New Laserplus Fit PEFC labelstock improves efficiency in Office and A4 logistics applications

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image UPM Raflatac has launched a new roll-to-sheet labelstock designed to deliver optimized performance and sustainability into Office and A4 logistics applications. Laserplus Fit PEFC RP A2 KS55 replaces Laserplus PEFC RP A4 KS55 for labelling end-uses such as shipping, routing and tracking.

The thinner and lighter ‘Fit’ label face offers increased efficiency for both label converters and brand owners. The converter is able to move to longer reel lengths, and end-users benefit from using less material.

Customers of UPM Raflatac have reported excellent performance in high-speed conversion and particularly during matrix-stripping. Good die-cutting characteristics provide clean and sharp label edges, and the new product shows optimal lay-flat properties in typical cut-size formats.

UPM Raflatac’s PEFC™ chain of custody certification verifies that the wood fibres of the Laserplus Fit PEFC face material are from responsibly managed forests. The thinner label face also contributes to improved environmental performance. Based on UPM Raflatac’s comprehensive lifecycle assessments (LCA), switching from Laserplus PEFC RPA4 KS55 to Laserplus Fit PEFC RP A2 KS55 reduces carbon emissions by 8%, energy consumption by 6% and water consumption by 8%.

Leading Digital Asset Management (DAM) company broadens Esko solutions suite

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image Esko, the leading global player in packaging production and supply chain solutions (www.esko.com), today announced the acquisition of MediaBeacon Inc., a leader in Digital Asset Management (DAM) software solutions. MediaBeacon, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), brings an award-winning suite of DAM tools to market, primarily in the USA, through direct distribution and strategic OEM partnerships in various industries ranging from Retail and Consumer Packaged Goods to Media, Print and the public sector.

“It is Esko’s strategy to digitize and integrate the entire packaging production workflow from design all the way to finished packs and displays in the store. With this acquisition, we further our transformation from a prepress solution provider to an end-to-end supplier in the packaging world“, explains Udo Panenka, Esko President. “Increasing pressure on error-free and timely production of brand expressions across a diverse media range like packaging, in-store displays and online and printed advertising, turns an integrated DAM solution into a cornerstone for both print service providers and brand owners. Adding MediaBeacon tools and expertise expands the Esko Software Suite and brings to market a production workflow solution that keeps pace with the challenges of organizations around the globe.”

To facilitate a smooth integration process, Jason Bright, CEO and founder of MediaBeacon, will assume the role of Chief Technology Officer. Jason, a highly respected thought leader and industry visionary, will work closely with the Esko R&D teams to drive software integration efforts and to ensure ongoing development of the MediaBeacon DAM software. Brett Robertson will assume responsibilities over daily operations as the General Manager of MediaBeacon. Brett was previously the Director Global Product Marketing, Servo Motors with Kollmorgen.

“The prospect of adding MediaBeacon’s development and go-to-market efforts into Esko’s global operations in packaging workflow is very exciting and provides us with a solid platform for growth,” comments Brett Robertson. “Esko’s expertise with packaging assets, including structural design and 3D virtual mockup technology, broadens the scope, depth and breadth of the integrated solution dramatically and will surely also excite our customers.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Nilpeter Demonstrated Maximum Value for Minimum Cost at GOA 2015

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For the third time, Nilpeter exhibited at the Graphics of the Americas trade show 2015 in Miami on the 26 - 28 February, in recognition of this unique platform to reach the important American markets. The global press manufacturer exhibited the narrow-web servo flexo press, FB-3300S, demonstrating maximum efficiency and low production costs.
At the show, the 8-colour FB-3300S ran multiple prime jobs, and value was added with multiple cold foils, laminations, die-cutting, and sheeting.

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Not only the label converters, but also the sheet-fed offset printers and packaging printers showed an immense interest in the FB-3300S. ”It is clear that, again this year, even more converters consider Graphics of the Americas as a platform for seeking effective printing methods”, says Nilpeter’s Global Sales Manager Jesper Jørgensen.
”We were pleased to notice an increase in exhibitors of both conventional and digital equipment. We were excited to welcome a large number of visitors - many from Central America and the Andean region - to a busy Nilpeter stand throughout the show”, Jesper Jørgensen concludes.

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As the icing on the cake, Nilpeter was declared the winner of the best booth, Best of The Best.

