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.
Gidue 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)will be covering Labelexpo Europe alongside Ron Augustin (email@example.com) and Naresh Khanna (editor@ippgroup)for Packaging South Asia.