By Cassandra Balentin
Launched in 1989, Labelexpo Americas is touted as the largest event for the label and package printing industry in the Americas. This year, the event took place from September 13 to 15, 2016 at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
According to show organizers, Label Expo Americas saw 17,407 label and package printing professionals, as well as an 8.5 percent increase in attendee numbers at this year’s event. The show features a floor size of over 201,000 square feet and hosted more than 455 exhibitors, including over 100 first-time exhibitors.
As digital continues to gain ground in this segment of the print industry, new technologies dominate the show floor. Here, we provide just a sampling of the digital solutions showcased at the label-focused event this Fall.
Allen Datagraph (ADSI) introduced a new CMYK+White printer and the ability to print white on its existing printers. Demonstrations of the ADSI iTech CENTRA 5, and ADSI iTech SPECTRUM with white option showed converters and printers how to use white to print on clear or colored substrates. The company also demonstrated how it can be used as a design element. Allen Datagraph also displayed its iTech CYPHER digital label printer, iTech CENTRA digital label finisher, and iTech AXXIS XL digital label finisher.
Arconvert U.S., along with GPA, showcased its complete range of Manter and Adhoc self-adhesive products, which are exclusively available in North America from Arconvert U.S.
The Manter offering includes a selection of luxury label papers and films for high-value labeling applications printed on flexographic and HP Indigo presses.
Adhoc is its solution for everyday product labeling. This collection of labels and films for flexographic printing is available in a variety of colors and finishes, with different adhesive options for a range of uses.
Earlier this year, Arconvert U.S. joined GPA as the only other North American member of Fedrigoni Group when they began operations in Cerritos, CA.
Xaar plc announced that Codimag, a French manufacturer of label printing equipment, launched the Xaar Print Bar System integrated into its VIVA340 modular press. The VIVA340 is a modular press that can be specified according to customers’ needs and features major printing or finishing processes inline.
The Xaar Print Bar System, when integrated into the VIVA340, can be used to add high-opacity white, varnish, or black in a single pass to four-color labels right up to high end labels for premium products.
Durst announced strategic steps forward in the capabilities offered with its label product portfolio. On display for the first time in the U.S., a new budget-priced, single-pass Tau 330 E UV Inkjet Label Press. The device features high pigmented UV inks for reduced ink consumption. It is designed with the small- and medium-sized label converters in mind. The company also demonstrated its own production workflow software for label print production providers.
The Tau 330 platform is a UV inkjet label press with more than 100 installations worldwide. It features a 13-inch print width, up to seven colors, and offers printing speeds of up to 169 feet per minute with up to 1,260 dpi print resolutions. The press features leading edge production capacity and print quality, and thanks to its seven color stations, achieves close to 90 percent Pantone color gamut coverage.
In cooperation with OMET the 330 series presents unlimited material flexibility for a vast range of applications. Its new near-line primer station provides increased material flexibility and cost-saving potential and its flexible post-press finishing options complete the near-line label production needs.
Epson made several exciting announcements about its commercial label products, including the availability of the SurePress L-6034 digital label press and the introduction of the ColorWorks C7500G with Wasatch RIP.
The company announced that the SurePress L-6034W is now shipping. It is Epson’s first single-pass industrial press and the first to use its PrecisionCore linehead technology and low migration LED UV curing ink.
The company also showcased its ColorWorks C7500G product with the Wasatch SoftRIP. The combination offers advanced, on demand, full-color glossy label printing with spot color matching in a fast turnaround time.
Finally, Epson announced that it exceeded 200 installed worldwide units of its SurePress label product.
iSys Label introduced the LUNA 850, a desktop cutsheet printer designed for small lot wine and beverage producers. The solution fits 8.5×11-inch sheets of die cut label material, allowing its users to bring beverage label printing in house.
The company also showcased its flagship APEX 1290 and EDGE 850 digital label printers for short- to mid-run production. With media print widths ranging from 3 to 12.9 inches wide, these printers allow users to eliminate the need for ordering pre-printed labels, reduce inventory and wait times, and allows users to customize each label with variable information in full color.
Kodak showcased the Kodak Flexcel NX System, which was introduced at drupa 2016. Through a partnership with MPS Systems, the company featued live demonstrations in the MPS booth.
