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  • 04 Mar 2020

Labelexpo Asia breaks records

Labelexpo Asia breaks records

Labelexpo Asia, held in December 2019, was the largest edition of the show to date with 18 percent growth in attendees and a 26 percent larger floor space than its previous edition. A total of 23,636 attendees from 90 countries flocked to the four-day show, compared to 20,084 visitors from 81 countries at the 2017 edition. Over 350 leading suppliers exhibited in Shanghai.  

Lisa Milburn, MD of Labelexpo Global Series, said: ‘We are delighted with the success of this year’s Labelexpo Asia. The huge leap forward in buyer visitors consolidates the show’s position as our largest show in Asia, a growth that is truly inspiring.’

The show’s new feature areas included Flexpack Asia, which displayed the latest flexible packaging technology. The returning Smart Zone displayed products including the next generation 3D holograms, nanomaterials, special inks and RFID/NFC labels. 

The educational program, introduced at this year’s event, also proved popular. Two half-day sessions – a workshop and a master class – took place during the show. Led by the Label Academy, a three-hour workshop covered shrink sleeve technology and a four-hour master class focused on digital label and package printing.

The master class on digital printing looked at the different technologies, the importance of pre-press and workflow automation, choosing the right substrates, different finishing options and hybrid technology. Representatives from Brotech, Cerm, Domino and Esko were among the speakers.  

Liu Haifeng, general manager of Tianjin Teda Great Print, said: ‘As a Chinese label converter, such professional training classes help us learn about advanced technologies and solutions, which is very important to enhance our own companies and integrate with the world.’

Conventional technology

Chinese manufacturers were behind the earliest intermittent offset presses customized for label printing. Many domestic offset press manufacturers demonstrated their latest equipment, including Weigang’s ZP-480 rotary offset press. It adopts a variable diameter pneumatic sleeve-type print roller that allows a changeover time of each color set within two minutes. 

With a maximum print speed of up to 180m/min, it is aimed at medium and long runs of labels and short- to medium-run flexible packaging. Thanks to its integrated design, it can apply flexible combinations of multiple printing and finishing processes including offset, flexo, gravure, cold/hot stamping, die-cutting and slitting. The machine can run a variety of materials including paper and BOPP, PET, PP and PVC films. Weigang has applied for more than 20 local and international patents for the new press.

Wanjie showed its WJPS series semi-rotary offset press, which uses shaftless servo motors to control the machine. The WJPS350PS model on the show floor was mainly targeted at label printing, while a WJPS660PS in the Flexible Packaging Arena was running flexible pouch jobs. Both models can feature stamping, laminating and inline die-cutting for one-pass production.

Other machines on display – including Weigang’s ZX350 semi-rotary offset press, Zhongte’s ZTJ-330/520 PS label press, and Nickel Printing’s FS350 PS rotary press – adopt shaftless servo motors, UV curing and in-line converting options. Features such as remote and touch screen control, and automatic cylinder positioning, were also common on presses on show.

"China has been a relatively slow adopter of digital, but a leap forward was seen at Labelexpo Asia with some 55 companies exhibiting equipment relevant to digital label printing"

The joint exhibition stand of Codimag and Toray made waterless offset printing technology a highlight of the show. Codimag has produced waterless semi-rotary offset technology since 1999 and launched its breakthrough Aniflo technology in 2007. An anilox roller replaces the rollers used by water-based offset systems, allowing more stable and high-definition print quality. It integrates in-line finishing units and an expanded color gamut into a digital workflow. The printing technology and in-line finishing units can include multiple processes such as offset, flexo, hot/cold stamping, screen, embossing, die-cutting and laminating. 

Demonstrating the technology’s increased adoption in the Chinese label market, multiple domestic manufacturers showed flexo presses, including Weigang, Hongsheng Machinery, AkoLabel Source, Taiyo Kikai, Olger, Jmetech, Minghui, Jingda, 3Gflexo, and Spande. International manufacturers MPS and Mark Andy promoted their equipment offering through videos and brochures, while Bobst updated visitors about the latest additions to its portfolio for label and packaging printing, including hybrid and DigiFlexo presses. 

Omet featured live demos of an iFlex production line on its stand. Omet’s iFlex press was equipped with full LED curing provided by Shanghai-based CoolUV. It featured 12 LED curing units, a dual cold stamping unit and Easy Change Die Station for quick changeover. 

"Hybrid printing was a talking point at the show"

Olger Precise Machinery displayed its fully servo-driven OG330-CL8+1A flexo press, which features a temperature-controlled embossing roller for precise control of even very thin film materials. The company also has a wider version of the press which allows flexible packaging production.

