Successful international exhibitions have long been linked to venues that have time and again brought in visitors, added to the brand value and image of the show. Show organisers are normally hesitant to shift the show unless the circumstances become compelling. Hannover Industrial fair at Hannover, Drupa at Dusseldorf, Labelexpo Europe at Brussels, Labelexpo Americas at Chicago, Interplast at Birmingham, Auto Mechanika at Frankfurt, etc. are some of the shows that have stuck to their time tested venues and continue to repeatedly attract visitors and exhibitors from around the world. Successful business men who visit exhibitions for exhibiting, buying or acquiring knowledge on new developments have an inherent desire to visit new destinations so as to be able to mix business with pleasure in their free time at the show. However the aspirations and needs of show organizers always remain in repeating the success and improving upon the previous showing. For the last 6 years we have been hearing that a certain section of exhibitors at Labelexpo Brussels have wanted a shift of this premier show to some other location in Europe but the show continues to be held at Brussels for reasons of stability and positive growth of the show reported over the years.
Labelexpo India 2016 was held at ExpoMart, Greater Noida, UP, India in November 2016. Tarsus,
the organizers of the show took a bold decision of moving the show from its traditional venue, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. They must have had very compelling reasons for this decision. There were doubts in the Indian label industry about the success at this venue. The major reason for these doubts coming up was that the venue was far from the earlier venue which was in the centre of New Delhi and connected by all modes of public transport including the Delhi Metro. Greater Noida means another one hour of driving by car, bus or taxi. There is no Metro as yet but being under construction it maybe ready in another 2-3 years. In 1981 I was involved in plastic moulding and had decided to visit Interplast at Birmingham. The show venue at Birmingham NewStreet was between London and Birmingham City. I had to take a train daily from London’s Paddington station and reach the show in one hour forty five minutes. It was an extremely well attended show and had exhibitors and visitors from around the globe. Looking back, I felt this change of venue may really work for the Labelexpo India show to be a more focused event. Only visitors having real interest in Labels would make the effort to travel the distance. The infrastructure at Expo Mart is far better than the one at Pragati Maidan which is a very old venue with huge land holding but surely needs redevelopment. We hear that the renovation is likely to start soon. Meanwhile Labelexpo India made a smart maiden showing at the new venue, dispelling doubts of both visitors and exhibitors.
The show was inaugurated by Sandeep Zaveri-President LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India), Sunil Jain- President Delhi Printers Association, Rajesh Nema -Honorary Secretary LMAI and Lisa Milburn-Managing Director Labelexpo Group in a short ceremony before the exhibition was thrown open to public.  With over 200 exhibitors and 8045 visitors, as reported by Tarsus, this becomes the biggest edition of this exhibition in its 14 year history. According to Jade Grace show Director for Labelexpo Group, “50% of the space for the next Labelexpo in 2018 at the same venue is already booked “. If the signs are positive and the Metro Line is extended to Greater Noida by the time of the next show in 2018, Labelexpo India may be here to stay at this venue for a long time.
After a very slow first day the event became quite busy and vibrant on the second day bringing smiles on the faces of exhibitors. Jakob Landsberg of Nilpeter said the show was good but the volume of visitors is not as they expected it to be, this maybe because of the distance from Pragati Maidan which has historic value. This venue he felt was good with great atmosphere but the Capital equipment buying prospects were few. He emphasized that India was an important market for them and they will exhibit wherever the Label Show is held.
Even though some important international exhibitors like Gallus and Mark Andy were not present yet the mix of exhibitors was quite balanced catering to all segments of the industry. Most other global supplier’s presence confirmed the importance of India being a market that grows steadily and is just not a temporary burst in demand. The increasing number Indian exhibitors for both, capital equipment and accessories, shows the local industry is coming of age. Despite the organiser’s claim that number of visitors have increased, many exhibitors did mention a decreased footfall in an otherwise successful and satisfying show. Press manufacturers Nilpeter, who have manufacturing facility in South India and are now planning expansion, will soon move to a bigger premises. They announced sale of two FB-3300S label presses to Sai Com Codes and one to Homemade Bakers, both companies are head quartered in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region).
