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Records set in Rosemont: Labelexpo Americas 2012 was charged with energy and excitement for new products and technologies.

The 2012 edition of Labelexpo Americas, which took place September 11-13, was an exuberant affair, with activities and floor traffic moving at a feverish pace. The final numbers set show records, as organizers announced that attendance was up from the 2010 edition, going from 12,761 to 14,335.


While an impressive 12% jump, the numbers only tell some of the story. By and large, attendees and exhibitors alike felt like this was an exceptional show. The event was a feast on the senses--the hum of running machinery, the ringing of bells signifying sales, and a general buzz of activity permeated through the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL, just a outside of Chicago.

Featuring numerous new product launches including presses, inks and substrates, the show boasted 400 local and international exhibitors including 94 companies which were participating for the first time. By the time the exhibition closed, the show organizers reported that 81.44% of booth space for the 2014 edition had already been booked.

As well as being a platform for demonstrating the latest working machinery, Labelexpo Americas provided visitors with a comprehensive conference program. Over 1,000 delegates attended presentations on a wide range of topics including global trends, nanographic printing, digital business models, the environment, brand protection and the future of flexo printing.

New show features included The Package Printing Workshop, where discussion focused on emerging opportunities in digital pre-press and printing in folding carton production, plastic bucket decoration and high quality tubes. The Laser Die Cutting Workshop also ran daily comparisons designed to showcase effective and affordable systems to help deal with jobs or client demands where run lengths have decreased, label variations have increased and demand for label personalization has grown.

As it is a prominent theme in the industry today, environmental awareness was championed at this year's Labelexpo. The Ecovillage showcased exhibitors who offer products and services to support a better performing, more environmentally conscious label industry. Exhibiting companies included Channeled Resources, Xeikon, UPM Raflatac, Precision AirConvey, Avery Dennison, FLEXcon, Sun Chemical and Clarifoil.

On the first day in the Ecovillage, visitors learned how Greenwood Fuels can turn their waste materials into renewable fuels. Attendees heard from Jim Check of Heartland Label, a converter who is currently supplying its waste matrix to Greenwood and also from Thilmany, a paper supplier that is using the pellets to fuel its plant. Panel members included moderator Dave Robinson from Channeled Resources Group, Greenwood's Ted Hanson, Robyn Buss from Thilmany, Check of Heartland Label and The Outlook Group's Kevin Hayes.


FLEXcon showcased at Labelexpo its new post-consumer waste (PCW) 50 lb. kraft roll form release liner, made from up to 30 percent post-consumer waste. The new PCW liner gives converters the option to provide a "greener" product to their customers, many of whom are placing a greater emphasis on using sustainable products. FLEXcon collaborated with a supplier to develop a liner that addresses the growing demand from the narrow web label market. The new liner enables the label industry to decrease its carbon footprint and the demand for forestry products, while maintaining the same level of quality and functionally equivalent performance. FLEXcon is offering the PCW liner at the same price as the liner manufactured from virgin pulp, making the move to sustainable products an easy choice for customers. "FLEXcon remains committed to supporting sustainability efforts and delivering quality alternatives for the narrow web label market," said John Bennett, vice president, Product Identification, FLEXcon. "We worked closely with a supplier to develop a PCW liner in order to offer converters an environmentally friendly solution at the same price and with the same performance level."

At Labelexpo, Spartanics announced the sale of its L-350 Laser Cutting System to Kaore-based Hana Graphic Art Company. The laser cutting sale capped off a successful Spartanics performance at the Technology Workshop, where Mike Bacon, VP of sales and marketing, preached the benefits of laser cutting with 100% savings in tooling costs, 40% reduction in job changeover time and 40% reduction in scrap materials. The L-350 combines Spartanics software control development with best-in-class system components to achieve cutting speeds up to 80 meters per minute.

Bunting Magnetics Company reported a successful showing of its products at Labelexpo. Discussing the exhibition, Printing Group Product Manager Michael Wilks said: "Our offerings of flexible dies and spiral cylinders for the digital printing market were particularly vell-received, as were our X-treme magnetic cylinders for thin liner labels. Bunting also was proud to provide showgoers a preliminary view of our new online ordering system, soon to go live." Bunting magnetic cylinders and flexible dies were operated live on the Xeikon and Converting Equipment International stands at the show.

Xeikon and Label Vision Systems (LVS) announced at Labelexpo the formation of a new global partnership. Xeikon manufactures webfed digital color presses for labels and packaging applications, as well as commercial printing. LVS provides print quality inspection systems for both off-line and in-line applications. LVS products inspect variable printed data and bar codes to guidelines established by the International Standards Organization (ISO). With the increased quality demand from brand owners and a need to optimize production processes, vision inspection systems have found a great fit not only in the pharmaceutical and security labels markets, but in the broader market as well. The LVS 7000 was used at Xeikon's Labelexpo booth to inspect the prints produced on the Xeikon 3300 digital printing press. Xeikon also introduced at Labelexpo the Xeikon Vectorizor, a new software add-on to the Xeikon X-800 digital front-end that works in tandem with laser diecutting devices. The new functionality brings the integration of Xeikon digital press technology and laser diecutting devices to the next level, creating new opportunities to further automate label production and increase productivity. "Automation and integration are key in making the most out of digital printing," said jeroen Van Bauwel, Xeikon's director of product marketing. "Now that laser diecutting is coming of age, there is a need to drive the diecutter automatically. Xeikon Vectorizor is the perfect tool for doing that."

