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Resounding success for first Labelexpo Southeast Asia

The launch edition of Labelexpo Southeast Asia exceeded all expectations, with 7,934 attendees from 62 countries flocking to BITEC in Bangkok, Thailand for the three-day show. Exhibitor rebookings for the next edition in 2020 stood at 42 percent at the end of the show – the highest following a Labelexpo event launch to date.

The event attracted strong delegations from Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam and Australasia. Supported by the Thai Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) under the Minister of Industry, and the Thailand Screen Print and Graphic Imaging Association (TSGA), Labelexpo Southeast Asia 2018 covered over 4,100sqm and hosted stands from 174 of the global industry’s principal manufacturers and suppliers. These included Bobst, Epson, Flint Group, GEW, HP Indigo, Konica Minolta, Lintec, Mark Andy, Nilpeter, Omet, UPM Raflatac, Xeikon, Yupo Corporation and Zhejiang Weigang Machinery. Almost a quarter were exhibiting at a Labelexpo for the first time, including Berli Jucker, Flying Man Assembly Automation, IGS Asia-Pacific, Navitas Vision Solution, Ojitac, PMC Label Materials, Press Systems, Techno Global Graphics and Tsukatani Hamono Manufacturing.

Jade Grace, project director for the show, said: ‘We are absolutely delighted with the success of our very first Labelexpo Southeast Asia, which, as our most successful show launch to date, has exceeded all expectations. Visitor feedback has been excellent, with major sales deals being closed on-site. Thailand proved to be the perfect location, in a region that is emerging as one of the world’s fastest-growing manufacturing hubs and consumer markets, and we are grateful for the Thai Government’s unwavering support in getting Labelexpo Southeast Asia off the ground.’

Conventional presses
The event was well-supported by the leading players of the international narrow web press community, and those who brought presses to their stands saw packed booths during demonstrations.

Bobst showed an entry-level M1 press, shaft-driven but with significant automation features including laser pre-register and inbuilt connectivity to MIS, allowing remote monitoring and reporting. Bobst’s Matteo Cardinotti said: ‘Our expectations have been reached. We have seen many customers from the area but also from India and Australia. Southeast Asia is a market which we believe will become more and more important.’ 

The company’s Maurizio Trecate added: ‘The show was fantastic for the number and quality of visitors across the board in terms of profiles and nationalities. In addition to deals closed at the show, we recorded a huge number of leads.’ 

The big news from Brotech MD Raymon Lee was a joint project to build the converting end of the latest Konica Minolta AccurioLabel 190 label toner-based press, which replaces the bizhub Press C71cf with converting unit built by Miyakoshi. Brotech had a successful show across its full range of label converting systems.

Edale did not have a press at the show, but was promoting its flexo carton capabilities using in-line flatbed die-cutting as well as labels and unsupported film. 

Brazilian flexo press manufacturer Etirama exhibited at an event in the region for the first time, as it looks to set up a local distributor network. The company has a large installation base in India, and international sales manager Francisco Andrade believes Etirama’s success in that market can be replicated in Southeast Asia.

Gallus was present through its local agent IGS Asia-Pacific.

Eric Blankenstein, sales director Nilpeter Asia-Pacific, said: ‘The first day was extremely busy for us and we had a lot of attention for the new FA-line.’ Blankenstein described Thailand as an important hub for Nilpeter. ‘We have our technology center here and it’s a great market to further expand for us into Southeast Asia.’ Nilpeter set up a new office in Indonesia last year and is looking at Vietnam next.

‘We decided to go all the way at this show with our latest FA-line – it shows we take the Asia market very seriously. This was brought out here from Denmark and is in addition to the press at our demo center here in Bangkok. We have a variety of partners here so we cover pre-press, post-press and waste management and we are set up to show a total solution – to act as a consultant and to educate the customers.’ 

Jakob Landberg, Nilpeter’s sales and marketing director, reported that a Bangkok-based converter had ordered an 8-color FA-line press with 17in web width on the show floor. ‘Thailand is one of the five fastest-growing label markets in the world,’ he said.