Speaking about his take on the show Pankaj Bhardwaj, Commercial Director, Avery Dennison said, “The feedback is encouraging!” he further added, “The right audience came to witness the right technologies showcased.” He was all praise for the venue and felt it was fantastic infrastructure of high standard, however logistics was a challenge. They received a high quality of visitors. The theme of the Avery Dennison pavilion was “Power Up,” focusing on helping converters to drive business growth through innovative and creative label and packaging offerings, featuring seven zones aimed at addressing specific solution requirements. Dow’s Padmadas Nair heading their technical team communicated that overall it was a good event for them as they met new customers. They were happy that the tourist visitors were absent.
Marco Calcagni, Sales Director of Italian Press manufacturers OMET and their Area Sales Manager
Paolo Grasso were beaming as they were able to announce the sale of their new first time displayed in India Omet iFlex 10 colour label press to the prestigious Huhtamaki PPL-Webtech Labels on the very first day of the show through their exclusive agent Weldon Celloplast Ltd. On day two they announced yet another sale of iFlex to Kolkata based Insight Graphics. The company informs that the iFLEX label press is simple to use and quick at set-up. The machine has all the impression rollers on Direct Drive with obvious benefits on the print quality and in waste savings. Commenting on the venue Paolo Grasso said “We found the venue of international standard and the visitor profile was what we should have at such events. It adds value and satisfaction to participation”. Amit Singh Arora of Amritsar Printing Press and a visitor at the show confirmed he was happy at the location and that he was seeing a lot of committed printers. Dinesh Dedia, another visitor from Mumbai expressed that the venue was too far and travel arrangements need improvement and adequate advertisement.
Leading Indian press manufacturer Multitec has been in news for all good reasons. They had displayed two label presses at the show. The Ecosmart servo was sold to Hyderabad based Team Labels and the VSI Servo2 to a Zambian customer. Amit Ahuja from Multitec said he was surprised at the focused turnout. He would still prefer the Delhi venue any day due to logistic reasons. Amit Sheth of Intergraphics representing Weigang informed sale of their inspection system to Gurgaon based A & A Labels. He further stated that Weigang had launched their modular flexo press which was well received. Xeikon 3030 plus digital label press displayed at the Xeikon booth was sold to Kwality Offset label printers based in New Delhi, the press has a web width of 330mm. It prints 1,200 DPI at a top speed of 15m/min. Compared to the Xeikon 3030, the ‘Plus’ version offers a higher top speed and handles larger production volumes. Xeikon also informed that they had signed up with Sanjeev Sondhi lead Zircon technologies to supply two Xeikon digital presses. Lombardi Synchroline 430 displayed at the Vinsak stand was sold to Bengaluru based Mangalam Creations.
HP India showcased the HP Indigo WS6800 digital press including the recent labels and packaging
advancements; including advanced automated color management tools, new HP Indigo ElectroInks, upgrade packages, software enhancements for mass customization amongst others. These new innovations allow more customers to capitalize on the growing digital opportunity in a market which is achieving double digit percent page growth year over year. HP also announced the installation of HP Indigo WS6800 digital press at Skanem Interlabels India, at their Mumbai facility. A. Appadurai, Country Manager, Indigo and Inkjet Web Press, Graphics Solutions Business, HP Inc., stated that even though the visitors who came were very focused and knowledgeable yet due to the distance there were very few brand managers who are very important for growth of Digital label printing technologies.
With market evolving towards the LED UV, Flint group was displaying and promoting their LED inks. According to Srinivas Goud of Flint, “We met whoever we were looking for!” Brotech from China had strategically located themselves across the HP stand for whom they are approved partners for digital finishing equipment. They displayed their CDF Digital finishing machine and also a slitter rewinder. Aurangabad India based PGI Tech is ecstatic in announcing that they sold five of their 2-4 colour flexo presses as displayed at the show and 3 high speed die-cutting machines with turret rewinder. They also displayed their slitter, rewinder and inspection machine. Alphasonics UK has confirmed the sale of a Melanie Duo ultrasonic cleaning system to Anygraphics through their agent Weldon Celloplast. The system features dual frequency ultrasonics, along with the patented Betasound technology. The system also includes a second patented technology known as Active Cavitation, which has been designed to greatly speed up the cleaning process. Martin Automatic another exhibitor signed a two-machine order at Labelexpo India 2016 with Kap Cones, based in New Delhi, with an MBS automatic butt splicer and LRD automatic transfer rewinder to ship in 2017. R K Label of Ahmedabad had a range of machines displayed at their stand and it is credible that they announced that all the machines were sold out. This included a modular flexo press displayed which was sold to Delhi based Aar Pee Industries.
