Labelexpo Americas post-show report: the biannual event was center stage for new products and innovation.

Author:Katz, Steve
 
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Organizers of Labelexpo Americas report the 2014 edition--the event's 25th anniversary show--registered a 12% increase in footfall with 16,029 show visitors.

With more than 440 exhibitors, Labelexpo Americas played host to several hundred product launches. Highlights included new digital presses such as the HP Indigo WS6800 and the speedy Cheetah from Xeikon. Other major launches included Mark Andy's Digital Series hybrid inkjet/flexo press and Nuova Gidue's M5 UV flexo press. Numerous new inks, ancillary products and labelstocks were unveiled, including point-of-purchase and vulcanization tire label portfolios from Avery Dennison, Flint Group's expanded EkoCure UV-LED range, Sun Chemical's new Solaris System and UPM Raflatac's thinner PET film labelstocks.

Labelexpo Americas' new feature areas were well received by show visitors, including the Package Printing Workshop sessions, presented by Delta Industrial and Xeikon. In addition, the interactive Smart Mart demonstrated some of the latest developments in active and intelligent labels and packaging, including the newest advances in augmented reality, QR codes and scanners, RFID and NFC-enabled smart tags, temperature indicating packaging and films that prevent food spoilage.

The conference program attracted a record 1,100 delegates and consisted of 16 different sessions with 64 individual moderators, panelists and speakers. Highlights from the conference program included the CEO and converter panel discussions as well as the "Internet of Things" and inkjet technologies presentations.

Tasha Ventimiglia, Labelexpo Americas' event director, commented, "Thank you to everyone including TLMI, all of our exhibitors and industry partners who have helped make our 25th year the best and biggest yet. The show's success underlines just how much confidence has returned to the American label and package printing industry. People were there to do serious business and from the feedback we've had, we know many exhibitors have enjoyed healthy sales as well as generating a high volume of good quality sales leads."

NEW TECHNOLOGIES UNVEILED

Making its debut to the North American Labelexpo audience was the new Mark Andy Digital Series. The Digital Series features full production speeds of 250 fpm, while being touted by Mark Andy as being able to deliver the best total cost-of-operation of any digital inkjet system available today. The machine's hybrid platform is designed to be highly configurable and features high-resolution 6-color UV inkjet printing (CMYKOV+W) with top coating and fully integrated in-line modules including flexo printing, converting and decorating options. Throughout the show, live demonstrations showed on-the-fly job changes and decorating options including cold foil, flexo spot color and varnish, as well as the award-winning Quick Change Die Cut (QCDC) technology. The Mark Andy booth also had demos of the Esko Full HD Flexo-certified Mark Andy Performance Series flexo press, equipped with Mark Andy ProLED UV curing. ProLED is a completely integrated UV LED curing system that is energy efficient and environmentally friendly, and since its introduction at Labelexpo 2010, the availability of UV LED inks from various leading suppliers has grown substantially.

RotoMetrics attracted attention with a brand new exhibit display, along with new products and a bold presence. Harrison Chien, RotoMetrics' VP of marketing and business development, said, "We were delighted to see such a positive response to our bold new exhibit and think it helps set the tone to build excitement around RotoMetrics' foundation of speed, reliability and innovation."

RotoMetrics debuted several new products: The new through-hardened, machine-finished RD300 solid die is ideal for cutting disposable medical substrates, dust-sensitive labels and tags, in-mold labels, synthetic gasket materials, Velcro, Tyvek and electronic components. The RD300's strength and durability comes from its high chromium D2 steel grade body along with a specialized heat-treating process that provides a full-depth hardness of 58-60 Rockwell. RotoMetrics also introduced its new Anodized cylinder, which rounds out the complete print cylinder portfolio. The Anodized Print Cylinder, positioned as an economic alternative between Standard and Hardcase grades, offers the same precise tolerances as the Standard, but has added surface protection for improved scratch resistance and protection from corrosion.