DigiFlex Ltd., an Israel-based supplier of prepress products, was featured at the Anderson & Vreeland booth. The Flexojet1725 inkjet computer-to-plate system for flexographic, dry-offset, letterpress plates, and optionally for rotary silk screen, was shown. The Flexoictl 725 inkjet CtP jets DigiFlex bi-component ink on any flexograp hit: analog plate, creating a mask in a friendly and ecological method. Hezy Rotman, CEO of DigiFlex, commented, "We are delighted to have A&V as our partner for North America, and are certain that it will enhance our market presence."


Now that it is part of Heidelberg, CSAT America had the opportunity to exhibit its advanced Linoprint digital color production systems at Labelexpo, including Linoprint L, its modular digital printing system for label and foil printing. The company also showcased the entire converting process at its booth. "This is our North American launch of Linoprint L, and the response has been tremendous," said Ron Shepard, director of sales, CSAT America, LLC--Heidelberg. "We have gathered tremendous leads and lots of good contacts and questions. We are showing our customers how printers can combine digital and traditional flexo processes, as well as running digital and diecutting by showing the whole converting process from workflow to finishing."

Danish press manufacturer Nilpeter introduced two new printing presses and unveiled a new corporate-wide initiative that intensifies the company's focus on technological innovation and helping label and packaging converters build a competitive advantage. The initiative, known as "NEXT," signals the company's intention to add value by optimizing the packaging-label printing process and generating opportunities for expansion into new markets. As a result, the company is strengthening its commitment to research and development as a basis for enhancing the program of FA and FB flexo and MO offset converting lines with smarter workflows and a broader palette of configurations. Peter Eriksen, Nilpeter's chief operating officer, explained the rationale behind the new initiative: "Faced with the pressures of volatile raw material prices and the trend to shorter runs, label and flexible packaging converters need smarter ways of delivering without compromising quality. We see the challenge becoming greater, as brand owners look for printing partners who have the versatility to offer a broader range of decorative solutions, with the identical look and tel anywhere in the world."


UPM Raflatac's theme of "Taking the Label to the Limit" was On display at Labelexpo, informing booth visitors how the company is pushing the boundaries of how labelscock products can be used. UPM Raflatac also announced the expansion of its Direct Thermal Product Portfolio with the introduction of products provided by Kanzaki Specialty Papers. At the show, UPM Rafiatac featured an extensive lineup of new Prime, VIP and Specials products. Highlights included thin films, which offer value and performance gains; new paper-faced shelf labeling products; universal print-on-demand labelstocks; a comprehensive range of VIP films; more than 30 digital labelstocks qualified for ER jetrion Industrial UV Inkjet presses; and new Specials labelstocks For security, durables and tire applications.

RotoMetrics introduced its new Pin-Eject Solid Die, which gives converters new options to process designs with small cavities and multiple cavities on the die where spring-eject or vacuum solutions struggle. In addition, the pin-eject technology solves internal part stripping problems encountered with pressure sensitive applications. The company also featured its recently launched Accustar line of flexible dies that provide converters with the efficient capability to convert thin liner materials down to 92 and 75 gauge.

MCS Inc. designs and manufactures standalone and in-line inkjet imaging systems and inserter matching systems for the mailing industry, and showcased its Eagle systems at Labelexpo Americas. Glenn Toole, vice president of sales and marketing for MCS, said that the reaction from attendees was good, and that interest in add-on inkjet systems was strong. "Traffic is up, maybe double that of the last Labelexpo Americas," Toole said. "The market is becoming more receptive to digital for a wide range of applications, including track and trace and bar codes. A lot of customershave long runs but need sonic variable data, and we can add the capability without printers having to take the full plunge into a digital system."

Contract Converting was active at Labelexpo. Besides its own line of premium custom slitting and rewinding products for the paper, tissue, film, foil, nonwovens and other specialty markets, the company showcasedValeron Strength Films, who Contract Converting is now serving as distributor. William Schnettler, president of Converting, said that the show was very well attended, allowing the company to emphasize its quality and commitment to topflight service. "There have been lots of people visiting us, and we made some good contacts as well as met with our existing customers," Schnettler said.

Sekisui TA Industries (STA) introduced its latest breakthrough in its line of overlaminate products: Ultra Thin 1193. According to the company, this new overlaminate is a remarkably thin polypropylene product that provides superior clarity and impressive tensile strength. At a mere .06 mils, 1193 can enhance the beauty and durability of labels. Makoto (Marco) Osuga, STA's president, said he was happy with the response the company received at Labelexpo. "It's been very nice," Osuga said. "We are pretty busy. We've seen a lot of prospects, especially from Latin America, who are visiting us. Customers are particularly interested in our new Ultimate Lamination 1193, as well as our digital overlaminates and thermal transfer printable products."

Meech launched at Labelexpo its CyClean, a non-contact web cleaning system with a clam shell design that is ideal for coating, labeling and laminating applications. The CyClean technology is based on fundamental aerodynamic and fluid dynamic principles. Combined, these deliver a high cleaning level while requiring practically no maintenance. "After extensive research into the market and recognizing customers' demands, we decided to design a web cleaner for our range that was based on a brand new technology," said Adam Battrick, business unit director for Cleaning Systems. "To my knowledge, no other web-cleaning company uses four different technologies for their systems."

