The healthy, wealthy business of pharma labeling.

Author:Penhallow, John

The annual Pharmapack show in January of this year hosted some 300 exhibitors, including around 50 directly connected with labels. It is easy to guess why label converters like the pharmaceutical sector. Margins are high, innovation is welcomed and the clientele is generally faithful to its preferred supplier. Autajon, Reynders and CCL, all leading European label converters, exhibited at the Paris show. German-based Schreiner was among the exhibitors showing "smart" solutions, mostly designed for hospital or clinical trial use. For use by the patient, self-injection pens were on display on several booths, many with tamper-evident labels.

The show appeared to be a little smaller than last year's but still very convivial. This being France, the last hour of the show before closing saw a proliferation of wine, beer and similar wellness beverages to promote healthy networking. On the technical innovation front, your correspondent (who did not let his judgment be clouded by wellness hospitality) found nothing excitingly new. Many exhibitors, when asked what's new, replied well, nothing much. To hold the show every year in the same city is possibly trying to get a quart out of a pint pot.


Some years ago, a group of European companies joined forces to improve and streamline flexo technology. A leader in this grouping was the Italian press constructor Nuova Gidue, which in 2015 was acquired by Lausanne-based Bobst. The Swiss press manufacturer has not been slow in taking up the latest in pre- and post-press technology, and all was laid bare at a grand Open Day in mid-February in Bielefeld, Germany. A small and very select group of journalists also attended the event. The Bobst Bielefeld plant (formerly Fischer & Krecke) makes wide-web CI presses for flexible packaging, but much of the technical innovation is also going into the group's narrow web presses.

The leitmotif of the day was to extoll the advantages of Extended Color Gamut (ECG). Adding orange, green and violet to the basic CMYK increases the Pantone coverage to over 90%, according to Bobst. Fewer spot colors, reduced inventory and higher press productivity are generally accepted as the plus side of ECG. As to the downside--well, a 7-color CI press running at up to 500 m/m doesn't come cheap, but Bobst and its partner companies offer a model for sustainability, which should have brand owners ululating in ecstasy. The Bobst presses, and, in particular, the Expert CI and...

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