Could this be the next revolution?

Author:Penhallow, John
Position:NARROW WEB Europe
 
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For more than ten years people in the PS label industry have been arguing and discussing the digital revolution, and the effects have indeed been revolutionary. But those of us who take a long-term view of technology, politics or indeed life in general will know that very often sudden changes come from a totally unexpected direction and hit us like a sockful of wet sand applied sharply to the base of the skull. A recent announcement from Germany's Krones AG could be the start of such a turning point. Remember how leading industry experts have told us that bottle labels, hitherto the domain of the wet glue or wraparound label, are the Great White Hope for the future expansion of the PS label business? Well if Krones' digital direct printing equipment is as good as they say it is, we could soon see the exciting and profitable short-run part of bottle-decoration moving over to direct printing. The new digital direct printer, called "Decotype" is said by Krones to offer "huge potential for both the beverage industry and the market segments of household/cosmetics." This is good news for the plastic container industry and potentially even better news for industrial end users. Short-run variable direct printing could become just an add-on to the bottle-filling line. This would be wet-sand news for PS label converters (and labelstock producers, and a whole slew of other manufacturers), particularly as Krones is working on another model for direct-printing onto glass bottles. Perhaps, like many breakthrough ideas, it will prove less revolutionary in the factory than in the R&D lab.

HEIDELBERG: THE PLOT THICKENS

Last month's Europe newsletter reported on Heidelberg's surprising decision to sell digital label press manufacturer CSAT GmbH to the French-American giant Markem-Imaje. Now comes the discombobulating news that conventional press manufacturer Gallus, which is 30% owned by Heidelberg, will continue to hold the distribution rights for the CSAT press after the change of ownership. This sounds like the magical "you've got it, you sell it, you've still got it" that applies to certain professions but is not normally found in the label business. Gallus, by all accounts, is actively marketing the CSAT press. In April of this year the Swiss press manufacturer hosted a two-day open house event devoted to digital printing, and specifically to the CSAT press (or Linotype L as Gallus prefers us to call it) shown operating with the Gallus ECS C on- or...

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