Omet reported an excellent show. ASEAN manager Dario Urbinati said: ‘We are very glad to be part of this show and we saw an amazing amount of customers. Thailand is one of the hot spots in the labels and packaging industry in Southeast Asia. The wider ASEAN region has one billion consumers with a double digit growth rate in labels and packaging, so it is a significant part of our business strategy.’ Omet brought its entry-level iFlex press to the show, configured with 10 colors and a 370mm (14in) web width.

‘We were impressed with the result of the first Labelexpo Southeast Asia,’ said John Huang, director of Orthotec. ‘We had many visitors from ASEAN countries and there was particular interest in the CFT3330 semi-rotary offset press due to its more steady registration and inking.’

Zhejiang Weigang brought its ZJR-330 flexo press, which features Rexroth-Bosch servo drive for tension control, 330mm printing width and a high speed of 180m/min. The press features 23 servo motors in eight color units and three die-cutting stations. The company has installed 60 of the machines in its native China, and sees the Southeast Asia market shifting towards flexo technology.

Spring Xu, international sales manager, said: ‘We already have many letterpress and offset machines installed in Southeast Asia. As in China, there are lots of short-run jobs in the Southeast Asia market, and local converters have traditionally used letterpress and offset machines to target this work. But we see a trend in companies moving into flexo technology.’ The company has customers in the Philippines and Bangladesh for its ZJR-330 flexo press.

Zhongte showcased its ZTJ-330 intermittent letterpress and Super-320 intermittent offset machines, both of which were installed at Thailand-based converters following the show. ‘We see great demand for letterpress and offset technology in this market,’ said Shirley Zhou, international sales manager. ‘We received good quality visitors from Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. Labelexpo Southeast Asia is a good platform to build our brand in the region.’

Digital
Dilli sold Neo Picasso digital press to a Thai converter, according to the company’s Joong-Rai Cho. This will the third such machine to be installed in Thailand. The press, with a web width of 350mm, can print CMYK+W. It features a cooling lamp from GEW and can has a full variable data printing unit. The press runs at 50m/min and prints at 1200 dpi.

Harn Engineering showed samples printed on a Domino N610i digital UV inkjet label press. Harn Engineering also promoted the Domino K600i White digital print module inkjet system, targeted primarily at printers looking for a digital alternative to screen printing.

Epson Thailand used the show for the regional launch of its SurePress L-4533AW digital label press. The press is the successor to the L-4033, which was successful in the region. It maintains the same configuration of 7-color aqueous inkjet heads set on an x-y scanning frame and uses a dual-stage drying process for optimum ink adhesion to label substrates.

The press now incorporates a range of automated printing features, including up to eight hours of unattended printing, email alerts and minimal manual cleaning.

Graphtec showed digital label printing machines Labelrobo LCX1000 and LCX603 alongside auto sheet feeder F-Mark. LCX1000 comes with the DLP1000 digital label finisher with functions of laminating, free-shape cutting, matrix removing, slitting and rewinding. LCX603 delivers high-durability 3-color printing, laminating, contour cutting, matrix removing, and slitting. F-Mark is an automatic sheet feeder for the Graphtec cutting plotter CE6000 Plus.

HP Indigo sold two presses during the show. Thai printer Salee opted for an HP Indigo WS6800 – its second from the digital press manufacturer; fellow local converter Githay bought a WS6900, moving the flexo house into digital print for the first time.

HP Indigo’s Melvin Lew said: ‘We mainly saw visitors from Thailand but it was a good show for us. We exhibited 13 real products at the booth, some of which we purchased from the market to display on the show floor to indicate the possibilities with digital label printing and HP Indigo. Products with labels printed on HP Indigo press were brought in from Thailand, Singapore, Philippines and Indonesia.’ HP Indigo also created a dark room experience where it displayed labels with mainly fluorescent colors that shine in the dark.

‘The region is growing well with Thailand being a huge market, and we see growth potential in Indonesia,’ continued Lew. The company has several demonstration centers in Southeast Asia, including two each in Thailand and Indonesia, three in the Philippines, and one each in Singapore and Malaysia. 

