70% 0f the world’s population is either Christians (32%) or Muslims (23%) or Hindus (15%). It is a strange fact that for all these 70% people, it is in the last 3-4 months of a calendar year that they are in a state of bliss, elation or jubilation! It is the peak festival time for all these three religions. Christmas, Eid and Diwali are all celebrated with indulgence and fervor. As the year, nears this time; expectancy, euphoria, partying and celebration is on minds of all, young and old. Another relatively young religion as I term it, “The global label fraternity”, also gets into the celebration mode during this time of the year, though this happens once in two years. It is a time when the Label industry gets ready to celebrate their biggest festival or their biggest industry event, “Labelexpo Europe” at Brussels. The industry constituents around the world look forward to this event not only as a platform for knowledge but also a time to network, celebrate and party with industry peers around the world, giving credibility to the saying, “The world is round so that friendship may encircle it!”. Months ahead of the show people start to plan their visit and their programme. It is definitely comparable to the involvement of people in festivals mentioned above, the spirit of celebration is evident. In an effort to put together the industry sentiments, I wrote to industry leaders around the world to express how they feel about this event and what they expect, the kind of response I got is amazing! I wrote to label printers and industry suppliers and almost all either responded or while I write, their responses are still pouring in, I hope I can do justice and mention their responses. Over 60 people have written back already!
The equipment suppliers are the backbone of every successful print show, evolution in technology happens with need for new equipment to implement the innovation of those taking the power to print to another level. The inherent necessity of the equipment suppliers to present their creations to printers around the world needs a platform to showcase their wares. The platform needs to be such that it attracts the global label industry to a single event making it worthwhile for them to witness the change taking place, all at one venue where all the leaders, peers and suppliers are present. Labelexpo provides the possibilities that nurture these needs and no wonder the equipment suppliers are the biggest financial support to such an event. Label press suppliers, lead the exhibitors team from the front and they are committed. Peter Eriksen, Chief Operating Officer of Nilpeter A/S headquartered in Denmark says, “ Nilpeter is always excited about going to the Labelexpo. It is not only a perfect chance to showcase our newest technology, but also an opportunity to meet rest of the industry players. Nilpeter is a long-term key supplier to the printing industry, it is our "duty" to bring new innovation to the Labelexpo show – and contribute to making it the greatest label show on earth!” Marco Calcagni, Sales Director Omet Srl Italy informs that they will showcase their Xflex X6 in a combination of flexo and offset with sleeve technology and that it is indeed the best show on earth to exhibit such innovations. However he feels that to present innovation in the right perspective and to make the desired impact, the show should be held at 3-4 years duration. An interesting advice to the label printers comes from Federico d’Annunzio Managing Director Nouva Gidue Italy, “At Labelexpo Europe the strategies of the whole Label Industry are defined. New trends, new technologies, and the future of our industry are there. Be there as a supplier or as a converter or as an active member of the Label industry and you will be preparing for a meaningful growth of your company.” Bibiana Rodriguez Managing Director ROTATEK Spain reaffirms her commitment, “We will have the same stand as last edition and we will exhibit this time 3 machines, 2 models for a worldwide presentation!”
I could not get the personal comments of Ferdinand ‘Rüesch of Gallus who showcase
Chiara Prati asserts, “Labelexpo Europe is an exceptional stage
where the elite of label industry worldwide is present” Prati will showcase their STARplus off-line turret as an alternative solution to the traditional slitter/rewinders. It works in-line with any printing and converting machine. The Company will also be making its official entry into the packaging sector with the brand new ALHENA IML series, in one of its most advanced segments: In-Mould-Labelling. According to Marco Aengenvoort of Rotocontrol “it is the main tradeshow we invest in” Rotocontrol will unveil it’s the new DT340FC digital finishing line featuring an automatic knife positioning system and an integrated fully-automatic 4-spindle turret. Also demonstrated will be the DSP340 pharmaceutical inspection machine, the P440S high-speed die cutting machine, the P340 basic high speed slitter, and the company’s flagship RSC 340 high-speed slitter including a 100% inspection system. Innovation and technical up gradation so as to reduce waste, protect the environment and achieve faster production to attain economies of scale, are imperatives for evolution of any product. Montreal, Canada based ETI converting has been in the forefront in developing the liner less self adhesive label technology. ETI will be showcasing its Mini-Cohesio, a servo driven in-line coating technology using 50% less space with 30% shorter web path and a faster setup time. This innovative technology is ideal to convert an unsupported pre-printed film or paper into finished labels. The 330 mm (13“) web width press with the Pellicut technology enables die-cutting on extremely thin release liners. Also on show will be pre-printed shampoo label being silicone and adhesive coated, as well as die-cut on an 18 microns (0.75 mil) PET liner being converted in one manufacturing process from raw material to finished product at a speed of up to 150 meters per minute (500 fpm). Lars beck President, Kocher + Beck informs that his company will display three new versions of our adjustable anvil cylinder “GapMaster”, “TecScreen“ material and universal use screen mounting tower. He further expresses, “Increasing number of Label shows makes products expensive. As the complete supply chain is suffering from price increases, shows need to be reinvented.” Raul Sylvestre of Lartec says we will display our full existing range. The show he says, is actually the only one worth spending money on. Peter Henderson of Esko responded, "Labelexpo is in my opinion one of the best shows I have attended, one location that is totally dedicated to labels, this is the show that not only reconfirms customers buying decision, but is the footprint for technology in the coming years, it's everything in Labels covering the entire process from consumables to digital to conventional.”
