It is a famous saying, “absence makes the heart grow fonder”! The last labelexpo held as a globally attended event was “Labelexpo Europe 2019” in Brussels, and while writing about the event on this blog, I titled it as Labelexpo Europe 2019, the best ever! I had started that article with the words; “From the word go, Labelexpo Europe 2019 was a vibrant and happening show!” and so it was. Each year a multitude of visitors from various segments of label industry  which include printers, suppliers, consultants, media and label users make a beeline for this august show, wishing it to be bigger and better than before . Little did anyone know or visualized that the humanity will go through a traumatic time of life termed as a “pandemic.” If all goes well, it will be four long years before the next Labelexpo Europe may be held in Brussels in 2023, a show that is referred to as the Mecca for the international labels community. The past three years have witnessed immense human suffering, many lost their lives and there were a vast number of businesses that suffered. Post a gigantic global drive to vaccinate the world population against the terrible virus Covid-19, normalcy started surfacing and businesses started limping back to life. The announcement of Labelexpo Americas was welcome news but there was still an air of caution about getting infected because the virus had not been completely eradicated. Labelexpo Americas is a much smaller event as compared to the European event. The yearning by the labels industry to venture out again to witness the new developments and network with global peers in the widespread labels industry surfaced and finally the American event turned out to be a remarkable success. At the Labelexpo Americas 2022, the joy in togetherness after a hiatus of three years was evident!

Label Industry Global Awards 2022

In the evening of the first day of Labelexpo Americas 2022 The Global Label Reunion Party 2022 was organized and the Label industry Global Awards were announced. The winners were chosen by a judging panel consisting of Lori Campbell, chairman of TLMI, Linnea Keen, president of TLMI, Philippe Voet, president of FINAT, Greg Hrinya, editor of Label & Narrow Web, James Quirk, then group editor of Labels & Labeling, and Jean Poncet, editor-in-chief at Etiq+Pack. The chair of the judging panel was Andy Thomas-Emans, strategic director Tarsus Labels & Packaging Group.

As previously announced, the winner of the 2022 R. Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award is Harveer Sahni, the author of this blog. The judging panel felt Harveer meets all the criteria for excellence demanded by the industry’s most prestigious award for an individual’s contribution to the growth and development of the global labels industry. His history in building a company to manufacture self-adhesive labels in India, through to his central role in building the Indian label association and then acting as an influential ambassador on the world stage, all helped the judging panel to come to their decision. He was introduced by the TLMI President Linnea Keen who conferred the award to him. Speaking on the occasion Harveer Sahni spoke of his journey in labels and the lessons he learnt. His speech can be head on the following link;

Other winners announced are as follows:

The Rising Star Award went to Stijn Billiet, Global Sustainability Director, MCC Label. Stijn joined MCC in 2020 and made an immediate impact bringing sustainability onto the agenda of the business. Early 2021 he presented a roadmap for all global production sites to reduce their carbon footprint, guiding the Belgian facility to carbon neutral production. Stijn represents MCC in its collaboration with organizations such as Holy Grail, RecyClass, APR, and CELAB. The judging panel felt Stijn has demonstrated clear potential to be a future leader and is already a strong voice within the labels industry.

The Environmental Sustainability Award was won by Flint Group Narrow Web, for a new line of products designed to enable more sustainable packaging. The first product in the series, Evolution Deinking Primer, when used with Flint Group EkoCure XS inks, enables deinking of crystallisable shrink sleeves, allowing the clean sleeve label material to be recovered and recycled into PET packaging. The judging panel felt that the Evolution Deinking Primer makes a major contribution to developing a circular lifecycle for label materials.

The Innovation Award for companies with over 300 employees went to Actega for its Signite decoration technology. Utilizing the latest in UV-curable chemistry, Signite decorations are created entirely on press, eliminating the need for the laminated constructions used in traditional pressure-sensitive label production. Signite decorations are built in register with the graphics and label content, so there is no die cutting and no matrix to dispose of. Signite decorations are applied with a specialist inline applicator developed by Actega, initially for glass straight-walled containers. The judging panel felt this to be a step change in the way label decorations are produced and a major contribution to industry sustainability.

The Innovation Award for companies with under 300 employees was awarded to S-OneLP for its ReEarth compostable flexible packaging films. ReEarth films have achieved ASTM D6400 commercial compostability standards and are both BPI and USDA Biopreferred certified. A compostable print film, adhesive, and sealant layer make up this laminated structure that can be surface printed with digital or flexographic technologies. The judging panel felt that with more label converters diversifying into flexible packaging products, a fully compostable solution is a great aid to future packaging industry sustainability.

The Rising Star award is sponsored by Avery Dennison; the Environmental Sustainability award is sponsored by Labels & Labeling; the Innovation Award for companies up to 300 employees is sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web; and the Innovation Award for companies over 300 is sponsored by Xeikon.

Labelexpo Americas 2022

Defying the caution and scare of Covid-19 visitors travelled across continents to witness the ample display of technologies and solutions at the event. There were a lot of live equipment running and there was a sense of fulfillment amongst the visitors. The show was vibrant and a wonderful precursor to the biggest of them all, “Labelexpo Europe 2023 at Brussels”. I reproduce pictures of my walk through the show.