Konica Minolta showed its AccurioLabel 190 digital label printing press, which offers 1200 dpi image quality at a printing speed of 13.5m/min, and FDA standard toner.

Mark Andy was showing its entry-level Digital One toner-based hybrid press. Sean Pullen, sales director Asia Pacific at Mark Andy, said that local printers are upgrading from letterpress and could either go the digital or flexo route – or both. ‘Also it is very much a flexible packaging market in Thailand of pouches and sachets.’

OKI unveiled two new label printer models. The Pro1040 and Pro1050 are narrow-format label printers made for users who need on-demand printing that is easy to set-up and require minimal training to use. The printers are built for in-house use and help cater to customers who desire a wider choice of label designs yet print a lower print-volume to reduce label stock and wastage. The Pro1040 prints in CMYK, while the Pro1050 prints in CMYK plus white (CMYK+W). With the white toner, users have the added advantage of printing on transparent or colored label media – this is done by printing an opaque white background under the CMYK image, thus making printed labels stand out even more. The Pro1040 and Pro1050 can produce waterproof labels that have been tested to survive underwater, and are robust and resistant to UV fading, thus making them ideal for industrial chemical labeling and for producing asset tracking labels.

Bent Serritslev, managing director of Xeikon Asia-Pacific, said it had been a quiet show on the digital printing side, where the company was demonstrating a Xeikon 3300. ‘There was actually more interest on the Thermoflexx platemaking side,’ he said.

Durst’s Florian Kössler said: ‘Many of our existing label and package printing customers from the region visited us; in addition lots of new contacts with potential new customers have been established. The new Tau 330 RSC attracted a lot of interest and we look forward to a very interesting development in Southeast Asia and Asia-Pacific.’

Converting
AB Graphic had a presence on both the HP booth and that of its distributor, Thai Global Graphic (TGG). It showcased a Digicon Lite on the HP booth, which was sold during the show. ‘We were impressed with the turnout at this first Labelexpo Southeast Asia,’ said Keith Montgomery, ABG’s business development manager. ‘We saw a lot of visitors, not only from Thailand but from all over the region. Southeast Asia is a large potential market for us.’

Berhalter’s Ivo Schmid said the die-cutting equipment specialist sees good potential in the Southeast Asia market in the coming years, and used the event to promote its name and range of machinery. It appointed TechnoGlobal as its local agent last year.

Korean manufacturer Bitek sold its first digital laser die-cutting machine, any-cut III, in Thailand through its local agent. The machine comes with a maximum web width of 350mm and runs at a speed of 30m/min. Bitek, which has agents in Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan, also promoted its digital knife die-cutter and small-footprint digital label printing machine.

Brotech demonstrated the CDF330 digital finishing system, with options including flexo varnishing, coating, cold foil, semi-rotary die-cutting, slitting and conveyor stacking. It can be configured for roll-to-roll or roll-to-sheet label converting jobs. The company sold an FS330 and a DCF330 to converters in Thailand and Malaysia respectively. Brotech’s Ramon Lee said: ‘It is a good market that has high concentration of digital, flexo and letterpress technologies. The labor cost, however, is increasing because of which label printers are shifting to more automated machines. We see growth in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.’

ETI Converting Equipment, represented by its Japan-based regional distributor Libero, was promoting its Cohesio, Metronome and Pellicut systems.

Martin Automatic discussed its non-stop unwind and rewind systems for narrow web applications. It has a large installation base in Southeast Asia and regards it as a growing region, according to the company’s Hope Hu.

Indian manufacturer Monotech Systems highlighted its industrial inkjet systems, label converting and brand protection equipment under its brand Jetsci. The company’s Neeraj Thappa said: ‘With more than 125 installations in 12 countries, Jetsci is an established brand and has footprints in this market but the show helped us reach more customers in ASEAN.’

Korean company Packers promoted its range of lid punching machines, punching tools and embossing units, and reported the sale of a punching system on the first day of the show.