The ultimate test of strength of any show is the visitors, the label printers who are the buyers of what the exhibitors have to offer. The quality and number of visitors decides the importance or success of a print show. At labelexpo it is no different. The show continues to attract the global label fraternity to its showings on an ongoing basis. Printers come from all corners of the world. John Hickey, CEO of the 135 years old Smyth Companies, one of the largest label producers in North America has his focus on digital technologies besides other things at the show, he wrote” Brussels’ show always seems to lead the pack for product introductions amongst Label Expos” The growing interest in digital technologies is reinforced by Sandeep Lal President of another one of North America’s largest label printing companies, Toronto Canada based Metro Label Company. However he would like to comment on whether Labelexpo-Europe is actually the largest on Earth, after he has visited the event. Mikael Dahl, VP/Technical Director, Co-owner AB W.H. Nordvall & Co. Sweden will spend all the days at the show. His interest lies in digital and offset printing equipment and evaluating how as leading label converter they can add value to present business, extending product portfolio to production of flexibles, tubes and carton products. Commenting on the show tagline he says, “Absolutely, the one and only show! It is a pleasure meeting/networking with colleagues and all nice people who join up on this great event, a chance we shouldn´t miss out!” Roland Schreiner, President and CEO of Munich Germany based 130 million Euro Schreiner group agrees to the importance of this show. He expresses “It is always very interesting to see the latest trends and technologies of our industry, especially in digital printing. Besides this, it is very enjoyable to meet the colleagues from all over the world and discuss about the current situation as well as the future.” Nimeesh Lilani of Pacman-CCL Group Dubai defines the show as an “amalgam of the label industry” They look forward to meeting suppliers who normally do not visit their region. Karachi, Pakistan based Hanif Usman from AG-GiGi (PVT) Ltd does not agree this is the largest show however he did not mention what other show he held in comparison. He will look for technologies to produce neck labels. Tehran Iran based Ahmad Kavoosi of Parsian Labeling has a voracious appetite for knowledge and will visit to satisfy that urge. He also looks forward to meet his global label family at Brussels. Sathis Abeywickrama Managing Director Flexiprint Srilanka will visit to look for innovations. Manoj Garg of Gulfscan Sharjah UAE has networking in focus besides new technology upgradation. He feels UAE printers can cater to the growing markets more effectively. Zulqiurnain Ali Khan CEO of Jeddah Saudi Arabia head quartered, Zultecgroup with presence at 22 locations worldwide will be looking for New Presses, Inspection Systems, Auto Turret Rewinders, and Software for Costing and Production. He feels, “It is a good and informative show.” Ageing is a process that we have to accept as an eventuality and transition of power to the generation next or to a younger and more effective management is a part of commitment that all passionate business persons have towards their business ventures. Last year my friend Helmut Schreiner handed over the reins of the Schreiner Group to his son Roland Schreiner. Now while I was reviewing the responses I came across one from my Australian friend, Allan Dabschek of Austab, he wrote “I am formally retiring from Austab Labels Pty Ltd on 2nd September 2013 after 45 years as the principal. I am not planning to go to Label Expo this year as per settlement and change of ownership etc of the company. Yes it is the Greatest Label Show on the face of our tiny planet. Have a great time when you are there”. Allan has been a regular visitor to all labelexpos, I feel sad I will not see my friend this year at this show.
