Labelexpo Americas Post-Show Report
Labelexpo Americas Post-Show Report
Exhibitors and attendees packed the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center for the first time in four years.
Ron Lutz (L), Ben Danon, VJ Melapioni, and Joe Sanchez with the new Dantex press launched in Rosemont, IL, USA.
Dave Grenwis, marketing manager, talks to Label & Narrow Web about all the latest finishing and converting capabilities available at Delta ModTech.
Epson’s Victor Gomez (L) and Mike Pruitt touted several new digital product launches that feature the latest in automation and high-speed printing.
The dedicated team members at Resource Label Group were present throughout Labelexpo Americas and featured prominently at TLMI’s EcoStage.
Chris Evans (L), Cheryl Brown and Aaron Long highlighted the latest developments with Yazoo Mills’ paper tube and core technologies.
Experts from Mactac were available to discuss their latest product launches, and the company also raised a considerable amount of money for charity.
Greg Hrinya, Editor10.05.22
Labelexpo Americas 2022 returned to Rosemont, IL, USA, September 13-15, with overwhelmingly positive feeback from exhibitors and attendees alike. The event saw more than 13,000 attendees flock to the Donald E. Stevens Convention Center. In total, Labelexpo Americas attracted 13,569 attendees from 77 countries. It was notable that attendees stayed at the show longer than in previous years, up from an average of 1.8 days in 2018 to 2.0 days this year, and that it welcomed large numbers of first-time attendees. Digital printing was front and center – there was not a single flexo press at the show – joining sustainability and automation as key themes.
From an exhibitor L&NW spoke with, LemuGroup had arguably the most impressive booth, showcasing technologies that promote automation that can assist with the workforce challenge. LemuGroup exhibited its new off-line digital finishing and embellishment system, the MA-350. The new technology is incorporating robotic roll packaging, and its modular functions include spot varnishing, heavy-duty hot stamping and screen printing.
The MA-350 system has been complemented with a GTU glueless turret rewinder and Lemu automatic robotic boxing system. As with all LemuGroup automation, it can be equipped to run on any digital or traditional flexo press.
HP Indigo showcased the new HP Indigo V12 digital press to the public for the first time. Following the show, the press was scheduled to proceed onward to the first beta customer – a not yet disclosed US-based converter.
“The V12 will change the math of label printing, the sweet-spot of HP Indigo print will grow to cover 70-80% of a label converter’s job basket,” said Eli Mahal, head of labels and packaging marketing, HP Indigo. “The HP Indigo V12 digital press printing side-by-side with the HP Indigo 6K, the HP Indigo 8K and the mid-web HP Indigo 25K digital presses will allow for customers to run an extremely efficient digital label factory, grow their business, and diversify into shrink sleeves, pouches and web-2-pack. We were extremely excited to bring this to Labelexpo Americas, and we were thrilled to welcome everyone to the booth to hear and see the V12 in action.”
Dantex Group officially launched its next generation of Pico UV inkjet digital presses. According to the company, the new digital range represents a breakthrough in digital press technology and design, with the new line offering a multitude of facilities to benefit customers. With four different modular print platforms, from entry-level to full hybrid, 8-color and high-speed models, this new technology has been designed to take digital label production to new limits.
Having been in development for the last two years, the press range includes the PicoColour HD 1200, PicoJet 1200, PicoJet 1200i, and the flagship high-speed model, the PicoJet 1200s. Built to high-quality industry standards, each press is based on a modular design, incorporating inline finishing and a new, innovative touchscreen operating system.
SuperWhite technology and DecoTactile is included as standard. SuperWhite is capable of producing a white ink opacity up to 92% in a single pass, making it the highest opacity inkjet white available on the market, the company says.
Heidelberg USA highlighted the launch of the new Gallus One digital press. Gallus One is geared toward the cost-efficient and sustainable production of high-quality labels, thereby delivering a reliable return on investment (ROI) for a wide range of customers. As a reel-to-reel UV inkjet digital inline label press with a width of 340mm, a resolution of 1200 dpi, four colors plus white, and a print speed of up to 70 m/m, it is suitable for a host of applications and therefore makes a move into digital label production particularly cost-effective, the company says.
What’s more, Gallus One can be fully integrated into the Prinect workflow from Heidelberg. Developed jointly by Heidelberg and Gallus, the system combines the digital printing and software know-how of the sheetfed offset printing specialist with the many years of label printing expertise of Gallus.
Durst showcased its ecosystem of printers and software, and provided visitors access to experienced industry experts. Two printers from its Tau RSC portfolio were presented to interested parties during numerous live demos. The Durst Tau RSCi is designed for an industrial level of productivity and available in printing widths of 330, 420 or 510mm. The machine is touted as a productivity workhorse with printing speeds up to 100 m/m. In addition, it can now be equipped with the new double white feature, increasing productivity when printing with white ink at highest opacity to 80 m/m. Equipped with the latest RSC technology, the Tau 330 RSC E combines best-in-class print quality with a cost-effective investment.
