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Increased process-free plate sales continue to drive targeted regional manufacturing strategy.

Kodak will be adding a new plate manufacturing line at its Columbus, Ga., facility dedicated to producing KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates. Driven by rapidly-growing customer demand for SONORA Plates, this expansion aligns with Kodak’s plans to drive local sourcing while continuously improving manufacturing quality, production efficiencies and customer service across its entire digital plate portfolio.

 

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“To meet the demand generated by the tremendous growth of Sonora Plates in the Americas, we need to build a brand new world-class plate manufacturing line in our Columbus plant,” noted Brad Kruchten, President of Kodak’s Graphics, Entertainment & Commercial Films group. “This is a clear statement of our commitment to enable sustainable printing in the Americas.”

KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates remove the plate processing step completely, without sacrificing the quality or productivity of traditional mainstream processed plates. SONORA Plates enable more printers than ever before to enjoy the environmental and economic benefits of a process-free plate.

More than 800 customers worldwide currently use SONORA Plates, and many more are waiting to make the switch to this revolutionary product. Today, KODAK SONORA Process Free Plates are manufactured in Europe in Osterode, Germany, and Leeds, U.K. The investment in a new high-speed manufacturing line in the Columbus facility complements the recently announced investment in SONORA Plate capacity at Kodak’s Xiamen, China plant. These investments will complete Kodak’s globalization of SONORA Plate manufacturing and ensure the capabilities and capacity to meet the unprecedented growth of SONORA Plates, as well as support production of Kodak’s full digital plate portfolio.

“We see the shift toward SONORA Plates growing to a very significant volume,” said Robert Price, General Manager of Kodak’s Worldwide Plate Operations. “We need to manufacture SONORA Plates in each region in order to deliver enough capacity to meet the demand. Also, it’s important to have manufacturing in each region in order to provide the ultimate customer service – delivering what customers need, when they need it.”

At the Xeikon Café event, taking place May 20 till 22 in Belgium, Xeikon and its Aura Partners will explore how digital printing could enhance the business of label and packaging printers, converters as well as print buyers by making profit from short to medium runs. The three day-event will highlight the complete range of Xeikon's label and packaging application suites: Folding Carton Suite; Self-Adhesive Label Suite; Heat Transfer Label Suite and In-Mold Label Suite. This release provides more details on what Xeikon has in store for anyone interested in digital heat transfer label production. "The event will be informative and interactive, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions," says Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Director of Segment Marketing Labels & Packaging. "Digital heat transfer label production is still a largely untapped market. We are convinced that, together with our partners, we have created a solution that will allow visitors to exploit its potential."

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"Heat transfer labels are typically used to decorate all sorts of promotional items, such as pens, magnets, pen holders, soap dispensers or industrial products like plastic buckets, pails and cartridges. They can be applied to a variety of shapes and forms and, because they are so thin, brand owners can achieve a more exclusive no-label look. Conventional heat transfer labels are produced using screen printing, which offers limited image quality, or gravure printing. The latter achieves high quality but the high cost of the print cylinders makes it only feasible for long runs," Weymans continues. "In Europe, heat transfer labels represent a minor share of the label and packaging market. Traditional techniques for decorating industrial plastic containers are direct offset or direct screen printing. However, these methods have certain drawbacks like lower image quality, cost and time of prepress and print run inflexibility.”

Xeikon Heat Transfer Label Suite offers a low-complex solution

By combining digital label printing technology with heat transfer application processes, the drawbacks of conventional heat transfer labeling or direct printing can be overcome. With digital printing there is no setup time and each print can be different, enabling full personalization of promotional as well as industrial items. Xeikon’s dry toner electrophotography in particular is a highly stable and reliable digital printing process, offering several unique advantages in terms of print quality, color accuracy and consistency, light fastness and food and consumer product safety.