Polyonics exhibited its full line of halogen free, REACH & RoHS compliant label materials at this year's Labelexpo. Label materials on display included Nylon label products designed for laboratory identification of test tubes and vials. These materials are also utilized in the electrical industry for wire and cable marking applications. Also featured were 2 and 4 mil polyester label materials for "under-the-hood parts" identification. The adhesive systems on these products were engineered to adhere to low surface energy plastics and metals commonly found in the automotive industry.

Joe Walczak, president of Sonic Solutions, an anilox roll cleaning specialist, said that he saw a lot of attendees from throughout the Americas who are interested in its new products, including Ekokleen, an environmentally friendly cleaning solution. "It's been wonderful," Walczak said. "We have a new location and a new booth, and a lot more traffic. We have introduced a few new products that are generating a lot of interest, such as Ekokleen. It's been truly Labelexpo Americas, as we are seeing lots of people from Latin America and South America as well as North America."


Computer Productivity Services (CPS) representatives said that Labelexpo 2012 provided an excellent return on its investment, as it has since the company first exhibited in 1998. "Many visitors were interested in the fact that Microsoft is moving CPS Print management for Dynamics GP 2013 to the web," the company said. "They understood how the introduction of the web client for applications, Microsoft-hosted cloud deployments, enterprise level modules for an entry-level price, a pay-as-you-go pricing option in 2013 and extensions of integrations within the Microsoft Office would reduce cost and improve productivity."

Univacco presented foil collections suitable for rotary presses, flatbed machines, narrow web cold foiling systems and high-speed, sheet-fed offset presses. A collection of diverse foil finished labels gathered from worldwide label marketplaces are were also exhibited. The company's winning entry piece for the 2011 FSEA Silver Leaf Award (CF4.2 Cold Foil Security Effect Label) was also on display.

Stork Prints demonstrated its DSI UV inkjet printer, a modular printing concept for short- and medium-run digital label printing. The DSI offers modularity in three ways: in its configuration, print positions and printing widths. The unit is ideal for markets ranging from food and personal care to beverages, wine and spirits, household goods and outdoor applications. It achieves visual resolution on labels of up to 1000 dpi, as well as 3D effects that resemble screen printing. "We had a lot of visitors, and conducted a lot of demonstrations of our DSI, which is now introduced into North America," said Desiree Ordelman, communications manager, Stork Prints B.V. "DSI is being received very well, and our gravure EcoSleeves technology has also received a lot of interest. We are also honored to receive the Global Industry Label Award for continuous innovation during the show."

Avery Dennison introduced at Labelexpo the TurnLock Laminating System, a patent-pending technology that allows converters to produce protected graphics with 30 percent less material cost and 25 percent greater operational efficiencies. The new system eliminates the need for an over laminate or transfer tape. By using common print techniques and a turn bar, we have fundamentally changed how converters can print and protect durable goods graphics," said Mark Pickner, durables segment director, Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials, North America. "What previously took two rolls now only takes one roll, and offers the same protective performance expected of labels today."

KTI introduced at Labelexpo its modular converting lines that offer a solution for a wide range of converting applications. KTI's modular product line offers converting and finishing equipment that can be reconfigured or added to as the need of the work changes with the simple addition of the modules that perform the task. This allows for increased press time and productivity. The KTI MCS line compliments KTI's core product line of various butt splicing and turret rewinding products. This now allows KTI to offer a truly turnkey solution to any offline converting applications that face converters today. "Our modular capability also allows KTI to offer the client a machine that fills their needs for an efficient and Lean workflow, optimal performance and throughput and marginal waste," said KTI's Andre Beaudoin.

Spinnaker Coating announced the expansion of its slitting and distribution network with the opening of two new company-owned and operated facilities, in metro Atlanta and the greater Los Angeles area. The company also distributes its pressure sensitive products from facilities in Chicago, New York, and Troy, OH, USA. With these additions, the company says nearly 90% of existing label converting capacity in the United States will be within a one-day delivery range of a Spinnaker distribution point.

OKI Data Americas demonstrated the new OKI pro511DW digital web printer in addition to other products within the OKI proColor series of commercial grade digital color printers. The OKI proColor series serves the graphic arts and production markets with its line of products for color-critical applications, delivering professional, production-quality color output and color accuracy powered by embedded EFI Fiery and Pantone support on select models. The new pro51 1DW digital web press boasts enhanced features and functionality including a Proactive server, Harlequin RIP, and Hybrid front-end software, plus a heavy duty rewinder with a pre-assembled slitter. It produces fast, customized continuous web printing in HD Color, and is ideal for color-critical applications.


Appleton announced at Labelexpo the addition of Resiste 185-3.3 to its portfolio of label facestocks. Resiste 185-3.3 was developed specifically for retail weigh-scale label applications. Key attributes and benefits of the new thermal label facestock include darker images and barcodes when printed with retail weigh scale equipment, as well as improved scan rates.

The official launching of Miniliner technology was a real success, according to ETI Converting Equipment. Demos were made every hour, showing how the Miniliner enables converters to manufacture a PS label from raw material to the finished product on a 12 micron PET release liner using a conventional diecutting method. "Printers looking for green solutions to release liner wastage--as well as an economical solution--watched this new technology with great interest," said Yves Lafontaine, VP of marketing.