Steve Lynn, director, Labels and Packaging, commented, “It was great to welcome so many customers, partners, suppliers and friends finally again at Labelexpo. The feedback we received was very positive, and customers continue to adapt to digital printing with our leading inkjet solutions at a very high pace. ”
The Domino N730i digital UV inkjet label press made its worldwide, in-person debut at the show. With 1200 dpi BITSTAR printhead technology and configurable in up to seven colors (CMYKOVW), the press has an ergonomic design with automated roll lifts provided as standard at the unwind and rewind, and supports media rolls of up to one meter in diameter. The press offers flexibility with an optional flexo priming station (pre-digital) to optimize print quality on more difficult media types; an optional flexo station (post-digital) to support varnishing, a brand spot color, or for cost-effective flood white for shrink sleeve applications.
Also on display was the Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press. The N610i is a proven and reliable 600 dpi digital UV inkjet label press with hundreds of installations globally. In addition, Domino showcased the Domino K600i dual bar digital UV inkjet printer with variable data printing (VDP) at up to 492 fpm.
Epson presented a wide range of solutions at Labelexpo Americas. Epson debuted the new UV inkjet digital label press, the SurePress L-6534VW with Orange Ink, and the new L-4733AW water-based resin ink digital label press. The highly automated SurePress L-6534VW, available with Orange Ink or Digital Varnish, enables reliable and repeatable high-speed printing of up to two million square feet per month. The SurePress L-4733AW water-based resin ink digital label press is primed for unattended printing and delivers accurate spot colors and gradients required for brand quality, color prime labels and packaging.
Epson’s Mike Pruitt, senior product manager, Industrial Labels, also participated in the Label Academy Master Class on digital embellishment on Wednesday, September 14. Organized by the Label Academy, this five-hour master class offered the necessary technical knowledge and expert guidance that label converters are likely to require when considering a move into the fast-growing field of digital embellishment. Epson’s booth was part of the Digital Embellishment Trail.
Mark Andy also introduced a new digital press incorporating the Konica Minolta AL400 print engine, along with flexo, finishing and workflow products. The press manufacturer focused on digital transformation and end-to-end workflows, embellishing, diecutting and production automation. Labelexpo Americas saw the first public showing of Mark Andy’s digital press incorporating Konica Minolta’s Accurio Label 400 (AL400) toner-based print engine. The press is configured as standard with five colors, CMYK and white, printing at speeds up to 130 fpm in roll-to-roll and hybrid configurations.
“Through our strategic partnership with Konica Minolta, Mark Andy is extending its solutions for digital print production to be optimized for mid-to-high volume converters,” commented Greg Palm, executive vice president of sales and marketing at Mark Andy.
Mark Andy also highlighted its latest production inkjet press, the Digital Series iQ. The iQ is built on Mark Andy’s Evolution Series flexographic platform for application flexibility and boosting award-winning web handling and digital implementation.
Colordyne Technologies, a manufacturer of efficient, high-resolution digital inkjet printers and retrofits, announced its partnership with Fiery, EFI’s developer of advanced servers for digital color print production, to be the first manufacturer in the world delivering UV LED and water-based inkjet printing that features the high-end prep and processing workflow capabilities of the Fiery Impress digital front end (DFE).
Colordyne’s high-speed, high-resolution process color inkjet print engines were on display at Labelexpo Americas and featured the Fiery Impress DFE, a brand new turnkey inkjet print server technology. Colordyne’s inkjet engines driven by Fiery print server technology offer premium quality inkjet production for durable UV LED labels, as well as water-based ink printing ideal for food and beverage and other CPG brands seeking eco-friendly, sustainable labels. Customers can easily integrate Colordyne’s inkjet engines on existing flexo and converting equipment to create an affordable single-pass hybrid printing press or employ as a standalone digital production press.
Telstar Engineering also showcased its press retrofit and specialty converting machine manufacturing capabilities. Tom Kirtz, president, said, “The Labelexpo 2022 promotion of this important category boosted attendance at our booth. The phone is ringing with quote requests and questions about the most challenging press production ideas. Bring on Labelexpo 2024.”
Anytron launched the ANY-JET III, a fully digital one-stop label solution at the show. All the processes – digital printing, laminating, laser cutting, slitting and matrix removal, work together in a digitally integrated platform. “Combining the best of digital printing and laser finishing into a single, integrated platform, ANY-JET III exploits the full power of digital. ANY-JET III is the most cost-effective solution to produce customized, short-run orders. Label converters can enjoy next-level printing efficiency in a speedy, automated, seamless single pass operation,” said Amy Choi, marketing manager, Anytron.
