Breaking all previous records, the 15th edition of Labelexpo Americas saw 17,407 label and package printing professionals descend on Rosemont s Donald E. Stephens Convention Center from September 13-15. As well as posting an 8.5% increase in attendee numbers, the show was also the largest in its history with a show floor size of over 201,000 square feet. There were more than 455 exhibitors, including over 100 exhibiting for the first time.
Complementing a diverse range of new product announcements, the show floor was packed with live demonstrations, including two new feature areas. With the US annually generating 370,000 tons of liner waste, the Linerless Trail championed ways of improving sustainability and reducing costs and waste. In addition, UPM Raflatac collected the show's excess label, matrix and liner waste so it could be converted into a new form of energy.
The Digital Finishing Experience showcased how to take advantage of short run opportunities in label and packaging personalization, seasonal variations and product fragmentation. Daily presentations were held throughout the show s three day run with live working demonstrations of Delta ModTech's Spectrum Finishing System and folded cartons on the Xeikon FDU.
The exhibition was also supported by two Label Academy master classes, the inaugural Shrink Sleeve Workshop and a two-day conference program. Covering a broad range of topics and technologies, conference sessions were well attended, including the CEO panel discussion. Presided over by Georges Gravanis of Avery Dennison, the conference covered the key issues facing the North American market and featured John Attayek of Inovar Packaging Group, John M. Cappy from the Outlook Group, Fortis Solutions Group's John Wynne, Mark Glendenning of Inland and Charlie MacLean of ASL Print FX.
The all-female converter panel discussion on day two was also well received, with candid contributions from Tara Halpin of Steinhauser, Alpine Packaging's Jan Lehigh, Sandy Petersen of Digital Label Solutions, AWT's Michelle Zeller and The Label Printers' Lori Campbell. Other highlights included a look at new printing techniques to revolutionize design and branding, The Internet of Things, and using highly functional smart labels and packaging to leverage consumer engagement.
ON THE SHOW FLOOR
Mark Andy launched the Digital One, a new entry-level digital printing and converting label press. The press is designed to print short run prime labels with inline converting at what Mark Andy says is an unprecedented low investment level--less than $300K. Digital One offers 4-color CMYK printing at 1200 x 1200 dpi resolution on a pay-as-you-go model. Combined with a single flexo station for inline converting and decorating, Digital One promises to deliver a profitable solution for the growing demand for short run. The standardized configuration features a web width of 13" (330mm) with printing speeds reaching 63 fpm on various substrates, including pressure sensitive paper and film, unsupported paper and tag stocks. The servo-driven flexo station offers capabilities to spot color, varnish, laminate, and cold foil with inline finsihing offering diecutting, stripping and slitting capabilities. Equipped with air cooled UV LED curing and an onboard compressor, Digital One requires only a 220v single phase power source, making it an easy installation in most any environment. It provides converters with a simple, compact solution to support the increasing demands for reduced costs, shorter delivery times and smaller run sizes, and offers the flexibility to manage job mix more efficiently, maximizing high productivity on flexo machines and resulting in more profits.
The theme of the Avery Dennison booth was "Power Up," and it highlighted converters' ability to activate oft-hidden opportunities to spur genuine growth. Each of the booth's four zones--Productivity, Shelf Appeal, Smart Solutions, Sustainability and Compliance--featured products tied to common label and packaging themes. The Productivity Zone focused on saving money and resources related to workflows while taking full advantage of new business opportunities. In the Shelf Appeal Zone, the company featured a next generation, fully conformable film that's engineered for a variety of packaging types and enables the widest operating window in converting and dispensing. Smart Solutions showcased the Removables portfolio, with a focus on a new Photo-Reactive Adhesive Technology--a construction that can be transformed from permanent to removable upon exposure to high-intensity UV light. Sustainability and Compliance was focused on helping converters keep informed of regulations governing quality, safety, design and environmental footprint; while providing brand owners and consumers with the information they need to be confident in their business practices. "Power Up represents an 'outside in' way of thinking," explained Tina Hart, vice president of marketing, Avery Dennison.
