A record year in Brussels: brand owners are using smart labels to ensure product authenticity and value, while improving productivity and the customer experience.

Position:LABELEXPO WrapUp

High energy and enthusiasm permeated the six halls of Labelexpo Europe 201 1 in Brussels this year, a most welcome change after several years of economic struggle and uncertainty. While the label industry has not suffered quite as much as have other industries, converters and suppliers alike were reserving judgment in the weeks preceding the show, hoping for a positive Labelexpo experience and at the same time expressing caution. But they need not have worried. The industry came to Brussels with plans to expand its technology base, and that meant shopping for everything from presses to plates, software to slitters.


The show organizer reports that 28,636 visitors from I 18 countries attended this year's show - an increase of 18.6 percent over 2009. Labelexpo Europe attracted 550 exhibitors (up from 544 in 2009) was the largest in the event's history.

Exhibitors heeded the axiom that they should feature new equipment and materials at every trade show. Labelexpo Europe started off on September 28 with the introduction by Avery Dennison and Gallus of the ThinStream process, a method of diecutting thin films with 12 micron release liner using cold temperatures, a first for the industry. From there it was new presses, more versatile dies, better performing inks, refined inspection systems, talented substrates, custom adhesives, and digital combinations of technologies.

By the end of the show four days later, dozens of exhibitors reported that they had gathered strong leads, commitments, and had executed sales on the show floor. Throughout the venue, a great many pieces of equipment sported placards that read "Sold" Always a good sign.


In his keynote speech at Labelcxpo Europe, UPM Raflatac President Jussi Vanhanen presented some of the major findings from a recent market survey commissioned by the company According to Vanhanen, growth in self-adhesive label demand will continue in Western Europe and North America at a slower pace than in the previous decade, while demand will increase especially in the emerging markets.

"In the developed markets of Europe and North America, the consumption of self-adhesive labels will follow the growth of packaged products. Self-adhesive labels will take marginally market share from other labeling methods. Therefore, the growth rates for the industry will most likely remain at around 1-2 percent per annum. The highest growth rates will be enjoyed in the food and beverage end-use segments where the penetration of the self-adhesive label is rather lows" said Vanhanen.

Nevertheles, on the global level, self-adhesive labeling will enjoy robust growth of around 4-5 percent per year. According to Vanhanen, some 80 percent of this growth will come from emerging markets. This also reflects the shift in global economic power towards the Asian and Latin American countries.

He emphasized that the labeling industry has to work hard for new business opportunities, particularly in the developed markets. "Growth will not conic automatically. The industry needs to continue to develop solutions for ever more specialized applications. The self-adhesive label is the most versatile labeling method, and all participants in the value chain need to continue to promote and develop products which make use of its strengths "Vanhanen continued.

Another challenge to be addressed by the industry is the sustained raw material inflation. "Over the next decade, consumption growth in the emerging markets will continue to drive raw material prices up even if there may be some short breathers in times of economic uncertainty. The best way to combat this inflation is that substrate suppliers and printers develop and commercialize thinner, fit-for-purpose material constructions and leverage the fast-developing recycling opportunities "Vanhanerii emphasized.


A select few of the label industry's leading companies and individuals were recognized At Labelexpo Europe for their outstanding contribution to the sector as the winners of this year's Label Industry Global Awards were unveiled. Held at the Event Lounge in Brussels before an audience of 550, the awards celebrate and honor those who promote best practice in the label industry.

Helmut Schreiner, executive manager owner of the Schreiner Group, collected the R. Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Avery Dennison. A global provider of functional labels, the Schreiner Group, under Helmut Schreiner's leadership, has become a world-leading innovator by developing new applications in areas including electroluminescent labels, printronics, RFID and anti-counterfeit technologies. The Label Industry Award for Continuous Innovation - sponsored by Label & Narrow Web, 1 - Labels & Labeling and NarroWebTech and--was presented to Brazil's Novelprint. Honoring a long-established supplier or converter which lias demonstrated innovation over a period, Novelprint was singled out for its exemplary customer service and long-standing track record in pioneering the science-and technology behind label manufacturing.