As regards the Indian presence at Labelexpo Europe, it has steadily grown in the last
eight years. It is a matter of pride for me that my company, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi was the only Indian exhibitor at the 2005 edition of this event. My colleagues in the industry rightfully picked up the lead and the no. of exhibitors have grown steadily to reach 16 exhibitors this year. Weldon will exhibit yet again through their stationery and manufacturing division. The Indian offering is a complete and diverse mix from equipment manufacturers, material suppliers and tooling suppliers. Indian press manufacturer Multitec will be exhibiting for the second time with a running press, the only Indian press manufacturer to have endeavored to do so. Amit Ahuja Director Multitec informs they will exhibit their Ecoflex VSi, 6 colour press with rail system having cold foil, turn-bar and a newly developed delam-relam system. Leading India film supplier Cosmo films will display top coated BOPP films for PS Labelstock. Clear, white opaque and metalized variances are available in this category. Also available are direct thermal printable, thermal transfer printable, Linerless HP Indigo digital printable and coated BOPP films. First time exhibitor Anuj Bhargava of Kumar labels says “We shall display our offline re-register rotary die-cutting machine. This is possibly the world’s most compact machine and first ever from India.” Labelstock producer Ajay Mehta Managing Director SMI coated products private limited, Mumbai who will exhibit their entire range, says “There is something in the air, at the Label Show, Brussels which justifies it to be the greatest Label Show on Earth. The vibrancy at the show is amazing and the industry across the world gets together here.” A large number of Indian visitors are expected at Brussels. Many Label printers have responded with similar comments. Narendra Paruchuri heading Pragati Offset Pvt Ltd Hyderabad sums it all in these words” At these shows we never look for anything in particular. This is a good platform for launch of new technologies and we can see, assimilate and guesstimate where and how we can use the technology. I tend to agree with that tag line and that seems to be the reason why like Drupa, most companies would like to have their technologies debut here at LabelExpo.” Leading label printers who responded similarly include Amar Chhajed of Webtech Mumbai, Gururaj Ballarwad of Wintek (ITW) Bangalore, Kuldip Goel Anygraphics Noida, Rajesh Nema Pragati Graphics Indore, Dinesh Mahajan Prakash Labels Noida, Mahendra Shah of Renault Paper Palghar and Ramesh Deshpande Renu Prints Aurangabad. There are others like Jigesh Dani of Maharshi Labels in Ahmedabad who are more specific in their focus to visit Labelexpo and with purchase intentions on their minds. Chandan Khanna heading Ajanta Packaging with production facilities at Daman, Baddi and Sharjah (UAE) surprised all at labelexpo Brussels a few years ago by buying two label presses in one go. When I called him to ask he laughed and says, “Wait for surprises.”
The preview or the review would not be complete without understanding the vision and indulgence of the organizers of this show. I quote Douglas Emslie, Group Managing Director of Tarsus who own the labelexpo group, “The vision is very simple – to continue offering the best possible show for visitors and exhibitors alike. 2013’s edition will be the largest ever in our 33 year history. We are committed to ensure that we continue to deliver the best content possible. We are in a very strong position when it comes to understanding and addressing what is going on with global and more localized trends in the label and package printing industry. This knowledge is put to the most helpful, relevant and beneficial use it can be for our show visitors and delegates.” When asked about adding more to the fun part for the visitors, he says “Labelexpo Europe is definitely about working hard and playing hard! I always feel that Labelexpo takes over Brussels when the show is on there. What started out as a small, specialist niche event for the label sector in 1980 has become one of the biggest brands in the exhibition world because it has remained true and in sync with its audience. Labelexpo has and always will be entirely focused on the needs of label and package printers rather than the wider commercial print industry.”
At this time I would like to also mention the efforts of Finat The worldwide trade
association for the self-adhesive labeling and adjacent industries based in The Hague, Netherlands. The association has been in existence for over 50 years. One of the aims of FINAT from its foundation has been to develop, promote and defend the interests of self-adhesive labeling. This mission has been part of the FINAT articles of Association and no doubt was the explicit wish of the founding fathers in the late 1950s. Over the last 50 years FINAT has done a lot to achieve these aims. Jules Lejeune Managing Director Finat communicates to inform the label industry “As always, FINAT, as the co-hosting partner of Labelexpo Europe will have a prominent hospitality stand in Hall 11 (P40), where members are welcome for refreshments and to use it as meeting point for discussions with fellow members. FINAT’s staff and volunteer leaders will take turns to welcome visitors and inform them about the benefits of FINAT membership, and the added benefits of active participation in committees, projects and events. We will also have a small meeting room that subject to availability can be reserved for limited time slots. At the stand there will be permanent exhibition of winning labels. As at previous occasions, there will be a separate Recycling Desk where label printers and users of labels can learn about the different recovery and recycling programmes for liners and matrix materials across Europe. As special features, each day FINAT will host a special interest session at its stand. Hosts confirmed for these sessions are Tony White (Design & Print), Calvin Frost (liner and matrix recycling) and on the use of FINAT Test Methods. Another special programme (at the Expo conference centre) is a yet to be confirmed industry dialogue lunch session with a leading brand owner on Friday 24 September. Finally, the YMC will be present to welcome future leaders to FINAT.
Written by Harveer Singh Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, India August 2013