FLEXcon Stays Abreast of Current Sterilization Methods and Temperature Requirements with Enhanced Line of Pharmaceutical Labeling Substrates

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image FLEXcon, an innovator in adhesive coating and laminating, today announced the enhancement of their pharmaceutical labeling substrates offering. The company has improved its product line by expanding approved sterilization techniques and retesting for minimum application temperature to more accurately reflect current pharmaceutical labeling environments and better meet the needs of converters and pharmaceutical packaging engineers.
FLEXcon currently offers products for labeling of tubes, vials and syringes, including those used for cryogenic specimen storage. Several products also offer covert security features such as partial destructibility and fluorescing of the adhesive. The products offered are compatible with a variety of print methods and suitable for small diameter glass and polyethylene containers that won’t flag or smudge during sterilization or use. Many are available in Quick-Ship for fast delivery.

Most FLEXcon products have always been able to withstand the autoclave sterilization method, and new testing reveals that most products can also endure ethylene oxide (ETO), electron beam (EB) and gamma sterilization methods. Further, re-testing of the minimum application temperature indicates that the products can be successfully applied at as low as 35°F (2°C), meeting current requirements for pharmaceutical labelling.

“Over the last several months we have been in the process of retesting our pharmaceutical labeling substrates to stay abreast of current sterilization methods and real life temperature requirements,” said Michelle Lamontagne, market development specialist, Product Identification, FLEXcon. “We are pleased with these results and are excited to share them as a proof point of our continued effort to meet the unique needs of the pharmaceutical packaging market.”

For more information on this product, please visit: http://www.flexcon.com/Resource-Center/Product-Spotlight/Pharma.aspx

UPM Raflatac gains ISO 22000 food safety certification for factories in Finland, the UK and Poland

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image UPM Raflatac has been awarded ISO 22000:2005 food safety certification for factories in Finland (Tampere), the UK (Scarborough) and Poland (Wroclaw and Nowa Wies). The ISO 22000 certification includes the manufacture and slitting of self-adhesive label stock for food contact and food packaging used by the printing and converting industry. The self-adhesives manufacturer is one of the first in the label stock industry to achieve this certification. The certificates were awarded by LRQA (Lloyds Register Quality Assurance).

Particularly in Europe, laws and decrees lay down precise requirements for the entire food chain. According to European food packaging legislation, food contact materials for use in the food chain can only be provided by companies who comply with EU Good Manufacturing Practice Regulation (EC/2023/2006). GMP applies to both the food itself and its packaging, of which the label is an integral part.

“UPM Raflatac supplies self-adhesive label stock for food packaging, among other industries, and this certification demonstrates to our customers that the processes related to food safety at our factories are in good order and meet GMP requirements. With ISO 22000, we are at the forefront of manufacturing safe and high quality label materials for food industry,” says Quality Development Director for UPM Raflatac, Vesa Laaksonen.

Food packaging materials must contain carefully selected raw materials of which safety and compliance is proven. In addition, it is essential to ensure that manufacturing of these packaging materials does not cause any chemical, physical or biological contamination to the food product. UPM Raflatac’s factories are assessed by LRQA annually to ensure continued development and that the requirement of ISO 22000 are being implemented. The food safety certification is valid for a period of three years.

Added value through training: new catalogue from Sidel

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imageRecognising the importance of well-trained people to the success of any beverage production operation, Sidel, the leading global provider of PET solutions for liquid packaging, has published a new technical training catalogue.

Automated solutions are fundamental to Sidel’s commitment to adding value to beverage production operations. However, the company also recognises the vital role that people have to play in optimising the performance of a bottling line, with the right training providing the capability for faster detection of potential issues, the minimising of downtime, improved product quality, greater efficiencies and much more.

Meeting current and future challenges

Global trends are bringing new challenges for beverage producers. Increasingly flexible production, consistently safe high quality products, reliable equipment, greater integrity of beverages and brands throughout the supply chain, reduced consumption and lower costs: all are now expected by the modern producer. Effective training designed to improve skills and thereby increase performance is a basic requirement in helping to achieve these goals.

The new ‘Sidel Technical Training Catalogue 2015’ contains Sidel’s comprehensive range of training programmes. From courses on equipment - blowing and coating, filling (including aseptic and sensitive), Combi’s, labelling, wrapping systems, end of line and palletising – to those dedicated to packaging processes, diagnostics and technical management, the catalogue features over 350 courses. It also includes details of competence audits, an invaluable means of identifying the current position regarding staff knowledge and technical competence, providing the benchmark from which a customised training plan can be tailored for each individual.