Eastman Kodak Company's Specialty Chemicals division showcased how it offers functional dyes from the visible to near infrared (NIR) range. "In labeling applications. NIR. dyes have both machine readability and covert security features--due to the lack of absorption in the visible range," said John Harder, senior chemist, Kodak Specialty Chemicals. "This unique combination has helped protect valuable documents, packaging and other authentic materials from unauthorized copying, forging, counterfeiting and other fraudulent use."

ExxonMobil Chemical introduced Label-Lyte 52LLC210 film, a new lightweight oriented polyolefin film which the company says offers excellent converting characteristics, conformability and flexibility for PS label applications. Robust and clear, the conformability and squeezability of Label-Lyte 52LLC210 film enables brand owners to enhance point-of-sale impact, encouraging consumer "pick-up." The conformability of Label-Lyte 52LLC210 film allows high quality tailored designs that reduce wrinkling and darting of the labels, even after the container is repeatedly squeezed. The film is compatible with multiple print technologies including metalized inks, hot stamp and cold foil decoration, and displays excellent clarity and gloss for an enhanced no-label look.

Tresu Group showcased its Tresu Ancillary developments in its chamber doctor blade systems for narrow and mid web applications and introduced the new Flexo Innovator press to the North American market. One of Tresu's show highlights, specifically for narrow web water- and UV-flexo presses, is the Tresu FlexiPrint Reservoir Chamber Doctor Blade System. The unit eliminates splashing, requires no ink pump and facilitates fast, effortless changeover, as it locks with ease into any position in the printing sequence. This system ensures uniform ink coverage on the anilox roll, boosting yields even when volume requirements are as low as 0.2 liters.

Ehromat introduced what it touts as the world's first digital stroboscope for label inspection: TubeScan. The company describes TubeScan as a powerful alternative to the current methods of quality control. TubeScan is the first developed product of the company Nyquist Technology GmbH & Co. KG, a joint venture between eltromat and Nyquist Systems. "With the new system, we will close the gap regarding quality control of flexible packaging and adhesive labels," said Dr. Krebs, managing director of Nyquist Technology. Features include a high image refresh rate, automatic synchronization, and high-quality image display of metalized surfaces.

Advanced Vision Technology (AVT) showcased at its booth SpectraLab, the winner of the 2012 Label Industry Global Award for New Innovation. The company was honored with the prestigious award at Tuesday evening's gala dinner and awards presentation at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago. SpectraLab is a new add-on module to the Helios II family, featuring in-line spectral measurements according to international ISO standards. It provides absolute color measurements, L*a*b*, and density readings to match with brand owner's color standards and design and to help in maintaining perfect color match all through the run. Its complete complement of quality and process control systems for the label printing and rewinding market was showcased at the AVT Labelexpo booth.


GSE Dispensing showed how its automated ink logistics systems and management software packages contribute to a waste-free, smoothly running ink workflow, under the (th)ink lean theme. GSE's Colorsat program of modular gravimetric ink dispensing units have been proven to eliminate waste and improve yields by up to 30 percent, dispensing the exact amount needed for each job to precise color requirements and calculate excess "press return" inks into new recipes. The Colorsat units are suited for preparing colors for all flexo, gravure and screen label and packaging printing situations. The units cater for water, solvent and UV-based ink sets and dispense volumes from less than 5 kg (11 lbs) to over 200kg (440 lbs).

Label Vision Systems (LVS) introduced integration partner AzTECH and the ISR Series. Booth visitors saw the LVS 7000 Print Quality Inspection System running in-line with the ISR Slitter Rewind Inspector. The new ISR Series of Slitter Rewind Inspectors is a combination of low cost, vast capability, heavy duty construction, and reliability for today's demanding and competitive printing and converting market. Designed with the ability to accommodate various ancillary equipment, the ISR Series can be modified to precise specifications, is simple to maintain and operate, and will provide years of superior productivity and low cost maintenance and operation.

Erhardt+Leimer displayed at this year's show the new ELCAM Missing Label Detection System, designed especially for the narrow web label industry. E+L's Todd Guzzardo said the system is easy to install, easy to use and robust in operation. "Thanks to this new development, label printers are able to avoid waste and to increase the quality of the label production process," said Guzzardo. "Due to the very quick job setup times, the productivity will increase significantly." The system consists of the smart vision camera ELCAM in combination with LED light sources, a small controller to handle stop signals for the production process if needed, and a touch screen panel with an intuitive graphical user interface.

K Laser USA (formerly AMAGIC Holographics), a global manufacturer of holographic products, introduced at Labelexpo its new KASTINGfilm, a holographic embossing film used to transfer transparent holographic images onto labels or packaging products. The KASTINGfilm is used in the Cast and Cure process and can be reused over eight times. KASTINGfilm is available in over 80 decorative holographic, security and custom design patterns.

Tri-Tronics introduced the X-Mark tri-color vertical and horizontal optics sensor and the Label-Eye high-speed gap sensor. The X-Mark is a high-speed, 12 microsecond sensor which the company says will select the correct color for maximum contrast and resolution. It is capable of averaging out imperfections, making sensor lineup easy and will increase edge of mark accuracy, the company added. It is designed for flexographic printing, converting and registration mark sensing for high web speeds. The Label-Eye high-speed gap sensor is a 10 microsecond Sensor. It is ideal for label rewinders, label applicator accuracy, registration mark detection and splice detection.


