Last month's Labelexpo Europe was the largest ever in terms of exhibitors and visitors, and according to everybody Converting Today spoke to, it was also the best. Total attendance was 24,752 - seven per cent up on last time
There was innovation in abundance among the exhibits in Brussels – reflecting the way the narrow web industry is expanding into new areas of technology and applications. The following selection gives a flavour of what was on offer.
Avery Dennison launched Fasson lean film, a thinner gauge selfadhesive material that is said to offer time and cost savings for bulk products in the personal and home care markets. “The thinness of the facestock delivers improvement in the number of printed labels per converted reel of the labelstock,” said Avery Dennison’s senior product manager Jan ‘T Hart. Based on MDO technology, the new film is said to blend the benefits of both PE and PP films.
Avery Dennison also introduced two other films: a multipurpose solvent acrylic label adhesive for the electronic products market – Fasson S8030, and an emulsion based permanent adhesive for wine labelling – Fasson S2030.
Degraf presented two new units – the Concept 860WP for production of water based letterpress and UV flexo plates, and Concept 305DW (Digital Washer), for the production of middle sized flexo digital plates. The 860 WP is a multifunction unit, which can manage all the production phases of water letterpress and flexo UV plates. It comprises an exposure section, and an automated in-line washing/drying/post exposure section.
The 305 DW, designed for digital and analog plates up to 92 x 120cm, has two separate tanks for the solvent. One, dedicated to the pre-washer section, collects the solvent used to remove the layer of the digital plate; the other is for the washing section and is used only with the non contaminated solvent.
Labelexpo also saw the debut of an opaque white, low odour UV ink for narrow web printing from Xsys Print Solutions. Flexocure XS, an upgrade of the company’s Flexocure Ivory, is said to provide more than 70 per cent shrink. Niklas Olsson, global brand manager, Xsys Print Solutions, said: ”We have conducted tests where speeds went up to 22,500 bottles/hour, with no distortion of the sleeve, and no ink set-off or residue in the sleeve shooter mechanism. Flexocure XS has such good adhesion that it eliminates the need for primers or overprint varnishes.” Xsys also launched the CombiWhite XL, which it says provides properties such as flow-out at high speeds, and no drip-through when idle.
Zeller+Gmelin promoted four new products for printing labels and packaging. These included: Uvaflex, a series of low migration UV flexo inks for food applications; Esalux, a new generation of EB curable offset inks designed to give the lowest possible taint, odour and migration properties on packaging for food and sensitive products; Labelcure U5, a UV letterpress and offset printing ink for film label printing; and Uvaflex FW/FT, a water based flexo ink for labels and packaging of paper, thermal paper, carton and film. Its subsidiary Intercolor introduced the Interact range of special effect inks for packaging.
Nilpeter/FFEI and Sun Chemical both launched label systems featuring Xaar piezoelectric printheads. In addition, EFI showed the new Jetrion 4000 in full production on its stand. The integration of Xaar’s technology into these digital printers marks the continuation of its growing contribution to the digital label printing industry.
Nilpeter and FFEI’s Caslon digital printer for labels and narrow web packaging uses the latest Xaar 1001 printheads. Modular in design, the Caslon can be integrated into Nilpeter’s conventional flexo press lines, or function as a stand alone roll-to-roll system.
Sun Chemical’s new SolarJet UV inkjet printer for the short run, narrow web labels market, built in partnership with Imaging Technology International, is also equipped with the latest generation Xaar 760 printheads in CMYK, which achieve an apparent print quality of 900 x 900dpi.
Stefan Slembrouck, Sun’s business manager digital print solutions, said: “SolarJet offers an economically viable solution for print runs of 10,000 labels or fewer, freeing up flexo presses for the higher volume jobs. It also has the added benefit of being able to print variable data, such as text and bar codes.”
Sun has developed SolarDot pigmented UV inks specifically to deliver reliable, high quality print on a range of substrates.
EFI’s UV inkjet printer, for labels, tags, forms and tickets, uses Xaar printhead technology with greyscale capability is said to allow it to print “near photographic quality”.
EFI Jetrion also announced a partnership with Spartanics to offer “complete short run job turnaround in just minutes” for narrow web printers that combines the 4000 Series with Spartanics’ Finecut laser cutting technology.
Dr Kenneth Stack, vp and general manager of Jetrion, said the company’s new UV inkjet system is aimed at the short run market, and finds a natural complement in the tool-free digital die cutting systems made by Spartanics. “Now, different size kiss-cut labels can be created on the fly, either by using the Spartanics system in-line with the Jetrion 4000, or off-line – with jobs proceeding from artwork to finished product within minutes.”