Like any of Xeikon’s label and packaging application suites, the Heat Transfer Label Suite consists of a Xeikon 3000 Series press, complemented with four supporting components: (1) software, (2) consumables and tools, (3) print media and (4) pre- and post-printing equipment. This suite is the result of close collaboration between Xeikon and its Aura Partners, offering a compact and low-complex solution. Especially for the decoration of industrial items, the advantage of this heat transfer labeling solution, compared to in-mold labeling or self-adhesive labeling, is significant. It offers molders an opportunity to create additional value-adding business opportunities. Printed labels are simply slit and rewound and can be fed into a wide range of applicators, ready to be applied, without any extra varnishing, die-cutting and rewinding or stacking needed.

Live printing of promotional and industrial heat transfer labels

During the Xeikon Café, a Xeikon 3000 Series press, equipped with CMYK and opaque white toner, will be printing promotional as well as industrial heat transfer labels. The order in which the five printing stations will be mounted is the reverse of that used for the printing of self-adhesive labels or folding cartons. The prints will be slit and rewound using an inline Xeikon rewinder (PMR). Following applications will be produced:

§  a promotional heat transfer label printed on a 23 µ PET foil with a special release coating from Diamond Photofoil. No pretreatment of the PET foil is required. Using a conventional heat transfer label applicator, the prints can be applied on items such as pens and cups without any special surface treatment of the items required. The toner layer ensures sufficient adhesion.

§  an industrial heat transfer label to be applied using the Presstrans heat transfer process, specifically developed for the decoration of rigid containers that are flame-treated to improve adhesion. This label will be printed on an untreated siliconized PET foil produced by Siliconature and can be applied by a MOSS applicator.

§  an industrial heat transfer label to be applied using Thermage, a heat transfer process commonly used in Asia and North America. The labels will be printed on wax-coated label stock. Prior to the printing, this wax coating is preconditioned with a primer from Actega Wit. This type of label can be applied to any plastic container using a Tronics applicator.

Both industrial label applications will also demonstrate how Xeikon's VariLane enables the printing of labels with different SKUs and different sizes along the web – in one and the same run – thereby increasing productivity and reducing material waste. Samples of objects decorated with any of the applications printed at the event will be available on display. And during several technical seminars, the Aura Partners who contributed to the Heat Transfer Label Suite will explain why certain choices in terms of equipment, tools and consumables, software or print media were made.

Meet the Customer: Diamond Photofoil

“Nothing beats first-hand experiences so we are very pleased that David Hitch, managing director of Diamond Photofoil, has agreed to share his story at the event,” says Weymans. “Over the years, this successful customer became a valuable partner, heavily involved in the development of the Heat Transfer Label Suite.”

Established in 1968 as an injection molding company, UK-based Diamond Photofoil (www.photofoil.com) has since grown into a leader in the specialist field of printing on plastic components. About 20 years ago, the company already developed its own silk screen transfer process. It was no surprise it was also one of the first companies to explore the possibilities of digital transfer printing. In 2000, Diamond Photofoil installed its first Xeikon-built digital press, which was regularly upgraded. Since 2010, the company has been operating a Xeikon 3000 Series press to produce its Photofoil™ transfers. These digitally printed transfers are supplied for application by its customers or Diamond Photofoil applies them to its customers’ products using specialist hot foil machines. In cooperation with GPE Ardenghi, for example, it has developed a highly automated solution for pen decoration. Diamond Photofoil also decorates products using silkscreen transfers, direct silkscreen, rotary, hot foiling and pad printing.

About the Xeikon Café on Packaging Innovations – easy and free registration

The Xeikon Café will take place at Xeikon’s production site in Lier, Belgium. It will run from May 20 till May 22, with basically the same program each day so participants can choose the date that best suits them. Attendance is free but registration is required online at www.xeikoncafe.com.

image Colordyne Technologies (CDT), a leader in providing digital printing end-to-end solutions, announces a major, evolutionary leap in color label printing solutions through its new Color-Code Me program.

