“46bn sq/m of labels converted every year”

The global label industry has shown slight dip in the growth rate but the per capita consumption of labels in Asia is also expected to double in next 10 years, reports the duo of Noel D’cunha and Supreeth Sudhakaran.

09 Oct 2013 | By Noel D'Cunha & Supreeth Sudhakaran

Michael Fairley, consultant director of strategic development, Labelexpo Global Series in his keynote address shared various statistical data regarding the worldwide label market. He noted that the worldwide growth for labels in 2013 will be 5%, while packaging printing will grow at a rate of over 8%. He said that growth rate for 2013 could have touched 10%, but China’s growth story has lately slowed down a bit. Fairley stated that around 46bn sq/m of labels (including all types) are converted today. This, he expects to grow to 51.7 bn sq/m by 2015.
Fairley estimates that the global sales value in 2013-14 will be worth $76.5 bn. Scandinavia, western Europe and USA lead the per capital consumption of labels (12-18 sq/m), while China is witnessing approximately one-tenth per capita consumption followed by India (0.9sq/m). The interesting bit in the statistics is that Fairley expects the per capita consumption in Asia to double over the next one decade.
Fairley dedicated a good share of his presentation to stress upon the emergence of digital inkjet label printing technology. “In 1996, there were 15 label presses in the industry, mainly Indigo and Xeikon. In 2012, there were over 2,112 digital presses available in the market. Approximately, 20% of all new presses installed in labels were digital. But the total print share is still less than 2%. In fact, the number of machine models launched for digital label and packaging has doubled from 25 models in 2010 to over 50 in 2013,” he concluded.
BST international highlights TubeScan
BST International and Nyquist system together exhibited TubeScan, the world’s first digital stroboscope for the label control, at Labelexpo Europe. TubeScan uses a modular PC system and a high quality digital image recording unit.

Thus, the system allows for convenient coarse monitoring, that reliably detects defects such as labels, grid residues and missing ink even with reflective and metallized surfaces.Additionally, on LabelExpo a new upgradable software module was introduced, which checks print and color with high accuracy. TubeScan covers working width of 330mm, 450mm, 650mm and 850mm and is available in three versions— TubeScan, TubeScan+ and TubeScan++.
Tapan Patel, managing director and co-promoter, said, “Conventional methods such as counting of repeats, detection of missing labels with photoelectric sensors or the visualisation of moving webs with strobe lights often reach limitations and are complicated to use. On the other hand, automatic print inspection systems based on line scan cameras might be oversized and too expensive for many applications. Hence, the concept of TubeScan sets a new standard with the smart combination of imaging technology and the stroboscopic principle. TubeScan provides considerably higher process reliability with the base function digital strobe because it always delivers a steady image and true colour representation – independent from the machine speed. Thus, the operator keeps full control over the entire production, even during critical phases like make-ready time or start/stop.” 
“The function of digital strobe+ is to not only accurately counting repeats, labels and missing labels in total and per lane, but to also detects matrix residues across the entire web width. This eliminates the usage of expensive and unreliable sensors and the necessity of cumbersome and time-consuming sensor adjustment. By choosing the additional option of digital strobe++, TubeSan becomes a full grown print inspection system, which is able to detect print defects and register variations below one millimetre,” he explained.
Following the acquisition of AccuWeb by BST’s American subsidiary, the BST product range is strengthen by AccuWeb’s sophisticated web guiding systems. At the show, besides the AccuWeb solutions, BST highlighted digital commander, sensors and networking solutions for the visitor’s web guiding tasks. Asked about the response during the show, he said “Labelexpo Europe has been fantastic for BST Sayona. We have had several enquiries from international as well as Indian player.”
Cosmo Films plans to enter PS label market in China
After several recent capacity expansions in their facility, Cosmo exhibited a range of its products at Labelexpo with the intension of creating a buzz in the international market. “The show was very encouraging for us. We had come looking for something and we think we have got it. We are relatively new to the business of labelstock and it was important for us to make a dent. We launched several products at the show like the direct thermal printing media,” said Tanuj Agarwal, senior vice president – international operation, sales and marketing, Cosmo Films.
“We have signed some deals already. The stands were so busy that most of us haven’t even been able to move around. The consumer psyche is that they are getting more quality conscious. The brand owners are therefore evaluating methods to work on the packaging and labelling designs,” he added.
Cosmo Films says that India might be growing but it is not very big in the label market. “China is the largest market in PS Label market in the world and comparison with them is not fair. India has just started evaluating the PS label market and it is a very small market compared to China and other regions. The wet glue label and the filmic labels are two different markets, and we do not foresee customers switching from one to another. Both markets will co-exist,” Agarwal said. The company recently ordered two lines of machines to double its production capacity. Also, the company plans to enter other Asian markets such as China in the next few months

