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Munich ICE highlights the converting action

Exhibitors at the ICE Europe show held in Munich last November were reportedly “highly satisfied” with the results, according to the show’s organiser. Felicity Murray and David Longfield toured the stands, providing a round-up of the news in our review of the exhibition

Held for the first time at the new Munich Trade Fair Centre, ICE Europe 2011 was the seventh edition of the biennial International Converting Exhibition. Show organiser Mack Brooks reported attendance figures healthily up, with 5,700 visitors from 65 countries (up 7% on the 2009 show) and 384 exhibitors from 23 countries (up 17%), across a net exhibition space of nearly 10,000m² – also an increase of 24% on the previous event.

Comments from exhibitors on the stands were very favourable, being impressed with the well-lit, airy halls and spacious aisles, as well as the ease of access directly to the venue via the Munich city underground.

We are particularly delighted to be able to report a further 7% increase in visitor numbers on top of the 27% increase we already had at the show in 2009,” said exhibition director Nicola Hamann, adding that ICE 2011 was “more international than ever”, with 44% of exhibitors and 47% of visitors coming from outside Germany. “This is an increase of 4% in international visitors compared with last time, while the traditionally high percentage of foreign exhibitors remained stable,” she said.

About 70% of the non-German visitors came from other EU countries and a further 20% from European countries outside the EU, the organiser said, and there were “considerably more” visitors from Turkey and North America. After Germany and Italy, the top 10 visitor countries were Switzerland, Austria, France, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Spain, Belgium, Turkey, Russia and Poland.

Exhibiting companies praised a high quality of trade visitors and reported “large numbers” of business contacts.

World of innovation

UK-based Atlas Converting Equipment drew large crowds with demonstrations of its next generation Titan SR9 Series dual turret slitter rewinder platform (see this issue’s Slitting and Rewinding feature).

At a launch briefing, Atlas MD Alan Johnson said: “It’s not just about the big technical changes, it’s finding ways that will make it easier for people operating the machines.” Other Atlas and Titan models will be launched for the primary film markets into 2013, and as part of its Support for Life philosophy, the company is working on a real-time machine connection to enable remote, secure 24/7 diagnosis of issues customers have with their machines.

One year into its management buyout from the Bobst Group, Johnson said Atlas plans to be a global player: “We’re in a very strong position as a business, with a very good order book going into 2012 and beyond.”

Static control and web cleaning systems manufacturer Meech International showed its new TakClean web cleaner, which removes particles as small as 0.5 micron. TakClean is Meech’s newest contact web cleaning system, developed as a direct result of requests by several of the UK-based company’s existing customers within the label and narrow web market.

Costing around £8,000, TakClean is said to be easy to install and simple for customers to maintain, and the system effectively cleans double-sided webs from 300-800mm at a speed of up to 250 m/min. A single-sided format is also available from the company. “It’s quite a straightforward technology, but incredibly effective,” explained business unit director cleaning systems, Adam Battrick. “An elastomer roll lifts contamination off the web surface and holds it until it contacts the adhesive roll.” Perforated in sections, the adhesive roll can be changed as often as required.

There is no power requirement for the running of the TakClean, added Battrick: “As the web comes through, it drives the rollers.” Static control ionization bars are also designed in: “This is important so that when the web comes out it is as static free as possible and can be transferred directly to the next stage of the process”.

Also on show was the latest Meech static control solution for converters, the 904CM monitoring unit. Used in combination with the company’s AC ionising systems, the 904CM is said to increase productivity through real-time monitoring of the performance of the emitter pins on the ionising bars, allowing users to plan cleaning and avoid unnecessary stoppages of the production line.

“Ionising bars become contaminated during normal operation, but because the rate of contamination depends on factors such as the stock and running conditions, it’s difficult to pre-schedule maintenance,” said David Rogers, Meech’s business unit director for static control.

“It’s especially difficult in installations where the bars are hard to see and the build-up of dirt on the body and emitter pins goes unnoticed until quality falls or products misbehave. The 904CM provides straightforward, reliable monitoring.”

USA press control technology company QuadTech unveiled the Autotron 2600 with ClearLogic register guidance system, which operates in conjunction with its SpectralCam camera system and Color Measurement System.

Germany fields strong home team

The focus of the third generation family managed Dienes Group was on its new Simu-Flash automatic knife positioning system, developed in order to minimize waste during exchange procedures and to make any change of slit widths faster and the procedure more secure. Intuitive touchscreen handling ensures that all knives are positioned at the same time, enabling any change of slit widths in an error-free, safe and precise way.