Luigi Armani, Technical Training Director at Sidel, commented – “Our training programmes are about equipping the employees of our customers with the skills and competence to excel. We adopt flexible methods and innovative tools, including real equipment and virtual systems, to ensure that our training has a direct relevance to the work environment. This means that the skills learned are directly transferable to the customer’s own production facilities, providing efficient operation for maximum performance.”

Knowledge transfer backed by practical experience

The objective of Sidel’s training programmes is to enable a customer to become an expert on their own production line. Practical training is therefore very much a focus, with all of Sidel’s trainers having many years of field experience as Sidel Services™ technicians, ensuring they have in-depth knowledge of real-life production issues which relate directly to the beverage business. To assist in this practical approach, the courses are based on active teaching methods which include basic skills training supported by multi-media tools and practical activities.

Many of the courses are delivered at Sidel’s dedicated Technical Training Centres. There are seven located around the world (USA, France, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia and China), demonstrating the importance that Sidel attributes to training and the focus the company has on transferring its global knowledge to producers at a local level. All of the centres are equipped with machines, simulators, laboratory equipment, sub-assemblies and assembly benches for practical skills training. At the new training facility in China, a complete PET beverage production line has recently been installed to provide a full experience of the PET bottling process. Training programmes can also be tailored to customers’ specific requirements, including the option to deliver the training at a customer’s own production sites if required.

Luigi Armani, Technical Training Director at Sidel, continues – “It is about maximising the potential of staff and equipment. The modular approach that we have adopted in developing our courses means there is something to fit all functions, regardless of skill level, from technical training and line management to product management, safety and environment.”

Solid foundation for future development

Sidel has been conducting training programmes for over 40 years and now trains over 5,000 people annually, completing more than 20,000 student days delivered in multiple languages, using various techniques and 96% give us a ‘very good’ score for training delivery. The training sessions are adapted to each step in a customer’s equipment life cycle, providing the means to evaluate and innovate through a workforce that really understands the capabilities of the bottling line and who can manage it safely and efficiently.

Training is part of the Sidel Services™ portfolio, which also includes Maintenance, Line Improvement, Spare Parts & Logistics, Line Conversions & Moulds, and Packaging. A copy of the new 2015 Sidel Technical Training Catalogue is available at sidel.com/training.

RELEASE LINER: AWA’s annual market update

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Release liner is unquestionably a key enabler for applying labels and tapes, protecting the seals on envelopes, hygiene and consumer wound care products, as well as a variety of industrial uses. It is also the subject of considerable focus today in relation to reuse and recycling -- particularly in the high-volume labelstock market. The current profile of this wide-ranging market is the subject of AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ Global Release Liner Market Update 2015. Now in its eighth edition, this focused annual market report provides insights of value to all involved in, or seeking to explore, the release liner supply chain, in terms of current and forecast future status.
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Market data
AWA record that estimated global volume consumption of release liner was 43,984 million square meters in 2014. Regionally, Asia consumed 37% of this total – ahead of both Europe and North America, each of which had a 28% market share. The emerging economies, South America and Africa and the Middle East, now represent 4% and 3% of the world market respectively. Pressure-sensitive labelstock remains the prime end-use segment for both paper- and film-based liner, and grew by 4% in 2014, but it was the market for pressure-sensitive tapes that grew globally most dynamically – at 9.7%.
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Scope of the report
The report brings together the important facts on volumes, growth rates, market structure and regional characteristics, as well as raw material trends and costs, regional differences, end-use markets, and environmental issues. It also features the unique documentation of around 100 market participants’ views of the release liner industry’s business platform, as recorded in the company’s annual ‘voice of the industry’ survey, which spans globalization, M&A activity, sustainability and environmental issues, industry costs and profitability, and growth expectations by region.
Release liner in all its aspects is a speciality of AWA Alexander Watson Associates, whose published reports on the subject are complemented annually by the Global Release Liner Conference, alternating betwwen Europe and North America, and held this year in March in Denver, Colorado. Global Release Liner Market Update 2015 is available to order online now, via the AWA Alexander Watson Associates website, www.awa-bv.com, where details of all the company’s portfolio of publications and events may also be viewed.