Letterpress, formerly the leading label printing technology in the country, had a smaller but still significant presence, and featured on the stands of Haotian, Labellong, Tujiate, Qianrun MachineryHuada Huahui and others. Yutian Machinery featured a letterpress machine on one booth and a digital press on another. 

Screen printing technology was on show from Silk Star Machinery, Jingda, Wangle and Lingtie, among others. The CS-350R2C flatbed screen printing machine from Silk Star Machinery claims a print speed two or three times faster than conventional flatbed screen, and is equipped with in-line inspection.

Jingda’s JD-3032 roll-to-roll screen printing machine adopts a shaftless drive to achieve faster, more accurate and stable print speed. It features remote network access so that operator training and troubleshooting can be undertaken online. 

Wangle demonstrated its WL-350D single-color high-speed screen printing machine using a new automatic motion control system.

SPGPrints, which has a subsidiary in Wuxi, is seeing growth in luxury label applications in the country, according to the company’s Hank Guijtens, as well as in RFID and flexible circuit board printing. The company recently began to supply screen units for Spande’s flexo press, and reported that the first units have been sold.

Digital

Digital label presses account for nearly 40 percent of new global label press installations, but China has been a relatively slow adopter. But a leap forward was seen at Labelexpo Asia, with some 55 companies exhibiting equipment relevant to digital label printing, including HP IndigoXeikonDominoKonica MinoltaDurst (though local agent Shanghai Haoxi), DilliEpson, Winbosc, HanGlobal, Haotian, RuntianzhiDragon, Terminator Image, Hefei SagaMark AndyShanghai Guanzhong, Wuxi Lida, Leipeng, Trojanjet, Vorey, Printop, and Brotech Digital.   

Amica Systems’ high-speed UV LED roll-to-roll inkjet label press, the LZ dual color and LZC color series, come in 54/75/108mm web widths and can be used for medium- and short-run printing of labels, tags, tickets and aluminum foil packages. TTRR770 is an industrial roll-to-roll and flatbed UV-LED inkjet printer which allows both roll to roll and flatbed operation .The versatile LPS330 inkjet press can be used for medium- and short-run printing of packages, labels, industrial decoration and variable data.

Beijing Stone’s 130-4/130-5 color rollfed laser press prints in five colors (CMYK plus white) at a native resolution of 1,200 DPI. It incorporates a fixed length cutting system and is configured with a maximum outer web diameter of 8 inches, maximum web width of 130mm (5in) and minimum single sheet cutting length of 101.6mm. A wide range of materials are suitable for the machine including label paper, PET film and synthetic paper..

Dilli launched its upgraded Neo Picasso UV inkjet label press, which comes with a web width up to 330mm in CMYK+W or seven colors (CMYK plus white, orange and green). It is equipped with re-registration, corona treatment and software for fully variable data printing. It runs in full color at speeds up to 50m/min with a resolution of 1,200 DPI. Coated or uncoated paper, white transparent film, PP, PE, PVC, PET and BOPP foils can all be handled.

Epson showcased desktop printer models including the CW-C6530, TM-C7520G, and TM-C3520, and showed examples of applications for warehouse management, customized wine labels, household chemicals and wristbands,.

First-time exhibitor HanGlobal showcased its LabelStar 330 UV inkjet label press. With print speed of 50m/min, web width of 220 to 330mm and resolution of 600 to 1,200 DPI, it comes in a 4-color (optionally five colors) configuration and supports a wide range of materials including PET, PVC, PP, PE and BOPP films, synthetic paper, coated paper and aluminum foil. 

Konica Minolta held an unveiling ceremony for its new AccurioLabel 230, a roll-to-roll digital label press designed for short-runs of high quality labels with a variable data capability. With the latest Konica Minolta toner technology, it prints at 1,200 × 1,200 DPI with a maximum print width of 330mm and maximum speed of 23.4m/min. A wide range of materials are available, and do not require coating or pre-treatment. It is equipped with near-line intelligent converting options newly developed by Brotech Digital.

Visitors were able to see value-added label products finished on an MGI Jetvarnish 3D Web digital spot varnishing press in Konica Minolta’s booth. With a fully digital workflow and an array of DOD inkjet heads, the machine can apply digital varnish and stamping. A cooperation ceremony between Konica Minolta and Changrong Laser Technology was held on December 3.

