Don’t be misled by the title. Founded in 1978, Labels & Labeling is too established an industry journal to be brashly rebranded. But while the name suggests a focus restricted to label converters and narrow web applications, the boundaries are shifting. Perhaps it’s time to redefine the label.
Just as our readers and advertisers are respectively using and producing equipment to expand into new markets, so our coverage reflects the trend. In this issue, you’ll find reports of label converters moving into flexibles and cartons, and wider web specialists moving the other way. Meanwhile, direct-to-container is emerging as a further decoration alternative.
Like shrink sleeves before them, all these find their natural home within L&L’s readership and Labelexpo’s supplier base. For flexibles and cartons, digital printing and converting technology dramatically reduces entry requirements; the FoodSafeUV project opens up indirect food contact applications. For direct-to-container printing, suppliers of inkjet heads and color management software, as well as adhesion and pre-press specialists, all exhibit at Labelexpo. Converters could be best-placed to remotely manage the systems, while FoodSafeUV is key for migration issues.
A label is, in essence, any form of surface decoration. Thanks to the industry’s ingenuity, this remit has expanded greatly in recent years. But there is no need to go elsewhere – L&L remains the best place to read about these developments; Labelexpo the best place to see them in action.
This opinion article appeared in L&L issue 4, 2017