Xeikon announced the launch a fully-digital hybrid solution based on its digital press (Cheetah or Panther series), the recently developed Xeikon Label Converting Unit (LCU) and its X-800 digital front-end. This solution can be configured to the needs of the converter and becomes a powerful production system enabling label converters to step up their productivity while remaining fully flexible for all their customers’ needs.
“At Xeikon, we take customer input seriously. Our solutions are cloud-connected, providing us with a lot of data on how the equipment is performing. This results in the ability to provide more automation in combining production runs to increase efficiency,” says Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s VP of marketing, adding, “That is why, along with the presses, we develop fully digital converting and embellishing products, such as the Xeikon LCU, which can be configured into hybrid print and converting solutions.”
Visitors to the Anderson & Vreeland (A&V) booth were able to experience one-of-a-kind, virtual reality print training. Presented in tandem with Clemson University/The Sonoco Institute of Packaging Design and Graphics, Labelexpo attendees interacted virtually with the wide range of A&V printing equipment, such as anilox rolls and doctor blades, and even pulled a test sheet to check their work.
A B Graphic International (ABG) showcased the newest developments from its product portfolio, as well as reconnected with customers and prospects. Machines on display included ABG’s flagship Digicon Series 3 beverage specification, including Big Foot, Flat Bed Screen and even more retrofittable modules; ABG’s new SRI3 incorporating enhanced functionality and ease of use for operators, while being fully retrofittable; DigiLite; DigiLase with a new decal option for roll-to-roll, individual pieces and A4 sheets; Vectra ECTR – for efficiency in turret rewinders; and an RTS Sheeter. ABG also took part in a panel discussion at CERM’s Integration Arena and was joined by CERM, Screen, Parkland International, and Adrian Steele from Mercian Labels.
Cartes debuted a new digital embellishment concept, the Jet D-Screen. The technology utilizes a Cartes laser diecutting system for digital converting processing and is specially designed to create outstanding labels that feature multi-layer effects, spot coating, complex tactile raise volumes and Braille printing. In addition, further capabilities include detailed foiling and metallic doming transferring.
The Cartes Jet D-Screen is ideal for process automation, such as automatic job changeover, by barcode reading, automatic slitting positioning and turret rewinding systems. “To beautify and convert labels in just one process, with no tooling costs and without time and/or material waste, is now guaranteed by the Cartes Jet D-Screen and laser converting system with an unlimited lifetime, steady power and perfect cutting quality,” the company states.
Delta ModTech ran three machine demonstrations at Labelexpo Americas. In Delta’s booth, the company highlighted the newly updated Crusader Converter using its patented Island Transfer module to place RFID tags on finished labels in continuous motion. Delta’s EDGE Laser Technology was also being demonstrated on a second Crusader Converter performing a laser diecutting demonstration. In Domino’s booth, visitors witnessed the speed and flexibility of the Spectrum Print Finisher with an integrated Domino K600i printer.
GM highlighted its latest innovations, which provide digital label producers and converters with a wide variety of solutions to ensure high productivity and long-lasting service within the narrow and mid-web segment. Designed with a focus on automation, high quality and adding value, GM’s converting lines also feature Industry 4.0 compatibility and cloud connectivity for future-proofing investments and preparing customers for the next level in label converting.
Martin Automatic, the Rockford, IL-based manufacturer and supplier of the original automatic butt splicer to the label industry, exhibited the latest versions of its most popular machines at Labelexpo Americas. The machines on working display included the space-saving MBS unwind butt splicer and LRD transfer rewinder.
The MBS supports non-stop unwinding of labels, flexible packaging, shrink sleeves, laminates and light paperboard for the most demanding and changing production environments. Featuring Martin’s patented linear sheer butt splice unit and integrated roll loading mechanism, its versatility accommodates automation of any web converted by label converters around the world. The LRD is a two-spindle non-stop transfer rewinder that features the same versatility and adaptability as the MBS, but for the delivery end of the press. In addition to the automatic transfer, it features automatic unloading of finished rolls and is easily fitted with a slitting module that can also accommodate automated differential winding.
KTI promoted the MTR Series of turret rewinders in web widths up to 22" (558mm), roll diameters up to 16" (406mm), and speeds up to 750 fpm (228 m/m). The MTR Series turret rewinder has four spindles, an integrated dancer for enhanced web control and PLC touchscreen controls.
Prati highlighted solutions for digital finishing, including DIGIFASTone, a digital finishing line for printed reels, which allows converters to produce value-added labels at high speeds and with high precision. Versatile and with a quick setup, DIGIFASTone is also functional for short runs of promotional labels in the food and beverage, wine and spirits, cosmetics, personal and home care markets.