FFEI demonstrated the benefits of its end-to-end digital label system, Caslon, at the Nilpeter stand at Labelexpo. The FFEI Caslon digital inkjet label press boasts a new digital spot color unit that prints white ink and features the company's recently launched RealPro Digital Labeler software. This combination enables label converters and digital print houses to deliver an integrated solution for profitable short-to-medium run label printing. "Following the recent success of drupa and the launch of our new complete digital label solution, we saw Labelexpo Americas as the ideal platform to present the significant benefits of FFEI Caslon to a more targeted audience," said Andy Cook, FFEI managing director.

Esko announced full details of Automation Engine 12, a major component of the Suite 12 software for the packaging, label, sign making and display industries, which was launched at drupa 2012. Esko has completed the promised integration of its three legacy workflow applications--BackStage, Nexus and Odystar--into one single platform. The company says that customers using these servers can now upgrade to Automation Engine 12 and benefit from its robust and scalable, fully database-driven framework, while maintaining their current workflows.

Multi-Plastics exhibited at Labelexpo its 4SCP/4WCP Silver/White Cosmetic Pouch for flexible packaging applications including cosmetics, wet goods, liquid products, wipes, lotions or shampoos. The product features a strong polyester faced lamination structure. It is heat-sealable, has good moisture and oxyegn barrier properties, while offering excellent printability with a chemically treated polyester face. It can be surface-printed or used unprinted. At the Multi-Plastic's tropical-therned booth, the 4SCP/4WCP was showcased via a one-time use sunscreen application.

APR (All Printing Resources) showcased and demonstrated several new products, including a software application manufactured exclusively for the company New products include APC45, a new automatic plate cleaner that features an APR exclusive design for letterpress or flexo plates; a new anilox roll cleaner for automatic cleaning of water, solvent-based, UV and EB inks; and a tabletop narrow web and mid-range floor model plate mounters from SysTec.

Airtrim introduced at Labelexpo the All-in-One 140, a mobile waste trim removal system. The system provides versatility--the operator can locate the unit where and when it is required. It is suitable for matrix, PSA materials, film and foil or paperstock, sending the waste material to a container of choice. The unit consists of an intake for waste capture, chopper inside cabinet, blower/fan inside cabinet, silencer, full cabinet, separator, filter and bag holder.

EFI unveiled at Labelexpo the new Jetrion 4900M UV digital inkjet printing system, combining the performance of EFI's existing family of Jetrion UV digital presses with the flexibility of industrial inline web finishing. EFI also announced the 4900M-330, which features a 13" print width for increased productivity, profitability and an expanded range of applications. The Jetrion 4900M and 4900M-330 were both shown at EFI's Labelexpo booth. "We believe that the 4900Ms modular platform will position label converters to address head-on today's challenges while providing an upgradable platform for business growth as the label market continues to evolve from analog to digital," said Sean Skelly, vice president and general manager of EFI Jetrion. "The wider form factor at 13" is a direct response to customer feedback and market demand. We are very excited to be bringing both of these new offerings to Labelexpo."


Epson America's North American debut of its SurePress L-4033AW inkjet digital label press with white ink took place at Labelexpo. Shown first at drupa in May 2012, the company says the SurePress L-4033AW is designed to make high-quality, short-run label printing easier and more efficient, and gives label printers and converters the ability to print on-demand with variable data printing. The SurePress L-4033AW delivers new label printing features to North America, allowing small to medium size commercial printers and label converters to expand printing capabilities, thus making it a cost-effective and reliable system. The L-4033AW features Epson SurePress AQ seven color ink technology with white ink, offering exceptional print quality and accurate color reproduction on a wide variety of substrates without pre-coating or treatment. Michael Pruitt, SurePress product manager at Epson America, said, "There is a growing trend within the label printing industry for expanded printing capabilities on clear films and metallic substrates, as well as the ability to serialize labels, and the SurePress L-4033AW is designed to meet those customer needs."

Kocher + Beck presented at Labelexpo for the first time in North America its new UR Precision fully servo-driven unwind and rewind splicing equipment. The company says the automatic transfer unwind system ensures nonstop feeding of web materials to printing and converting machinery, which is achieved by "automatic butt splicing of the leading roll edge of the new roll to the trailing end of the running roll at full process speed." Fully wound rolls are pneumatially loaded onto a movable roll lifting cart. Floor contact and contamination of the finished rolls is eliminated; an optional web guide can be included to provide perfect edge alignment of the roll. The company adds that an operator-selectable lay-on-roller combined with a fully adjustable taper tension control provides perfect winding quality.


Mark Andy featured its latest diecutting innovation, the QCDC (Quick Change Die Cut) converting platform. QCDC is a new design in diecutting technology that promises to drive efficiency from faster die set-up and changeover to precision cut accuracy to high speed matrix stripping. Upon installation, the company says converters can immediately see productivity improvements in quantifiable job changeover and set-up times, as well as savings in material waste. Available in a single- or dual-die station configuration, the QCDC allows for dies to be quickly loaded, automatically registered with servo technology, and running full production in a fraction of the time. QCDC can easily adapt older Mark Andy dies as well as most dies from other press manufacturers. The adaption design provides rigid mounfing of narrower adapted dies, providing more consistent die quality than ever previously achieved with adapted tooling. "It has been very busy since the show doors opened," said Mary Sullivan, director, global marketing, at the Mark Andy Labelexpo booth. "We launched four new items: our QCDC diecutting station, LED curing, VLI and the SRL 4.0 short run length printer, and our demonstrations have been packed."


