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Labelexpo Asia 2019 preview

The 9th edition of Labelexpo Asia will be bigger than ever before

Labelexpo Asia 2019 – the region’s largest label and package printing technology event – takes place at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre (SNIEC) on December 3-6. The 9th edition of the biennial show will be bigger than ever before, featuring for the first time a Flexpack area, dedicated to flexible packaging. 

The show will cover three halls this year, up from two in 2017, with 13,000sqm (14,000sqft) of exhibitor space. 

Attracting some of the region’s most exciting brands and many of the industry’s most prominent international players, there are already 300 exhibitors on board. Chinese exhibitors include Brotech, HanGlobal, Jinda, KingLabel, Rhyguan, SilkStar, Spande, Taiyo, Wanjie, Weigang, Winbosc, Zhongshan Fuzhou, and Zhongte. Overseas exhibitors include Armor, Avery Dennison, Dilli, Domino, Flint Group, Lintec, Konica Minolta, Omet, Ritrama, and UPM Raflatac. First-time exhibitors include Winbosc, Olger, Dongguan Hele, Shenzhen Haozhun, 3G, Shenzhen Tujiate, Xinjinglu, Dongguan Manluolan, Guangzhou J-Sail, Shenzhen UV Leder, and Deguan Machinery.

Together, they will be covering all aspects of label production, displaying the latest presses, materials, finishing equipment and automation technology. The show is again supported by industry partner the Printing and Printing Equipment Industries Association of China (PEIAC).

The new dedicated Flexpack area will showcase the latest technology in flexible packaging. Visitors will get to see in-line presses in action, as well as learn about the latest innovations in inks, coatings and surface treatments such as corona for flexible packaging and laminating films. 

The show’s Smart Zone, meanwhile, will feature a host of RFID, intelligent and interactive label technology.

Lisa Milburn, managing director of Labelexpo Global Series, said: ‘China is the second largest producer of packaging in the world, with flexible packaging one of its biggest growth areas. This is due to changing consumer lifestyles and choices driving a continued industry trend towards shorter runs. It therefore felt right to expand the show by introducing a dedicated Flexpack area at Labelexpo Asia 2019, where Chinese printers and brand owners who may be moving into this area can source the solutions they need.

‘Labelexpo Asia continues to play a vital role in moving the label and package printing industry forward in the region, and we look forward to meeting with visitors and exhibitors at this year’s show.’

Chinese printers are facing challenges. The country’s economic growth has slowed compared to the bullish rates of recent years. Trade disputes with the US are having an impact. Environmental policies are becoming ever stricter. Meanwhile, industry 4.0 trends are emerging, such as the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence. Labelexpo Asia 2019 will provide converters with the opportunity to see demonstrations of technology which will allow them to face these challenges head-on.

Digital and hybrid technology 
The penetration of digital technology in the Chinese market is increasing, with some 40 new presses installed annually. At Labelexpo Asia, visitors will see a host of options on display in hall 3 – which houses all the digital presses at the show as well as special Flexpack and Smart Zone feature areas. 

Dilli, Domino, Konica Minolta, Winbosc, HanGlobal, Haotian, Runtianzhi, Shanghai Dragon, Terminator Image, Hefei Saga, Amica, Mark Andy, Epson, Liaoning Basch, Shanghai Guanzhong, Lida Inkjet, Zhejiang Leipeng, GCC, Trojanjet, Vorey and Printop are among the companies demonstrating digital technology at the show.

Dilli demonstrates its Neo Picasso UV inkjet press. It has a printing width of up to 13in, can print CMYK + W, and features web guiding and corona systems. It runs at 50m/min and prints at 1,200 DPI.

Domino will showcase its N610i UV inkjet press. Konica Minolta exhibits its new AccurioLabel 230 digital press. The company is collaborating in the Chinese market with finishing equipment manufacturer Brotech for in-line and off-line converting options.

First-time exhibitor HanGlobal will show its new LabStar 330 UV inkjet press. Haotian’s HTS series digital inkjet printer can achieve at a running speed up to 50m/ min with resolution of 600x600 DPI. 

Trojanjet will show the T2 digital press, with printing speed of 18.3m/min and web width of 50-250mm. Vorey Color’s DLP VP320C label digital press features leading S-LED and DELCIS (DigitallyEnhanced Lighting Control Imaging System) technology and offers images with the resolution up to 1200×2400 DPI.

Meteor Inkjet will make its Labelexpo debut, while Brotech shows digital finishing equipment. Shenzhen Reborn will show a digital die-cutting system with integrated Rexroth servo motors.

Rhyguan will exhibit Plus-330, a modular digital finishing line including flatbed silkscreen printing, flatbed hot stamping and semi-rotary die-cutting. Another digital converting line, Top-330-Plus-2, combines flexo, semi-rotary die-cutting and inspection. 

Taiwan GCC, jointly with Legend, will exhibit the AFJ-24S automatic feeding system, LabelExpress laser die-cutter, and DFS laser cutting and finishing system.