Epson showcased its full range of prime, sub-prime and GHS label products, as well as a laser-finishing unit. The company also participated in the Inkjet Trail, which challenged five of the leading inkjet press manufacturers to produce identical label designs. Epson showed booth visitors upgrades to the SurePress L-4033A/AW digital label press, including a clear sensor that allows for printing on a clear substrate with a clear liner, as well as improved VDP processing for maximum customization. The company also introduced the Epson SurePress L-6034VW and L-6034V--Epson's first single-pass industrial presses using PrecisionCore technology in a linehead configuration, and the first to offer Epson's new LED-cured UV ink with in-line digital varnish technology.

Avery Dennison featured its advanced label material technology at Smart Mart--a new feature area of Labelexpo Americas. "The industry is constantly evolving, and our customers are eager to get a glimpse of the next generation of innovations in action," said Jay Gouliard, global vice president, Innovation, for Avery Dennison Materials Group. "As brands push for new ways to create and enrich their relationships with consumers, label and packaging technology can play a key role. It's important to our customers' business growth to see what is on the horizon of innovation." At its booth, Avery Dennison showcased more than 15 innovations including its Tire Labeling Portfolio, which improves shelf appeal and tracking in challenging tire applications. The materials feature production-friendly gum patterns designed to eliminate oozing and increase conversion speed. The CleanFlake Portfolio on display showed an expansion in the range of the material designed to advance the recycling of PET containers. CleanFlake now includes rollfed sleeve constructions that provide excellent clarity, on-bottle coverage and better yields of PET materials at recyclers.

LVS reported tremendous interest in all of its vision inspection systems, including the company's newest innovation, the LVS 7300. This system offers the latest in GbE hardware technology, including line scan and area scan entry level inspection systems for basic applications like back numbering, single lane ISO grading of ID and 2D bar codes, 100% inspection and color monitoring.

Colordyne Technologies (CDT) unveiled at Labelexpo its new 3600 Series press, what the company calls "the next generation in disruptive digital color printing." The CDT 3600 Series joins the Production Class family of digital print systems as a full-featured process color digital label and tag production system with an enhanced precision web handling system, powered by Memjet technology. The CDT 3600 Series provides the latest in CDT's closed loop tension control technology and is available with low-cost inline finishing options and configurations. Benefits include enhanced print quality; increased resolution of 1600 x 1375 dpi; drastically reduced RIP times; speeds up to 225 fpm and a more user-friendly interface. The new CDT 3600 Series web handling system also provides flexibility and modularity for custom configurations and future faster speeds. "We consistently seek to provide our customers with the most precise and efficient products in the digital printing industry," said CDT President and CEO Gary Falconbridge. "The CDT 3600 Series upgrade does just this as it brings new features and benefits consistent with our core value of providing the fastest print speeds and highest resolution at the lowest capital cost."

UPM Raflatac featured its latest products and innovations at Labelexpo. Whether companies are looking for new ways to distinguish their brand or increase operational efficiency, UPM Raflatac said its high-performance paper and film products can tackle even the toughest applications. With the launch of its new VANISH range of ultra-thin clear films, UPM Raflatac "is redefining the standard for no-label look applications." The company also showcased a renewed wine product range and new portfolios for spirits and craft beverage labeling, giving vintners and breweries access to textured, colored and metalized papers and ultra-clear and white films with a variety of high-performance adhesives, so they can create eye-catching informative labels that help speed purchasing decisions.

Meech International showcased a new distance sensor and feedback system, enhancements to its Hyperion range of static control systems. Compatible with the 971IPS and 929IPS bars, the add-ons are designed to help monitor and control static with greater precision in a variety of applications. "By updating our technologies, we are showing Meech's commitment to providing the best static control solutions possible for our customers, whose feedback plays a significant role in the development of our new systems," explained Matt Fyffe, VP and GM at Meech USA. "In that spirit, we are very pleased to exhibit our latest innovations at a prestigious show such as Labelexpo Americas."

Brotech Graphic Equipment announced at Labelexpo the sale of a 13" SDF Digital Finishing System to Consolidated Label of Sanford, FL, USA. This modular system offers an accurate and flexible capability to Consolidated Label's digital converting and finishing lines. Commenting on the sale, James Voltoline, operations manager for Consolidated Label, said, "We convert a wide range of specialty films and label substrates that have expensive material costs. Reduction of waste and setup...

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