During Labelexpo, Involutions Inc. focused on demonstrating the benefits its web printing control systems for label printers. The company featured its CR.C2K Color Register Control, which allows label printers to print tiny register marks either along or across the web and is compatible with a wide variety of substrates, including paper and polymer. It can be used for a variety of printing processes such as offset, fiexo and hybrid. In addition, statistical register information can be used for optimizing overall press efficiency and web tension. Registration of all colors is calculated from a single image. This best represents the color register of the final delivered product, resulting in significant waste reduction during roll changes and improves overall print quality.

At Labelexpo, Omet staged the launch of the first XF1ex X6 all-in-one-pass multi-process press in 530 mm width (20"). The need to go larger with the most famous among Omet's presses was something the Italian press maker felt needed to be addressed. In fact, such a press can be highly competitive for packaging printers, above all, label converters, needing to increase their plant productivity without affecting general costs. "XF1ex X6 in 530 mm is a dream come true," said Marco Calcagni, Omet's sales and marketing director. "We have been working hard on this project for several months, from the moment we felt the necessity among customers to capitalize the high-level productivity and low wastage benefits of XFIex X6 with a larger width. XF1ex X6 is a miracle of flexibility (all-substrate press), reduced waste (the shortest web path on the market), minimized set-up times and quick job changeovers (easy change system using light glass fiber or aluminum sleeves), plus the addition Of advanced register controls (Vision 2), top-technology waste stripping and superb diecutting (Monotwin Cut); all characteristics which have deserved the press the definition of benchmark printing system. Whatever the necessity: printing of higher volumes of labels or coping with a high job turnover, XFlex X6 is the right press to have," Calcagni said.

Karlville exhibited its K3 Seaming Machine at this year's Labelexpo, which the company says is ideal for shrink converting at high speeds. The machine comes standard with an unwind unit of 800 mm maximum diameter, lay fiat forming system with available widths of 55 to 350 mm with 18 nun option, automatic solvent feeding system, proportional speed control, focused air nozzle for seam inspection, static eliminator, Siemens PLC, and Proface high analysis HMI.

Print Products, a provider of mounting tapes and other products for the narrow web flexo-graphic industry, announced at Labelexpo a major expansion of its Midwest distribution facility, an increase in personnel, and the launch of a new website and corporate identity. The company has relocated its operations center to Fenton, MO, USA, a suburb of St. Louis, and now occupies 6,600 square feet of warehouse space with adjacent offices. "Our business is growing, thanks to the health of the label industry," said Print Products President David Cloud. "The relocation and the expansion of our warehouse space guarantees that our customers will receive their orders as quickly as possible." The company trains its team members on all aspects of every product it sells, Cloud added. "That means the right product for your specific application, and immediate help with solutions when you need them most."


At Labelexpo, Flint Group took booth visitors on the Flint Group Time Machine, highlighting its developments in ink, plates arid sleeve/adapter technology. Both the Flexographic Products and Narrow Web divisions are showcasing a wide range of products. Flint Group Flexographic Products is featuring nyloflex NExT exposure technology to produce precisely defined surfaces on fiat top dots, resulting in extremely high print quality with excellent ink lay-down. The new technology utilizes high intensity UV LEDs to react instantaneously with the photopolymer plate, which eliminates oxygen inhibition without extra process steps or additional consumable items such as inert gas or film.

Dow Corning, a developer of silicone technology, introduced a range of new release coatings and PS adhesives at this year's Labelexpo Americas. The new products, which are designed to help label and tape manufacturers improve performance, increase productivity, control costs and operate more sustainably, include new Syl-Off Advantage Series coatings with flat release profiles, unique water-based solutions for coating films, and low-adhesion PSAs for protective films and tapes. According to the company, its new flat-release Syl-Off Advantage Series solventless silicone release coatings can help reduce the potential for web breaks after diecutting and during label dispensing.

AAA Press debuted the new Legacy 10 press, which features "pod" technology. According to the company, it allows converters to configure a press to print or diecut in any position in less than 30 minutes using individual print modules. All drive and wiring components are designed as plug and play. The overhead rail system allows for placement of laminating, rewinding or turnbar in any position above the press with ease and accuracy. On display was the Lightouch UV curing system, which offer tool-less cassette style lamp heads with compact UV/IR in-line drying controlled by the latest in smart technology that allows operators to fully control all UV functions directly from the color touch screen remote control. This system includes integrated automatic troubleshooting and auto fault protection for maximum uptime and excellent waste control.

PC Industries unveiled at Labelexpo the Guardian Mini, a customizable system that allows the user to select only the features that needed. It is designed to be an economical alternative to the rull-featured Guardian PQV 100% Print Quality Quality Verification system. Each system includes LED lighting, color or grayscale cameras and a Windows 7 computer. Users can expand the ability of the Guardian Mini by selecting one of four optional software modules, including 100% inspection, optical character recognition with sequential check, ANSI bar code verification, and defect roll mapping. The system has a compact camera housing, making it easy to integrate with many machines.


Prati introduced at Labelexpo its complete workflow for booklet labels production, including the VEGAplus Booklet and the Saturn Booklet. Specifically designed or the off-line production of booklet labels, the 75 m/min VEGAplus LF 330 Booklet has a web width of up to 330mm and can apply--in register--a booklet label on the base label. It is ideally suited to pharmaceutical and agro-chemical sectors as well as the Food industry where this type of label is perfect for promotional content on packaging. It runs unsupported and self-adhesive labels--standard, coupon, fiat, curved, and thick booklet--regardless of the diameter. Delivered in a modular format, it can be adapted to meet customer's requirements.