Epson - Minimising printing interruption
Epson unveils PrecisionCore technology - Minoru Usui, Epson’s global president, while announcing the launch of the technology explained how Epson combined recent breakthrough in Piezo material and high-precision MEMS (micro-electromechanical systems) manufacturing to create the new print chip.
The SurePress L-6034VW, which was first shown at Drupa 2012 as a prototype, is available in two models – CMYK with digital varnish and high-opacity white ink (SurePress L-6034VW) and without white ink (SurePress L-6034V). The machine is designed to print short- to mid-run labels on standard film and paper label substrates between 80 and 340mm wide. The running speed of the machine is estimated to be 15m/min. The press also employs the Nozzle State Analysis technology, which is unique to Epson. The system automatically senses if a nozzle is not firing and quickly cleans and recovers it. “Printing interruption is minimal and quality is not affected – an important feature that minimises downtime, ink waste and ensures reliability and continuous printing,” said Usui.

Gallus - Print Shop Concept - The Mantra
Gallus flaunts ECS 340 update and Gallus Print Concept
A combination of digital and conventional printing methods in production environment driven by an MIS, is the mantra of Gallus Print Shop concept, which Gallus showcased along with updates to Gallus ECS 340. Also on the show were the Gallus 430 S, and a complete LED UV curing system on the Gallus EM280.
The Print Stop concept includes the new Gallus ECS 340 with updates, a near-line solution comprising Linoprint L digital printing system from Heidelberg and further on to the Gallus ECS C for die-cutting and finishing. All the order planning and processing for the three machine system is linked and controlled by a central CERM MIS workflow software, which at the moment is a closed-loop system.
“For us digital and convention is not an either or discussion. We have taken the discussion of the two methods to the next level and have balanced the argument,” said Klaus Bachstein, CEO, Gallus Group. The ECS 340 showcased was launched four years ago and has since been Gallus’ best-selling machine with nearly 200 installations worldwide, including five installed in India. At the show, Gallus also announced that it has received orders for two Gallus ECS 340 presses from Super Labels from Mumbai and one order for EM 280 from Bengaluru-based Raj Press.
HP’s new digital print capabilities for its Indigo presses
According to A Appadurai, country manager at HP, HP is offering current technologies – the Indigo WS6600 in the WS series being one of them. There are currently 15 HP webset machines, two of which are the WS6600 and the rest are WS4600. HP also demonstrated for the first time worldwide at Labelexpo, a new solution for HP Indigo 20000 and 30000 digital presses – the HP SmartScreen labels and packaging workflow Suite, Version 4, powered by Esko.
HP also teamed up with AB Graphics and Tresu for providing complete finishing solutions to its 20000 and 30000. While AB Graphic’s Digicon 3000 is designed specifically to support the HP Indigo 20000 digital press for offline converting solutions like slitting, laminating, foiling and UV coating/adhesives, the Tresu iCoat on the 3000 will enable both UV and aqueous post-print selective coating. Also on display was Kama stripping and blanking unit that contains programmable rollers to strip waste and blank printed boxes.
iSys appoints Indian distributor for its label machine
US-based iSys Label announced that it has appointed Gujarat-based Caterpillar Signs as its Indian distributor. Nishant Shah, CEO and managing director, Caterpillar Signs said, “We are glad the iSys chose us as a preferred partner. We are currently working on launching the machine with a slightly discounted price-point in India. However, the final decision on the same is pending.”
The company at its stand highlighted two products for the label printing market: Apex 1290, a standalone short to mid run digital printer, and its new desktop digital label solution, Edge 850. The company claims that the machine is suitable for all sorts of application whether it be customer water bottle labels or stickers for a special event. In addition, the company also showcased its label software Edge2Print and Apex2Print. The software is based on Harlequin RIP software package developed for iSys label printers. Apex 1290 has a print speed of up to 30fr/min and uses a single pass four colour LED (CMYK) halftone head. The machine has a minimum media width of 3in and has a maximum media width of 12.9in.