“Converters asked us for a non-stop solution – completely digital, both in finishing and diecutting,” explained Matteo Bertoni, Prati area manager and DIGIFAST20000 product leader. “No special tools are required to run the machine. A quick setup is ensured thanks to the laser diecutting unit, which offers the enormous advantage of not imposing limits on the size and shape of the labels. In addition, the DIGIFASTone is configurable with a double shaft turret rewinder, in combination with the buffer ensuring non-stop finishing. With the turret rewinder, the operator no longer worries about the rewinding cycle. His work is limited to loading the cores and collecting the finished reels.”
SPGPrints presented its rotary screen technology designed for stability and durability, as well as speed and cost-effectiveness. Tailored to meet specific customer requirements, SPGPrints’ rotary screen printing modules are easily integrated into an existing label, flexo or offset press, allowing for great placement flexibility on the machine.
Baldwin Technology Co. introduced its latest print inspection solutions. Meeting ongoing customer demand, Baldwin launched Guardian PQV 100% Print Inspection version 4.0. Designed and manufactured to help printers achieve print quality perfection and reduce material waste, these state-of-the-art camera systems can provide single or dual sided 100% print quality inspection for any given application. These applications can range from high-volume label production with variable data to inspecting the most challenging security print applications with features such as UV fluorescent, fiber inspection, IR covert, optically variable devices and inks, and magnetic inks. The Guardian PQV solution is designed for ease of use, ultimately reducing the need for operator training and minimizing the problem of press staff turnover.
Xitron, a subsidiary of Hybrid Software Group and the developer of Harlequin-based Navigator RIP and workflow products, debuted a new product at the event. On display was Xitron’s new Navigator Flexo Suite: Label, designed as a powerful workflow for flexo label printers who have outgrown basic RIPs and need more automation. Comprised of Harlequin, touted as the fastest RIP on the market, plus Mac and PC client access, hybrid screening, advanced and automated step and repeat functionality.
Karen Crews, president of Xitron, said, “Navigator Flexo Suite: Label is uniquely positioned in terms of price and performance. Whether you’re looking to replace an older system with high maintenance and upgrade costs or bringing platemaking in-house with one of the newer flexo CTP engines that are now widely available, Flexo Suite: Label has the ideal feature set for narrow web label production.”
Phoseon Technology featured its Nexus ONE UV LED curing systems. Nexus ONE products offer many benefits to printers and converters, the company said, including the industry’s first five-year warranty for the entire system.
Phoseon Nexus ONE sustainable products provide energy savings, prevent pollution, and reduce waste. With traditional UV curing processes, the heat associated with mercury UV lamps requires a significant amount of electricity to operate. Phoseon UV LED technologies provide energy savings up to 85% compared to traditional mercury-vapor UV lamps. With Phoseon light sources, there is no need for fume extraction units to remove the gases generated by mercury-vapor UV lamps.
SEI Laser presented its Labelmaster laser cutting system. The unit has been designed for converting roll materials in the packaging and labeling industry. Labelmaster is compatible with a wide range of substrates such as paper, PET, BOPP and textiles. Web widths from 350 and 600mm are available, as well. The Labelmaster features a QR/barcode reading system that allows changing jobs on the fly. In addition, there are options for up to four laser units with power ranging from 150 to 500W.
Wilson Manufacturing has expanded its waste technologies portfolio with the presentation of the Pin Eject Die. This new product, which was on display at Labelexpo Americas, has been designed to provide quality slug removal without using an air source. Also featured was Wilson’s E Diffsystem, a high-tech adjustable anvil with a user-friendly touch interface allowing for precise adjustments with a single tap of the screen. The system is suitable for converters utilizing existing cutting tools for additional materials or making instantaneous adjustments on-press when changes in materials occur. Wilson also promoted its new Customer Portal. The robust performance of the portal was demonstrated live with up-to-the-minute production status, fast and easy searches for prior orders or quotes, and instant tracking of shipped orders.
GEW highlighted its full product range, with a particular emphasis on its air-cooled UV LED system AeroLED, which is now ArcLED compatible. “Going to LED will reduce your energy consumption over time,” stated Jennifer Heathcote, vice president of business development, GEW. “Overall, LED helps sustainability and lowers costs.” AeroLED is a high power system for full cure, printing, coating and converting applications up to 60cm wide. New at Labelexpo was an updated design that makes AeroLED compatible with GEW’s ArcLED system. Using the same fan and ducting arrangement as the industry standard E2C, customers have the flexibility to switch between arc and LED curing on any station. No filters are required due to the high redundancy, making maintenance a breeze and an AeroLED retrofit more cost effective than ever before, according to GEW. Plus, any customers with GEW’s RHINO/RLT power supply platform can upgrade to LED within a matter of hours by simply changing the cassettes and running a software upgrade.
Fujifilm showcased multiple “Go Green” printing products for the label and packaging segment. The company highlighted its Illumina LED curing system and 300 Series inks, a two-part system consisting of an LED curing unit and specially formulated LED inks that easily convert existing water-based or UV flexo presses to boost productivity and reduce energy costs by 86-95%. The company also showed its Flenex water-wash plates and processors. The plates are 100% solvent-free and provide high quality at fast production times while lowering cost-in-use compared to thermal, solvent, or other water-wash technology.