Prati, represented locally by IGS Asia-Pacific, sold the Saturn Omnia finishing system on display at the show to Thai converter Future Business Group – which ordered an additional two machines at the same time. The modular system can be equipped with a wide range of options, and can convert self-adhesive labels, clear-on-clear labels, in-mold labels, cardboard and flexible packaging.

China-based Pulisi sold seven finishing machines – three to India, two to Thailand and two to Vietnam.

Press Systems, exclusive distributor of Rhyguan in the region, sold the first machine in Thailand to Simat Label. Benjamart Fagg, MD of Press Systems, said: ‘We have had a great show and met many new customers from Thailand, China, Europe, India, Japan, Indonesia and Taiwan.’

SanSin, the distributor for Hans Gronhi in Southeast Asia, showed two laser die-cutting machines.

Shenzhen Reborn showcased its 330mm web-width hot stamping and die-cutting machine, which runs at 80m/min.

Tradeally International, exclusive distributor for Flexor in Asia, displayed xCut, a ‘plug and play’ machine that can print, laminate, die-cut and convert in one pass. The system is compatible with any printer. It can convert at 18m/min and produce blank labels at 24m/min with precise semi-rotary die-cutting. The company co-exhibited will Print-on-demand solutions (PODS), which offers a digital label printing machine with Memjet technology. Patsy Ng of Tradeally said: ‘Labelexpo Southeast Asia has been one of the few exhibitions that Tradeally has handpicked to participate and the response is overwhelming. The event’s visitors are our target audience and potential leads who know what they want and came with a clear agenda. We have secured orders from this show and have managed to bring much publicity to our machinery.’

Indian manufacturer Vinsak displayed a USAR 430 modular slitter rewinder and VRL 400 Vinsak roll lifter.

Inspection
AVT highlighted its product range for quality assurance, process control, automation and efficiency systems for printing and converting, running live demos of a variety of 100 percent print inspection products – including in-line and off-line inspection, color monitoring and barcode verification.

On display were the company’s Helios S Turbo+ and Helios Turbo HD+ inspection systems, which offer high-resolution monitoring even at top speeds.

AVT systems were also on display at partner booths, including HP Indigo’s 6900 digital press equipped with AVT’s Helios D 100 percent inspection system, which supports various digital printing technologies at all stages of digital production workflow.

Other featured systems included PrintFlow Manager, a reporting tool which ensures that production data collected from all platforms is presented directly to overseers, and Offline Proofing, for scenarios where in-line inspection isn’t feasible.

BST eltromat Southeast Asia’s managing director Oliver Finkeldey said the show had exceeded his expectations. ‘The market here is booming,’ he said. The Germany-headquartered inspection specialist opened an office in Bangkok two years ago. On its stand, it showed the Tubescan 100 percent inspection system, Powerscope 5000 video inspection system, and web guiding equipment.

Erhardt + Leimer’s business development manager for Asia-Pacific, Thomas Grimm, reported ‘lots of good discussions with converters from Thailand, but also Malaysia and Indonesia’. The company showed web guiding equipment for the narrow web market, and its Smartscan entry-level inspection system, described as particularly suitable for emerging markets. E+L opened an office in Thailand in 2016 which handles the wider Southeast Asia region. It employs five staff but that number is expected to double soon. A local distribution network is also in place.

Luster demonstrated its LabelRoll-H series offline inspection system. It provides 100 percent inspection at 250m/min for any defects including that of variable data such as QR code or barcodes. LabelRoll-H series also integrates rewinding and slitting functions and can be set up within three minutes. 

Luster’s Frank Li said: ‘The company has started to penetrate the Thai market, with about 20 systems installed in the country. We are happy with the performance of the first edition of Labelexpo Southeast Asia, and sold two inspection systems into Thailand and Malaysia during the show.’  

Substrates and adhesives
Armor Asia Imaging Supplies introduced inkanto as a new brand for its thermal transfer offering in Southeast Asia. The company, which has manufacturing bases in China and Singapore, said it sees huge growth potential in Korea, Indonesia and Thailand.