Martin Automatic’s MBS splicer and the LRD rewinder get enhancements
Martin Automatic, the North American manufacturer of automatic splicer, rewinder, and tension control systems, has given its MBS splicing and LRD rewinding machines a few modifications, which include a new touchscreen controls which makes it easier for the operator to see the functions of the machine or do some diagnostic work on the machine.
“We have the MBS, which are super reliable machine and there are hundreds of machines installed world over. We are not interested in making radical changes. People come to us because our machines are very easy to understand, uncomplicated and easy to use,” said Hope Hu, regional manager for Asia-Pacific at Martin Automatic. The LRD rewinder accommodates 800mm diameter rolls in the standard model, with larger diameter models available. The new touchscreen controls enable the operator to store and recall job information and winding parameters.
Martin has installed 17 units in India. Key installations include machines at Gopsons Paper and Webtech Packaging.
Prati’s new endeavours stirs up the label industry
“India is a key market and therefore, we changed the model names of our Saturn series to Sun, because Saturn is considered unlucky in India,” said Chiara Prati, sales director at Prati. She also informed that her company also provides entry-level solutions, which are affordable. 
“These machines have the same quality as the higher models but with reduced performance in terms of speed and accessories.  But the beauty of these models is that they are built with an open concept which enables upgrading the machine. This means as the printers become more profitable, they can add accessories at a later stage.” Prati has an installation base of over 25 machines in India and among the key customers are: Pragati Offset, Letra Graphix, Webtech Labels, ITW Bangalore, and Positive Packaging. Prati is represented by Mumbai-based Royal Coat in India.