ACTEGA brought its latest ranges of product-enhancing inks and coatings.The solutions showcased included a brand-new line of inks, as well as some of the company’s most innovative inks and coatings for the food, cosmetics and pharma industries. The highlighted applications on display included labels and narrow web pouches showcasing ACTEGA’s UV LED and water-based flexo inks and coatings. Samples of haptic and visual effect coatings for shrink sleeves were also designed to capture Labelexpo visitors’ attention. These coatings are applied on the outside of the shrink sleeve to give extra impact on the shelf, and the variety of high-value effects achievable include soft touch, matte and raised image. Special UV LED coatings for the internal part of the sleeves were on display, too, and experts from the ACTEGA team were on-hand to explain the numerous functional benefits of applying these coatings.
At Labelexpo Americas, Cyngient and Imageworx partnered to unveil security labeling and brand protection products the companies have developed in tandem. The show marked the global debut of Micro Security Guilloche Labels. Showcasing the advancements of high-speed microscopic flexo security printing – utilizing high definition inks from Cyngient and enhanced resolution printing plates from Imageworx – Labelexpo attendees viewed ultra-fine lines printed in decorative, intricate, and precise patterns. These security labels hold line weights below 5 microns in thickness, plus positive type printing as low as 0.3 pt and reverse type at 0.4 pt on a 1200x microscope.
Flint Group Narrow Web highlighted its new waste and cost-saving ink and coating products that offer improved recycling, food safety, global quality consistency and lower energy consumption. Flint Group’s Evolution series of UV-flexo coatings allows the substrates and containers they are used on to be recycled without contamination, and therefore reused more easily. The Evolution Deinking Primer is applied to shrink sleeves to allow the ink to be released during the recycling process. The ink is removed from the sleeve material without contaminating the valuable bottle flake. The materials are then rinsed and pelletized into recycled polyester (rPET) for reuse. Flint Group Narrow Web also presented its expanded range of Dual Cure UV-flexo inks that are curable under LED lamps, as well as mercury lamps. The newest product on display from INX International was INXFlex Contour, a distinctive UV and LED dual cure flexographic ink system that produces shrink sleeve labels for brand owners. It addresses label and packaging industry issues of post-shrink adhesion loss and ink cracking, with excellent flexibility.
INXFlex Contour piggybacks off the success of Genesis washable label inks. A recycle-friendly ink system, it recently added a new flexo version and UV curable primer that makes INXFlex Contour washable, as well. “Our shrink sleeve inks are formulated so the labels stand out on store shelves and catch the attention of consumers,” explained Schouten. “INXFlex Contour offers customers faster lead times and lower applied costs with a dual cure version. It also provides flexibility to choose from common substrates and find the most cost-effective solution for their application. That’s especially important for tamper-evident sleeve applications, a consideration most brand owners expect.”
Michelman featured a selection of water-based inline and off-line primers, overprint varnishes, and strengtheners for HP Indigo at Labelexpo Americas 2022. Michelman also highlighted its primer and overprint varnish portfolio for inkjet-based printing platforms. All featured products have been developed with sustainability and circular economy initiatives in mind.
Michelman’s solutions for HP Indigo LEP printing have been developed in close collaboration with HP and are specifically designed for that platform. A full portfolio of DigiPrime primers optimizes print quality on a wide range of substrates for both inline and off-line use. New to the lineup is DigiGuard Plus, a suite of strengtheners that adds increased water, thermal, chemical, and mechanical resistance to UV OPVs.
Sun Chemical presented its complete portfolio of solutions for the packaging and narrow web, tag and label markets to converters across North and South America during Labelexpo Americas.“Our commitment to sustainability continues to be a fundamental part of our innovation and product development at Sun Chemical,” stated Dennis Sweet, vice president NWTL, commercial, Rycoline and distributors. “We were excited to be back at Labelexpo Americas 2022 to highlight our sustainable product offerings and provide an opportunity to reconnect with the narrow web industry.”
Using its “5Rs” framework (Reuse, Reduce, Renew, Recycle and Redesign) as a guide, Sun Chemical invests significantly in R&D to improve the eco-efficiency and sustainability of the packaging that utilizes its inks, coatings and adhesives to support a circular economy.
Retroflex highlighed multiple products at Labelexpo Americas, including the Retroflex RADBS doctor blade system. Along with the RADBS, Retroflex discussed its four standard flexo presses, which have been engineered to suit nearly every need and budget. Each unit is available with many options and modifications that give label converters an ideal solution without the high cost of a totally custom press.
