ACTEGA Metal Print GmbH (AMP) has confirmed that within 2020, its revolutionary metallization technology, EcoLeaf, successfully went into beta at six print houses in Europe. Despite the pandemic, EcoLeaf provided these label specialists with a new, differentiating, and profitable service capability, allowing its customers to adapt to changing consumer behaviors. The company now readies itself for EU-based commercial EcoLeaf installations, planned to begin in mid-2021.
Jan Franz Allerkamp, chief executive officer of ACTEGA Metal Print, comments on changing consumer habits within the pandemic, “How consumer choices have changed during 2020 is really interesting. Due to restricted travel, limited duty-free purchases, and much reduced bar and restaurant trade, the sale of luxury products has significantly reduced. And as a result, tier two and tier three markets have started to boom.”
“There is a clear shift in consumer purchases made online from home, of high quality but cheaper products – often wine, spirits, and cosmetics. For some of those products, EcoLeaf is now being used by our customers to provide them with stunning metalized labels. And now that brands understand the benefits of the technology, our customers anticipate the continued use of EcoLeaf for their metalized labels beyond the pandemic.”
The basis of EcoLeaf is a silver pigment that can be overprinted, leading to a rainbow of metallic colors including gold. Integrated inline on analog presses, digital printing presses, or finishing equipment – either new or retrofitted to existing equipment – EcoLeaf consists of a printed trigger image and a metallization unit that applies only the precise and required amount of metal to the trigger image. The result of which is the eradication of foil, leading to huge sustainability and financial benefits.
Not unlike most businesses this year, ACTEGA Metal Print did have considerable challenges to overcome in 2020. These included the lack of trade shows such as drupa, which were to be crucial in its sales and marketing strategy. However, the absence of these shows did free-up resources to enable the company to further refine the EcoLeaf solution, while also enabling it to roll-out other business support functions, such as training, much earlier than planned.
Jan Franz Allerkamp comments on this time saving, “Of course, we greatly missed tradeshows as a mechanism to connect with the wider market, but we did make gains in other ways. For instance, we’ve used the time to further develop our gold solution, as well as our food compliant trigger image too. This is important as our trigger image is non-conductive and suitable for metalized microwaveable packaging, which once we have this certification, opens-up yet more opportunities for our customers.”
Intended for all its guests at drupa 2020, the company also produced a metalized label for a special Bavarian draft beer from Lake Starnberg. As the first beer label to feature EcoLeaf produced metallic decoration, it has since been used in AMP marketing activities to demonstrate the power of the technology.
Announced in May this year, the company also established a partnership with A B Graphic International (ABG). Within the agreement, ABG now manages direct sales, marketing, and customer service for EcoLeaf, starting first in the European Union and the UK. Following significant progress throughout 2020 and the lessons learnt from the early stages of its beta program, ACTEGA Metal Print continues to perfect the technology as well as put the infrastructure in place for a successful commercial roll-out.
“We are very pleased with the success of our beta program to date. With the promise of a vaccine being available in H1 next year, we are also very optimistic about the year ahead and the start of a general economic recovery. In between time, we will no doubt see further adoption of the ´next normal´ with companies finding new ways to conduct business despite the remaining challenges – we will work hard to support the market with whatever comes next. We wish everyone happy and healthy festivities over the coming weeks,” concludes Jan Franz Allerkamp.