The Color-Code Me solution simplifies the use of color to highlight information and data as a powerful tool in business supply chains and logistics operations. The ability to print high-speed, high-resolution "picture barcode labels" on cartons and boxes to accurately identify products, is more powerful still. CDT recognizes this growing market and is stepping forward as the leader in price-performance solutions for color and picture enhanced barcode carton labeling.

Color-Code Me is designed as an affordable alternative to industrial thermal barcode label printers. The Color-Code Me package includes the CDT 1600-C Continuous Format Digital Color Printer for fanfold labels, CDT Label Designer Pro, CDT printing software, and 1-year warranty starting as low as $2,995.00.

For businesses looking to utilize existing print and apply systems, CDT's new ChromaCode Labels are compatible with both Memjet™ ink, used on the CDT system, and industry standard thermal transfer ribbons. This enables businesses to migrate to color without replacing existing printing systems.

Customers will pre-qualify their ink and printhead needs by utilizing the Color-Code Me website, found through CDT's homepage. Color-Code Me is only offered in the United States at this time.

CDT's Reseller Partners a valuable asset to Color-Code Me

As customer applications often require more than an out-of-the-box solution, CDT has established valuable partnerships with Authorized Resellers across the U.S. CDT encourages interested parties to contact a reseller for accessories, consumables, labels, service contracts, parts and other value-added services.

Color-Code Me Agent Network Program

CDT has a new referral program that will establish a network of Agent Partners for Color-Code Me. CDT is putting out a call to all business professionals, consultants, and other persons to tap their industry and social contacts and invite them to go to the Color-Code Me website. A paid fee is offered by CDT as a powerful motivational vehicle where any individual or business entity can earn "easy money" by simply sending interested prospects to the Color-Code Me website. Interested in becoming a CDT Agent Partner? Fill out this form.

CDT understands purchasing a color on-demand label printer can be a long and complex process and the Color-Code Me package provides a cost-effective way to ease into color label printing. Visit www.colordynetech.com to get started with your Color-Code Me solution!

image UPM Raflatac plans to increase production capacity for its film labelstock business in Europe by investing approximately EUR 13 million in a new coating line at the company’s self-adhesive labelstock factory in Nowa Wies, Poland. This initiative will support UPM Raflatac’s target to secure cost competitive growth in films in the long term. The start-up of the new assets is estimated to take place in Q1/2015. Following the planned investment, an older film coating line in Tampere, Finland and the UPM Raflatac siliconising line in Tervasaari, Finland will be closed.

In addition, UPM Raflatac plans to improve productivity in its sheet labelstock business by closing sheet labelstock coating operations and reducing capacity in sheets finishing in Polinya, Spain. The sheet coating will be centralized to Nowa Wies.

The planned actions are estimated to result in annual cost savings of about EUR 4 million starting from 2015 and exceeding EUR 6 million in 2016.

If all plans are implemented, the estimated total personnel impact would be a maximum of 122 positions in the affected countries: a maximum of 86 positions in Spain and a maximum of 36 positions in Finland. The final decisions will be taken after employee consultation and negotiations in the relevant countries. The majority of restructuring is estimated to be completed by the end of 2014.

“In our film business we have enjoyed robust growth in Europe in recent years and therefore we are planning to increase filmic coating capacity in Nowa Wies, Poland. The majority of the film market is in Central and Southern Europe and with this capacity we will be able to serve our customers in those market areas better in future. According to the plan, we aim to streamline our capacity in Tampere, Finland to meet the needs of the reduced service area”, says Tapio Kolunsarka, Executive Vice President, UPM Raflatac.

“In past years, the sheets market has been affected by changes in customer buying behaviour and the market segment has been stagnating. As a consequence we have seen a sharp increase in competition in the market and thus we are planning to centralize sheet production to Nowa Wies, Poland to be able to remain competitive in this segment in the future.”