Label Traxx unveiled its Version 9.0 workflow software. In response to industry consolidation, the Enterprise Edition was previewed for attendees, offering a set of capabilities designed to serve the requirements of multi-site organizations. The company’s experts discussed the new CRM features with the Customer Service suite, including Rapid Quoting. The Inventory Forecast Tool provides the operations team insights and alternatives to respond to supply chain challenges in real-time from its Automated Planning & Scheduling Suite.
“We are approaching our 30th year in business, and over the last six years we have cultivated partners to accelerate our innovation. Now it’s time to consolidate the portfolio and the teams to bring a well-coordinated and seamless solution to the industry,” said Ken Meinhardt, Label Traxx co-founder. “Label Traxx is looking forward to this new step in its journey to provide a best-in-class, end-to-end, solution for its customers.”
CERM presented its smart management information software (MIS) products for industrial printshops. During the show, CERM invited attendees to participate in the CERM Integration Arena. Company representatives said, “We prepared interesting presentations on our latest developments and got some great case studies to share with attendees during the CERM Panel Discussions, which featured a central guest and were supported by our industry partners.”
MIS supplier Tharstern introduced its brand-new MIS solution to the label and flexible packaging sector. Following the official launch of its cloud-native software in 2021, Tharstern has spent the last year working with a group of beta customers to create a product that the company says will transform and modernize the MIS market.
Booth visitors saw the Tharstern Cloud in action and had the opportunity sign up for a three-month free trial. “We’ve created Tharstern Cloud to be so intuitive and easy to use that we’ve removed any cost associated with the onboarding and training process,” said Tharstern CEO Keith McMurtrie. “So your three-month trial really is free. There are no hidden costs.” Tharstern also demonstrated the connectivity that has been built into the MIS product from the very beginning. McMurtrie explained, “We’ve created Tharstern Cloud using an API First approach, which means that any data within the MIS can be written and read by any external application, at any level.”
For e-commerce, Infigo’s experts dissected the tools and strategies required to build and scale a successful online business. Infigo booth visitors learned how to launch an e-commerce solution and build an online presence in as little as 90 days.
Through a fictional ice cream brand called Scoops, Douglas Gibson, CEO of Infigo, and Greg Young, head of customer success, explored everything required for print e-commerce success – from the integrations that provide a seamless customer experience and printing workflow, to the strategies that improve conversions and enable scale. The Infigo team also demonstrated the simplicity of the Infigo Connect open API, which syncs orders directly into workflow and MIS systems such as Hybrid, Esko, printIQ, Tharstern, CERM and Label Traxx.
Meanwhile, Esko and GMG announced a partnership to deliver a new connection between GMG’s profiling and color prediction solution: GMG OpenColor and Esko’s native prepress editing software, ArtPro+. The connector will be launched in November 2022. The collaboration is intended to satisfy demand for highly automated and globally connected color management solutions. Creating a smoother and more efficient color conversion process for packaging and label printers, trade shops and premedia houses, the new ArtPro+ GMG OpenColor Connector enhances the connectivity and data exchange between the two products. This integration ensures uninterrupted file processing and color conversion without losing metadata between systems.
Focusing on sustainable concepts for flexible packaging, ink specialist hubergroup Print Solutions presented a wide range of technologies at Labelexpo Americas. At its booth, hubergroup exhibited its comprehensive UV flexo portfolio of the iray brand, as well as its water-based series HYDRO-X – explaining how these products can contribute to a circular economy. Only recently, hubergroup announced the relaunch of its UV flexo portfolio under the name iray. As part of this, the ink manufacturer improved the performance of its products and added primers, adhesives, and low-migration inks, as well as varnishes for food packaging to the portfolio.
QSPAC presented its range of self-wound lamination products and discussed its latest solutions for labels and packaging at Labelexpo. Based in Santa Fe Springs, CA, USA, the company offers BOPP and PET films coated with a high-performance and clear emulsion acrylic adhesive to provide an excellent finish and protection. With a growing emphasis on digital printing, QSPAC displayed its lamination products for short-run digital, including gloss and matte BOPP and PET films in 1.5 mil thickness.
Universal Engraving Inc. (UEI Group) featured its foil stamping and embossing solutions, displaying several new decorative enhancement options for labels. Also, representatives from Infinity Foils, part of the UEI Group, were on-hand to discuss the recent opening of its newest facility in Querétaro, Mexico. Infinity Foils de Mexico is the third Infinity Foils converting facility and the eighth distribution facility since Infinity Foils’ founding in 2005. The new facility offers the same capabilities as the other two Infinity Foils converting facilities, but it primarily serves the Mexico and Central America markets.
