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A lively start.

As the calendar turned, activity within the label printing industry picked up right where 2015 left off, with a whirlwind of M&A news.

Last year closed with the news that Flint Group acquired digital press manufacturer Xeikon, a move that brings together conventional and digital technologies, consumables and machinery. A new division of the company has been created, called Flint Group Digital Printing Solutions. How this division develops is something worth watching in 2016.

Speaking of M&As and "watching," wasting no time, on January 4, the first big headline of the New Year came with the announcement that Fortis Solutions Group acquired Smithfield Foods' Kansas City, MO label printing plant. This was particularly notable for the L&NW editorial staff, as we selected Fortis as a subject for our annual "Companies to Watch" feature in the October 2015 issue. Earlier in 2015, the company made news with four separate acquisitions. And it was only a few short months ago when Fortis CEO John Wynne Jr. told us, "We'll continue to seek additional acquisition opportunities in attractive markets and geographic locations." He wasn't kidding.

I like it when that happens--when we shine the spotlight on a particular converter and they do in fact prove to have been worth watching. Another company we profiled in October was Inland. And shortly after our article was published, the Wisconsin-based company was named one of the Best Workplaces in America by the PIA (Printing Industries of America).There is more on that story in the Association News section of this issue.

The year is off to a lively start and is shaping up to be one filled with activity. This is a drupa year. If you're not familiar, drupa takes place over 10 days in Germany and is the world's most comprehensive trade show for graphic and industrial printing. There are portions of the massive show floor dedicated to packaging and converting, and certain suppliers to the label industry have indicated they will use the event to launch their newest innovations.

This year is also even-numbered, which means Labelexpo returns to the US. So if Chicago is closer to home than Dusseldorf, this would be your chance to see what's new and exciting. The show comes a year after the largest Labelexpo to date, so it will be interesting to see if North American attendees and exhibitors can match the attendance and energy of their European counterparts.

I'll close with an interesting fact from Labelexpo Europe:There were more digital presses on display than flexo presses, and many of the flexo technology leaders featured some sort of digital integration within their machinery. Our industry is evolving, and it's well worth watching.

Steve Katz, Editor

skatz@rodmanmedia.com

Twitter: @LabelSteve

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Title Annotation:EDITORIAL
Author:Katz, Steve
Publication:Label & Narrow Web
Date:Jan 1, 2016
Words:456
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