AVERY DENNISON TO PRESENT POLYPROPYLENE FILM TOUGHNESS STUDY AT ANTEC® CONFERENCE

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Avery Dennison Label and Packaging Materials has announced that Arzu Hayirlioglu Topuzlu, technology leadership associate, will be presenting a paper titled, “Toughness Study of Center Cracked Polypropylene Films with Temperature Effect,” at the 2015 Society of Plastic Engineers’ ANTEC® Conference being held in Orlando, Florida, March 23-25, 2015.

Arzu Hayirlioglu Topuzlu

The Avery Dennison ANTEC presentation describes how impurities such as gels, dirt or other contaminants can cause polypropylene films to become defective. In order to validate its hypothesis, a lab scale test method was created to determine the effect of flaw size and temperature on defect growth in cast MDO polypropylene films. The study reflects the Avery Dennison commitment to further refine its products in order to offset the risk of process downtime and improve converting performance.

The paper summarizes the work of a six-person Avery Dennison research team and is co-authored by Topuzlu and Hoang Pham, principal engineer – films.

X-Rite to Demonstrate Color Control at Gulf Pack and Print

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X-Rite Inc. and its wholly owned subsidiary Pantone LLC, today announced they are exhibiting at Gulf Pack and Print, the leading event for commercial and package printers in the Middle East and North Africa. X-Rite will be exhibiting in the booth of their Middle East Partner, Phoenix Technologies (Booth #A20). Gulf Pack and Print is taking place April 13 - 16 at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai UAE.
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At the event, X-Rite will be showcasing their range of market leading hardware and software solutions developed to maximize end-to-end color control in the print production process. This high level of color control enables commercial and package printers to deliver maximum color consistency to their clients while achieving a higher level of efficiency in their operations.
At Gulf Pack and Print, X-Rite Pantone will be showing:
· eXact and eXact Scan – This next generation in handheld color measurement enables printers and packaging converters to truly understand, control, manage and communicate color, avoiding unwanted reprint and rework.
· i1 Professional Color Management Solutions – A collection of color profiling tools that offer an unprecedented level of flexibility to address the needs of digital imaging workflows. It features a number of unique color management capabilities, giving users power and control in creating professional quality profiles.
· The Ci64 Ci6x Series Portable Spectrophotometers – The Ci6x family of handheld spectrophotometers — Ci60, Ci62, Ci64 & Ci64UV — enables printers to manage color in all stages of production. These spectrophotometers ensure printers are confident in their color data, regardless of where or when the measurements are collected.
Simone Viscomi, Sales Director, says “Printers everywhere are under pressure to deliver exceptional work while also controlling costs. X-Rite’s color management solutions help them to succeed at both goals. Rework and customer rejects are greatly reduced because color is ensured at each step of the process. Best of all, the customer receives the color quality they expected. We look forward to joining our partners Phoenix Technologies at the show, and to helping printers in the Gulf region succeed.”
For more information please visit www.xrite.com.

Toray Presents Exciting Benefits of Waterless Printing Technology at Xfair in Vienna

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Toray Industries Inc., a leading manufacturer of waterless CTP plates, announced today it will be showcasing products printed with waterless technology at Xfair. Toray will be in stand B07 at the show which takes place from 15-17 April 2015.
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“We are excited to participate in Xfair, a local event for print, publishing and media, and to be able to spend time with visitors from the DACH region, Central and Eastern Europe,” said Mitsunori Hayashi, General Manager of Sales and Marketing for the new Toray Graphics factory in the Czech Republic. “We believe waterless UV printing technology, which has proved to be effective in providing quality enhancements and cost savings on non-absorbent substrates such as synthetic materials, brings significant added value to high end commercial-, label- & packaging- printers as well Cold Set printers. At the show, Toray experts will be available for one-on-one consultations, explaining how implementing waterless printing in these segments can deliver amazing results, including increased quality and reduced waste, while enabling a safer working environment and broadening the range of applications that can be produced.”
High quality, environmentally friendly
Toray printing plates incorporate a silicone coating to replace the dampening solution normally used in conventional offset printing. This printing system not only enables an environmentally friendly operation by eliminating harmful pressroom chemicals, but also improves productivity.
Waterless offset printing provides:
- High resolution prints with higher contrast, greater color gamut, better color consistency and less dot gain, resulting in brighter, cleaner and sharper images.
- Improved competitive positioning for printing companies by expanding their product range and reducing costs.
- The most environmentally friendly printing process available, with no dampening solution chemicals and lower VOC emissions in the pressroom. Printers and print buyers alike can differentiate their products from others by using the butterfly logo which represents ecological printing.
“Visitors to the Toray stand will have a hands-on opportunity to examine the quality of products printed with waterless technology as compared to conventional printing techniques,” added Mr. Hayashi. “This includes UV-cured prints, microprint security features, high resolution images and packaging, as well as stunning prints on a broad range of substrates that can be difficult to use with conventional water-based printing processes. We welcome visitors to the Toray stand to learn about all of these opportunities.”
For more information about Toray and Toray’s waterless offset printing technology, please visit www.toray.com and www.waterless-print.com/en/.