Armor’s Mark Day said: ‘The Southeast Asian market is very price-sensitive, but we bring value addition to ribbons with the inkanto product range. We are growing with the market and witnessing double digit growth year-on-year in volume consumption.’

Beijing Langshuo showed its range of thermal transfer ribbons.

DNP focused on two new resin products. R550, a durable resin designed for extreme resistance to most chemicals used in the automotive, chemical, pharma and electronics industries, was launched last year at Labelexpo Europe. M255, meanwhile, is a premium wax resin launched just before Labelexpo Southeast Asia.

Dow Corning showcased Robond Invisu PS-7910, which builds on Dow Adhesives’ expertise in water-borne adhesive technologies for self-adhesives filmic labels. This adhesive is a water-based acrylic adhesive polymer with proven runnability on high productivity curtain coating equipment.

Kurz showed its Trustseal Decorate and Trustseal SFX products. Trustseal Decorate allows color changes and 3D effects on a product. The pseudo-plastic character of Trustseal SFX creates spatial effects and appears to rise off the surface.

Lintec used the show to introduce products from its recently acquired Mactac America division. These give Lintec access to the prime label retail and consumer good markets, which perfectly complements the company’s traditional focus on high performance industrial products. Lintec’s Masaaki Yoshitake said these products will be Lintec-branded in the Asia-Pacific region, although the brand name will be retained in the US. ‘And we are using the Mactac brand to introduce Lintec product to the US. At Labelexpo Americas, Lintec will be part of the Mactac booth.’

Lintec has a major commitment to the ASEAN region, with a manufacturing base in Thailand and Indonesia and sales/slitting centers in Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Vietnam.

‘ASEAN is certainly a growing market for us,’ said Masaaki Yoshitake. ‘We see big growth for Lintec now in the food, toiletries and cosmetics markets.’ 

Lintec has a policy of auditing printing plants to make sure their equipment is properly specified to print the company’s label materials.

Mega Synthetics is a Taiwanese-based BOPP film manufacturer which two years ago set up a factory in Thailand. Today the company is a supplier of specialist HP Indigo coated materials and has a wide range of products from direct thermal coating to food grade top coated and non-top coated films, including IML and UV inkjet coated.

Polyonics, a specialist in materials for harsh environment applications such as electronics and chemicals, reported strong leads from companies in India and across Asia. It showed ESD-Safe polyimide and PET labels, tapes and films that comply with the S20.20, IEC 61340 and JESD625B standards and are safe to use in ESD control plans.

Indian labelstock manufacturer Stic-on Papers launched a digital self-adhesive labelstock targeting digital printing applications both in paper and filmic labels.

TTR Euroworks showcased thermal transfer ribbons, thermal print heads, TTO printheads and ribbons, dye sublimation ribbon, hot foil, PIY ribbons, fabrics and print heads.

James Tsai of foils manufacturer Univacco said the company sees Indonesia as the fastest-developing market in Southeast Asia. Univacco is witnessing 20 to 30 percent growth in the region, compared to global growth of 15 percent. The company met potential agents for new markets in Southeast Asia. It has distributors in Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines as well as an office in Malaysia.

UPM Raflatac displayed its latest self-adhesive labeling materials for various end uses, including food, beverage, logistics, home and personal care, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, and more. 

Inks
Pulse Roll Label Products participated with its exclusive Thai partner, Press Systems. It showed live demos of PureTone UV flexo ink mixing and color matching to showcase the benefits of the total color management system for narrow web label printers.

Siegwerk presented its inks and services portfolios for narrow web applications, including the company’s latest innovations for plastic tube laminates, shrink sleeves and in-mold labels, also covering low migration systems, LED inks and specialties for combination printing.

Tokyo Ink showed its new line of UV inks and UV flexo inks.