“After these planned changes in our manufacturing and supply chain platform in Europe, we will have a highly productive capacity serving each of our key product segments with sufficient capacity to meet the needs of the future”, Tapio Kolunsarkaconcludes.

In Q2/2014 UPM will book a EUR 3 million write-off from fixed assets and restructuring costs of EUR 8 million. These initiatives will support UPM’s growth target of adding EUR 200 million of EBITDA in the coming three years.

Release liner is a major contributor to the success of many industries today, from tapes and gaskets to baking papers, medical disposables, and, of course, pressure-sensitive labels. Annually, it is the subject of the AWA Global Release Liner Industry Conference and Exhibition, which alternates between USA and Europe. This year’s event was held in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 19-21 March. Its in-depth program, further expanded with two parallel seminars on related topics – silicone technology and linerless labels – attracted around 200 participants from all levels of the value chain worldwide.

AWA's conference attendants

 

The release liner industry may be a global market today, but the profile and characteristics of the business are changing. Conference keynote speaker Michael Apperson, CEO of global release liner manufacturer Loparex, summarized the status: ‘Global isn’t global any more’. Around the world, things are changing. The old ‘global’ definition featured multinational sales offices and manufacturing, and a consistent global product offering, with technologies and products developed in the established markets – usually USA, Europe, or Japan. Today’s definition is a complex combination of these basic requirements with a much more regional focus, where products are also developed, manufactured, and serviced to meet local customer needs.

Regional differences

Responding to regional product preferences is the key to successful, profitable business. ‘We must understand regional differences’, said Mr Apperson. He compared the profile of industry-standard US premium graphics liner with that of graphics liner in China, where local quality, performance, and price requirements make the product ‘ten times harder to make’. Loparex, he said, are creatively pursuing this new business route, which they believe will promote product innovation as well as growth. Mr Apperson suggested that such a strategic synergistic approach makes a drive for 6-10% growth ‘not an unrealistic number’ in the release liner business.

Market data

AWA Alexander Watson Associates’ President and CEO, Corey Reardon, went on to provide his annual overview of current market characteristics. ‘Consolidation’, he said, ‘and backward and forward integration continue across the supply chain. What were, in Europe, eight companies are now – in a short period of time – reduced to just two.’ Capacity investment continues in the emerging markets; and, while growth in the Asia Pacific region – the world’s largest market for release liner – is slowing, it is still, Mr Reardon commented, ‘a significant driver of global growth’. It is growing annually at two to three times the rate of the markets in North America and Europe. Worldwide, he showed, growth in 2013 increased at around 4.7% over prior year, with 48% of release liner demand focused on pressure-sensitive labelstock, of which approximately 80% is in-house siliconized.

The voice of the industry

Jackie Marolda, Vice President and Senior Consultant with AWA Alexander Watson Associates, presented the results of the 2014 AWA Industry Survey. Respondents, she showed, ‘very much echo Michael Apperson’s insights into globalization’. Costs have increased in the last 12 months in every aspect – transportation, energy, labor, and materials -- and, Ms Marolda said, there is ‘very little expectation of any decreases in the next 12 months’. Among the business influencers the survey identified was a push to drive cost out of product offerings. When survey respondents were asked to comment on whether the release liner industry is ‘in real need of some true innovation’, more than 60% agreed, and identified arenas in which innovation has recently occurred, and where more activity can be expected – for example, linerless labels, sustainability, and recycling programs.

Executive leadership discussion

Mr Reardon drew together two discussion panels: on executive leadership, and on market and industry topics. Participating in the Executive Leadership Panel were Loparex’s Michael Apperson; Thomas Blaige, Chairman and CEO, Blaige & Company; Roland Hill, Chairman and MD, Contra Vision Supplies Ltd; Dr Bernhard Klofat, CEO, Felix Schoeller; and Tomas Rink, President, Ritrama.