FINAT launches the European Label Forum 2015

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imageFINAT, the international association for the self-adhesive label industry, has reshaped and rebranded its annual congress to reflect greater industry collaboration and cooperation. Under its new name, the European Label Forum (ELF) will take place June 11-13 2015, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

“The annual congress has historically presented key industry updates and insight,” explains Kurt Walker, FINAT President. “However, we want to enhance the value of our annual event for business and opinion leaders from around Europe and beyond. This is why we have chosen to ‘re-brand’ the conference as The European Label Forum. The new format will provide insights to attendees on items of relevance for strategic decision making, by connecting different areas of interest and expertise through dialogue and interaction. Sessions will also map the key transformations reshaping the industry, and in doing should help them to identify the opportunities and challenges. In other words, the ELF will offer a unique source of knowledge, experience and networks key to the strategic success of label businesses in an international business environment.”

The panel of keynote presenters will furthermore include:

· Herman van Rompuy, former EU President and Belgian Prime Minister;

· Rasmus Ankersen, entrepreneur and bestselling management author;

· Ramses Dingenouts, Senior Packaging & Identity Design Manager at Heineken;

· Gordon Crichton, Director of the French Procurement Management Institute (MAI).

There will also be a first-hand preview of the 3rd edition of the FINAT RADAR, the association’s half-yearly market overview to be published after the ELF.

Parallel Business Streams

One of the novelties in the ELF will be the series of three parallel programme streams on the first day of the conference, offering a choice of top level expert speakers on three areas of expertise: ‘sales and marketing’, ‘technology and manufacturing’ and ‘management and corporate affairs’. Also new will be a plenary workshop that will take the shape of a ‘lean manufacturing game and exercise’ during the closing session of the event.

“Presenting trends and underscoring market influences is the key role of this event, but the value is in truly understanding how they will impact day-to-day business and shape the future. With topics like ‘the new reality of retailing’, ‘label design that makes products sell more’, ‘competing product decoration technologies’, ‘3D printing business models’, ‘succession planning’ and ‘how to sell your business?’ we are aiming to offer direct business value to a variety of label industry audiences and we are therefore encouraging label printers to consider participating with multiple members of staff to take advantage of this opportunity”, adds Mr. Walker.

“There will be ample opportunity to network so that delegates can share ideas amongst themselves and leave with a clearer idea of how they can make a difference when they return to their operations. We also believe the ELF will help attendees build new relationships that will enable them to interact with like-minded business leaders beyond the conference, collaborating on new ways of working to ensure a long-term profitable future.”

The forum will be the stage for presentation of FINAT’s annual awards, too, including the FINAT Label Awards and Recycling Award.

Complete details about the awards, congress programme, registration and other arrangements can be downloaded from www.EuropeanLabelForum.com.

UPM Raflatac focuses on food-safe label solutions and environmental efficiency at Xeikon Café

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imageUPM Raflatac is presenting self-adhesive labelling solutions in the print media category at the Xeikon Café Packaging Innovations event in Belgium on 10-12 March. The company focuses on latest food safety legislation, and choices for better environmental performance.

Food label stock reducing risk by raising safety

UPM Raflatac supplies a wide range of label stock with adhesives especially formulated for food safety and tested to comply with regulatory permissions and limits.

These materials support compliance with regulations such as EU 10/2011, which requires that direct food labels with a plastic layer and all labels applied to plastic primary packaging must have Declarations of Conformity (DoCs) documenting controlled, authorized substances.

High quality DoCs are available from UPM Raflatac for quick and convenient distribution down the packaging supply chain – significantly reducing the risks and repercussions of product recalls and providing valuable safeguards for brand reputation.