Ancillary equipment
GEW was represented by local distributor Press Systems. The partnership began four years ago and has since been extended to the wider Southeast Asian market. International sales director Marcus Greenbrook said: ‘We’ve seen big growth in the region since appointing Press Systems as our distributor, in terms of sales, retrofits and service support.’ GEW was showing its E2C low-energy UV curing system. ‘A key benefit is that the system can be upgraded to UV LED at any time, which future-proofs the press,’ said Greenbrook.

IST Metz showed its MBS range with its standard hot swap functionality that enables users to switch between UV lamp technology and LED technology at any time during the production process.

Nagase Thailand showed its AWP-DEW water-washable flexo plate system featuring Clean Transfer Technology.

Phoseon Technology, a manufacturer of patented LED technology, focused on its new FirePower FP601 and FireJet FJ601 systems for film and flexible packaging applications.

RotoMetrics is expanding its production facility in Thailand owing to the growing market in Southeast Asia. Paul McKay, general manager, said: ‘The expansion is expected to be completed by the end of this year.’ Speaking of the Southeast Asian market, he added: ‘While Thailand and Singapore are big and mature markets, we see potential growth in the Philippines and Indonesia. As volume in these markets will grow, small and medium size label printers will have to switch from flat-bed die-cutting to rotary die-cutting technology. We already see it happening in Indonesia. We see a growth of 20 to 25 percent in rotary dies in the region year-on-year.’ RotoMetrics supplies some 70 dies a day in Southeast Asia, and 200 dies every day across Asia, from its Thai plant. The company showcased RotoRepel, a non-stick treatment for flexible dies and solid rotary dies.

SPGPrints and its Southeast Asian distributor, Techno Global Graphics, reported a highly successful event, with visitors and enquiries from a wide geographic area representing interests beyond label printing. Commented Jaap Storm, area sales manager: ‘In addition to seeing existing customers and press manufacturing partners, we received many visits from newly established companies seeking to differentiate themselves, as well as businesses wanting to learn more about incorporating screen printing into their existing flexo, offset, and gravure workflows. Converters supplying beverage, food and personal care markets especially are recognizing rotary screen’s potential for building strong, identifiable brands. It is seen as the quality standard for opaque white ink. We had a surprising number of queries about tag and flexible packaging applications, and even a few about textile printing!’

Also represented by Press Systems are Sandon anilox rolls and Rotometal cylinders. Benjamart Fagg, managing director at Press Systems, said these products are well-established in the market and received ‘a good number of enquiries’. With all its clients performing well in the region, Press Systems is growing at 50 percent year-on-year and employs 30 people.

Techno Global Graphics represents a plethora of international brands, including AB Graphic, Contilaserline, Flexo Wash, Grafikontrol, GSE Dispensing, Kocher+Beck, SPGPrints, Unilux, and Vetaphone. The company’s Phatthira Sangchansri reported that Flexo Wash sold seven machines; Vetaphone sold one and AB Graphic sold a Digicon finishing system.

S G Edge, an Indian manufacturer of label printing machines and ancillary equipment, reported a successful show, with CEO Santosh Kumar, ‘busy meeting printers from the region’.

Toyobo showcased water-washable flexo plate Cosmo Light, which can be washed in tap water with a small amount of mild detergent. It eliminates the usage of hydrocarbon and hazardous solvents. Plates are press ready within an hour. Cosmo Light enables resistance with water-based, alcohol-based, UV flexo and solvent inks.

Troika Systems showed its AniCAM with Anilox QC products which measure the surface profile of anilox ink metering rolls, sleeves and plates used to deliver the correct density of ink to the packaging material to be printed.

Universal Engraving, a manufacturer of hot stamping and embossing dies, was represented by its regional agent, Press Systems.

Voyantic reported a good show. It has an office in Vietnam that handles sales in Southeast Asia. Smoos Peng of Voyantic said: ‘We meet more and more traditional label companies in Southeast Asia expressing interest in adding RFID technology to their product portfolio. Voyantic has been in the RFID measurement and testing business since 2004; we want to help label companies make their product smarter.’  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aakriti Agarwal is India and Southeast Asia editor for Labels & Labeling.

Aakriti has been India editor for a number of years, and editor of the online newsletter, Label News India.

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