EskoArtwork triumphed in the Label Industry Award for New Innovation category, which is designed to underline technological advances made in the previous year. Facing stiff competition from Nilpetcr and Durst, which were both highly commended by judges, the Belgium-based winners HI) Flexo version 2 was judged on the degree of its innovation, environmental efficiency 3tld sustainability along with the practical and economic impact on its service delivery.


The European Converter of the Year Award - sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web - was awarded to Kolibri Labels. The company's reputation for innovation and excellence in sales and product development has established it as one of the Netherlands' leading self-adhesive label printers.


Alphasonics UCS won the Green Award for its AS 1000 Trojan Parts Washer. The company was judged to be the most environmentally-friendly product at Labelexpo Europe 201I.


The 3M Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division has obtained UI recognition for product security and identification solutions that combine the core range of UL recognized 3M label stock materials with five of the leading digital UV ink jet label printers and ink systems. High durability of UV inks and high quality print capability is important for label converters who often need to supply product identification labels as UL/cUL recognized components for labeling of consumer electronic equipment, cellular communication equipment, garden equipment, and power tools, where in all cases the label identification system must be durable for the lifetime of the product. 3M also featured its new Durable Resin Ribbon 92904. Which stands up against harsh organic solvents such as acetone. Methyl ethyl ketone (MEK). and toluene. While many product identification labels subjected to harsh environments are often pre-printed and then overlaminated by the converter, 3M Durable Resin Ribbon 92904 combined with the recommended 3M label stocks provides the needed durability without an overlaminate.

AB Graphic International featured the latest developments in its Omega and Vectra range of label converting and finishing lines with the focus on fast job changes, reduced waste and non-stop production. Two versions of the company's Omega Digicon 2 label converting lines are running live demonstrations featuring non-stop operation with semiautomatic turret rewinders to eliminate additional finishing. One model is demonstrated with off-line turret rewinding to allow the machine to slow down when the finished roll terminates; the second features Nordson automatic gluing. The new Omega ATR inspection rewinder is equipped with a turret rewinder to allow the operator to visually inspect the web while maintaining non-stop finishing. Featuring new-software upgrades, the Digicon Sabre Xtreme laser cutter features nonstop digital die changeover and variable data capability. The system on display features cold foil application through inkjet technology to apply the adhesive without the use of printing plates.

USA based acpo ltd. exhibited its line of self-wound polyester and polypropylene overlaminate films in clear and matte finish, easy release, FDA compliant, photolumineseent, removable adhesive, thermal transfer printable, UK recognized and UV screening. Specialty items include overlaminates designed for digital printers, lamination on finer, form/tag reinforcement narrow width rolls and paint mask.

Advanced Vision Technology (AVT) enjoyed one of its best Labelexpo events, said Global Marketing Director Amir Dekel. We negotiated sales of 25 systems during the show which equates to some $2 million worth of business, and have received a welter of enquiries since the doors closed, which we intend to convert into more business. "The company presented its full range at quality assurance, process control and color control solutions for presses and rewinders. The most popular attraction was the PrintVision/Helios II 1(H) percent inspection platform with its complete workflow solution. The latest innovative solutions included Braille automatic inline detection, which works in parallel with print inspection, detecting every fault in the Braille dots on pharmaceutical labels. Color measurement and control solutions were demonstrated with the Microcolor/Mercury remote ink control for narrow web offset and the IAcal inline Deltali color measurement ensuring color consistency all through the print run. Other highlights included job verification to the original PDF, and 100 percent verification of bar codes and variable data codes and numbers.

Ahlstrotn launched Acti-V, a new generation of release papers for silicone coating, at LabelExpo Europe. Aeti-V will enable silicone maters and PSA materials producers to increase their...

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