Sustainable decision-making with Label Life

UPM Raflatac is also demonstrating the web-based Label Life tool, which enables environmentally efficient choices by comparing different label materials and end-of-life scenarios.

Label life is based on the most comprehensive lifecycle assessment (LCA) model in the industry. This LCA has been developed following internationally recognized ISO 14040/44 standards and is consistent with the methodology used by major brand owners to evaluate their own environmental impacts.

With Label Life, label printers and end-users receive credible information on carbon emissions and water and energy consumption. These calculations enable sustainable decision-making for improved environmental performance.

· Food contact materials

· Label Life

4 Key Considerations When Choosing Coding and Marking Equipment

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Coding and marking machines are used on the production lines of a range of industries. They can be used to mark or print onto products and packaging with text, graphics, data matrix codes and more. But with such a vast range of machines and solutions, how do you know what the best choice is for your company? Here's our top 4 things to consider.

Meeting Regulations

Whatever sector your company works within, there are sure to be industry-specific regulations which stipulate what information needs to be coded on to the product or packaging. An example of this is within the cable sector - the ACI (Approve Cables Initiative) has been in place since 2010 and was set up to combat counterfeiting within the wire and cable industry.

The ACI works to ensure that cables have the correct coding and labelling in place to display to customers that the wiring is safe for use and approved. Such industry requirements are ideal for the consumer, but can add pressure on the manufacturer to tick boxes, and that's where having the right coding machine in place is vital.

Another example is within the food and beverage sector where requirements such as EU and U.S. regulations will dictate what you need from a coder. These regulations state which type of date code must be on a product - 'Best Before' or 'Use By', as well as what batch code information should be present. Ensuring that you know what information your industry requires will assist you when it comes to choosing a coder.

What Are You Printing?

It may sound obvious, but know what you are printing, whether it's text, graphics, data matrix 2D codes or logos; and on to what surface/material can play a big part when it comes to finding your perfect coding machine.
Staying in-the-know when it comes to industry trends is invaluable too, and there are some great resources such as Packaging World Magazine that can help with this. Whilst you can't always predict the future, there are some sectors where change is inevitable, so don't risk paying out for coding and marking machines again and again, when there are solutions that can future-proof your production line.

Industry Specific Requirements

Allow some time to consider the needs of your industry; thinking about key factors such as how long markings need to last, and the accuracy of the coded information, and be sure to purchase machinery that ticks these boxes. Be sure not to overlook the requirements of your consumers' changing needs.

One such example is within the automotive industry where parts are marked directlyparts are marked directly and traceability is of great importance. More inks are now available offering the ability to print onto any substrate, and UV-readable inks have become an increasingly popular choice for anti-counterfeiting. With new technological advancements all the time your marking machines need to be able to keep up.

Tough Working Environments

What is your company's factory floor working environment like? Many companies within the manufacturing industry will have production lines within factory environments or warehouses. Printed codes need to be 100% accurate so coders must be reliable in hot or dirty environments where dust and even carbon dust may be a real issue.

A further working environment consideration is speed. When you have an entire production line to manage you will need to rely on a coder that prints at high speeds. Opting for a machine which boasts reliability and offers long service intervals will reduce risks such as stoppages.

Wrapping Up

Having the right equipment that works for your industry will save costs and reduce downtime. Once you have considered each of these key factors you will be in the best possible position for purchasing coding and marking printers which you can rely on.

 

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Printed Electronics for the label printer

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imagePackaging has been a prime driver in the development of printed electronics, from RFID to QR codes and other digitally ‘readable’ data. The printing expertise, specialist materials, and conductive inks required to reliably create these ‘intelligent’ functions have long been a specialty of the label production chain – an extended value chain which is supported by a single umbrella organisation in Europe, FINAT, the international association for the self-adhesive label industry. Proactive participation in educating and supporting its member companies as well as the industry in general in newly-developing territories such as the printed electronics arena is an ongoing focus for FINAT, as innovation continues apace. A recent members-only expert webinar on printed electronics provided a valuable update on existing applications and potential opportunities for printers in the narrow-web flexo market – not just in packaging or labels.