Shanghai Haoxi, Durst’s distributor in China, showed the Durst Tau RSC inkjet press for the first time in China. The system includes Durst Workflow, Durst Analytics and Durst Smart Shop, offering a completely automatic production and workflow system from design to final output. Durst provides its own customized ink supply system for the RSC platform. Equipped with eight colors (CMYK + W + OVG), the press produces up to 95 percent simulation of Pantone colors. The press is certified for weather resistance printing, and can print at speeds up to 80m/min. Durst has developed low migration inks specially for food and beverage, cosmetics and pharmaceutical applications, widening the scope for label converters. 

The SDW-330 from Shenzhen Runtianzhi is the second generation of its full-color UV inkjet label press. Using Kyocera inkjet heads, it has a maximum web width of 330mm and a print speed of 50m/min. It has eight color channels and supports full variable data printing as well as on-site upgrade to 1,200 DPI. Easy to run and maintain, it has a one-key clean function and highly integrated operating software. A wide range of films and papers are available, inclduing PET, PP, PVC, PE, BOPP and coated paper.   

Dumax-330 is a roll-to-roll high-speed full-color inkjet press manufactured by UPG and Dragon, based on Memjet’s second generation Duralink inkjet technology. It features a top print speed of 100m/min, print resolution of 1,600 x 1,580 DPI. The 10 liter capacity 4-color cartridge system allows quick changeover between jobs, while a fully automatic cleaning system prevents blockages in the inkjet head.

"With increasing demand for personalization and short runs in the flexible packaging segment, its appeal to label converters is broadening"

Vorey exhibited the Color DLP VP320C digital label press, VD3350 digital label die-cutting machine (intelligent edition), VD320 digital label die-cutting machine (practical edition), VD240 digital label die-cutting machine (compact edition) and SC340 digital label die-cutting system. The Vorey Color DLP VP320C has a print resolution up to 1,200 x 2,400 DPI. A wide range of printing materials can be handled with no need for pre-treatment, including woven label materials and PVC special media.

First-time exhibitor Winbosc brought a variety of technologies for inkjet label printing to the show, including combinations of printing, digital stamping and varnishing as well as full workflow solutions. On December 3, Winbosc held the product launch of Digi Spark digital stamping machine at its booth. This machine offers spot varnishing, cold stamping and embossing.

Wuxi Lida COASO iCueLabel 420 color digital label press made its world debut. This digital is specialized in the printing of security labels in medium and short run orders.  Print speed is 27-45m/min with print resolution of 1600 x 1600 DPI on a maximum web width of 420mm -or effective print width of 324mm. Maximum repeat length is 600mm and substrate thickness of 0.05mm-0.35mm can be handled on a wide range of substrates including PS paper, PET, PVC, PE and PP.    

Hybrid

Hybrid printing was a talking point at the show, with demos of the new S7 flexo/digital press developed by Spande and Domino. The Chinese press manufacturer’s hybrid press features an N610i UV inkjet unit from Domino, and can be equipped with multiple in-line finishing units. Newly developed by Spande, the integrated intelligent control system allows the entire assembly line to be started at the push of a button. The highly automated press can handle films down to12 micron and features automatic register control and pressure adjustment. Visitors watched print demonstrations of a PE self-adhesive label for household chemical applications and a 50 micron shrink sleeve for beverage applications.

Wanjie showcased for the first time a hybrid press developed in cooperation with Jierun Technology. Multiple processes are integrated into this one machine including full rotary flexo, cold stamping, 4-6 color digital printing, full rotary UV varnishing, laminating, semi-rotary die-cutting, and semi-rotary flatbed die-cutting. The digital printing unit uses Fujifilm Samba DOD piezo inkjet heads, producing minimum ink drop up to 2.5pl. The maximum print speed is 100m/min at a resolution of 1,200 x 1,200 DPI. 

Winbosc showcased the Cloud Hybrid RG Series inkjet label printer and Cloud Hybrid GM Series modular inkjet label press. The RG series label press integrates multiple processes including pretreatment, flexo printing, digital printing, hot stamping, die-cutting, and waste removal. It can handle personalized or customized orders, variable data printing and anti-counterfeit printing in one pass, offering a fully automated label production from printing to post-press finishing. 

Materials

Many Chinese and international material suppliers gathered at Labelexpo Asia, including AKO Printing, Antac Label, GuanhaoJinda, Kinglabel, Symbio, UPM RaflatacYasite and Zhongshan Fuzhou.

Arjobex, manufacturer of Polyart synthetic paper, showcased 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 with printing processes.