Polyart Group launched at Labelexpo r-Polyart, which is claimed to be the first synthetic paper made of 30% post-consumer recycled material. r-Polyart looks and prints like 100% virgin material and has virtually the same mechanical properties but a lower carbon footprint, the company says. In fact, the Labelexpo floor map was printed on this sustainable material to ensure a low carbon footprint for the show. The company has also debuted Fiberskin, a weather-resistant paper, which is recyclable and biodegradable. Fiberskin is printable by dry toner and has been optimized for short-term outdoor exposure for industrial, VIP and prime labels, outdoor tags and signage.
Appvion, a provider of direct thermal paper and film products, featured its newest product in development – Resiste 15% PCW with phenol-free technology. The product has been optimized for end uses such as deli, bakery, weigh scale, retail, and logistics. Resiste 15% PCW with phenol-free technology, launching in 2023, boasts a post-consumer fiber base that performs like a virgin fiber product. This topcoated label product promotes sustainability by giving new life to materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Resiste 15% PCW with phenol-free technology generates crisp imaging for consistent scannability with excellent water resistance. The product also has the ability to withstand the elements such as heat, UV light, and rough handling. It is compatible with modern-day direct thermal printers and produces sharp, high-contrast barcodes at print speeds up to 8 ips.
Klear Plastic Ventures (Klear) presented its latest sustainable PET heat shrinkable film products. On display was Crystallizable TopGreen, a film recognized by The Association of Plastic Recyclers (APR) for meeting or exceeding their Critical Guidance Protocol for Clear PET Articles with Labels and Closures requirements (PET-CG-02). These films are claimed to pass through the PET bottle recycling process without clumping or negatively impacting the material flow. Sleeve labels made with crystallizable PET film allow recyclability of post-consumer PET bottles. Klear also supplies films made with 30% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) content.
During Labelexpo, tesa tape featured both tesa Twinlock and Softprint products. The company is focused on providing its customers with a full suite of solutions to solve their printing woes, including single-use and more sustainable alternatives. tesa hosted an on-site consultation station at its booth for prospective customers to figure out, based on their individual and specific printing needs, which plate mounting solution is best for them. tesa also had an on-site mounting station to demonstrate how tesa Twinlock and Softprint work.
Avery Dennison Label & Packaging Materials showcased new and innovative products at the show. Among the booth highlights were My Avery Dennison, an easy-to-use, one-stop portal for product and order-related needs, and AD Circular, an established network of recycling providers capable of delivering cost-neutral or close to cost-neutral solutions for liner recycling and matrix landfill diversion.
“After four years without a Labelexpo in North America we were excited to spend time with our customers and the industry,” said Jeroen Diderich, senior vice president and general manager, Avery Dennison Label & Graphic Materials North America. The booth demonstrated RFID/intelligent labeling capabilities through Avery Dennison Smartrac and atma.io. “RFID is an important innovation area for the labeling industry, and we were excited to bring our intelligent label solutions to life in the booth alongside our pressure sensitive innovations. To further demonstrate the company’s commitment to sustainability and innovation, the Avery Dennison booth focused on these four sub-themes,” Diderich said.
Fedrigoni Self-Adhesives, part of The Fedrigoni Group, a global supplier in the production of high value-added special papers for packaging, publishing and graphics, as well as premium labels and self-adhesive materials, attended Labelexpo Americas for the first time. The company featured new products and services in four areas: wine and spirits, home and personal care, food and beverage and smart labeling. Fedrigoni’s “Art of Luxury” portfolio was featured in the wine portion of the booth. Comprised primarily of FSC-approved papers, the materials are available in elegant textures, diverse colors and provide performance against wet, cold, ice bucket and humid environments.
Channeled Resources Group (CRG) debuted its newest product offering: blank, diecut pressure sensitive labels with Frost AT, an all-temperature hot melt adhesive. With a service temperature range from -65° F to 147° F and a minimum application temperature of -8° F, Frost AT is an ideal solution for extremely hot and cold label applications and application environments. Additionally, it offers excellent adhesion to polyolefin and paper substrates. Frost AT will stick quickly and reduce label peel in the most challenging label applications while also performing well at room temperature.
FLEXcon touted its wide range of products for consumer goods, pharmaceutical, and durable labeling that deliver on its message of performance-driven solutions. FLEXcon optiFLEX ecoFOCUS products maximize the recyclability of PET and HDPE containers, enabling print service providers and brands to achieve sustainability and performance to meet the demands of consumer packaging. Applications include food and beverage, personal care and cosmetics, and household chemical. V-52RE wash-off adhesive on BOPP films separates from PET flake in the reclaim process, increasing the amount of rPET available for future use, while PE films with V-127RE adhesive ensure excellent performance and recyclability of HDPE containers.
Mactac placed a premium on advancing the labeling industry. The company has spent the last two years investing in its business and its customers’ businesses in order to propel the labeling industry into a new age, the company said. Mactac acquired Duramark Products (formally Ritrama USA) in 2021 and Spinnaker Coating in 2022.