On the topic of globalization, and how it will develop in the next five to ten years, Mr Rink observed ‘Globalization also means spreading the risk! But we must indeed be global on a regional basis, because it’s a different story everywhere. There isn’t a common denominator!’ Regarding global competition, Mr Rink commented that in Asia, local suppliers ‘play a different game’, and it is difficult to compete. In South America, he added, ‘it is difficult to follow local rules.’

Speaking on the subject of innovation, Mr Apperson said that Loparex has developed various portfolio channels – ‘but the challenge is to get people to think differently’. Mr Rink said ‘nowadays, innovations in the specialty arena become commodities in weeks, not years!’ Mr Hill, however, said that he ‘would rather see a world where we could co-operate as an industry on innovation. Innovation is a state of mind.’

Defining leadership, Mr Blaige said it is a matter of ‘leading by example, participation, and communication skills’, while Dr Klofat preferred the term ‘managing, and achieving results’. Commenting on industry growth for the next five to ten years, Mr Blaige unequivocally highlighted niche products and markets, while Mr Apperson pinpointed inkjet, India, and electronics (particularly in Asia) as areas where the industry will see positive development.

Market and industry discussion panel

Panelists brought together to discuss relevant market and industry topics were Sjaak Elmendorp, Vice President, Technology, for Avery Dennison’s Materials Group; Sean Duffy, Global Business Manager for Silcolease Release Coatings, Bluestar Silicones; Christian Velasquez, Global PSI Market Leader for Dow Corning; Dr Stefan Stadtmueller, VP Surface Technologies with Evonik Industries; and Patrik Fransehn, Director of Global Business Development for Wacker Chemie’s Performance Silicones Business Unit.

‘When we talk about innovation today’, said Mr Reardon, ‘the conversation always seems to get around to “cost out”. What are we doing in terms of innovation that is NOT focused on taking cost out?’, he asked. Mr Velasquez said that the is actively pursuing new end-use markets, such as electronics. Mr Elmendorp added customer sustainability scorecards and reduced dispensing line downtime to the list, adding that, in the latter context, ‘film liners offer a huge benefit’. Mr Velasquez commented that ‘film liners are growing at a faster rate than paper,’ and Mr Duffy added ‘when they are cheaper – much cheaper! – they will replace paper.’

‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way!’

‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way!’ was the subject addressed by Thomas Blaige, Chairman and CEO of investment bankers Blaige & Company. In an industry context, for a company to ‘lead’, it should ‘acquire’. For a company to ‘follow’, it should merge; and to ‘get out of the way’, a company should sell, divest, or recapitalize where needed. Specializing in plastics, packaging, and chemicals, his company has a unique, in-depth knowledge of mergers and acquisitions in these industries, and said that there are now 40 such transactions a year in the label industry supply chain. He cited as a prime example the recent creation of Coveris, bringing together five leading packaging companies to make a single manufacturing entity with revenues exceeding $2.5 billion, and a presence in more than 20 countries. Additionally, he said, there has been considerable strategic activity in the coatings sector – for example, in Mondi, Loparex, UPM, and Avery Dennison. Checking back on the sector’s top 50 companies in 2001, he showed that there had been a huge change: 58% have merged or sold in the intervening years. ‘The big are getting bigger – widening the gap’, he commented.

The changing face of the US paper industry

Greg Rudder, Editor of US-based PPI Pulp & Paper Week, one of the forest products industry’s leading information sources, looked at how the US paper industry still remains full of change, conversions, and M&A activity. He looked first at developments in the overall US paper industry, where production has declined 7.5% since 2009 as a result of the financial crisis and reduced demand because of ‘technology, computers, mobile devices, and social media’. There have also been 17 Chapter 11 bankruptcies in North American paper companies – particularly in newsprint – since 2009, and China’s paper and board production capacity has grown exponentially, impacting trade flow. Nonetheless, the US industry has seen profits in 2013 rise to their highest for 14 years or longer, at 6.2%.

