Digital captures the Indian label converters’ imagination

Labelexpo Review Part 2

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The Esko stand in Labelexpo Europe 2019
The Esko stand in Labelexpo Europe 2019

With even Indian label press manufacturers aware that digital label presses are the future, Labelexpo in Brussels helped several Indian converters consolidate their plans for acquiring digital label presses. While a couple of digital press deals were made around the show by Indian converters, others are making plans for buying digital presses that are now also available in a variety of configurations and price-points. 

Labelexpo attendee Brighav Jain of Noida-based Monarch Labels believes the next steps, including hybrid digital presses, will require deep pockets. He says, “Margins are thin since the entry cost to the label industry is relatively low, and new entrants are often ready to work at any price. The challenge right now is how to deliver a variety of labels and value-addition options at a reasonable price. We have to learn and master efficiencies of every kind.”

Anuj Bhargava of Kumar Labels, also in Noida, is clearer still after Labelexpo. “We will not buy any more flexo label presses,” he says, adding, “We are looking at acquiring a digital label press in the next year or so, and we are evaluating several interesting and creative options in this direction.” 

Overall, the Indian label converters took part in Labelexpo to keep abreast of developments, but in the main, it is part of their technology learning and business expansion process. The technology options and new things to learn have only multiplied. Becoming, and remaining, a successful label converting business requires more than ever, ideas of differentiation of one’s business from others by the quality, and unique value addition one can deliver. Also, efficiencies need to be optimized to maintain bottom lines viable for growth. 

Avery Dennison at Labelexpo

As long as we have been aware of the pressure-sensitive label industry, Avery Dennison has, together with Tarsus, promoted the growth of the industry and pioneered new materials and concepts. However, although the biggest supplier to the Indian label market, it no longer has a monopoly. Other global suppliers such as Lintec, UPM Raflatac, and the Mumbai-based SMI, itself now a considerable exporter of labelstock, have a presence that is growing.

Some brave Indian label converters also produce excellent quality labelstocks that have met with the approval standards of major brand owners. At the AWA seminar on label liners before Labelexpo, we discovered that this is not an unusual strategy for label converters around the world.

New materials, adhesives and enabling connected innovation

At Labelexpo Europe 2019, converters saw Avery Dennison projecting several aspects of its leadership with breakthroughs in adhesive technology, sustainability, active and intelligent packaging, and a segment called imagination – dedicated to enabling innovation in label design with the use of new materials.

“Thanks to the company’s long-term commitment and investment in materials science and R&D, we look forward to introducing what we believe will be a game-changing adhesive solution to the market,” said Jeroen Diderich, vice president and general manager, Label and Graphic Materials Europe. In this area, Avery offered a range of automotive solutions for electric vehicles and light-weighting with low minimum order quantities and fast turnaround, amongst other breakthroughs.

Avery Dennison’s new cold chain adhesive can be applied at temperatures as low as -50°C, and holds fast, down to -196°C. It protects the quality of pharmaceuticals and human tissue by reducing the need for temperature excursions while reducing loss and margin for error by ensuring identifying labels stay attached.

For pharma labels with high visibility, the company showed a topcoat with UV-detectable luminescence applied to adhesives or film facestocks. For delivering easier detection on all substrates by choosing blue, red, or yellow, converters can buy luminescent top-coated films with any Avery Dennison adhesive or facestock and avoid the complexity of adding varnish on-press. This breakthrough topcoat also enables on-label brand security.

“In the future, everything we buy and use will soon have a unique digital identity and the ability to connect to the internet—and everything else,” said Jasper Zonnenberg, senior global marketing director for Intelligent Labels. The company showed that with its On-Metal tags, metals and packages containing liquids are no longer a barrier to RFID adoption, and with a compelling ROI, these can be used in segments like beauty and food.

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Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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