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Brussels bonanza – part 1

This year’s Labelexpo Europe show will be the largest in the leading narrow web industry event’s 30-year history. Here we preview some of the many exhibits to be seen in the Brussels venue during 28 September-1 October. More will appear in the September issue of Converting Today.

With all six halls at the Brussels Expo sold out, Labelexpo Europe 2011 is being hailed as the largest-ever label event. There will also be two new attractions this year. The Digital Print Workshops, first introduced at last year’s Labelexpo Americas, will make their debut in Europe; and a new feature dedicated to package printing will introduce label printers to opportunities in short run flexible packaging, folding cartons, pouches and sachets. Both the workshops and the Package Printing Zone will be free to attend for visitors to the show.

Among the exhibitors, Atlantic Zeiser, in Hall 11, on stand R95, will demonstrate the versatility of drop-on-demand (DoD) inkjet technology in security and label printing on different materials. The integrated Digiline Web 300 system will highlight this versatility by using a high speed Delta 105i greyscale printer, a Gamma 70 P 4-colour inkjet printer and a Vericam camera-based verification system. The exhibit will focus on the ability to switch quickly between print jobs. Digital printing is also ideal for coding and marking at the latest possible stage in the workflow. Atlantic Zeiser systems include inkjet printing modules, UV inks and curing units, and product verification. Demonstrations will illustrate how to print from roll to roll using the Delta 105i greyscale printer in the Digiline Web 300 system. The integrated Vericam checks the quality of printed data in real-time, guaranteeing zero-defects in the end product. Another application will individually print, mark and code from the roll industrial labels from partner company 3M, using the Delta 105i printing module. Another application involves 4-colour digital printing: a Gamma 70 P full-colour print module installed in the Digiline Web 300 will print industrial labels for another 3M self-adhesive high-performance film. Live demonstrations will highlight the versatility of 3M’s new label films specially developed for digital UV inkjet printing.

On stand U75 in Hall 12, Collano will focus on new adhesive products for transparent film labels and tapes, a printable pressure-sensitive (PS) adhesive, the latest generation of deep-freeze adhesives, and a speciality adhesive made from renewable sources. The new T2 1465 hotmelt PS adhesive, 70% of which is made from renewable raw materials, has a service temperature of 0-55°C and offers a wide range of adhesive properties for label, tape and other applications. The latest UV N4 printable PS adhesives can be applied in virtually any form and to any substrate by flexo and screen printing, then cured with UV-LED light. This saves on energy and prevents ozone formation while affording a way of printing heat-sensitive substrates. For low temperature adhesion, Collano L3 927 adheres at temperatures as low as -20°C, even to critical packaging materials, such as cartonboard and unprimed base papers.

Visitors to Fujifilm’s stand (Hall 7, N25) can view its new B2 direct laser engraving (DLE) flexo computer to plate (CTP) system, in addition to the latest developments in UVivid UV narrow web inks and low migration coatings. The new DLE flexo plate and multi-channel CTP platesetter combination is claimed to achieve extremely high quality image reproduction. Compared to common Laser Ablation Mask (LAM) systems, it promises a quick and eco-friendly way of making flexo plates. The multiple processing steps required with current LAM technologies are eliminated, creating a more streamlined process and allowing companies to make better use of their resources. A highly-cured plate, manufactured using polymerisation reaction, combined with a digitally controlled engraving process, means the resultant dot profile is very accurate, resulting in ‘extremely sharp image reproduction and superb fine detail’. The DLE system is said to be eco-friendly, as it removes the need for the multiple pieces of equipment associated with the current LAM process and is completely 100% free of VOCs. Developments in the UVivid UV ink range include Flexo Supernova White, an ‘ultra-opaque’ flexo printable ink that can replace rotary screen white ink, and allows fine text and opaque solids to be combined on the same plate.

Edale (Hall 7, stand 7M60) will offer two brand new products – the FL-350, a ’highly versatile’ label, film and ticket printing flexo press, and the latest generation gearless, flexo printhead aimed at the mid-web packaging printer. There will be live demonstrations of the FL-350, which utilises the latest servo technology to achieve high print quality while ‘drastically reducing’ job change times and set-up wastage. It also employs Edale’s Pit Stop Colour Change system, enabling operators to complete a full colour change in less than 1.5min per station. The FL-350 has a 350mm web width, substrate capacity from 30-450 micron and a top speed of 200m/min.

