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Largest-ever label show – part 1

Labelexpo Europe 2013 - being staged at the Brussels Expo from 24-27 September – is set to be the largest in the event’s 33-year history. Here is the first course of our two-part appetiser for the show; more will follow in the September issue

While 2011’s show floor was 29,670m², this year’s Labelexpo has grown to occupy seven halls at the Brussels Expo and is on course to cover 31,500m², with many major exhibitors increasing their presence at the narrow web industry’s leading event.

On stand 12U75, Swiss adhesives specialist Collano will be presenting a novel curing solution for UV-curable pressure sensitive hotmelt adhesives, which was launched this spring. The company collaborated with UV lamp supplier Heraeus to develop a system that, it is claimed, can yield 85% energy savings over conventional UV curing methods. The service life of the Soluva UVC-Hotmelt Modules is said to be exceptionally long at 10,000 hours, saving on costly maintenance and replacements. The eco-friendly, UV-curable pressure sensitive hotmelt adhesives are solvent-free, adhere to a wide range of substrates and are suitable for self-adhesive coatings, even on heat sensitive labelstock.

Another innovation is aimed at the problem of self-adhesive film labels coated with rubber-based, pressure-sensitive hotmelt adhesives losing their shape over time and the edges possibly start to lift from the substrate. Collano has developed a rubber-based, pressure sensitive hotmelt adhesive that possesses high initial tack and final adhesion, allows simple application of the film labels, and ensures reliable adhesion to the bonded surface.

On stand 6J130,Delta Industrial Services will feature a custom converting solution to die cut and laminate "challenging materials". Delta will run a challenging polyurethane film on its Mod-Tech custom converter. The system will feature a variety of processes including multiple rotary diecuts, tight registration and lamination capabilities. Other Delta systems may include additional capabilities such as semi-rotary, full rotary and laser cutting.

The US-based company offers manufacturing solutions for a variety of complex medical, pharmaceutical, label, security, RFID, packaging and cosmetic products. The Mod-Tech system is custom designed and engineered to meet specific application requirements.

The Elcam pattern guiding system, to be shown by Erhardt+Leimer (stand 11S65) allows the operator to control the position of labels during the slitting process. In many label applications it is essential that the position of the print is exactly referenced to the slit position, to avoid problems on applying the label to the final product in a later stage. The system can also simultaneously measure and control the position of the printed image in relation to the die.

The camera-based MMLD matrix and missing label detection system replaces the conventional arrays of ultrasonic or optical sensors and "makes their complex, time-consuming setup superfluous – now a quick teach-in process is all that is required". The camera then reliably detects any missing label or unremoved matrix. During the RTE process, inspection results are edited in real-time on the printing. Individual defects and areas of waste are defined depending on whether they are relevant or not. The total quantity and "good" counters are continuously updated, reducing over-production to a minimum, it is claimed.

Another new solution presented by E+L is a camera-based system that detects defects in the transparent coat of varnish applied to labels after printing.

Esko is launching Full HD Flexo for Labels on stand 5B25, as well as presenting the latest prepress and workflow solutions and applications within its Suite 12. Full HD Flexo for Labels features adapted screening and standard operating procedures for the label and tag industry, and "delivers very high quality with impactful solids, smoother highlights and expanded colour gamut". Enhanced print stability and a reduction of gear marks when using gear-driven presses are also promised.

In Suite 12.1, users can define areas on a job for inline visual inspection systems. This significantly reduces overall press setup time as the inline inspection system receives its setup data directly from the Esko Automation Engine using JDF. With the inspection area defined upstream and not by the press operator, it becomes easier to standardise the production process across multiple sites, presses and operators.

Esko’s presence on its own stand and those of partners will cover all areas of label and tag creation: from design and workflow automation to flexo platemaking, digital printing, and finishing. Esko partners at the show include Dantex, Domino, DuPont, Durst, Epson, HP, and Stork. Its integration capabilities will also play a key role in the Labelexpo Technology workshop, themed this year around inkjet and labels.

The FINAT stand, 11P40, will welcome the European network of the national label associations (now represented by a National Association Board) and the L9, the global association that brings together the leading regional associations for the self-adhesive label and narrow web converting industry. Visitors will get in-depth information and advice on a variety of topics, including environmental issues, testing methods, liner recycling, as well as education and training. The winners of the 2013 FINAT Label Competition will also be exhibited.

Hall 5’s ‘Patio’ area will feature HP’s new SmartStream labels and packaging print server, version 4.0, powered by Esko – a solution for simplified colour management and automated job preparation. Available as an upgrade for all HP Indigo WS6000 and WS4000 series Digital Presses, it will automate common procedures that are time consuming – providing quick and accurate colour management with fewer manual workflow steps required.

For added flexibility in file preparation, there are also new imposition and variable data tools, including dynamic marks. HP says the transformation of existing workflows and procedures will allow for time savings of up to 70% throughout the entire colour management process and enable an average of 25% more jobs per shift.

To help HP Indigo users expand their range of applications, the company is working with AB Graphic on new end-to-end solutions for label converting on a wide web. AB’s Digicon 3000, designed specifically to support the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press, will be integrated in-line with the press, allowing one pass for optimised production of labels and flexible packaging.