In specialty release liner production, he showed that the ‘big three’ – Expera, Boise, and UPM – sell 60% of roll demand. However, price increases on some qualities are currently being applied, and industry players are revising their business profiles. Bemis, for example, is closing its pressure-sensitive materials plant; and CCL is now focusing on acquisitions in geographies other than North America.

Looking at polyolefins

The global polyolefins market and pricing outlook is a key factor in filmic release liner production and demand development. Current trends were presented in depth by Remko Koster, Director, Polyolefins, for Europe and Africa at IHS Chemical, specialists in chemical market analysis and forecasting. As global economic growth gradually picks up, Mr Koster showed, ‘the commodities supercycle has ended’. With oil prices currently moving down (although, he said, they will recover), it is critical to note that ‘hydrocarbon feedstock costs are the key drivers in chemical manufacturing’. Based on coal feedstock, China represents 50% of global polymer demand, and continues to lead overall market expansion. North America’s active source of hydrocarbon feedstock, shale gas, is creating capacity growth in that region, making it once again a competitive supplier of PE. Meanwhile, Europe’s major chemical companies are rationalizing capacity, with PE (mainly HDPE) production plants closing in 2013-1015, delivering a resultant 7% capacity reduction. Mr Koster expects to see growth in demand in the short term for PE – levelling off thereafter -- and forecasts that 2018 demand worldwide for HDPE, LDPE, and LLDPE will be 102 million metric tons. The overall price of PE resins will not be dictated by the lower cost base of USA and the Middle East, but by the higher cost base of Europe -- so users may not see the price reductions in PE polymer that the use of sources like shale gas might suggest. Since PP is derived from crude oil, there is less likelihood of PP resin producers gaining price advantage as will the producers of PE resins from shale gas.

See-through pressure-sensitive graphics

Roland Hill, Chairman and Managing Director of Contra Vision Supplies Ltd, explored the world of large-format see-through graphics with a visual presentation of examples of the pressure-sensitive perforated window films pioneered and patented by his company, and now offered in a variety of different qualities to meet the needs of such markets as architecture, automotive, security, packaging and labels, and, of course, indoor and outdoor advertising. His presentation ended the first day’s formal agenda, and delegates enjoyed cocktails around the exhibition, courtesy of the event sponsors.

Profile of a specialty supplier

The second day’s program opened with a company case history – a ‘specialty’ release liner narrative – from Duncan Wall, President, Fox River Associates. As a supplier of silicone paper and film release liner, Mr Wall began, ‘I had to start in specialties – and “C” accounts!’ He continued: ‘all my business is in North America, and today I have 0.008% of the market.’ That 0.008% includes specialty products for such markets as automotive, electronics, roofing, graphic arts and pressure-sensitive labels. Fox River Associates has flourished as a regional supplier based on its focus on customer service and on being close to the customer in terms of both product specifications and inventory. Mr Wall cited some examples of the ways in which the company’s creativity and flexibility have met customers needs – examples, he said, that are ‘not symptomatic but emblematic of what we do.’ He speculated on whether it would it be possible to replicate the Fox River business model in Europe, concluding that the entry cost would be very high, and that the presence of so many commercial siliconizers would make success difficult.

Being green

Calvin Frost, CEO of US-based Channeled Resources Group, is a familiar campaigner in the realms of sustainability. He presented an in-depth paper on ‘the complexity of being green’ with particular reference to silicone-coated release liners. He underlined the fact that the release liner industry does not have ‘a very good track record on recovery’. Less than 10% of all spent liner generated in pressure-sensitive roll labeling is currently recovered. Reuse, for example as pelleted fuel, and recycling are both practical for release liner; and recycling PET film liner is, he said, a ‘no brainer’. Paper liner recycling is more complicated, and paper has very little value, so there is no monetary incentive, he observed. However, industry initiatives at various levels are in progress, and FINAT, the European pressure-sensitive labeling association, has also recently launched a liner recycling competition.

