Rako, one of Germany's top label and packaging converters, is back in the news again. In September of this year they announced that they had bought no less than five of HP Indigo's latest label press, the WS6600. Roger Gehrke, Rako's digital printing manager, reckons that the new presses run twice as last as the ones they will be replacing. He particularly likes the Inline Primer Unit, which allow the use of standard, uncoated substrates, which in turn reduces inventory. Interestingly, Gehrke states that short runs "... are now the backbone of our business, along with the need to print or overprint variable data like bar codes and datamatrix codes."
Another German label converter, Tesa, has been busy developing new anti-counterfeit labels. Its PrioSpot is designed specially for wine labels (wine again) and is said to be more secure than other frequently-used devices like holograms. The PrioSpot contains overt and covert information, including a security code which can be read with a smart-phone so the retailer and the consumer can quickly check if the bottle is genuine.
NO SLOWDOWN FOR GERMAN MACHINERY EXPORTERS
Reports of lower growth rates in Germany do not seem to be affecting exports of labeling and packaging machinery, according to figures just issued by the German Engineering Federation VDMA. Exports for January-June 2012 were up 13% on the same period of 2011, thanks to better than expected deliveries to the US (up 14%) and to China, where the year-on-year increase was a mouthwatering 45%.
RED, WHITE AND BLUES
Now that the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics are over, life in UK is getting back to normal. Unfortunately, normal this year means inflation up (slightly), industrial production down (sharply) and unemployment still stuck at around 8%. John Bambery, chairman of the recently reconstituted British label association, notes that in the UK label sector "bankruptcies are now not occurring so frequently" This is about as close as the English get to wild optimism. Performance of label converters, he adds, vary widely, but generally those in niche markets seem to be doing better. One UK company--Paragon--is generally reckoned to be the market leader with a strong presence in supplying labels for Distributors' Own Brand labels.
A NEW ROLE FOR CARTON CONVERTERS?
The annual congress of the European Carton Makers Association (ECMA) does not normally attract delegates from the label business. However the increasing...