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Packed with print technology

In the Packtech and Print Innovations areas of the EasyFairs Packaging Innovations exhibition, visitors found examples of the latest packaging know-how, machinery, printing solutions and converting technologies on show

As part of the EasyFairs Packaging Innovations event on 29 February and 1 March at the NEC Birmingham, UK, the Packtech and Print Innovations exhibitions promised to provide converters with an insight into the newest developments in print and packaging technologies.

Also on show was specialist software for increased automation, workflow efficiencies and innovative new product development. For example, EskoArtwork focused on the time savings, efficiency gains and creative capabilities of its software solutions. Dynamic Content Engine, Studio and WebCentre were among the solutions being demonstrated live.

Dynamic Content Engine gives independent design agencies, brand owners and premedia companies greater control over brand updates by accessing centrally stored artwork. For example, if an ingredient is altered, then this information is entered once, with all the other versions updated simultaneously.

An internet-based solution that generates content in an XML (IPC compatible) format, Dynamic Content Engine promises to deliver “unparalleled” brand and message consistency. Access is via a plug-in for Illustrator or a web portal so information or data can be easily uploaded and automatically placed on the pack.

EskoArtwork’s Studio showed visitors how any 2-D object can be transformed into a 3-D shape and rotated 360 degrees for a fully interactive view. Then Store Vizualizer, the most recent addition to the Studio suite portfolio, will place the 3D product into a virtual store environment.

“While this is great for the ‘wow factor of seeing a design on the shelf,” says the company, “its true tangible value is in the time it saves in development by allowing changes to be made in seconds, removing the need for costly mock-ups and speeding up the approval process via online sharing.”

For the everyday operational improvements there is WebCenter, a powerful web-based platform that manages pre-production approval and project life cycle. Show visitors were able to bring sample files to be processed and viewed online at a later date.

Digital printing

Hewlett Packard presented innovative label and packaging solutions produced with the latest HP Indigo digital printing technology. Showcased on the company’s stand in a ‘Digital Supermarket’, visitors to the show could see a range of consumer items such as wine bottles, health and beauty and pharmaceutical products, with labels and packaging printed by HP customers on the HP Indigo WS6600, WS4600 and WS6000 digital presses.

The WS4600, for example, offers label converters 4-colour printing at speeds up to 15m/min and up to 21m/min in the new Enhanced Productivity Mode. For 1 and 2-colour work, the press can run up to 50m/min.

Kidderminster, UK-based self-adhesive label firm Readyprint has installed the first WS4600 in the UK.

“I am convinced that within three-to- five years, those companies without a digital capability will have a struggle to retain their ability to meet customer demands,” says Syd Reading, founder and managing director of Readyprint.

Julia Cole, UK and Ireland marketing manager at HP Indigo, says: “The product examples we displayed demonstrated the dynamic relationships between leading converters and major brands, and the results enabled by cutting-edge HP Indigo technologies, efficient supply chains and affordable, profitable, cost models.

“The examples included items that had been personalised with consumers’ images and messages, uploaded via brand websites, printed with HP Indigo presses and delivered to the consumer – a powerful and effective marketing strategy made possible and affordable by HP Indigo technology.”

Xeikon Europe, another specialist supplier of digital colour printing, equipment, says it realises that in an industry where technology and innovation are the driving forces, performance is measured by one criterion only: customer satisfaction.

Filip Weymans, business development manager labels and packaging at Xeikon, says: “At Print Innovations the focus of Xeikon was on labels and packaging. One of our customers joined us in representing our company and gave his view on the evolving industrial market. “We highlighted to visitors what the benefits are of digital printing and what the impact is on their business, in the field of applications as well as profit.”

Labelling equipment

With today’s fast-paced development of the latest production lines, labelling technology specialist Pago believes it is important to always remain one step ahead.

Mike Healey, sales and service director at Pago UK and Ireland, remarks: “With a fast installation and high running efficiency, Pago can maximise your return on investment.”

The latest advances in the extensive range of Pagomat automatic labelling machines, offering “market-leading labelling accuracy in tough and continuous industrial use” were presented at the show.

The company says Pagomats have proven their reliability in demanding industrial environments, running 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As the basic models operate with just four buttons and a thumbwheel, minimal training is required and allows for installation to production in one day.

Atwell Self-Adhesive Labellers showed its “next generation” high speed linerless labelling heads. The linerless machines offer environmental benefits, which, the company says, can reduce labelling costs, increase production efficiencies and be integrated into most existing production lines.

Another exhibitor was Advanced Dynamics, which has introduced a “low cost” range of versatile labelling equipment designed to “revolutionise” bottle labelling.

Aimed at a variety of price competitive sectors, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, homewares, food and drink, these “exceptionally accurate” and robust fully automated label applicators can be bespoke or integrated into a line for a variety of container sizes, cartons and bottle shapes, whether glass or plastics.

On the move

Linear motion specialist, HepcoMotion was demonstrating its strength in “providing reliable components, subassemblies and turnkey systems for easy integration into the automated production environment”.

The UPM Conveyors exhibit was highlighting its achievement of winning a Queens Award for Enterprise: Innovation in 2007 – for its all-plastics, 90 degree radius swan neck belt conveyor. This is manufactured in FDA-approved high molecular weight polyethylene, which makes it suitable for use in food contact applications.

Abco Kovex displayed a full range of Veeboard edge and corner protection. The Veeboard range is primarily paper-based edge protection products, but also includes plastics injection-moulded strap protectors, corners and buckles. Also shown was Stratos 11.4 micron stretch film, which has the capability of stretching 300%.

There were also 50 Learnshops, which visitors to the exhibition could attend free-of-charge, plus The BIG Packaging Debate and Lions’ Lair, where exhibitors were able to pitch their latest products live to a panel of brand, retail and packaging experts.

Packtech and Print Innovations were co-located with the Contract Pack, EcoPack, and Packaging Innovations shows in the EasyFairs Packaging Innovations event .

Queen’s Award: UPM’s 90 degree radius swan neck belt conveyor UPM’s 90 degree radius conveyor Pack Leader PRO-625 labelling machine Pack Leader HepcoMotion: easy integration HepcoMotion Atwell high-speed linerless labelling Atwell labelling Xeikon 3500 digital press Xeikon 3500

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