Armor featured its inkanto thermal transfer ribbon range. On show was the new AXRTX ribbon for textile label printing. Armor is supplementing this offering with a range of ten print substrates. Specially designed for the textile market, they are made of nylon (three), polyester (two) and satin (five). They offer a variety of properties: printable on one side, printable on two sides, treated to avoid curling up during washing, stain resistant and in widths between 10mm and 120mm. 

‘The AXRTX ribbon has been well received by our customers, and the garment industry is particularly strong in this part of the world,’ said Wesley Alves, VP and MD for Asia-Pacific for Armor.

Avery Dennison divided its stand into four sections: science, sustainability, imagination and connected products. Products on show included recycled PE(rPE) substrates, recycled PET(rPET) base paper and CleanFlake adhesive technology. 

Fangda Packaging displayed seven product lines, including thermal transfer labels, thermal labels, three-layer electronic face sheets. 

Kurz presented its latest Cold Foil KSO, which allows high edge definition transfer and easy release.

Lintec focused on its rebranded Livasta range of materials. Most of the company’s filmic materials are manufactured in China, with some specialty products made in Japan. 

Ritrama showed its RI-Move series of self-adhesive materials developed to meet the most stringent requirements for recycling and reuse of glass and PET containers.

UPM presented CCK, a range of papers suitable for demanding and diverse label converting processes including solventless, solvent emulsion, and UV silicone coating processes. It needs no PE coating, which reduces consumables costs and use of plastic.

UPM Raflatac showed Raflex Pro, a flexible film offering high transparency for contoured and shaped containers which have previously been reliant on polyethylene (PE) labeling materials. The Linerless series of products uses 40 percent less raw materials than common adhesive materials, and all the raw materials are originated from FSC-certified sustainable managed forests.

Yupo exhibited its range of in-mould label synthetic materials, which need no peel-off and can be recycled along with containers. 

Converting equipment

Flying Man exhibited the Enzo-320CCD die-cutting machine.

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

SEI Laser presented the latest enhanced version of its Labelmaster modular system in two models, with web widths of 350 and 600mm. This complete modular system for roll-to-roll and roll-to-sheet digital die-cutting and finishing is suitable for the production of self-adhesive labels in all sectors: industrial, wine, food and beverage, beauty, textiles, flexible packaging, promotional, converting and many others.

Reborn showed a digital die-cutting system with integrated Rexroth servo motors.

Rhyguan exhibited 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. 

Miscellaneous

BST eltromat focused on the promotion of its Tubescan inspection product, and the company’s Martin Betting reported that local converters have begun looking for higher quality inspection systems. ‘The Chinese market previously was not very strong for us due to our pricing,’ he said, ‘but it has really picked up in the last year or so.’ The company has a factory in Shanghai.

Flint Group Narrow Web focused on Vivo Colour Solutions, launched in early 2019. The system is a database of colors and mixing recipes for any combination of ink type, and is designed to increase the converter’s color accuracy and reduce press downtime and substrate waste. Since its launch, Vivo Colour Solutions has been expanded to include 180,000 ink formulations and pantone references.

"We were highly impressed with the large number of visitors ot our booth and the detailed discussions"

Vivo Colour Solutions will translate all type of color targets and will work with multiple print methods and substrates. Label and packaging converters can enter the color target for their print jobs into the Vivo system and select ink type, printing method and print media, and the system sends a recipe on how to mix the right ink.

‘We were highly impressed with the large number of visitors at our booth and the detailed discussions,’ said Andrea Glawe, regional sales director for Asia-Pacific at Kroenert, a first-time Labelexpo Asia exhibitor. ‘The focus of Kroenert was to show the new developed double-side silicone coating system. The reactions from the visitors were very open minded. Additionally, we saw the interest in new label solutions, recycling trends, integration of RFID and NFC technologies in labels as well as new environmentally friendly concepts for chemicals.’

Lundberg Tech, manufacturer of waste extraction systems, will showed its MatrixCompactor 140 all-in-one waste extraction unit.

Luster launched 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, also showed inspection systems at the event. 

Meech International showed its latest technological developments to support label production, including CyClean R, Hyperion IonCharge50 (75W) and IonCharge30 (15W), and the Hyperion 960IPS. Meech also exhibited its other Hyperion static control and contact and non-contact web cleaning products.

RotoMetrics has a strong presence in Asia, with manufacturing in Australia and Bangkok – the latter has doubled in size in the past year – as well as a service office and exclusive local distributor in China. RotoMetrics’ Keith Laakko reported that the company is seeing increased use of thinner liners in the local market, for which RotoMetrics ‘has the ideal tools’. ‘There is also an increase in shipping labels, which uses lots of thermal transfer ribbons,’ he said. ‘Our AccuStar Life flexible die is the longest-lasting die in the market for this application.’


