The landmark 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe was its largest, most international show held to date. A total of 693 exhibitors took part in the show, which took place between 24-27 September, at Brussels Expo in Belgium.
Poor weather didn’t deter 37,903 attendees from 140 countries flocking to the four-day show – a substantial increase on 125 countries in 2017.
As well as the increase in countries represented, show floor space rose from 37,600sqm in 2017 to 39,752sqm this time. There were more exhibitors, too: 693 compared to 679 two years ago. And there were increases in visitor numbers from various markets already sending large delegations, including Brazil (14 percent up), Russia (14 percent), India (8 percent) and Japan (6 percent). Eighty-three percent of exhibition space was rebooked onsite for Labelexpo Europe 2021.
Major press manufacturers announced multiple sales on a daily basis, including: HP’s 200th HP Indigo 20000 digital press, sold to a Slovenian converter; Domino’s 7-color N610i inkjet press sold to a Belgian converter on day one; Lombardi’s sale of five Synchroline 430 presses during the first two days of the show; Gallus’ sale of three presses into India; Konica Minolta’s AccurioLabel 230 toner label press, sold on day one and which also debuted at the show; Grafisk Maskinfabrik’s DC350 digital converting line and a SR350 inspection slitter rewinder sold to a UK converter; Grafotronic’s laser die-cutting system sold to an American label converter after launching the machine at the show; and Screen’s first Trupress sold into Germany.
Demonstrating that the show has evolved from a label exhibition into a wider package printing event, flexible packaging innovations were much in evidence, with press launches including Omet’s new X7 with 26in web width, Lombardi’s Invicta i2 line, designed for flexible packaging, and Nilpeter’s wider FA-Line press.
Hybrid machinery was another key trend, with launches including Bobst’s new Master DM5 hybrid label press, and MPS’ 17in version of its EF Symjet press. Mark Andy unveiled a new entry- to mid-level digital hybrid press, which was demonstrated with advanced in-line converting.
Other machinery launches included Gallus’ Digital Printbar digital embellishing unit. Konica Minolta premiered its AccurioLabel 230, while Grafotronic showcased seven new models out of a total eleven machines presented at the show.
Lisa Milburn, managing director of Labelexpo Global Series, said: ‘We are delighted that our 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe has been our largest, most international to date, especially as it is now rapidly moving forwards into a show that encompasses not just labels but also package printing. This was clear from the incredible array of flexible packaging innovations and hybrid machinery on the show floor, giving label converters ever more options to diversify their businesses.
‘The feedback we have received from visitors and exhibitors alike has consistently highlighted the superior quality of the leads, enquiries and contacts made at the show, with an incredible number of deals sealed on the exhibition floor and 83 percent of space already booked onsite for Labelexpo Europe 2021. This demonstrates that the global label and package printing industry remains as vibrant as ever, and that this show – 40 years on – is still a vital platform at the forefront of the entire supply chain.’
The show’s popular main feature, the Flexible Packaging Arena, drew in large crowds at every one of its eleven live demonstrations. Visitors witnessed a Xeikon CX500 digital press and a Bobst M6 UV flexo press producing indirect food contact flexible packaging to the latest GMP standards. In addition, HP Indigo offered live demonstrations of digital pouch making showcasing the HP Indigo 20000 digital press, Pack Ready Lamination, and the Karlville pouch-making machine.
At the Sustainability Insight Café, sponsored by Avery Dennison, Xeikon, Ravenwood Packaging and Sihl Artysio Packaging, visitors were able to see how they might boost their green credentials with a gallery of the latest sustainable innovations.
Reflecting increasing interest from Asia, and with just two months until Labelexpo Asia 2019, Labelexpo Europe 2019 also hosted its very first China Day on day one. This saw representatives from more than 100 label converters from China visiting the exhibition, including the vice president of trade association PEIAC, key show partner to Labelexpo Asia 2019.
The popular educational program – the show’s most extensive to date – drew in attendees eager to boost their industry knowledge. Three expert-led Label Academy hosted master classes covered the hot topics of Inks, Coatings and Varnishes; Digital Label and Package Printing; and Flexible Packaging, while a workshop covered Self-Adhesive Label Materials.
You can read a comprehensive review of Labelexpo Europe 2019 in Labels & Labeling issue 5, published in late October.