Labelexpo Europe holds most international edition yet.

The 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe closed on a high note, its organizers report, saying it was the largest, most international show held to date. A total of 693 exhibitors participated at the event, which took place September 24-27, 2019 at the Brussels Expo in Belgium.

Spread over nine halls and covering almost 40,000 square meters of floorspace, up from 37,600 square meters in 2017, the show presented the largest offering of label and package printing technologies and live demonstrations ever seen at a Labelexpo. This included the fast growing areas of hybrid printing, flexible packaging and automation. Poor weather didn't deter 37,903 visitors from 140 countries flocking to the four-day show--a substantial increase on 125 in 2017. India, China and Japan were especially well represented with large visitor delegations. Eastern Europe also showed a stronger representation compared to 2017, in particular Croatia, with a 51% increase, Lithuania (36%), Romania (25%), and Russia (14%). Brazil also saw a 14% increase in visitors compared to 2017.

Major press manufacturers announced multiple sales on a daily basis, including: HP's 200th HP Indigo 20000 digital press, sold to a Slovenian converter; Domino's 7-color N610i inkjet press sold to a Belgian converter on day one; Lombardi's sale of five Synchroline 430 presses during the first two days of the show; Gallus' sale of three presses into India; Konica Minolta's AccurioLabel 230 toner label press, sold on day one and which also debuted at the show; Grafisk Maskinfabriks DC350 digital converting line and a SR350 inspection slitter rewinder sold to a UK converter; Grafotronic's laser diecutting system was sold to an American label converter after launching the machine at the show; and Screen's first Trupress sold into Germany.

Indian machine manufacturers did particularly well, with UV Graphic Technologies selling seven Ultraflex UFO presses, Multitec selling its full servo S1 press to a Russian converter, and Monotech Systems selling three Colornovo presses, one each in China, Europe and Asia.

Chinese manufacturers also fared well, with sales highlights including label press manufacturer Wanjie's sale of a printer to a converter in Spain. Rhyguan sold three finishing systems on day one--one to an Italian converter and two to companies in Germany.

Demonstrating that the show has evolved from a labels show into a wider package printing show, flexible packaging innovations were highlighted on the show floor, with press launches including Omet's new X7 flexo printing machine for labels and flexible packaging with 26" (670mm) web width. Lombard] unveiled its Invicta i2 line, designed for flexible packaging in the mid web sector, while Nilpeter launched its 17" wide FA-Line press, featuring cold foil, lamination and its new high-speed semi-rotary diecutting unit.

Hybrid machinery was another key trend much in evidence, with launches including Bobst, who unveiled its new Master DM5 hybrid label press, and MPS, who launched a new 17"/430mm edition of the hybrid EF Symjet press. Mark Andy unveiled a new entry- to mid-level digital hybrid press, which was demonstrated live at the show with advanced inline converting.

Other machinery launches included Gallus' Digital Printbar digital embellishing unit, designed specifically for opaque white and using inkjet-based digital print technology. Konica Minolta premiered its recently launched Accurio Label 230, a new version of its digital toner press, while Grafotronic showcased seven new models out of a total 11 machines presented at the show.

Lisa Milburn, managing director of Labelexpo Global Series, said, "We are delighted that our 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe has been our largest, most international to date, especially as it is now rapidly moving forwards into a show that encompasses not just labels but also package printing. This was clear from the incredible array of flexible packaging innovations and hybrid machinery on the showfloor, giving label converters ever more options to diversify their businesses.

"The feedback we have received from visitors and exhibitors alike has consistently highlighted the superior quality of the leads, inquiries and contacts made at the show, with an incredible number of deals sealed on the exhibition floor and 83% of space already booked onsite for Labelexpo Europe 2021. This demonstrates that the global label and package printing industry remains as vibrant as ever, and that this show--40 years on--is still a vital platform at the forefront of the entire supply chain."

The show's popular main feature, the Flexible Packaging Arena, drew in large crowds at every one of its 11 live demonstrations. Visitors witnessed a Xeikon CX500 (digital) and a Bobst M6 (UV flexo) producing indirect food contact flexible packaging to the latest GMP standards. In addition, HP Indigo offered live demonstrations of digital pouch making, showcasing the HP Indigo 20000 digital press, Pack Ready Lamination, and the Karlville pouch-making machine making its show debut on its stand. Other HP innovations at the show included the HP Indigo 8000 digital press, which ran inline with the ABG Fast Track die, and the best-selling HP Indigo 6900 digital press, which visitors could see in action with an integrated Kurz DM-Jetliner finishing module.

