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  • 23 Nov 2011

Labelexpo Europe 2011 review: Materials

With converters looking to add value and move away from low cost commodity labels, Carol Houghton looks at some of the material developments on display at Labelexpo

Ahlstrom launched Acti-V, a new release paper which allows improved silicone anchorage. This reduces the adjustment necessary on the coating machine, increasing coating speeds by up to 30 percent. As well as improving productivity, the manufacturer says costs are lower as the catalyst can be reduced by 60 percent. In addition, temperature requirements are not so high, saving on energy.

French company Armor announced a 12 million euro investment on a new production site and focused on the environmental sustainability of its thermal transfer ribbons.

Avery Dennison was promoting a range of innovative products apart from its ThinStream program (see news section). The Curvy/Curve Appeal system was introduced to European converters for the first time, combining a machine and PS label material which allows complex curved containers to be labeled – and delivering up to 30 percent more space for primary labeling. Another new product is Shrink PS, a pressure sensitive film engineered to survive the vacuum-shrink process without wrinkling. This allows food processors to eliminate preprinted shrink bag inventory, and means products can be differentiated at a later stage in the packaging process.

What Avery claims is the thinnest conformable PE film available for the premium food market was launched. Fasson PE-LG has a 70 micron face stock matched with a new high tack adhesive. ‘Despite the ongoing pressure on costs, with Fasson PE-LG, we believe we can convince premium chilled food brand owners to use filmic pressure-sensitive materials,’ said Joanna Wolska-Kinnening, senior product manager, films for Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials Europe.

Other new products included a global MDO film laminate for the high volume home and personal care market, plasma bag labels, and self-adhesive medallions for the premier wine sector.

Bluestar Silicones introduced the latest additions to its Silolease Optima Concept product range, The new system allows faster coating speeds and lower temperature curing across a wider range of substrates and machine conditions. Pascal Chavlon Demersay, CEO, says the company sees a growth in narrow web converters siliconizing their own materials, and increasing use of UV-cured silicones.

Boise announced it is branching out from release liners into facestock for prime labeling. The product still meets strength requirements and prevents tear on the matrix whilst lighter weight means more labels on the roll.

The Channeled Resources Group announced it is adding hotmelt adhesives to the second use PS components it already offers. They will be sourced directly from adhesive manufacturers or from pressure-sensitive laminators. Comments CEO Calvin Frost: ‘It makes sense to close the pressure-sensitive components loop.   We already recover and reuse surplus facestocks and release liners. Adding hotmelt adhesives to the equation enables us to offer the market the chance to create economical pressure-sensitive laminates. Hotmelts have a long shelf life, and deliver low-cost, general-purpose performance;  and with little or no solvent content, they are safe to handle and transport.’

Collano showed new adhesive product lines for transparent film labels and tapes, a printable pressure-sensitive adhesive, the latest generation of deep-freeze adhesives and a specialty adhesive made from renewable sources.

Dow Corning launched its Syl-Off solvent-free silicone release coating system for filmic liners, offering long term anchorage on both primed and un-primed polyester films. The manufacturer says the thermal-cure system displays excellent release stability against both acrylic solvent and water-based adhesives, and low release force values at low peel speed.

Christian Velasquez, global market director at Dow Corning, estimates that film release liner, mostly PET, is growing in Europe at rates over 10 percent, and now accounts for some 15 percent of the market. ‘It is exciting that now we can emulsion coat these films at a low coat weight,’ he said. The new silicone system is used primarily for filmic face stocks, but Dow Corning is looking their use on filmic release liners for paper labels.

Christian Velasquez said the move towards emulsion coatings is the big trend at the show. ‘They are easier to handle and the coating equipment is cheaper, opening up new market opportunities. We have already reduced the amount of platinum in our Advantage series and this has been extended to the emulsion products, enhancing their sustainability.’

The company also added new anti-mist additives to its Syl-Off Advantage series of silicone release coatings to prevent misting at high line speeds and allow for optimal use of fast-curing paper and filmic release coating systems.

