Labelexpo Europe should be approached as an opportunity to rethink business models as converters in mature markets are faced with increasing price pressure and concentration of buying power among global brands and retailers.
The business models which sustained the label industry through times of double digit growth are now obsolete, with PS industry growth in North America, Europe and Japan barely reaching into the low single digits.
At the same time, at Labelexpo Europe we see an explosion of innovation from suppliers opening up new avenues for growth – either creating new opportunities where none existed before, or allowing us to run existing technologies with far greater efficiencies and reduced waste. In digital we see fascinating new lines of innovation. HP Indigo expands its offering into industrial-scale B2 carton and flexible packaging presses, tightly integrated with priming, coating and converting systems; Xeikon allows heat fusion digital presses to handle heat-sensitive materials.
Inkjet technology is finding its own niche, often alongside rather than in competition with the toner technologies, targeting market segments including pharma and as a direct replacement for screen printing.
For conventional presses we now have the first fully functional LED-UV curing systems –demonstrated on Mark Andy and Gallus presses at the show – along with growing support from ink manufacturers, with both Flint and Siegwerk demonstrating full ink series. At the same time new ‘conventional’ UV lamp systems deliver previously unimaginable gains in energy efficiency for the equivalent curing power.
On the materials side, Ritrama’s Core system can be seen for the first time, holding out the possibility of revolutionizing the uptake of linerless in the high-end HPC sector. Add to this adhesives allowing filmic labels to be separated cleanly in a bottle recycling system, along with clever filmic constructions allowing new problems to be solved for end users, and we see new business opportunities opening up before us.
I look forward to welcoming you to the show and seeing you on the L&L stand along with our global editorial team.