An exciting program of technology workshops and a record number of new exhibitors mark out this year’s show as something special. Andy Thomas reports
Labelexpo Americas returns to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont, Chicago, between 11-13 September – and is set to be the biggest show yet.
Among 400 suppliers and manufacturers are 70+ companies exhibiting for the first time, which is a real vote of confidence in the label market at a time when the wider economy is struggling.
As well exciting technology introductions, be sure to visit the new must-see feature areas in laser die-cutting, digital print, package printing and sustainability. All this is in addition to Labelexpo Americas’ usual comprehensive conference program.
Understanding laser die-cutting
While perhaps not considered as a key investment in the past, digital laser die-cutting is now starting to become of greater interest for the potential benefits and opportunities it can offer to both converters and their customers. There are also more laser cutting equipment companies entering the market, so widening the choice of investment and equipment.
To aid converters in understanding these latest developments in laser cutting technology and requirements, the opportunities it can offer, how it works and the quality of the finished die-cut results, Labelexpo Americas will be running a series of four different laser die-cutting technology workshops each day of the show – one for prime labels, one for industrial labels, one for blank die-cut computer-over-printable labels, and one for special label solutions.
Four leading laser die-cutting equipment suppliers are participating in these technology workshop sessions: ABG International, Delta International, Sei and Spartanics. Pre-printed labels for cutting at the show – with all the necessary re-registration eye marks and codes – are being produced by Xeikon, EFI Jetrion and Mark Andy, with MIS input from CERM and EFI Radius. Origination for the label designs has been undertaken by EskoArtwork. Label materials are provided by UPM Raflatac, Flexcon and Green Bay Packaging.
The prime product labels that will be laser die-cut at the show include a food label, a personal care label and a pharma label – with the label designs and shapes changing during the laser cutter run on each machine.
For the industrial label, the laser die-cutters will not only need to die-cut the labels to size and shape, but will also undertake the laser-etching during the run of sequential numbers, showing the potential and economics of today’s laser technology for converting industrial label applications and designs.
The blank label designs to be produced will incorporate different label shapes and sizes that change during the cutter run, while the special labels are of a free-style design of the cutter manufacturers’ choice to show the potential of their technology.
Each workshop session will include an explanation of the origination and pre-press, how the labels have been pre-printed, the different requirements for re-registration and job changes during the run, the incorporation of sequential coding and the workflow implications and outputs.
As with previous Labelexpo technology workshops, the sessions will conclude with questions and answers and the availability of sample packs of all the different laser cutter outputs for the different workshop sessions, job description sheets for each job and a Q&A sheet.
These latest Labelexpo Technology Workshops provide a unique opportunity for show visitors to fully understand laser cutting technology and options, see how different machines compare on different job applications, and discover the potential to provide new options and opportunities for customers.
Package print workshops
Label and package printers looking to diversify and add value to their operations will be able to reap the benefits of attending a series of new Package Printing Technology Workshop sessions being held at Labelexpo Americas.
Xeikon (digital printing and converting), Esko (design, pre-press, and workflow), Rotometrics (die-cutting technology), Cerm (MIS) and cartonboard, film and heat transfer materials suppliers have between them developed three comprehensive Workshop sessions that will run each day of the show to showcase the opportunities digital pre-press and printing can bring to folding carton production, plastic bucket decoration and high quality tubes.
The carton application encompasses a carton wrapper to go around two jars of a ‘My Moments’ food product, with the carton wrapper printed digitally on the Xeikon 3000 Series press, converted inline with a Xeikon DCoat including RotoMetrics carton cutting dies and roll-fed through to the finished cartons.
The heat transfer tube decoration Workshop will be using a ‘Beaute’ product design. The product design incorporates a carton box, a seamless plastic tube and the required promotional material communicating the product range expansion. During the workshop Xeikon will digitally print, roll-to-roll, on a wax-coated heat transfer material, and finished on-roll for subsequent transfer on to seamless plastic tubes.
The plastic bucket Workshop sessions will elaborate on the potential types of decoration for buckets/pails. This can involve heat transfer printing or in-mold decoration. During the workshop in-mold labels will be digitally printed by Xeikon from roll-to-roll and finished ready for in-mold labeling of the buckets.
Preceding each of these sessions, Esko will take Workshop attendees through the pre-press stages and use 3D visualizing to show how the products have been created to final format before any printing has been agreed, including rotating through 360 degrees, visualizing the finished product on store shelves, and placing jars/bottles inside cartons.
The Workshops will be ideal for label converters looking to diversify into other applications, for package printing companies interested in seeing what digital technology can offer, for label and pack designers, and for brand-owners and retail groups looking to understand what digital can provide in terms of short-runs, different versions and variations, personalization, faster to market and enhanced supply chain options.
Sample folders of all the Workshop printed products will be available following each demonstration, and time will be allowed for question and answers before each session is concluded.
Digital master class
Labelexpo Americas 2012 will also feature a digital printing master class. Aimed at converters looking to invest in digital printing for the first time, the three and half hour session is introduced and chaired by Mike Fairley, supported by leading industry expert presentations, and will highlight the main printing technologies, label substrate requirements, workflow and color management and sales and marketing in a digital environment.
Ecovillage will showcase the latest products and services designed to support a better performing, more environmentally conscious label industry.
There is a major global first at this year’s show: With the help of Greenwood Fuels and Channeled Resources, Labelexpo Americas will be collecting the waste matrix from the live press demonstrations over the length of the exhibition.
The matrix will be collected every few hours and will be brought to the Eco Village to showcase the amount of waste that could potentially be recycled instead of being put into landfills. After the show, all waste will be compacted and picked up by Greenwood Fuels to be made into fuel pellets. Greenwood’s fuel pellets are a direct substitute for coal but with a lower carbon and overall emissions’ footprint. This has never before been seen at a trade show. Videos will be running throughout the show demonstrating the process that Greenwood goes through to form the pellets.
To learn more about this process, there will be a special conference session on September 11 including speakers from converter Heartland Label which uses Greenwood Fuels’ matrix recovery service.
Also featured at the Ecovillage will be a giant directory of exhibitors who are making a difference in the industry by providing green products or services. A panel session on day two of the show looks at the big myths surrounding sustainable packaging and what converters should really be concerned about.
Labelexpo Americas will also play host to the ninth prestigious Label Industry Global Awards on the first night of the exhibition. The awards program honors and rewards companies and individuals for excellence and best practice in the labeling industry. RotoMetrics’ Steve Lee has already been announced as the winner of the Stanton R Avery Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Avery Dennison.
The other award winners will be announced on the night in the following categories:
• Label Industry Award for New Innovation: Advanced Vision Technology, EFI, Innovaciones Para Etiquetajes
• Label Industry Award for Continuous Innovation: Prati, Stork Prints, WS Packaging
• The winner of the Converter Award for Sustainability/Environmental Responsibility – sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web – will also be announced on the night.
Experienced Rosemont hands will doubtless be interested in checking out the Park at Rosemont, which opened in spring 2012. A new entertainment development, it boasts dynamic bars and restaurants with live music, casual dining, bowling and outdoor patios. The perfect destination for after-show fun, the Park at Rosemont is only a block from the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and is anchored by Muvico 18- Movie Theater, a number of hotels and the vibrant Rosemont Theater.
Pictured: Attendees enter Labelexpo Americas 2010