Flexpack Asia

With increasing demand for personalization and short runs in the flexible packaging segment, its appeal to label converters is broadening. Jantan is one example of a Chinese label converter which has entered flexible packaging production, following the installation of a Bobst Master M6 press.

Debuting at the show, the new Flexpack Asia feature area displayed the latest in flexible packaging technology. Exhibitors included Flint Group, 3G flexo, GMG, Haozhun, Lingtie, Dongguan Menroland, Jiangsu Shuangxing, Yidao, Siegwerk, Tide, Leco, Boyuan, Yinjinda and Qianrun. Products on display covered pre-press software, materials, printing equipment, finishing machines and inspection systems.

Guangdong Olger launched the OG330-CL8+1A narrow web satellite flexo press, designed for flexible packaging printing. Weigang debuted its newest ZP-480/680/900/1200 rotary offset press which targets medium and long runs of label production, as well as short and medium runs of flexible packaging.

Within this feature area, the Flexible Packaging Arena hosted live demonstrations each day of a Xeikon 3030 press and Wanjie 660 press producing flexible pouches.


Smart Zone

A dedicated 1,000sqm area of the show, the Smart Zone, featured various kinds of intelligent label technology from exhibitors including Color Stamp, Meteor Inkjet, Shanghai Liandian, Shanghai Lion, Shanghai Skilt, Unity Shanghai, Yuanmingjie, Testram, Xinjinglu, Tysin Technology, Highlight Software, Voyantic, Wing Singa, Trojanjet Intelligent and Osrfid.

Among the products on show, Ada introduced its new A6000W wide format RFID lamination machine, aimed at the plane luggage label market. With a modular design, it can integrate multiple processes in one line including inlay waste discharge, multi-layer composition, gluing, die-cutting and inspection.

Avery Dennison demonstrated RFID label technology for the aviation sector.  

Candibell is an intelligent sensor technology supplier that provides a remote, real-time monitoring and commercial automation platform. Its patented pouch sensor can be easily integrated into packaging. The intelligent sensor will automatically record customers’ motions and gestures during the purchasing process for review by brand owners, suppliers and customers. 

Chankey’s RFID tag laminator can laminate inlays with different material lengths, and features die-cutting, waste discharge and winding as well as inspection. 

Muehlbauer’s DDA 40K RFID system features a 30 percent smaller footprint, while its increased productivity is claimed to reduce RFID label production cost by 80 percent.

UPM Raflatac showed a variety of products used for RFID label production including substrates, double-side tapes and silicone coated base papers. Also on show were removable RFID labels and smart labels for refrigerated goods.


Labelexpo expands Chinese show portfolio 

Tarsus Group, the organizer of Labelexpo and Brand Print Global Series trade shows, has announced a further two three-day events in China for 2020: Labelexpo South China and Brand Print China.

Returning to South China for the first time since 2014, Labelexpo South China 2020 will take place in Tanzhou International Convention and Exhibition Center, Foshan City, Guangdong Province, in 2020. This region is part of the Pearl River Delta Economic Zone, South China’s major industrial hub, which currently accounts for 60 percent of China’s printing industry. 

Labelexpo South China will be co-located with the inaugural edition of Brand Print China 2020. As with other Brand Print shows, which are aimed at printers of all types of signage, promotional materials and collateral for brands, the Chinese show is intended to be a one-stop shop for all large format and digital printing needs, focusing on point of sale, point of display, fleet graphics, sampling packs, collation packs, corrugated luxury packaging and promotional graphics.


Show floor sales 

The many deals announced during the show included first-timer HanGlobal, which sold two digital presses with Zhiqin Printing investing in its second digital press, and Kunshan Mingting purchasing its 12th machine. 

During the exhibition, Vorey held talks with 128 visitors from all over the world and received dozens of purchase orders. Vorey vice general manager Jiang Jiuying told L&L that they sold fifteen VD320 digital label die-cutting machines, eight VD320 digital label press, seven VD3350 digital label presses, three SC340 sheet-fed digital die-cutters, one LC1000 digital die-cutter and several other systems.

Weigang sold 28 flexo presses and eight ZX offset machines, alongside a dozen potential lines of its new ZP-480 rotary offset press. 

Winbosc, which signed deals with six clients on site including Guangzhou Meikei, Taiyo Kikai, Donghong Print, Citic Guoan Wine Package (Ningxia), Tai’an Qingtu Laser Security Label, and Brazilian converter Megalabel.


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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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