UPM Raflatac made an elegant display from a large and well done up stand that attracted most of the established label printers. They also arranged a fashion show on their stand that turned their label materials into gorgeous fashion pieces. “The show was the talk of the exhibition” says Praveen Gupta country Manger UPM. UPM also organized a very impressive dinner and entertainment evening for their customers. The evening was packed and printers hit the dance floor towards the end of the evening. Other prominent exhibitors at Labelexpo included SMI CoatedPapersBobstLoparexHenkelDuPontGEWHB FullerKonica MinoltaManrolandBSTVetaphoneLartecMonotech SystemsSPGPrintsWebtech EngineeringUVGraphicsReifenhauserKodak and Zonten besides so many more.
On the second day evening, LMAI awards night was held at a well setup banquet on the upper floors
of the exhibition. It was extremely convenient! One just had to take the elevators after the show closed for the day and we were there for the fun evening which included presentations, entertainment, awards distribution, cocktails and dinner. The chaos of awards nights at previous shows was missing. The house was packed with an impressive industry leadership. Lisa Milburn, Managing Director Labelexpo group welcomed the guests and dwelled on the importance of India being a fast growing and evoving market for all to deliver value and prosper. 
Sandeep Zaveri President LMAI made an emotional presentation that left the audience in awe! He listed the work done by his team and his plans. The most touching part was when he ran a video clip that demonstrated his will to deliver both to the label industry and to the society, in one go. He has initiated a program whereby young destitute boys from rural background who are deprived of opportunities in the urban industrial scenario are recruited to be trained as label press operators as the label industry is facing a shortage of trained workers. The project is supported by Avery Dennison. The video presentation and the expectation of what it will deliver to the industry and the society is laudable. 
Anil Sharma, Managing Director Asia Pacific, Avery Dennison took the stage next and assured the
industry of Avery’s commitment to the Indian Label industry. Interspaced with interesting entertainment, the awards ceremony progressed, celebrating the printers whose work during the preceding years had won the honours. The awards were judged this year by Dr Rajendrakumar Anayath, Kiran P Prayagi and Rajiv Dhar, all of whom have long-standing involvement in education and training in the print industry. 

Sponsors for the awards were Avery Dennison, Omet, UPM Raflatac, Orthotec, Iwasaki and Nilpeter. The winners were as follows:
Flexo Line, Webtech; Flexo Line & Screen Tone, Mudrika Labels; Flexo Color Process, Kwality Offset Printers; Flexo Wine & Spirit, joint winners Kumar Labels/Ajanta Packaging; Letterpress Line, Webtech Labels; Letterpress Line & Screen, Webtech Labels; Letterpress color process, Sicon Packs; Letterpress Wine and Spirits, Kumar Labels; Offset Line, Update Prints; Offset Line & Screen Tone, Update Prints; Offset Color Process, Seljegat Printers; Offset Wine & Spirits, Update Prints; Combination Line, Universal Print Systems; Combination Line and Screen Tone, Kumar Labels; Combination Printing Color: joint winners Any Graphics/Kumar Labels; Combination Wine & Spirits, Pragati Pack/RP; Digital Printing, Any Graphics; Digital Printing Wine & Spirits, Pragati Pack; Screen Printing, Wine & Spirits, Any Graphics; Rotogravure, Mudrika Labels; Booklets & Coupons, joint winners LetraGraphix and Unick Fix-A-Form.
The Innovation Award went to Mudrika Labels and the special Jury Award to Any Graphics.
The four day show ended on a positive note with exhibitors and also visitors departing with satisfaction looking forward to return to the show in 2018. Exhibitors unanimously declared their resolve to be at the show in the next edition but as Tapan Patel of BST said, “They have to re-strategise and market it well”. In absence of the unfocussed inquisitive visitors who visit shows to evaluate new investment and diversification, exhibitors felt these new expected customers for capital equipment were few. Yet in words of Manish Desai past president LMAI, “It was a good show and quality of exhibitors and visitors was excellent”. The most interesting comment I got was from Josep Roca of Bobst “The distance from downtown or city centre is challenging since international visitors prefer to explore the city in free time” he added “Inspite of Modi working! Which is for a good cause, the show was worthwhile and delivered value”
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi India. December 2016  exclusively for Narrow Web Tech Germany. 

The article maybe published with the permission of Narrow WebTech Germany giving credit to them and to the author

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