Xaar also demonstrated the ‘industrial strength’ Xaar 1001 on its own stand. This variable drop (greyscale) printhead features Xaar’s Hybrid Side-Shooter platform and TF patented technologies, which are said to produce dynamically variable drop sizes for fine detail and readable small text, as well as smooth tones consistently in single pass applications.
HP demonstrated the power and versatility of its HP Indigo press ws4500 as “The Tower of Production” – actually printing and finishing labels for real jobs on its stand. The work was produced by Dutch label printer Eshuis who, during the first two days of the show, printed 20 jobs for its customers each day in eight hour shifts. A daily total of more than 163,000 labels were produced on three different substrates: PE white, PE clear and PP metallized stocks. The jobs were printed in two to six colours, using the six colour process, HP IndiChrome and white.
Working with the HP Indigo press were an EskoArtwork digital front end and a DigiCon diecutter from AB Graphic International.
Cyrel round continuous polymer sleeves were the latest innovation from DuPont Packaging Graphics. They are said to have the ability to make cost savings in the press room, and to be the ideal high quality endless printing forms for tag and label production, giftwrap, wallpaper and all flexible packaging applications.
The Checkrewinder is a joint development by Surfscan and Ashe Converting, based on Ashe’s Opal inspection system. Providing 100 per cent print inspection at the final stage of a print process, the Checkrewinder is claimed to detect much more intricate and complex defects at a higher rate than the human eye. Each time a defect is detected the rewinder stops, positioning the defect on the splicing table. The integrated camera system developed with Surfscan then provides an image of the fault for the operator to check, so that it can either be accepted or rejected by splicing out product, or by replacing labels.
Newfoil featured its new JEI 1225 combination press, which has a four colour cool fusion digital print engine said to produce near photographic quality images. The output of 6m/min suits it for short to medium runs on conventional labels, and for four colour variable data labels. By using optional Newfoil equipment, the product can be completely finished in-line, in one pass.
Gidue showed a “deluxe edition” of the Xpannd combined offset/flexo press including in-line hot stamping and flat embossing, in addition to cold foil. The converting equipment includes a new gearless hot stamping unit that can be equipped with standard engraved brass cylinders or magnesium plates. It is mounted on guides to ease extraction for quick job change or cleaning. The servo driven hot stamping unit, which is monitored by an intelligent camera for total automatic lateral and transversal pre-register and register control, features a motorized printing pressure system that makes web transportation independent from the converting process.
With its new Release Liner group of five European and two American plants, Mondi Packaging offers a product portfolio of paper based release liners, silicone coated films and specialities. The stand in Brussels featured release liners coated with tinted and fluoric silicones, functional backside lacquers, embossed papers and films, as well as special substrates such as coated crepe paper or non wovens.
Erhardt+Leimer presented a new lighting module. The TubeLight uses indirect light only, which is said to be perfect for lighting complex materials such as embossed wine labels or highly reflective RFID antennas. It is claimed to produce a homogeneous image suitable for dependable inspection performance.
Gallus had a spectacular start to Labelexpo Europe when Multi Labels, of the UK, placed a e1.3M order for an EM 410 S combination press on its stand on the opening day of the show. The servo and sleeve equipped press is due to be installed in January, 2008.
New from Jet Europe was the Jet Line 700 CTP, a compact letterpress plate processor that integrates all postexposure plate processing steps into a modern in-line format. Featuring a pre-rinsing station that removes the black CTP layer before the actual washing of the plate, it is compatible with plates up to 700mm width.
Stork Prints launched the table-top rotaLEX 6610 direct laser exposer, a small, low cost CTP device suitable for digital high quality RotaPlate applications in tag and label printing. It offers a simplified one-step digital workflow by eliminating the need for conventional film, ablative film, or even ablative plate processing.
In the Label Industry Global Awards, the Schreiner Group won the European Converter of the Year award, Rotoflex International took the Continuous Innovation award, and AVT bagged the accolade for New Innovation. Dow Corning scientist, Andrew Jack was honoured with the R Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement award.
Ashe Converting Equipment
External weblinksConverting Today is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.Ashe Converting Equipment Avery Dennison Degraf DuPont Packaging Graphics EFI Jetrion Erhardt+Leimer Gallus Gidue HP Indigo Jet Europe Mondi Packaging Newfoil Machines Spartanics Stork Prints Surfscan Technologies Sun Chemical Xaar Xsys Print Solutions Zeller+Gmelin