New directions for label printers

Presented by Chris Jones of Novalia, a conductive print and capacitive touch specialists based in the UK, the webinar encouraged label industry delegates to think ‘out of the box’. “By combining extant mainstream equipment, consumables, and expertise, they can create state-of-the-art printed electronics that, in addition to scannability, bring the dimensions of touch, sound and vision into play to add real additional functionality or even ‘must have’ desirability to a product or its packaging,” explains Mr. Jones. “Today, as well as printed circuit boards and transistors, print can deliver a variety of other mainstream applications – including lighting, LEDs, photovoltaics, and even skincare patches, and features strongly in automotive, aviation, architectural and military applications and in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, toys, music, and of course brand protection and anti-counterfeiting.”

The world of the smartphone

In a world where the majority of the population has a smartphone, the opportunities to link up such instruments to interact, via printed electronics, with what would appear to be simple printed posters or other items is now attracting more and more interest internationally. Outdoor advertising and displays are good examples. As part of the launch for their new Flavour Shots herbs and spices range, Schwartz used a ‘sonic poster’ featuring Novalia’s capacitive touch technology. The paper poster, when touched, plays music wirelessly through a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone or tablet. Touching the artwork on different spots triggers musical chords that are meant to add an extra level of engagement with the new Schwartz products. It is conductive inks that turn the surface area of the paper into an interactive interface. Adding new dimensions such as sound or movement to display print is certainly an innovative way to enhance a consumer’s perception of, and interest in, a product.

Added-value packaging

There are also creative examples from the extended world of packaging Mr. Jones illustrates: “For example, a box of tissues that featured a playable piano keyboard on the side of the packaging, and multiple-pack secondary packaging for beers and cigarettes that also carried special printed ‘touch’ and ‘connectivity’ features. What consumer could resist the added value of such packaging?”

On a more serious note, pharmaceutical and healthcare applications add user-friendliness to alert a patient to the need to take his blister-packed medication – and enable the pharmacist/dispenser to check, thanks to a microprocessor in the pack, that the drugs were in fact taken at the right time in the right quantities.

The winning features of flexo print

For volume production of printed electronics, narrow-web label printers are particularly well positioned as providers. “While screen and gravure have their place in certain application areas,” Mr. Jones explains, “flexo has proved itself the most attractive print process for the job. Its combination of good print speeds and ease of repeatability; the high, consistent application weight of wet ink that flexo achieves; and the good range of available flexible, inexpensive substrates (paper, PP, PET), constitute an ideal combination. The conductive pigments themselves represent an additional consideration for the flexo printer – both in practical and cost terms – and, additionally, drying the ink is a key factor. Currently, evaporative solvent and water-based drying provide the desired characteristics. UV ink curing remains a challenge, because at this time it does not pack the ink particles together sufficiently. The process of printing conductive inks embraces, in summation, anilox specification, production speed, drying, and press consumables – all of which can affect the ‘sheet resistance’ of the conductive inks – the characteristic which is at the heart of a good result.”

Innovation beckons the brand owner!

“There is certainly a considerable and growing interest from narrow-web label printers in extending the range of specialist capabilities they can offer to brand owners. Their skills base and pressroom equipment can enable them to deliver printed items incorporating printed electronics in a variety of creative forms that go well beyond traditional functional/industrial applications and conventional label print,” Mr. Jones concludes.

Monadnock Paper Mills Announces Two New Strategic Hires; One Promotion

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BENNINGTON, NH, March 2, 2015 – Monadnock Paper Mills, Inc., a family-owned manufacturer that delivers high-performance specialty papers for the technical, packaging and printing markets, today announced that Paul Fedkenheuer and Mark Skahan have joined the company as Senior Technical Sales Managers. Further, Al Bobst, currently a Senior Technical Sales Representative, has been promoted to the position of Director of New Business Development. Al’s many years of experience with Monadnock’s grade lines and capabilities will be of great value as the company continues to explore new and extended markets for substrates.

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Paul Fedkenheuer

Both Paul and Mark bring to Monadnock over twenty years of paper industry experience. Before joining Monadnock, Paul was responsible for the publishing, catalog and direct mail markets at FutureMark Paper Group, and before that was with the Myllykoski Corporation. Mark also joins Monadnock from the FutureMark Paper Group, where he had been responsible for the development and implementation of targeted sales strategies since the company’s inception.

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Mark Skahan

“Paul and Mark are seasoned professionals with deep experience in the paper industry, and we are glad to have them join our team,” said Brendan Lesch, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Monadnock. “Their past successes, energy, enthusiasm and polished approach to sales will be very beneficial as we continue to grow our diverse product portfolio in the technical and specialty markets.”