Innovative glue application systems and the new X dot Braille printhead dominate the Baumer hhs exhibit on stand 1U80 in Hall 12. Unusual solutions to a wide range of production requirements are said to offer label printers ‘remarkable differentiation potentials’ through modern methods of glue application. Highlight of the company’s exhibit will be solutions for booklet production and ’significant increases in performance’ in partial and intermittent glue application. Making its debut is the compact and ‘extremely reliable’ Xdot Braille printer, whose target market is digital label production and all products that cannot be covered by traditional embossing methods. Multi-layer labels for the pharmaceutical industry can be printed with Braille in excellent quality. OEM partners will demonstrate the printhead on their stands.

Exhibiting on stand K22 in Hall 7, Hip-Mitsu will promote its web coating and laminating equipment for hotmelt adhesives, offering users reduced production costs and ’full independence from major labelstock producers in terms both of purchase volumes as well price increases’. The modular systems can provide for both continuous and intermittent applications from 0.3-6,000mm coating width, at all speeds and adhesive coating weights. The equipment can be used off-line or installed in line with a printing press.

HP Indigo’s (stand F65/G65, Hall 9) ’Digital Supermarket’ will feature hundreds of consumer items with labels and packaging printed on customers’ WS6000 and ws4500s digital presses. Products on show include items that have been personalised with consumers’ images and messages, uploaded via brand websites, and printed on HP Indigo presses. Many presses will be operating on the stand and in the adjacent Digital Print Workshop. Visitors will have the opportunity to see labels, flexible packaging, shrink sleeves and folding cartons printed and finished with end-to-end systems from HP partners such as EskoArtwork and AB Graphic International.

K2 Flexo will show a high specification, 440mm wide FastAction flexo press for label and film production on stand Q55, Hall 11. It will feature full UV curing and infra-red drying at each print station and include chill drums to permit a wide range of thermo-sensitive films to be processed. A fully automatic register control and servo assisted drive system ensure accurate print registration even on very fine extensible films.

Label Traxx is to launch Version 6.1 of its print business management software for narrow web flexo label printers and converters. Now in beta testing and scheduled for full release following the show, Label Traxx Version 6.1 includes: Expanded JDF integration and communication with digital partners HP Indigo and EskoArtwork. An entirely new E-Traxx module provides a web portal through which brand owners can access and manage their label orders and quotations online. A new report writer offers expanded capability and a simple user interface. Label Traxx will also demonstrate a new Visual Scheduling module to be released in a subsequent version update.

Meech International will highlight its web cleaning and static control systems on stand G120 in Hall 6. Making its debut is an enhanced version of the Tornado contact cleaning system. Aimed at label, digital and carton printers, it is offered in two versions featuring compact extraction or vacuum fan extraction respectively. The F4 is capable of single-sided cleaning of webs up to 1,650mm wide and double-sided up to 750mm. The F5 will clean single and double-sided webs up to 3,900mm. The ShearClean non-contact system is suitable for narrow web label printing, as well as converting, food packaging and pharmaceutical applications where contact cleaning systems are not feasible. Also ‘highly effective’ in coating applications, it is available in reel widths up to 2.1m and web speeds of 450m/min.

Prati (stand C60 in Hall 5) will show eight finishing machines for the pharmaceutical and booklet market: four slitter rewinder inspection models, and two Vegaplus converting platforms. In addition, three Saturn slitter rewinders, equipped with digital inspection cameras, will be demonstrated on the stands of camera manufacturers AVT, Nikka and BST. Prati will also highlight its sustainable solutions, such as the Saturn Linerless, producing zero liner waste.

Following the recent introduction of the its wider 3500 digital label press, Xeikon, is completing this system with a wider converting line. With the new DCoat500, the company offers complete self-adhesive label production, from prepress to finishing on a 500mm web width. It can be placed in-line or off-line and provides the finishing touch by applying a UV varnish or lamination. It also incorporates a diecut station able to operate full rotary or semi rotary – cost-effective for short to medium runs – and slitting and rewinding features. Xeikon will be found in three separate locations around the show: the 3500 press with in-line DCoat500 on stand 45 in Hall 9; the 3300 with in-line DCoat330 at the Digital Print Workshops (Hall 9); and, with its partner MOSS, Xeikon will show on its stand the Digitube applicator for decorating flexible seamless tubes and aluminum closures.

Meech to debut enhanced Tornado contact cleaning system. Meech Hip-Mitsu hotmelt adhesive lines offer ’full independence from major labelstock producers’. Hip-Mitsu Labelexpo Europe 2011 Complete self-adhesive label production from Xeikon.

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Labelexpo Europe 2011
Atlantic Zeiser
Baumer hhs
K2 Flexo
Label Traxx