Rotatek - Combining technology to conquer
Rotatek offers Labelexpo Europe visitors with new digital and UV flexo equipment
Spain-based Rotatek launched a new digital converting machine and an advanced modular UV-flexo machine with shaftless technology. The Rotatek digital converting machine combines semi-rotary and rotary solutions for producing pre-printed digital products for label and packaging market. “For the first time, Rotatek will provide offset printing in a digital converting  machine, one that can provide hot stamping and silkscreen formats of up to 400mm, the wides in the market,” said Bibiana Rodriguez, managing director, Rotatek.
Among the main features, the Smartflex employs a new register system developed by Bosch. These register systems can be mounted on all stations that will allow an outstanding high quality accuracy and stability for the entire print run. The system is operated with digital sensors, which allows for quick registration.” It speeds up setup times and reduces waste. This is what the market requires,” said Rodriguez.
Vinay Kaushal, director of Provin Technos, Rotatek’s new Indian representative, said, “There are two factors which are involved in matter of wastage or otherwise. One is web path. We have the smallest web path of 20 meters on this press. The web path depends on the design of the machine. The second factor is registration, which is, how fast does the machine produces the saleable print.”
Also running on the stand, was Rotatek’s most selling Brava press. “It’s a unique machine that can run semi-rotary and full rotary formats,” concluded Rodriguez. 
Rotometrics eases operation with new range of flexible dies
Rotometrics has given its product range of flexible dies a makeover at the recently held Labelexpo Europe. It has rationalised the flexible dies into four Accu-Series, categorising them as: AccuSmart, AccuPrime, AccuStar Ultrafilm and AccuStar Life. All the four series are dedicated to converters, who according to Rotometrics, “value quality, cost and service”.
One of the biggest challenges Rotometrics faced with many ranges it had in its portfolio was, when it had to put the correct specs in place. “It used to be a cause for concern,” said P Lakshminarayanan, regional sales manager in India for Rotometrics. “With the rationalisation of the series we will now have the correct order to execute and delivering the right tools will not be a problem,” Lakshiminarayanan said. 
The Accu-Series now allows a client to choose the product features that are most important to their individual applications. “The dies are now specific to certain material and is pretty easy for anyone to select it straightaway,” said Lakshminarayanan. While this may result in making possible same day turnaround on all standard layouts in some countries, it remains unchanged for India. “But there is enough savings on time and money consumed at the very initial stage of choosing the dies,” he added.
AccuSmar is designed for standard liners; AccuPrime for face and liner material; AccuStar Ultrafilm for films and liners; and the AccuStar Life for abrasive materials.
RTI Digital launches Memjet-powered Vortex 851R
RTI Digital launched Vortex 851R label printer powered by Memjet technology at Labelexpo Europe that was extensively discussed during last Drupa. The machine can printing up to 30 cm per second and priced RTI claims that it is the fastest and most affordable inkjet printer of its kind. The machine has two speed options— six-inch per seconds in 1600x1600dpi and 12inch per second in 1600x800dpi modes.
“The roll-fed digital machine offers full-colour drop on-demand single pass thermal inkjet printing through its 70,400 nozzles on the Memjet printhead. It can print full-colour on various inkjet coated materials in seconds. The machine has a configuration of CMY+2 blacks,” explained Erik Norman, president, RTI Digital.
According to Norman, the machine fits ‘perfectly’ in the price sensitive markets like in India; especially, for the industrial printing market. Norman shared that the company is currently finalising its distribution partner for India, and that the decision will be announced in next couple of months. “In fact, the distributor we are talking to expects to sell around 60 machines in the first 12 months since the announcement date,” he said.  
Tresu introduces enhanced coating kit, iCoat for HP Indigo 30000
Denmark-based Tresu Group introduced a flexo coating system specifically designed for integration into a digital sheetfed folding carton printing line, even as it showcased the iCoat 30000 coater at the HP stand at Labelexpo Europe, designed for the new HP Indigo 30000 digital press, following an agreement with HP. The iCoat 30000 coater uses industry-standard UV or water-based varnish to deliver the coating.
Demonstrating live the capabilities of the iCoat at the HP stand, Tony Krab of Tresu, said, “HP needed a kit that would enable its customers in the carton market to convert small volumes with short lead times and variable information associated with digital with the ability that will offer full and spot UV or water-based coating features, productively, in a single printing pass.” He added, “The Tresu iCoat 30000 as well as the digital sheet coater showcased at the Tresu stand does exactly that.”
The flexo coating system is powered by Tresu’s ancillary innovations, which enables automated control of ink flow. The new F10 iCon ink supply system is capable of ensuring flexo ink pressure, viscosity and temperature control in central impression (CI) flexo printing machine. Krab informed that the iCoat 30000 coater is equipped with quick changeover mechanisms for sleeves and plates that reduce setup time, allowing a large number of different jobs per shift.
UPM Raflatac speaks the language of sustainability 
At Labelexpo Europe, UPM Raflatac has reiterated its commitment to sustainability by exhibiting under the theme ‘Engineered with Raflatouch’. Among the highlights of the offering from UPM is its Label Life concept which offers printers and end-users a user-friendly tool to understand the life cycle impacts of different labelstock products and get credible information on the environmental performance of their labels.
“The Label Life tool delivers reliable and easy to understand data to guide sustainable decision-making, based on the most comprehensive lifecycle assessment (LCA) capabilities in the industry. Performed in accordance with internationally recognized ISO 14040/44 standards, UPM Raflatac’s LCA helps understand the environmental performance of labelstock products in terms of carbon, water, energy and the end-of-life impacts of liner recycling. It has been developed in cooperation with PE International and is consistent with the methodology used by major brand owners to evaluate their own environmental impacts,” explained Robert Taylor, director – environment, UPM Raflatac.
Asked if there are efforts to use bio-based raw materials to give a further thrust to its continuing claims of becoming a sustainable company, he said, “We are looking at bio-based raw materials. However, it is still in its nascent stages and would take some more time to be actualised.” He, however, added that UPM had already contemplating to replace its oil-based adhesives with wood-based ones.
UPM also introduced several new products at the show. Raflex Pro Clear is a new 50-micron MDO film targeted at the personal care labelling segment. It brings a no-label look to flexible and squeezable containers, and Raflex Pro White has high opacity as a foundation for quality decoration. According to Jussi Oksanen, vice president - film and special business, UPM Raflatac EMEA, these MDO films offer high stiffness for productive label dispensing, good conformability on contoured packaging, and lasting squeezability.

