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Labelexpo Europe broadens its reach

This will be one of the most exciting Labelexpo events in the memory of this writer, with developments across a wide range of digital and conventional technologies.

The first thing to note is the entry of a new machine manufacturer and a new class of curing technology into the narrow web labels field. Uteco has up to now specialized in wide web flexible packaging presses, but at this show launches an exciting new digital press incorporating electron beam curing technology powered by eBeam’s compact EB unit and specialty INXDigital inks.

Bobst also enters the narrow web digital arena through its Mouvent joint venture company, showing a new 7-color 340mm-wide digital inkjet press claimed to print at up to 100m/min at 1200 x 1200 DPI resolution.

Other key digital launches include Screen’s updated TruePress Jet350UV, now operating at 60m/min with a low migration ink and nitrogen inerting option; Durst’s new high resolution Tau330 RSC – also available as a hybrid line with Omet X6 conventional converting units; Epson showing a new, more productive version of its popular SurePress L-4033 aqueous inkjet press; Xeikon adding UV inkjet capability with the global launch of its Panther PX3000 technology; and Mark Andy looking to open up the entry-level digital market with the European launch of its compact DigitalOne toner/flexo system.

The show also gives the chance to see the latest hybrid press offerings from the major conventional press suppliers: Gallus, Mark Andy, Nilpeter, MPS and Edale. Of particular interest is a new generation of high-speed semi-rotary die systems, developed originally for faster digital presses such as the HP Indigo 8000 – also at the show – but now making their way onto conventional press lines. And we see new ways to create hybrid flexo-digital presses with add-on digital print units.

Colordyne launches its 3600 Series UV process color retrofit – the company’s first venture into UV inkjet technology.

Digital coating and decoration will be a key theme of the show, demonstrating how a range of processes, including screen and UV flexo white and spot/flood varnishes, can be replicated with UV inkjet – with all the advantages of variable imaging.

HP Indigo launches the GEM digital decoration system in-line with a WS6800 digital press – with the print and multi-height varnish instructions embedded in the same pre-press file. Xaar’s PrintBar technology is taken under the FFEI banner, launching its PrintBar Uncovered service to help OEMs integrate the digital print/varnish equipment into their presses and finishing machines; Domino launches its K600i White high definition digital print head.

Conventional presses

On the conventional press side a major launch is the FoodSafeUV project, which demonstrates to brand owners how the use of new dose measurement technology at the web surface can lead to a certified workflow to guarantee migration well below current Swiss Ordinance levels. This should further open up the flexible packaging, and even carton markets, to UV technology.

The natural move of Labelexpo to incorporate flexible packaging can be further seen in the commercial launch by HP Indigo of its PackReady instant lamination system, designed to work hand-in-hand with the company’s 20000 wider (B2) format press, also on show.

We see major launches from leading press manufacturers: Gallus marks the European debut of its LabelMaster press, designed with multiple levels of automation around a new dual head print unit – designed in conjunction with parent company Heidelberg; Nilpeter launches the latest iteration of its established FA-4* press; Omet introduces a film package for its entry-level iFlex press and redesigns the established XFlex X6 to include automated print pressure setting as well as register control from the new multiple camera MultiPoint system.

MPS is the first press manufacturer to demonstrate integration of its press operating system with a Cerm MIS, allowing a seamless flow of production information to the MIS and set-up information back to the press. Both companies will be demonstrating advanced automation techniques (though not the Cerm link) at the

Automation Workshop, which takes place alongside an MIS and Workflow Automation Label Academy master class – a first for a Labelexpo show.

The Tarsus Label Academy also hosts a shrink sleeve master class, and Inks and Coatings workshop, and visitors will be able to follow a trail demonstrating the latest developments in linerless materials and converting systems.

Another highlight of the show is the Label Industry Global Awards ceremony, which recognizes the achievements of Chinese label industry founder Professor Tan Junquiao, alongside the winners of the new technology and sustainability awards.

These are just some of the technology and feature highlights of Labelexpo Europe 2017.

Labels & Labeling will be publishing the Show Daily online newsletter, allowing you to keep up with the latest developments, and please do visit our global editorial team on stand 7D15.

Read L&L's comprehensive Labelexpo Europe 2017 preview in issue 4, and here

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Andy Thomas is strategic director of Labels & Labeling.

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