ETI converting equipment introduced its emulsion acrylic Cohesio technology, which brings label printers the flexibility of using both emulsion and solvent acrylic adhesives, as well as hot melt and UV hot melt adhesives, in one Cohesio multi-functional inline coating and printing system. The company also showed its new Miniliner, an ultra-thin clear PET or BOPP liner of 12 microns which is said to substantially reduce waste and increase productivity for end users. The Miniliner can be die-cut at speeds up to 150 meters a minute and is adaptable to ETI`s Cohesio technologies.

ExxonMobil announced a program of new technology development targeting several decorating technologies, including pressure sensitive labels (PSL), cut & stack labels and shrink label substrates. L&L will bring more news on these developments as they come
on line.

Hanita Coatings introduced a variety of specialty products, including a novel water-indicative PET label face film which reveals a clear color change from blue to white on immersion or dampening, without reacting to humidity. The company also showed a 23 micron UV stabilized clear polyester overlaminate film with a proprietary anti-grafitti/scratch resistant dry-erase coating that retains gloss, clarity and dimensional stability in hostile environments. Also on the stand were new tamper indicative and high security films and new films optimized for digital print.

Herma, highlighted its new ISEGA certified HermaperfectTack 62Gpt adhesive for direct food contact with. The company’s multi-layer coating technology is used to apply a second layer which enhances the initial tack of labels applied in hostile conditions, such as low temperature and moisture. The second layer influences the flow behaviour of the adhesive, ensuring it bonds faster and better with the surface to which the label is being attached. The adhesive is suitable for direct contact with dry, moist and fatty foodstuffs (reduction factor 4).

Herma also exhibited Lam, a label paper for contactless printing with a low maintenance CO2 laser (black color change). The method allows labels to be individually inscribed anywhere in the production process and the material’s coating makes it ideal for applications requiring non-smudge, scratchproof label papers resistant to oil and grease.

Belgium-based Idempapers presented a new range of specialty papers. The C1S Papers for self-adhesive laminates have been expanded from the original SA 80 gsm to 90 and 100 gsm grades. The company also launched Label SA 70 gsm, a more ‘sustainable’ product with physical and mechanical characteristics close to the standard 80 gsm.

Innovia launched a BOPP film targeted at reusable glass bottles in the beverage market, typically dominated by paper. ‘It has been a long and challenging process to find a workable solution based entirely on biaxially oriented polypropylene,’ said Mike Taylor, product manager. A key feature of the new film is its caustic resistant top coat which ensures the ink remains on the film during the wash process and does not contaminate the wash solution. The film’s low density means it floats in the caustic wash, where it can be easily separated. Innovia also extended its IML range with a low distortion BOPP film. Steve Langstaff, product manager, OPP said, ‘this is a real breakthrough. It takes BOPP into areas where only cast previously worked. An almost clear ‘no label’ look can be achieved.’ The company is also working with manufacturers to develop thermal IML technology. Intercoat launched a comprehensive range of 14 premium wet strength papers with an anti-fungicidal treatment for wine labeling. Mathias von Bargen, division manager sales and marketing, said the market is still in the process of changing from wet-glue labels to PSA labelling and there is a huge potential for premium wine papers. Intercoat’s WP5 adhesive is a permanent water-based acrylic dispersion with strong initial tack to cope with high speed labelling lines. It also performs well with slightly cold and wet bottles, as well as in ice bucket conditions.

Jujo Thermal added a fluorescent option for promotional thermal transfer labels and launched the thermal top coated ML-series for high definition printing. As reported in issue 4, the company has been working on a range of non-phenol products. The company’s Jens Remmer sees little threat from inkjet for demanding industrial environments.

Lintec launched the Venti Label, an adhesive film applied to molded plastics which allows the gas generated from the plastic molding process to be released after over-lamination. The company also showed its new tire label adhesive technology and a new adhesive for siliconized and other low energy surfaces.