Cling vinyl is an important segment of the demanding graphics market. The "clean" aspect of a "non-adhesive" bond makes this one of the more challenging applications for a release liner. At Labelexpo, Loparex featured its Lopasil-CK Liners for adhesive-free cling vinyl applications, designed to ofder improved performance and value for both manufacturers and users of cling vinyl graphics. Lopasil-CK advantages include non-silicone surface technology, ultra smooth surface characteristics, natural affinity to non-adhesive Cling PVC chemistries and consistent bond and release characteristics.

Allen Datagraph Systems Inc. (ADSI) launched at Labelexpo its iTech CENTRA HS Digital Label System, a complete digital system built to efficiently manufacture label runs of 1,000-3,000 linear feet (305-915 linear meters) of substrate for label convertors of all sizes. The system combines the new iTech CENTRA HS Digital Labe! Printer with the iTech CENTRA HS Digital Label Finisher, introduced in 2011. It's a complete roll-to-roll system that fits the needs between tabletop label production and full-scale production--at what ADSI says is a fraction of the cost of other digital presses--all with low, ongoing operational expenses. "The iTech CENTRA HS Digital label System offers label converters the ability to manufacture labels in a complete, all-digital workflow. From roll substrate to fully finished labels, in any shape without dies, the CENTRA HS is unparreled in its capabilities," said Mark Vanover, ADSI VP, sales and marketing.

UV curing systems manufacturer GEW exhibited its new energy2cure E2C system, which the company says uses 42% less energy and permits full color, process printing at full production speed with as little power as 90 W/cm (230W/inch). The company says this system delivers dramatic savings in energy consumption and costs, and that users can expect increased efficiency and profitability per job and less substrate waste from inadequate curing or heat damage. The low energy system also gives a 42% CO2 reduction in environmental performance that resonates with legislation and supports good business practice. "We are delivering a transformation in UV curing using the latest technology available that will give our customers print run security with increased profitability," said David Lyus, marketing manager.

Electro Optic featured its line of flexible dies for thin gauge liner application, in addition to its standard three basic grades of flexible dies. The company's newly developed flexible dies for the digital printing environment addresses all essential requirements in regards to delivery time, material and price. All flexible dies from Electro Optic are manufactured of consistent quality to address the cut ability and longevity requirements of various material challenges. Electro Optic technicians also performed live demonstrations repairing damaged flexible dies with the Electro Optic Die Repair Tool.

Yazoo Mills featured its greatly expanded core stocking program. The new program includes 30 sizes of .250 wall thickness label cores. The entire program consists of 84 sizes of 3" I.D. and 6" I.D. cores for same-day shipment. Yazoo has over I,500,000 cores in inventory and ready to ship. In addition to its stock cores, Yazoo Mills exhibited its small diameter label cores. Yazoo specializes in custom made paper cores, with no minimums, and it ships orders in 48 hours or less.

At Labelexpo, Channeled Resources Group (CRG) focused on some of its slower-moving reclaimed labelstock, trying to find converters who can use the odd material. Particular focus was paid to laser, edp, direct thermal, and some non-topcoated films. Of course, as sustainability experts, CRC; also pushed its availability to help companies set up release liner recycling and matrix recycling programs. "We believe it is an important part of the value chain in sustainability of the pressure sensitive industry. Release liner recycling can be a revenue generator for the larger companies, while matrix recycling is a cost," said Cindy White, president.

Super Web Digital, making its Labelexpo debut, introduced the Super Web DCOMM 100 Label Press, powered by Memjet. This is the first in a series of digital printing systems that will be offered for a wide range of commercial and industrial applications. The DCOMM 100 Label Press is designed to provide label converting companies with on-demand production flexibility, reduced waste, less inventory, and the ability to attract new business from customers who have a large number of labelstock keeping units.

Grow Socially and interlinkONE showed some of interlinkONE's latest software enhancements and Grow Socially's services, which included: QR code tracking software, which the company says enables printers to demonstrate where in the world printed materials are being scanned; the iFlyMobi mobile website builder application; and website design and hosting from Grow Socially. "Mobile websites and landing pages are a natural extension of QR Code efforts--service providers that are looking for ways to make money on the growing mobile audience can do this easily by offering solutions that package QR Codes with the mobile website," said Jason Pinto, CMO of interlinkONE.

Flexo Label Advantage Group (FLAG), a support organization for independent label converters, made its Labelexpo debut at this year's show. FLAG's goal is to provide significant advantages for independent label converters such as bottom line buying group savings, catastrophic recovery plans, new technical resources and potential topline new label sales growth. "This was our first experience exhibiting at Labelexpo and we may just be the first buying group for label converters that ever has," said John McKay, president and CEO of FLAG.

Coinciding with the unveiling of its newly designed, more spacious Labelexpo exhibit, Color Resolutions International (CRI) introduced its new Hydro Poly ink system, which has been designed for printing on challenging substrates. CRI's new exhibit displayed dozens of samples of labeling and packaging, printed using CRI flexographic and gravure inks and coatings. Technical experts were on-hand to discuss CRI's UV and water-based formulations.