UV Graphics - Celebrating Labelexpo with an order from South Africa
UV Graphics has announced sale of two machines to a South African based customer named Price and Pack at Labelexpo Europe. The company has also confirmed that they have received several orders for its video plate mounting machine.
Surprisingly, the customer decided to buy the machine within hours of discussions with UV Graphics. “I have been trying to purchase a machine that is both easy to operate and high on deliverance. After my evaluation of the solution offered by UV Graphics, I am confident that this is the perfect technology that I have been seeking. Due to less availability of skilled labour in our region, one of the most critical factors while selecting a machine is the ease of understanding. This machine score well in these criteria. The machine would give us perfect registration,” said Danie Coetzee, managing director, Price and Pack.
UV Graphics will install the machine by October-November 2013. He also shared that the company has offered him the option of remote diagnosis of the machine in case of any issue. Price and Pack operating from Johannesburg, has three flexo machines at its unit. The company has grown 500% in the last four years. Coetzee plans to have a separate plate mounting unit.
At the show we have seen a plate mounter that takes around six minutes to mount a plate. However, this machine can mount a plate in less than two mins. “The idea has changed the concept of plate mounting. The machine is simple yet powerful,” he added.
Abhay Dutta, director, UV Graphics, “We came here with a selected number of machines to display and we were already sold out by the second day. We have received over 45 orders. The monetary turnaround is not so big, but the recognition and acceptance of the product is overwhelming. 
Vinsak makes its Labelexpo debut 
Debutant New Delhi-based Indian manufacturer and supplier of equipment for label-making, Vinsak has on display a solution, which it claims is a “unique solution to implement multi-layer security” on labels.
“There has been lots of interesting queries from India, Middle East and Africa for the inkjet 1200 machine as well as Vinsak offset press for label,” said Ranesh Bajaj, director at Creed Engineering, the company which bring solutions of Vinsak.
According to Creed, a label made with various anti-counterfeiting characteristics, forms the security of the product. The content printed using thermochromic inks provides various authentication features. “Hidden images, content printed through invisible inks can add more security features to the labels,” said Bajaj.
Creed Engineers also represents Lombardi and AB Graphics, both the company present with their products – Lombardi with its Synchroline flexo press and AB Graphics with its Digicon Series digital converting kit.
“On the Lombardi we already have the first installation in Middle-east and have a couple of confirmed orders, which should be installed by the end of this year. There is great amount of interest show by the visitors in AB Graphics’ machine, particularly, the booklet making machine. Booklet making on label machines is picking up,” said Bajaj.
The AB Graphics’ stand also has an interesting solution for Braille, which is becoming more and more mandatory for exports of labels as well as cartons. “Digicon is doing digital Braille, without the need of making plates etc. and the results are also better,” concluded Bajaj.