In an interview at Labelexpo Americas 2018, TLMI president Dan Muenzer commented on the pace of technological development in the industry: ‘There’s so much innovation going on in our industry right now, and it’s happening so fast. Historically companies would wait until [Labelexpo] Europe to launch new innovations, but there are more innovations being launched here than in previous editions. Because of the speed of technology changing, you can’t wait two years.’
It’s a salient point. Show organizers like to quote numbers, and at this year’s Labelexpo Americas there were some good statistics to shout about – impressive increases, for example, in exhibitor numbers, floor space, rebook, and visitors from Latin America. But technological developments are harder to quantify; it is not merely a question of tallying product launches – key, incremental improvements to existing technology can equally cause a tipping point to be reached, as has been seen in the past 12-18 months with both inkjet and hybrid presses, and as could be seen at Labelexpo Americas.
It is not unfair to say that Labelexpo Europe traditionally attracts more product launches than Labelexpo Americas. But last month in Rosemont there was a tangible change of pace, with an abundance of new products and innovations on display on the show floor.
There were impressive gains made in conventional, digital and hybrid printing presses; in materials geared towards new markets and greater sustainability; in ever-more sophisticated workflow software tying production together; in the continued push of UV LED into the narrow web mainstream.
You can read about all these developments in L&L’s extensive review of the show.
Industry 4.0 technologies are driving the whole label converting supply chain towards greater efficiencies, integrating design, approval, factory management, print and finishing into one seamless operation. Change is happening quicker than ever, and Labelexpo Americas 2018 provided emphatic proof.
Read Labels & Labeling issue 5, 2018 for a comprehensive review of Labelexpo Americas 2018, covering press technology developments, materials, inks, workflow and more