Rako-Group and US-based Innovative Label Solutions (ILS) will install the HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press by the end of the year. Both companies are already using HP Indigo presses to produce labels and flexible packaging.

On stand 6J30, ITW Foils is presenting its "revolutionary" EcoCast inline decorative process. Rich, high gloss holographic effects can be applied directly to printed sheets on press by means of a reusable holographic film and a UV varnish, which is dried by UV light. Unlike other holographic options, this process creates an illusion, with no actual transfer of substance. UV casted boards and papers contain no film, so they are recyclable and compostable, assuming all other products and processes used are sustainable as well. The production process itself also does not emit VOCs, says ITW.

Because there is no actual transfer of a foil or material onto the substrate, the film can be reused several times before it needs replacing. Similar to hotfoils, UV Casting films are available in a variety of diffraction patterns and can be customised with a proprietary design for brand identity and security applications.

Exhibiting for theb first time at Labelexpo Europe, German speciality paper manufacturer Mitsubishi HiTec Paper (stand 6F25) will be presenting tailor-made paper solutions for a wide variety of applications, such as identification labels, price labels, logistics labels, security labels and decorative labels. The product range covers coated label papers for offset, flexo and digital printing technologies – even hybrid printing. ISEGA releases, FSC certification, OEM and ink recommendations are available.

The company will display its HP Indigo printable Thermoscript I 70 thermal paper, Jetscript inkjet face papers with a glossy, semi-glossy or matt finish, and traditional Supercote cast coated label papers for wet-glue and self-adhesive labelling.

UK-based Pulse Roll Label Products (stand 7L117) will feature new UV flexo ink ranges, UV curable varnishes for wine labels, and screen varnishes for high build, tactile or braille applications. Of two new ranges of UV inks for label printing on narrow web presses, one has been developed to give optimum adhesion on a wide range of impervious substrates, rationalising the use for just one ink. The other is an ultra-high strength series developed to meet the demands of today’s high speed presses using HD plates with very fine screen aniloxes.

Pulse will also launch a UV flexo bright silver ink to allow for more cost-effective printing of small areas normally foiled. New screen varnishes being presented at Labelexpo have been formulated to optimise the adhesion properties for improved abrasion resistance. They can be used on a wide range of label and packaging substrates, such as antique wine label papers and synthetic substrates, printed flexo or rotary screen. UV rotary screen varnishes have also been developed specifically for braille fonts.

As a part of the HP SmartStream Solution Partner programme, C3 (stand 6F150) has realised a key integration project with the JDF/JMF automation between its ERP/MIS software, HP’s Indigo Digital Front End (DFE) and HP’s SmartStream Labels and Packaging Print Server, powered by Esko. This enables the fully automatic transfer of jobs for labels and packaging from C3 to the DFE, where they are ready for printing. This eliminates the need for the manual processing of the print jobs, since all relevant production parameters are defined and stored in C3, the company states. C3 is also launching a more intuitive user interface for the C3 estimating module, enabling a better overview and optimised user control. The improved clarity is seen in detailed menus which can be folded into and out of the screen, and an easy visibility of changes via colour marking. The user interface can be adapted to individual requirements and remains update-secure.

The new LED2000 Series strobe light family, combining the operational and environmental benefits of LEDs with the power of xenon-based strobes, will be presented by Unilux (stand 5D95). These lights are said to deliver increased inspection capabilities enabled by control of flash rate and flash duration; softer light for highly reflective surfaces; and a smaller size for more flexible mounting options. Light is more evenly distributed across the entire web, achieved by new lens designs, and greater operating efficiencyis said to include only 25-35% of the power consumption of traditional strobe lights, and longer lamp life for lower maintenance costs.

Unilux’s new LED stroboscopic surface inspection lights complement its established xenon lights to provide an inspection solution for any application. They come in six models covering widths from 250mm to 2.5m. The ability to control the lights’ output is one of the major innovations in strobe light technology. Flash duration can be as short as 2msec, and the light can be mounted close to the web to see the fine details.

The new LED strobes are said to be well suited to high speed inspection on slitter rewinders.They can last up to eight years, eliminating the need to change lamps and associated maintenance costs, says Unilux.

Labelexpo Europe 2013 will see Xeikon’s strongest-ever label trade show presence, demonstrating its hardware and software solutions on stand 9H45. The new See The Proof programme will give label converters worldwide a "low threshold way" of testing and evaluating the quality of digital printing of their own label projects. Participants will have the opportunity to upload their own label files onto a dedicated website ( Labels will be printed on five different substrates – including a PE using Xeikon’s new ICE toner – and can be retrieved at the stand during the show.

ICE is said to be the first dry toner capable of printing on PE, a label substrate that is particularly important in the health & beauty segment, where brand-owners seek not only exceptional shelf appeal, but durability through the life of the product as it is handled by the consumer.

Xeikon will also feature its 3300 and 3500 digital label presses. The 3300 model, built around the commonly used 330mm web width, will be running with an inline converting unit including a laser from GM. The 3500 allows the use of material up to 516mm wide, and will be running in a roll to roll configuration.

Brussels Expo
1 Place de Belgique
Brussels, Belgium

Tue 24 Sep, 10:00am – 5:00pm
Wed 25 Sep, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Thu 26 Sep, 10:00am – 6:00pm
Fri 27 Sep, 10:00am – 4:00pm