Reflecting increasing interest from Asia, and with Labelexpo Asia 2019 on the horizon, Labelexpo Europe also hosted its very first China Day on day one. This saw representatives from more than 100 label printers and converters from China visiting the exhibition, including the vice president of trade association PEIAC, a key show partner to Labelexpo Asia.

The popular educational program--the show's most extensive to date--drew in attendees eager to boost their industry knowledge. Three expertled Label Academy hosted master classes covered the hot topics of Inks, Coatings and Varnishes; Digital Label and Package Printing; and Flexible Packaging, while a workshop covered Self-Adhesive Label Materials.

The Label Industry Global Awards took place on the evening of day one, with winners from Avery Dennison, Esko, GMG and GEW honored at the 1980s themed celebration, which also marked Labelexpo's 40th anniversary.

ON THE SHOW FLOOR

A highlight on the Epson stand this year at Labelexpo was a visually stunning mural art installation created from labels printed by Epson's SurePress and ColorWorks digital label printers. Duncan Ferguson, VP professional printing and robotics at Epson Europe, commented, "Inkjet technology has now reached a maturity where it can make significant positive changes to label printing, both on-demand and at traditional converters. New product highlights on the Epson stand this year included the global launch of four new ColorWorks on-demand digital label printers (the ColorWorks CW-C6000Ae, CW-C6000Pe, CWC6500Ae, and CW-C6500Pe). These on-demand label printers extend Epson's existing range and meet the needs of customers across many sectors (food, chemical, beverage, horticulture, logistics etc.). The range includes auto-cutter models (Ae) and timesaving auto-peeler (Pe) functionality that automatically removes the label backing paper and can be integrated seamlessly into existing print-and-apply production lines.

Bobst presented its largest label product portfolio featuring a new hybrid label press, flexo, and Mouvent digital printers. The portfolio on show included the world premiere of the Master DM5, a hybrid label press that provides the best possible combination of digital and DigiFlexo printing in a single press, and demonstrations of L13702-WB and LB701-UV, Mouvent's advanced digital label printers. "Labelexpo 2019 is the perfect storm of recent innovation for Bobst and Mouvent," said Federico D'Annunzio. Bobst program manager, hybrid printing. "As well as the world premiere of the Master DM5, we demonstrated a revolutionary DigiFlexo press and four complete digitalized production processes across a digital native press, equipped with water-based inks. These are innovations that address what matters most to converters and brand owners, namely improving rime-to-market, guaranteeing color consistency and ensuring food packaging safety."

Durst announced major expansions of its RSC platform of UV inkjet label presses. New dedicated label workflow and prepress software, together with an advanced modularTau RSCi UV inkjet digital label press and low-migration inks, were shown for the first time at the event. Under the theme of "We Keep You Printing," Durst announced a raft of product developments and world firsts as it continues to accelerate its presence in digital label inkjet printing. Dedicated workflow software for Web2Production and Durst's own prepress software "Workflow Label" offered by Durst Professional Services to customize MIS integration software packages were showcased. New features of the Durst Workflow Label have been combined with the adapted Durst Smart Shop and integration packages to help fulfil Industry 4.0 standards and drive forward the expanded Tau RSC portfolio. New features for the RSC portfolio include a high opacity White Print Mode for an increased screen-like opacity and a High Speed White mode that allows high speed printing at 80 linear m/m of all colors, including white.

With new applications, new partnerships and the new advisory tool "Transform," Xeikon created a buzz at Labelexpo Europe. Showcasing its largest booth yet at this show, the company displayed four different automated production lines. Across the show, Xeikon also participated in the Sustainability Insight Cafe and the Flexible Packaging Arena. Filip Weymans, vice president of marketing, stated, "At this year's Labelexpo, Xeikon is announcing new partnerships, new innovations and new online tools. Our new advisory tool, 'Transform,' is already taking our customer service offerings to a different level. Digital label...

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