flex 39-8 in UV flexo and Sicura Plast SP in UV offset on many demo printing presses form our partners. On the digital side, a real buzz was created with tour latest proven series of UV inkjet, including our low migration Nutrijet series already validated by key head manufacturers. Last but not least, Labelexpo 2017 was also very successful in creating and speeding up innovation and strategic projects with our industry leading partners.’’

Duncan Henshall, Taghleef Industries: “Again Labelexpo Europe 2017 was proven as the best show, not only for the pressure sensitive labels industry, but for the label industry worldwide, including many other labels segments. The show was a tremendous success for Taghleef. Interest was extremely high in recycle-friendly shrink sleeves.”





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