Labelexpo Europe 2023 – dies and tooling

At Labelexpo Europe 2023, we saw an increased focus on automation, efficiency and waste reduction on both inline flexo presses and digital press finishing lines.

Indeed, there are good reasons to believe that we have reached something of a technology plateau in terms of speed and print resolution of narrow/midweb presses, so future productivity gains are likely to come from the increased efficiency and automation of postprint converting and embellishment operations.


Setting and monitoring correct diecutting pressure is an operation that has a huge impact on the overall productivity and waste levels of a flexo or digitally label printing operation. At Labelexpo Europe 2023, visitors saw a continued move towards automation, starting with the introduction of motors to drive pressure settings along with the ability to store and recall jobs.


Kocher + Beck introduced the Gapmaster EM (Electronic Move), a retrofittable electrical drive unit that replaces the mechanical handle on existing Gapmaster units. Onboard motors allow for easier gap alterations from 0.25 – 10 microns. Adjustments can either be made by touch entry or a rotary dial which provides haptic feedback for the operator while observing the cutting results. Kocher + Beck also displayed its latest KMS digital pressure gauge for detecting changes in cutting pressure.

Maxcess Group, which includes RotoMetrics, showed its AccuAdjust technology designed to solve liner variability issues across all liner material types. AccuAdjust allows for independent or simultaneous bearer adjustment using a digital controller. The system can be adjusted on both sides at a standstill or when the machine is running. Each AccuAdjust unit comes automationready for the upcoming RotoAdjust operator interface upgrade, which will add electronic motors for touchscreen adjustment and Industry 4.0 analytics, along with the ability to store and recall jobs.

Maxcess previewed its nextgeneration RotoMetrics Rotoscan adjustable anvil, claimed to be ‘the industry’s first fully automated intelligent die station’ delivering realtime adjustment for material variation. Proactive monitoring will reduce scrap and waste with Industry 4.0 analytics and onetouch ordering of new dies. The unit will be commercially available in 2024.

Tecnocut showed its EDiffsystem adjustable anvil, designed to control the movement of the anvil roller electronically to +/ 1 micron tolerance. It works by replacing the existing anvil roller or any existing diecutting unit. The module includes a calibration function to automatically return to zero position and jobs can be stored and recalled.


The main development in flexible dies is more effective coating technologies. Kocher + Beck showed a new FDAcertified antistick coating that results in less adhesive residue on the cutting edges.

Lartec presented new finishes for flexible dies that provide greater durability and cutting precision. Maxcess introduced a new range of flexible dies, while complete die and rotary tooling systems were also shown by Rotary Sp. z o.o. and Rotary Technology (Guangzhou).


A gamechanger on the converting end of the press and finishing line has been the development of fast semirotary diecutting units now installed on both flexo presses and highspeed digital label converting lines. Omet, for example, demonstrated a semirotary diecutting running at 100m/min with fully automated die loading and eject.

Also critical has been quickchange rotary diecutting assemblies. Tecnocut showcased its Pit Stop diecutting cylinder system being changed in 30 seconds, while Kocher + Beck demonstrated its quickchange diecutting station.

Andy Thomas

  • Strategic director