Return to Brussels

Shorter run lengths lead to rapid growth in digital label printers


The end of September sees the next round of the European Labelexpo but what sort of
things can we expect to see there? Nessan Cleary reports.

Every two years the Labelexpo show returns to its roots at the Brussels Expo Centre, an event that has grown into the largest gathering worldwide centred around the label industry. This growth is partly down to the ongoing expansion of labelling into flexible packaging as web widths become wider. The other major trend is for shorter run lengths, which has led to a rapid growth in digital label printers.

Not surprisingly, we can expect to see several new digital devices. Xeikon has already said that it will use the show for the commercial launch ofitsCX3 digital label press. This is a toner printer based on Xeikon’s Cheetah technology and can print at up to 30 metres a minute, across a 330 mm web, with 1,200 x 3,600 dpiresolution.

Xeikon will also demonstrate two new metallic toners: MatteSilver gives a metallic finish to a print; PalladiumSilver adds a speckled silver sparkle. In addition, Xeikon will show the latest version of its VariLane 4.0 imposition software. This allows labels of different sizes and run lengths to be produced on the same web indiscreetlanes. VariLane 4.0 enables last-minute corrections to artwork and allows barcodes or sequential numbering to be included.

Konica Minolta will demonstrate its label press, the Bizhub Press C71cf, which was shown as a prototype at the London Ipex show in 2014, and is due to be officially launched in 2016. This is a dry toner machine that can run at up to 13.5 metres a minute with resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 dpi. It takes media up to 330 mm wide.

Industrial Inkjet, which uses Konica Minolta print heads, is to launchanew600dpi mono label printing system. It will take media up to 520 mm wide and can run at up to 50 metres a minute. It’s a module that’s designed to be added to an existing flexo label press to create a hybrid system. These units printfull variable images in black, white, varnish or spot colors, as well as security inks such as IR black or UV-fluorescent.

Nilpeter has said that it will launch its new DP3 label press, though this is actually a rebadged Screen L350UV label press. As such it uses a greyscale inkjet printhead with UV ink in CMYK + white. It can produce up to 50 metres a minute with a 600 dpiresolution. Naturally, Screen will also show its version.

However, Nilpeter has taken a different approach with the finishing, having developed integrated finishing to produce a complete line. For now this includes varnishing, diecutting smart waste handling and multi-roll rewinding. But Nilpeter has said that it will add other features such as hot foiling and embossing. Screen won’t be taking on the Nilpeter finishing, opting to continue to sell its own Jet Converter finishing option, which is itself built by AB Graphics.

Gallus, now owned by Heidelberg, is to show off its new hybrid digital press, the DCS340, developed in partnership with Fujifilm. It has a native resolution of 1,200 dpi and uses UV ink. It has in-line finishing to allow for varnishing and diecutting. Gallus will also show the new Screeny A-Line, a robust press that allows plates to be re-used multiple times.

LabelGidue recently acquired by Bobst will show off two new presses, the M4, which has a maximum print width of 430 mm forthe labels market, and the M6, which can print across 670 mm for the flexible packaging market. Both are highly automated and will demonstrate fast changeovers of just a minute.

Gidue will also demonstrate its Revo project, a collaboration with a number of suppliers that allows for 7-color extended color gamuts and very fast makereadies. The Revo concept will be shown on the new M6 with automatic turret un-winder and rewinder aiming for 95% press uptime.

Mark Andy will bring its latest label press, the P4 announced earlier this summer but officially launched at the show. It has a degree of automation, particularly in ink set up, that’s designed to cut running costs. It uses servo motors and has a rail system so that modules for cold foiling, laminating and so on can easily be mounted or removed as needed. It will be demonstrated with UV-LED curing.

Meanwhile, AVT has developed a new quality control engine for inkjet presses that analyzes print quality throughout a run. AVT will also showcase a solution that provides full autom- ated inspection and verification throughout the entire digital printing process, even for very short-runs.

Naturally there’s a lot more to the show than just new presses. Amongst the new consum- ables Fujifilm will show its new Flenex FW plates for narrow web flexo and the Lintec Group will launch a new label material made from recycled PET bottles. But the real value of this show is the chance to see the future trends within the label industry, which we’ll cover in more detail from the show itself.

Nessan Cleary ( be covering Labelexpo Europe alongside Ron Augustin ( and Naresh Khanna (editor@ippgroup)for Packaging South Asia.

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India has demonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us what you need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams! For advertisement , for editorial and for subscriptions

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1


Subscribe to our Newsletter

As 2023 begins and FY 23-24 unfolds, will you support us?

What lies in store for the packaging industry in India and South Asia this coming year? Inflation, disruption of supply chains or environmental regulation? Or the resumption of high rural demand, continued investment and industry consolidation? Whatever happens, Packaging South Asia will be there, providing clarity and independent technical and business information in India and South Asia and around the world. We are a compact Indian organization bringing a window of fair and rigorous technical and business information that the industry can access this year and beyond. Please support us with your advertising and subscriptions, to keep us going and growing.

Thank you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here