One of the problems of the plethora of environmental legislation, scorecards, and other standards today is that there are simply too many of them, said Mr Frost; and he adjured delegates to embrace, at all levels, just one ‘green certification’ standard. Nonetheless, he concluded, in the complex and fragmented pressure-sensitive label value chain, it is legislation that will drive recycling.

EU legislative harmonization

EUROPEN, the European Organization for Packaging and the Environment, represents the views of its members -- the broad packaging industry value chain -- and is committed to lowering its environmental footprint. Managing Director Virginia Janssens looked at the ways the 2014 EU Waste Legislation Review is moving the packaging industry towards resource efficiency. Most European countries, she demonstrated, already meet the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive’s 55% overall recycling target, with 64% the average figure. Targets are likely to rise significantly, however, said Ms Janssens, across most packaging material categories – including paper and cardboard, currently at 60%, and plastics, currently at just 22.5%. While release liner was removed from the pan-European list of materials considered ‘packaging waste’, individual EU member states can decide for themselves how to categorize liner waste, which continues the uncertainty that is a real concern for the label release liner industry.

A label maker’s perspective

It was appropriate that release liner should be profiled from a label maker’s perspective. Alan Hazlewood, Group Materials, Quality, and Technical Support Manager for Skanem AS, delivered that perspective. Skanem is at the high end of the label market and, Mr Hazlewood said, ‘70% of our business is with the big brand owners.’ The company’s chosen route to adding value with its labels is via web-fed processing, which delivers quality, flexibility, and reliability from start to finish.

Exploring the external influences – political, economic, social, and technological -- on the label market, he outlined the resultant challenges facing end-user brand, purchasing, and operations management. These include pricing, positioning on the retail shelf, shorter time-to-market, environmental and sustainability issues, and labeller uptime and reliability. Taking costs out has, for brand owners, become a standard tactic, but, said Mr Hazlewood, ‘the cost reduction initiative “barrel” is nearly empty now.’

For release liner, said Mr Hazlewood, ‘what we are looking for from the manufacturers is absolute performance -- and that is what the industry is delivering. Label release liners are fit for purpose.’ Release liner options today include glassine, PE, and the relatively-new PP. Glassine, Mr Hazlewood observed, is outstandingly reliable, and he can see no major case for moving away from it – but, he asked, ‘is there sufficient glassine capacity to meet industry needs?’ . He also discussed global availability shortfalls in oil-price-dependent PE liner, and on the films’ downside (wind-up tightening and print ghosting on adhesive), as well as their proven performance in ‘no label look’ applications. Purchasing savings delivered by a switch to PP liners, he said, are balanced by the question as to whether they have yet proved themselves: they are heat sensitive, stretch on press, and suffer some problems in label positioning.

Mr Hazlewood examined the option of switching to film liners from glassine, but the attendant disruption of so doing would require to deliver a significant price reduction which, he said, ‘would have to be a minimum of 7.5% before we would consider it’.

Linerless labels are, he observed, a long-term choice here, and are options in the foods, petrochemicals, home and personal care markets which are already being explored with Skanem Linerless™ labelstocks and dedicated dispensing lines.

Mr Hazlewood forecasts continued disturbance in the label release liner market in the short term, but, in the long term, a ‘coalition market’ for all the currently-available options, with the possibility of the emergence of other types of liner, for which we must ‘wait and see’.

Sealing the envelope

Udo Karpowitz, Vice President, Sales, for Mayer-Kuvert-network, headquartered in Germany and with operations in 23 countries, examined the development and future of pressure-sensitive closures in the European envelope industry. ‘In 2013 our industry sold 70 billion items in Europe’, he said – mostly for commercial applications, since internet and social media communications have reduced the importance of ‘personal’ envelope use. 26% of current commercial envelope use is in stock items, a further 17% of envelope production is bespoke, and 18% is used for mailshots.