The KODAK PROSPER Press and S-Series Imprinting Solutions are both impactful options for labels and packaging printers, enabling variable and versioned printing for mass markets with digital print and hybrid technologies. Exhibitors visited the Kodak Studio to learn about label versioning and customization for everything from beverage labels printed with water-based inks at a speed of 2,000 half-liter bottle labels per minute per print lane to food package printing with four-inch lanes of customization at up to 3,000 feet per minute.
Lake Image Systems
Lake Image Systems demonstrates its high-performance inspection solutions for label and packaging converters. Demonstrations included pharmaceutical label print and verification solution, encoded RFID verification with print quality assurance solution, centralized duplicate label detection solution, and tax stamp inspection solution.
Mark Andy debuted Digital One, a new entry-level digital printing and converting label press. Designed to print short runs of prime labels with inline converting at an unprecedented low investment level, Digital One is an ideal for introducing digital printing to any business.
The new all-in-one press offering four-color CMYK digital process at a 1,200×1,200 dpi resolution on a pay-as-you-go model combined with a single flexographic station for inline converting and decorating, promises to deliver a profitable solution for the growing demand for short run. The standardized configuration features a web width of 13 inches with printing speeds reaching 63 feet per minute on various substrates including pressure-sensitive paper and film, unsupported paper, and tag stocks. The servo-driven flexographic station offers capabilities to spot color, varnish, laminate, and cold foil with inline finishing offering die cutting, stripping, and slitting capabilities.
Digital One joins a newly designed Performance Series P7, Digital Series hybrid solution along with Rotoflex HSI, VLI, and VSI finishing solutions.
MBO America debuted the BSR 550 Basic rotary die cutting system, offering label, package, and commercial print providers the opportunity to buy a solid, high-performance die cutter.
The BSR 550 Basic is an all-in-one rotary die cutting system designed for the mainstream 20×29-inch cutsheet market. A key innovation in the system’s design eliminates manual production steps, resulting in five minute makereadies. This benefit substantially improves productivity and turn-around times, especially as the industry demands shorter runs.
MGI unveiled two innovations in digital post press technology along with its global business partner, Konica Minolta—the AIS SmartScanner and the JETVarnish 3DW.
The MGI Artificial Intelligence SmartScanner is designed to manage postpress treatments for all types of digital, flexographic, and offset-printed materials, it offers “Intelligent Registration” functionality by scanning and analyzing every piece fed through the system and then adjusting inkjet printhead performance in real-time to optimize and correct for any printed or physical imperfections.
Additionally, the company features its fully digital, roll-fed production label enhancement press, the new MGI JETvarnish 3DW provides stunning 2D/3D UV dimensional textures and personalized, embossed Variable Data Foiling decorative special effects without dies, screens, or expensive tooling on narrow web labels.
Prototype & Productions Systems, Inc. (PPSI) demonstrated live printing with distinct examples of its DICE inkjet technology.
The DICEweb system adds high-resolution UV color inkjet printing to existing roll-to-roll equipment. It converts almost any existing flexographic press to a hybrid printer that combines the best of flexographic printing—for special colors, whites, pre-coats, and varnishes – with up to six colors of digital print. It also allows printers to use existing investments in finishing equipment, registering the digital print to inline die-cutting or sheeting equipment, without the need to move rolls.
PPSI also showcased Electron Beam (EB) drying technology from ebeam Technologies—formerly PCT Systems—in a proof-of-concept demonstration of food-safe digital printing of labels and packaging. A DICElab printer that uses EB-curable inkjet inks to print onto a multi-layer flexible packaging film was shown together with an ebeam Inkjet Dryer unit. By avoiding the potentially harmful photo initiators used in UV-curable inks, EB printing has the potential to allow short-run, variable data printing of food packaging materials.
On the Mark Andy stand, Rotoflex presented an array of offline finishing solutions. The newest Business Responsive Technology from Rotoflex is the HSI 330, a solution designed for high-volume label slitting, inspection, and rewinding in an operator-friendly horizontal configuration. Joining the HSI is the compact, high-speed VSI 330 slitter rewinder and the VLI 700 premier inspection, slitting, and rewind system for conventional labels and unsupported film.
As traditional label and packaging converters continue to add digital technologies, and print providers from other segments eye the opportunity, we watch the market in optimistic anticipation. dps
Oct2016, DPS Magazine