“Through strategic market growth and operational expansion, now, more than ever, Mactac has the technologies, tools and resources to help customers solve problems and grow their business,” says Kevin Clunie, vice president of sales and marketing for Mactac Performance Adhesives Group. “Our integrated North American manufacturing and distribution footprint is 40% larger than it was just a few years ago.”
Attendees saw Mactac products at various booths, including Spinnaker (a Mactac company) and other exhibitor booths. Among them were Domino, Epson, Xeikon/Flint Group, Screen and Mark Andy. Mactac also highlighted products like CHILL AT, PUREfloat and more. New and expanded product lines, such as the ReLatch Peel & Reseal portfolio, were also on display.
UPM Raflatac exhibited its latest PS labeling materials while immersing booth visitors in a multi-sensory forest experience, featuring the company’s sustainable labeling solutions. As part of UPM Raflatac’s booth, attendees saw and felt the latest innovation: The Ocean Action Label made from ocean bound plastic waste. Sustainable films on display included UPM Raflatac Forest Film, PP PCR and PET PCR materials. Plus, the company featured UPM Raflatac RAFNXT+, verified by the Carbon Trust, to help mitigate climate change, and selected products certified as CarbonNeutral. Attendees also received in-booth demonstrations of the MyRaflatac customer portal. UPM Raflatac revealed the portal’s newest capabilities during the show.
Wausau Coated Products presented its wide range of wine, beer, spirit and shelf marking products. In addition, the company promoted sustainable labeling options, including FSC-certified materials and products manufactured with up to 100% post-consumer waste and up to 90% recycled polyester (rPET) liner. On display at the company’s booth were 420 Vellum, Wood Veneers (oak, cherry and birch), Estate Label #14, recycled natural kraft from tree-free products such as sugar cane paper and cotton – all products created through low-impact manufacturing and efforts to divert waste from landfills to alternative, cleaner energy uses.
For foiling, K Laser Technology, a global supplier of holographic and metalized printing materials, showcased what it says is the industry’s only multi-application cold foil substrate, KOLDfoil ONE, and the industry’s first Cold Foil Design Lab. KOLDfoil ONE, manufactured exclusively by K Laser Technology, is the only cold foil developed to perform on three different printing applications: flexo, digital and offset, the company said. Introduced to the market in 2019, the metalized substrate is known to reduce inventory costs, increase uptime and product consistency, and improve purchasing logistics for label and packaging manufacturers. The proprietary substrate is available in the industry’s largest selection of metalized colors and holographic patterns.
For static control and web cleaning products, Meech promoted the CyClean-R and RoClean-C. An enhanced version of Meech’s original CyClean, CyClean-R comes as a single or double-sided non-contact web cleaner that utilizes positive and negative airflows to clean low-tension webs. RoClean-C is the latest contact web cleaner from Meech, delivering excellent surface cleaning results for a range of industries.
Harper Corporation of America showed its patent-pending Xtreme Channelled Application Technology (X-CAT), a solution that combats ink spitting, moiré, trail edge voids (TEV), ghosting, and ink re-solubility at high speeds. X-CAT also makes the anilox easier to clean and allows particles to pass through rather than being trapped behind the blade, reducing or eliminating scoring.
For anilox cleaning, Flexo Wash introduced the new FW 850 laser anilox cleaner. The FW 850 series cleans up to two narrow web rolls in one cycle and can be installed without water supply, drain, or safety equipment. It can handle aniloxes up to 7" in diameter, 27.6" length and weighing 110lbs. Flexo Wash also had a washroom setup and live demonstrations available, with experts ready to help customers answer all their “pressing” issues about cleaning.
Sonic Solutions touted its Ultrasonic Cleaning Systems for anilox rolls and sleeves, which are aimed at helping converters become more profitable, efficient, consistent, and productive. “Our wide range of product offerings are perfectly aligned with the market demand for cost-effective anilox roll cleaning options – from smaller rolls to our newest dual sleeve cleaning system,” said Joe Walczak, president, Sonic Solutions.
Eaglewood Technologies introduced the Sitexco Label L10 anilox cleaning system. The Sitexco Label L10 System is based on the award-winning Sitexco Laser Anilox System. The L10 System is a slimmed-down version of its leading laser system, specially designed for the narrow web printer. This is the most sustainable technology available, using no chemicals, water and generating no waste, the company stated, noting cleaning times are between five and 15 minutes. The L10 is safe for converters’ aniloxes, their employees and the environment, Eaglewood said.
Tower Products, a manufacturer of environmentally-sensitive pressroom chemistry, displayed its full line of pressroom products for the flexographic and offset industries. Tower Products featured its SmartFlex line, a series of specialty chemicals tailored to fit any flexographic and packaging pressroom, as well as offset pressroom chemistry. Tower also exhibited its innovative technology for LED/UV applications, which include cleaning products for anilox rollers and flexographic plates, as well as fountain solution and alcohol replacements.