Dantex Corp USA discussed its escalated presence in North America through the acquisition of RBCOR's business. RBCOR, located in San Marcos CA, has been a leading supplier of letterpress and flexo plates to the North American market. The new entity is called DantexRBCor, and both parent companies exhibited jointly at Labelexpo. DantexRBCor will operate out of the two sales centers located in San Marcos, CA, USA and Aurora, IL, USA and it is Dantex's intention to retain the existing staff. Michelle Garza joined the new business as operations vice president and confirmed "it's business as usual."

HP showcased the new HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press for the first time in North America. HP also displayed a Digital Supermarket of labels and packaging applications produced on the HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 Digital Presses. Available now, the HP Indigo WS6600 Digital Press is touted by HP as the industry's most productive web-fed press or high-capacity labels and packaging production. With speeds or up to 131 linear feet (40 linear meters) per minute in Enhanced Productivity Mode, the company says it cam print 33% faster without sacrificing quality on a range standard and synthetic substrates at almost any run length.


Martin Automatic ran at this year's show the newest version of its MBS butt splicer, which comes standard with a package of features including ultrasonic sidelay sensors and spiral grooved rollers for unwinding and splicing many clear film structures. In addition, the MBS now features a touchscreen control system for easier operation and expanded diagnostics. The company also ran and demonstrated the versatility of the LRD rewinder. The updated LRD accommodates 800 nun diameter rolls in the standard model, with larger diameter models available. Enhancements to the in-line slitter package enable quicker set-up, fine-tuning and changeover between jobs.

Label Traxx demonstrated its new connectivity module for Xeikon digital presses. The Xeikon 3000 series uses a dedicated dry toner in a fully variable color print process. Label Traxx For Xeikon greatly reduces the human interlace for workflow management by automatically supplying job data For customers. quantities, sizes, colors, and more. In addition, Label Traxx will manage the artwork and transfer it to the digital front end. "We are taking our steps in the Xeikon digital production process with more immediate transactions, streamlining and enhancing shorter runs." said Ken Meinhardt, president of Label Traxx.

Gallus joined forces with Heidelberg to showcase at Labelexpo the job-optimized manufacture of labels in a hybrid production environment. Hybrid print production describes the various ways that conventional and digital printing can be used together. The focal point of the Gallus Print Shop concept--which used a Gallus ECS 340, Gallus ECS C and Heidelberg Linoprint L--was to show how digital and conventional printing methods can complement each other when used to print labels. The Prinect and CERM workflow solutions from Heidelberg were being used to integrate the different methods.

AB Graphic International demonstrated the Sabre Extreme laser finishing line at the Laser Die Cutting workshop in Hall F. The latest offerings from the Digicon range were also on display at both the ABG and HP booths. Products on display included inline machines, foiling and embossing lines for high-end beverage markets and a Digicon lite, the company's entry level offering. A selection of Omega equipment was displayed, including an HSR slitter rewinder with FAST scissor slitting. Several Vectra turret rewinders were also on show, including an SGTR and an ECTR. The company's German manufacturing plant was also showing of its wares with camera inspection systems and a booklet label insertion machine.

Harper Corporation of America showcased its latest in anilox technology and flexographic supporting products. Visitors to the Harper booth experienced the company's Extreme Digital Imaging (XDI) technology Using XDI, two anilox sleeves were turned into works of art. Booth visitors were shown the clarity and detail XDI produces on ceramic rolls of images. The larger sleeve had the portrait of Harper's founders Ron and Katherine Harper, as well as the next generations of Harper leaders. The second engraved sleeve had a bold totem pole-like layout and images. Both sleeves featurd Harper's exploded view images that allow the visitor to see into the microscopic world and view the engravings without the need of scope.

Germany-based diecutting tool manufacturer Wink has successfully expanded to North America during the last two years. This year's Labelexpo marked the first time the company exhibited in Chicago. The focus of Wink's presentation was on its broad range of flexible die products, including four different non-stick coatings. Additionally. Wink presented its new ProMount system which facilitates the positioning of flexible dies.

Nuova Gidue presented its new Digital Flexo 3.0. Based on the Print Tutor concept, the Digital Flexo technology was introduced in 2011, at Labelexpo in Brussels. The technology integrates flexographic presses with fully automated print pressure and lateral and cross register. Applied to the 8-color UV Gidue Combat M5 430 mm press with three diecutting units, Gidue says Digital Flexo represents the future for the label and packaging industry, as it greatly improves upon waste and production time reduction. During the 3-day exhibition, the press performed eight demonstrations per day, with a two format changeover sand a total waste of 10-15 meters.

ACOBAN, the Mexico-based flexography association, met for breakfast on Tuesday, September 11, prior to Labelexpo. Edgar Martinez Villarreal, president of ACOBAN and director of Grupo Etimex, S.A. de C.V., introduced a flexography video made especially for the Latin American Flexography market. The video can be used by both converters and flexography schools. Also discussed was a study that ACOBAN conducted on the Mexican flexo market, indicating the latest trends.

CGS unveiled its ORIS XG Inks--a new, extended-gamut eco solvent ink set, including orange and green, for the Roland VersaCAMM VS series. It also showed its new ORIS transparent film line, enabling eco solvent printing on any substrate, and RealPro Packaging Suite, an automated workflow system and 3D visualization environment for labeling and packaging print service providers. CGS also showcased Aproove, the cloud-based eCollaboration software.
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Author:Katz, Steve
Publication:Label & Narrow Web
Geographic Code:100NA
Date:Oct 1, 2012
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