Xeikon exhibited at the show under the theme "What's Next." Among the technologies showcased was digital combination printing with Fusion technology. Fusion combines full color production printing with digital embellishment of labels and packaging in one pass and a single, fully digital production process. Over time, Fusion will consist of a series of embellishment modules that are not just put inline with the press, but are components of an entirely new modular system with the digital front end taking care of the prepress, data processing, color management and press operation, as well as full control and operation of all embellishment modules without manual intervention. Visitors to the Xeikon booth were also able to experience the speed and productivity of the Xeikon CX3 digital label press with Cheetah Technology. The Xeikon CX3 features the fastest running speed, lowest operating costs and highest quality in its class. It gives label converters the flexibility to meet complex customer demands without compromising quality, reliability or consistency across a broad array of label types. The Xeikon CX3 demos featured the inline Xeikon Dcoat unit, which is available in inline and nearline configurations and includes as standard features flood UV varnishing, lamination, semi rotary diecutting, length slitting and a dual spindle rewinder.
UPM Raflatac demonstrated how its latest product innovations are a perfect fit to help companies distinguish their brands. Among the products on display were new PP and PET substrates added to the company's metalized and foil product family. Whether they are metalized on top of the face sheet (PP Chrome TC) or underneath the face sheet (PET and PP Metalized Silver), each of these products provides excellent ink reception and performance for personal care, beverage and food packaging applications. UPM Raflatac's new Vanish 120 products are constructed with a thin 1.2 mil PET face material that offers all of the benefits of Vanish 92 materials but with increased stifihess for better dispensing on standard equipment. Also featured were recently developed solutions for special labeling applications, including a range of materials for industrial chemical containers, as well as high-quality materials for the wine, spirits and craft beverage markets. These products also support legislative compliance and stay functional throughout the life cycle of the labeled container. As part of UPM Raflatac's presence at Labelexpo Americas, the company showcased how its label materials are a perfect fit for the retail shelf, as well as the world of high fashion. UPM Raflatac models strutted their stuff on a catwalk dressed in high-end fashion pieces constructed out of labelstock materials.
Wilson Manufacturing introduced the SI00 Extreme Rotary Die. This die delivers what Wilson says is unprecedented accuracy across multiple applications, thanks to an exceptionally tight-tolerance blade height with no greater than .0001" variance. Its harder, more durable steel makes the SI00 Extreme Rotary Die ideal for long print runs where cutting accuracy is critical. "Whether it's thin films, board stocks, sand paper or medical materials, SI00 Extreme Rotary Dies provide proven performance over the long run," said Wilson's Todd Westover.
Delta ModTech featured a variety of technologies, all under the theme "Masters in Motion." Highlighted at the show was Flex Edge Laser Technology with a new on-the-fly changeover demonstration. Edge Laser Technology is ideal for markets that demand flexibility, new job setup is quick and the ability to recall saved products speeds up changeovers. The Flex Edge is a flexible laser platform that can be used inline or offline with various configurations to allow for production and R&D use in both roll-to-roll and sheet-fed. This machine is completely portable. It can be bolted inline directly to an existing Delta ModTech machine, it can be connected to an existing converting fine using the telescoping arm to connect to an open station or it can be run as a standalone unit. "We install the machine on your site and train your operators to ensure you get the most out of your investment. Our team of service specialists can access the HMI screen online to help you with settings, adjustments or troubleshooting. This real-time technical support will help prevent down time and improve output for customers world-wide," explained David Grenwis, marketing manager for Delta ModTech.
Jemmco launched its JemmSil RS200 High Release Rubber Roller Covering, described as the best alternative to high release hard coats and release tapes on the market. This proprietary silicone sleeve composite features a blend that creates unmatched release properties and a temperature resistance up to 400[degrees] F. At .090" wall thickness, the JemmSil RS200 is a significantly thicker release covering than...