Actega Metal Print (AMP) has been preparing for the first EU-based commercial installations of its EcoLeaf metallization technology, following successful beta testing at six print houses in Europe.
Despite the pandemic, EcoLeaf provided the six label specialists with a new, differentiating, and profitable service capability, allowing its customers to adapt to changing consumer behaviors.
Jan Franz Allerkamp, CEO of Actega Metal Print, said: ‘How consumer choices have changed during 2020 is interesting. Due to restricted travel, limited duty-free purchases, and much-reduced bar and restaurant trade, the sale of luxury products has significantly reduced. And as a result, tier two and tier three markets have started to boom.
‘There is a clear shift in consumer purchases made online from home, of high quality but cheaper products - often wine, spirits, and cosmetics. For some of these products, EcoLeaf is being used by our customers to provide stunning metalized labels. And now, that brands understand the benefits of the technology, our customers anticipate the continued use of EcoLeaf for their metalized labels beyond the pandemic.’
The basis of EcoLeaf is a silver pigment that can be overprinted, leading to a rainbow of metallic colors, including gold. This technology can be integrated in-line on analog presses, digital printing presses, or finishing equipment. It consists of a printed trigger image and a metallization unit that applies only the precise and required amount of metal to the trigger image. The result of which is the eradication of foil, leading to sustainability and financial benefits.
AMP did have considerable challenges to overcome in 2020, including a lack of trade shows, which were crucial in its sales and marketing strategy. However, the absence of these shows did free-up resources to enable the company to refine the EcoLeaf technology further while also allowing it to roll-out other business support functions, such as training, much earlier than planned.
‘Of course, we greatly missed tradeshows as a mechanism to connect with the wider market, but we did make gains in other ways,’ added Allerkamp. ‘For instance, we’ve used the time to develop further our gold solution, as well as our food compliant trigger image too. This is important as our trigger image is non-conductive and suitable for metalized microwaveable packaging, which once we have this certification, opens-up yet more opportunities for our customers.’
Intended for all its guests at drupa 2020, the company produced a metalized label for a special Bavarian draft beer from Lake Starnberg. As the first beer label to feature EcoLeaf produced metallic decoration, it has since been used in AMP marketing activities to demonstrate the power of the technology.
Announced in May this year, the company also established a partnership with A B Graphic International (ABG). Within the agreement, ABG now manages direct sales, marketing, and customer service for EcoLeaf, starting first in the European Union and the UK.
‘We are very pleased with the success of our beta program to date. With the promise of a vaccine being available next year, we are also very optimistic about the year ahead and the start of a general economic recovery. In between time, we will no doubt see further adoption of the “next normal” with companies finding new ways to conduct business despite the remaining challenges – we will work hard to support the market with whatever comes next,’ concluded Allerkamp.