Hybrid technology on display includes Domino’s 7-color N610IM hybrid press, jointly developed with Chinese flexo press manufacturer Spande. The N610IM combines Domino’s N610i UV inkjet press with Spande’s new fast and intelligent S7 flexo press. 

First-time exhibitor Winbosc will unveil its new CloudHybrid RG press, which combines inkjet and flexo and a variety of in-line finishing options.

Conventional printing 
Flexo printing in China has been boosted by the government’s increasingly strict environmental policies, and increasing numbers of local converters are investing in the technology. Among the flexo press manufacturers at the show are Omet, Weigang, Hongsheng, Label Source, 3G, Guangdong Olger, and AKO Machinery. 

Omet shows its iFlex press for the first time in Asia. The machine has a 370mm print width and is equipped with UV curing, i-Light pre-register and i-Vison registration systems, and ECDC easy change die-cutting unit.

Weigang shows its flagship flexo press, with eight colors and three die-cutting units, all servo-controlled. Taiyo-Kikai shows the STF-340 flexo press. Hongsheng demonstrates the HSR series narrow web flexo press. Label Source shows its YTP-F5-370-12C flexo press. AKO Machinery shows a Delta 420 flexo press. 

Among the offset presses on display, Wanjie shows the WJPS350 shaftless PS intermittent rotary press. Weigang’s intermittent PS label press will also be on show. 

Meanwhile, for inspection, Luster will launch the Label Roll-Web series system which features a high-speed image processing system and high-stability motion platform. AVT, Pulisi, Daheng Image, Sino-MV and Isra Vision, among others, will also show inspection systems at the event. 

Flexible packaging 
China is the second largest packaging manufacturer in the world, and flexible packaging is its fastest-growing segment. Chinese label converters, similar to their counterparts elsewhere in the world, are increasingly moving into flexible packaging production, aided by a new generation of presses with wider web widths. 

The country’s dedicated packaging converters often use gravure printing technology, and as such are being negatively affected by the Chinese government’s strict environmental controls. Some have gone out of business. The shortfall is being picked up by local label converters. Beijing Deji and Chengdu All Printing are two examples, having begun shrink sleeve and flexible packaging production on Omet flexo presses. 

At Labelexpo Asia 2019, Guangdong Olger will launch its OG330-CL8+1A flexo press which has been designed specifically for flexible packaging production. Controlled by 72 servo motors, it runs at up to 200m/min (656ft/min) with web widths of 13in, 15in or 18in. 

Label press manufacturers such as Weigang and Wanjie have launched presses which can cater to short and medium runs of flexible packaging. Meanwhile, other suppliers have recently unveiled flexible packaging-dedicated products, including ink manufacturers Super Color, Shenzhen Hiway and Toka; coating equipment manufacturers Zhongshan Sotech, NDC and Sanrenxing; and finishing system suppliers Weifang Hengchengxiang, Deguan Machinery and Makwell Mec.

Smart Zone 
According to market data from IDTechEx, the value of the Chinese RFID market is around $4.3 billion USD. At present, there are more than 150 RFID label suppliers in the country, producing 85 percent of RFID labels used worldwide. Mobile phone payment methods such as Alipay and WeChat are also accelerating the trend towards self-checkout and unmanned retail stores.

As these technologies develop, labels in China are moving increasingly towards functionality rather than just product decoration. These trends will be on display at Labelexpo Asia’s Smart Zone, a 500sqm area of the show which will feature suppliers such as Avery Dennison, UPM Raflatac, King Label, Voyantic, Mühlbauer, ADA, Xinjinglu, Jion Point and Guangzhou J-Sail.

Voyantic will show its RFID tags and Tagsurance UHF and HF integration systems. Wing Singa will demonstrate systems for RFID label lamination, encoding and detection. 

On the materials side, Arjobex, manufacturer of Polyart synthetic paper, will showcase its new range of tamper evident security products. This range includes security features such as UV fibers, taggants and UV watermarks. These features are embedded in the film, thereby preventing the possibility of tampering with them, or forging by printing technologies.

Armor shows the upgraded version of its AXR TX ribbon dedicated to textile label applications. It also brings its inkanto range of thermal transfer ribbons to the event. Durico shows a range of direct thermal films and inkjet-compatible label facestocks. New products include translucent direct thermal films, providing a frosted look to a see-through label, and durable GHS Inkjet label film facestock. Kurz shows its new KSO cold foil. Elsewhere at the show, Kroenert will introduce the first coating unit for simultaneously siliconizing both sides of a web with solvent-free silicones. This is especially suitable for paper webs used as release liners for adhesive tapes as well as graphic products. Meech displays its new non-contact web cleaner, static generators and mid-range ionizing bar. 


Yolanda Wang is China editor at Labels & Labeling.

With a master’s degree in printing, Yolanda previously worked in the pre-print department at ZRP Group, a leading Chinese printer. She also has two years of editorial experience for ZRP Group’s internal magazine.

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