“The actual format change can take place in less than 15sec, regardless of the number of cutting stations – whether we are looking at two or three, or 50 or 60,” said Dienes application engineer Uli Kremer.

The technology is already on the market in the US as Quik-Set through Dienes USA, but Dienes Germany will now market Simu-Flash to all markets it currently serves. “We are the only company right now who has this kind of system,” said Kremer, adding that while Simu-Flash can be included in new machines, it is also possible to integrate it into existing machines as part of a modernisation process.

Rofin Baasel Lasertech presented its new and comprehensive range of StarPack laser solutions that offer added functionality for packaging, including easy opening and controlled atmosphere packaging. One of the company’s latest developments for flexible packaging is a CO2 laser with a shorter wavelength. Much better absorption of common polymers can be achieved by changing the industrial standard wavelength of a CO2 laser from 10.60 micron to 10.25 micron. The result is a smoother tear line at faster speed, the same applying to a perforation process.

Rofin has also developed a new 3-axis scanner, which offers a working area of up to 1,250×1,250mm² while maintaining small spot sizes. This new technology is used in the StarPack HP and combines the laser beam subsystem (scanner), with the industrial Rofin DC025 CO2 laser. This latest model is used to cut cartonboard and rigid plastics such as polystyrol or PET.

MeSys has developed a solution for a real-time and total surface online measurement and product control. Its USM-200 Array system uses non-contact ultrasonic sensors to control the total surface in real-time, making it possible to achieve 100% defect control on all material surfaces at high speed.

It is claimed this will allow to improve their coated products, reduce waste and advance their development of new high-tech products. Applications include battery separator, film coating and defect control on layers.

Novamelt was extolling the virtues of replacing solvent-based laminating adhesives with UV-curable hotmelt pressure-sensitives, as they are faster to cure, emit fewer solvent emissions and save on running costs, as they use less energy. Novamelt’s Novarad RC products are based on acrylics or thermoplastic rubber. They include adhesives for permanent adhesion as well as semi-permanent adhesion with low tack and peel values for re-positionable or removable labels.

Coatema launched the second generation of its Easycoater discontinuous coating system – a compact unit with enclosure to work with solvent-based pastes, for the production of coated and printed pieces. Available in sizes DIN A4 and A3, Easycoater was described by sales manager Christoph Dittrich as: “A completely new, all SPS operated system that makes the whole process more repeatable. “The essence is to deliver machines customised to a very high degree and on demand to be able to enlarge machines or improve their capacity.”

The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV presented a new packaging film with a barrier made of whey protein, which will mean that the use of synthetic polymers as barrier coatings on conventional packaging substrates will be avoidable.

The institute held a conference entitled “Sustainability in packaging – processes and materials”, introduced by Fraunhofer’s Professor Horst-Christian Langowski, focusing on the functions of packaging and its sustainability in the food supply chain.

Professor Langowski said that whereas the environmental debate is currently dominated by global warming and the use of fossil resources, the issue of losses in the food chain is if anything more signifi cant. He also expressed scepticism over claims being made currently on the home compostability of some packaging materials.

“Why find a technical solution for a problem that people create?” he asked. The Professor’s conclusions included: packaging with insuffi cient functionality creates the highest environmental loads due to product losses; there are no ‘good’ or ‘bad’ packaging materials, their functionality is the decisive factor; composting is not an effective way to recover value from packaging, compared to most currently applied recovery schemes; and proper packaging design and development helps us to consume the lowest possible amount of resources, with the help of highly functional materials.

ICE Europe 2013 will take place from 19-21 March 2013, again at the Munich Trade Fair Centre. In 2012, Mack Brooks Exhibitions will organise ICE Asia, from 23-25 October, in Shanghai, China; and the next ICE USA will take place from 9-11 April 2013 in Orlando, Florida.

The Titan SR9-DT was launched by Atlas Converting at the ICE show Titan SR9-DT The Meech TakClean web cleaner can be applied to double or single-sided webs Meech TakClean Dienes Simu-Flash automatic knife positioning system Dienes Simu-Flash QuadTech’s SpectralCam is said to provide far greater colour accuracy than existing 3-channel RGB-based systems QuadTechs SpectralCam Rofin’s StarPack series offers solutions for every kind of laser application in the packaging industry StarPack The second generation Coatema Easycoater Coatema Easycoater

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ICE Europe
Atlas Converting Equipment