Labelexpo Europe 2017 Preview: Focusing on Smart, Efficient Printing

Labelexpo Europe 2017 logoFour days… 30 hours… nine halls… 700 exhibitors… 375,000 sq. ft., covered by both machinery and materials… 35,000 attendees, all eager to establish a competitive edge. These are the defining marks of Labelexpo Europe 2017. The event, set for Sept. 25-28 at Belgium’s Brussels Expo, is forecast to break all records posted over the last 37 years. Its allure: the invitation to “Gain an unfair advantage.”

Show planners are encouraging label printers from all corners of the globe to “enhance existing machinery, increase efficiency and improve speed to market.” They promise to showcase “the most advanced label and package printing technology ever assembled,” and indicate it is imperative to, “See it live in action.”

Specifically, Lisa Milburn, Labelexpo Europe 2017 managing director, comments, “This year’s show will have a fresh layout, as the facility has been modernized and revitalized; at the same time, we’ve grown to cover nine exhibition halls.” She continues, “Early indications point toward lots of new products being launched!” To that, Lisa adds, “Visitors will get to meet and speak to the leading names in the industry; as well as see, touch and hear the latest technologies and smart and efficient printing solutions to hit the market.” Demonstrations will be happening regularly. Global label trends will be up for discussion. Networking opportunities will be plentiful.

Feature Attractions

Highlights of the event include the staging of technical seminars on:

  • Workflow automation
  • Shrink sleeve technology
  • Inks, coatings and varnishes
  • Day-to-day problem solving
  • Long-term strategic decision making

Singling out the introduction of an “Automation Arena,” as ranking among significant developments, Jade Grace, Labelexpo Europe 2017 project director, encourages printers to seize the opportunity to discover how label and packaging production will evolve over the next decade.

Jade explains, “Industry 4.0 is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. Demonstrating this shift toward combining industry with the Internet of Things (IoT), the Automation Arena is a practical live workshop featuring two automated press lines for digital and conventional label production. It will show visitors how information management can integrate workflow and automate production, working toward better performance, reliability and profitability for today’s printer.”

Located in Hall 11, the Automation Arena is being held in collaboration with Cerm, Esko, Xeikon, MPS, Kocher + Beck, AVT, Rotocontrol, Matho and Wasberger. Presentations will run daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. over the show’s first three days and once at 11 a.m. on the final day.

Automated processes demonstrated will include:

  • Job creation, artwork uploading and MIS order processing
  • Preflighting, quality checks, proofing and customer approval
  • Scheduling, ink and substrate checking
  • Tool ordering and the sending of JDF files, ready for printing
  • Conventional printruns
  • Slitter and turret rewinding
  • Batching, step and repeat, and preparation of job identification
  • Inline laser die cutting
  • Defect detection
  • Warehousing, job picking, shipping carrier allocation, customer notification and invoicing

Jade says, “To remain profitable, printers need to plan ahead by integrating their prepress and production workflows with their management operations by connecting their entire supply chain. Printers automating their business will boost their competitiveness and become more agile with lower costs, increased productivity and better reliability, leading to higher profit margins.”

In its second appearance, the Linerless Trail will focus on in-house production and new materials, as it showcases the benefits linerless label technology can bring printers.

Jade states, “We are seeing it be more widely used, particularly in food manufacturing. There are multiple benefits to going linerless—fundamentally preprinted pressure sensitive labels, without the traditional release coating and liner format that stops them from sticking to other labels—and printers looking to become more eco-friendly should consider a switch. It helps eliminate waste, drives down overhead costs and yields greater efficiencies in the printing and application stages.”

Labelexpo Europe 2017 will be the launch platform for FINAT’s Digital Label Study, an authoritative report, commissioned from LPC. It will offer a critical analysis of the current digital label printing technology landscape in Europe, identify trends and forecast future prospects.

Essential Tools

All that said, to acquire a true measurement of the impact, size and scope of Labelexpo Europe 2017, one must walk the expansive show floor. There, one will encounter everything from core offerings like anilox rolls and doctor blades, to inks, coatings and adhesives; or paper, film and sustainable substrates, to plate making and prepress solutions.

Also there for the finding: presses—digital, conventional, multiprocess—finishing systems, imaging systems, software, scanners, quality control tools, inspections systems, management information systems, automated workflows, project management applications, shrink sleeve technologies, plus functional effects, brand protection and color management systems.

In hopes of assisting Flexographic Technical Association members in navigating the trade floor, FLEXO Magazine assembled a list of FTA member companies and supporters that are showcasing products and services at Labelexpo Europe 2017. They number approximately 125 and account for nearly 20 percent of all exhibiting firms. See page two of this issue for the schematic blueprint and page five for a roster, complete with booth/stand assignments. All express strong commitment to bringing innovation in package print to a higher and higher level.

Taking things further, the magazine assembled an extensive list of those same firms’ new introductions and signature offerings. Answers to our query shed light on what to expect and where to find it. The company-by-company summary, beginning with presses and progressing through finishing systems, inspection tools, anilox rolls, substrates, inks, plates and processors, follows.