Mactac launched its U Coex55 line of thin film synthetic face materials, jointly developed with its parent Bemis group, a specialist in flexible packaging. MP318N and MP318N UV, meanwhile, are new pharma-approved adhesives, now also available with a 30 µm PET liner. To serve the food industry, FA103 is a special adhesive for direct contact with fatty food, available with several paper and filmic face materials.

Manter showed for the first time a self-adhesive paper fused with film, giving them a high wet strength and allowing wet glue labels to be replaced in a number of applications. The company was also promoting its recently launched Sommelier & Gourmet range of high quality label papers for the luxury wine and food label segments.

NewPage Specialty Papers demonstrated its extensive portfolio including the expanded OptiPrime Family of pressure sensitive face stocks, which now includes OptiPrime Matte and OptiPrime Digital Matte. OptiPrime Digital Matte is certified for printing on HP Indigo presses.

Polinas Plastik focued on its BOPP wrap-around, pressure sensitive and IML label films, while Polyonics promoted its high temperature overlaminate products with new clear and amber options for thermal and flexo printing. It also showed its new high temperature clear label materials with resistance to shrink up to 220 degrees Celsius.

Ritrama showcased a wide range of new self-adhesive products materials in its wine and digital roll ranges. For the pharma sector these included AP 912, an acrylic permanent high tack adhesive suitable for small diameter substrates. Soft Touch is a thin (17µ) printable laminating polypropylene film, providing a velvet feel for personal care products.

SMI Coated Products a new range of products into the European market, including clear on clear, filmic liner-based labelstocks, and low migration products for the pharma industry. Ajay Mehta, managing director, agreed the label sector is experiencing a shift from paper to filmic liners in response to a push for more environmentally friendly products. He added; ‘it is an exciting time. The transition is a challenge for the whole industry and suppliers must move ahead. Companies must be proactive to defend self-adhesive technology and keep on being flexible.’

Super Film launched a BOPP film for patch labeling matched with a water-based adhesive, in response to demands from high quality beer and wine producers wanting a better performance than paper labels but without the cost of clear-on-clear PS. The company has developed a water receptive layer on the back of the label.

Torraspapel showed new developments in its one-side coated, metalized, cast-coated and thermal label papers as well as its self-adhesive label materials. It also announced a new machine will be brought on line in Spain, doubling its self-adhesive production capacity and allowing the company to move into new segments such as cosmetics and security and provide better service for its central and Eastern European customers. Another investment is the installation of a new metallizer at the Leitza mill, Spain to increase production capacity of Metalvac – a line of 100 percent recyclable high-vacuum metalized papers – by 70 percent. This will allow the company to improve its presence in the high end, premium beer and spirits segment. Carmen Burgo Pena said label papers is a growing market with plenty of opportunities.

UPM Raflatac launched a range of special products. First up is a new range of security solutions using optical brightening agents (OBAs) printed as text or graphics on the underside of the face label, followed by adhesive coating to provide a secure traceability/authenticity solution. A migration safe pharma adhesive, Purus, suitable for labeling small diameter glass, PE and PP containers, was also announced. The company introduced a new website called Pro Label Studio which helps designers select the right label materials for different end-uses and renders textured previews on various kinds of product packaging. By rotating the previews, users get a feel for how the selected combinations work in real life. UPM Raflatac also announced important cooperation agreements with 3M to improve adhesive development capabilities, and Spanish label stock manufacturer Gombau to speed up UPM’s product development in UV hot melt technology for the wine market. In response to continued environmental pressures, the company will continue to support its Rafcycle waste management project.

The fluctuating price of platinum catalysts was raised by Nikolaus Miesbach, marketing manager at Wacker Chemie. ‘Customers want catalysts containing platinum but prices keep fluctuating, and we need to keep helping them reduce waste and lower the use of platinum.’

This article was published in L&L issue 5, 2011