Different adhesive formulations are used – gummed and latex, as well as peel-and-seal. Mr Karpowitz said release liner consumption for peel-and-seal applications in Europe was 80 million M2 in 2013. While envelope volumes all round are reducing by 5-8% per annum, release liner volumes will remain more or less stable in the segment, in response to growing demand for document pouches and despatch packaging.

Release liner in wound care

Another important specialty market segment for release liner is medical and wound care, and Mike Yates, Product Development and Technical Manager for Smith & Nephew Extruded Films showed how they contribute in polyurethane film support for professional and consumer wound care, both as process liners and as part of the end product. Release liners, both paper and film, contribute dimensional stability; consistent, controlled release properties; temperature resistance; impart a matt surface to a dressing; and accurate diecutting (especially papers). The technical requirements of the wound care industry are certainly challenging and, in the commercial arena, Mr Yates said, ‘reduced lead times and stable supply chains and pricing’ are key requirements of release liner manufacturers.

Winding up

Corey Reardon drew the conference program to a close, thanking the speakers and their companies, who had generously donated their time, and the event’s sponsors who, he said, ‘impressively represented the industry value chain’. They were Platinum Sponsors UPM; Gold Sponsors Bluestar Silicones, Dow Corning, Evonik Industries, Loparex, Mondi, and Wacker; Silver Sponsors BillerudKorsnäs, Boise, Delfort Group, Felix Schoeller, and SAScoat Vietnam; alongside leading trade and technical media around the world.

Next on the release liner industry’s schedule is its annual one-day update, the AWA Label Release Liner Seminar, which is scheduled to take place in Chicago, USA, on September 8th 2014, just before the Labelexpo Americas exhibition. Details of all upcoming events are available via the company’s website, www.awa-bv.com.

 

AWA Alexander Watson Associates regularly publishes market studies and updates on the release liner industry. Recently published is the Global Release Liner Market Update 2014, and 2014 will also see a new edition of the company’s established North American Release Liner Market Study and Asian Release Liner Market Study, complementing the new edition of the European Release Liner Study published last year. www.awa-bv.com

Extensive educational program completed with customer kohlpharma to inform visitors about the benefits of digital label production.

image Xeikon and its Aura Partners are hosting a Xeikon Café on Packaging Innovations to demonstrate label printers as well as print buyers how digital production could drive and improve their business. Taking place May 20 to 22 in Belgium, the event will highlight game-changing innovations in digital production and showcase the complete range of Xeikon's label and packaging application suites. One of the suites Xeikon will highlight is the Self-Adhesive Label Suite.

"From the myriad of product decoration techniques available, self-adhesive labels are the most commonly used as they offer the highest flexibility to meet market needs," explains Filip Weymans, Xeikon’s Director of Segment Marketing Labels & Packaging, “Self-adhesive labels are available in a wide range of substrates, colors and adhesives and they are compatible with a variety of printing processes and finishing techniques. They will stick to most materials and can be applied at the very last moment, just before the products are put on the shelves. That's why self-adhesive labels are used in many different industries, such as food, beverages, health & beauty, household and pharmaceuticals, and for industrial applications in general. While these applications each have specific requirements in terms of food compatibility, substrate range, lightfastness, use of variable data and brand protection features, they all require uncompromising quality and cost-effective short to medium runs. In addition, market trends such as globalization, increasing product variety, shortening product life cycles and just-in-time inventory policies are forcing label printers and converters to accommodate even shorter runs and faster turnaround times."

Xeikon and its Aura Partners make it stick

Digital printing is capable of meeting these market requirements while maintaining profitability. By nature it offers unlimited variability. Not only is it uniquely suited to the production of multi-version labels, the absence of set-up costs makes it also ideal for cost-effective short to medium runs. And because nowadays digital printing can meet the highest quality standards, it is a great complement to flexo, letter press and offset printing, while opening up a wealth of new business opportunities. Having developed solutions for self-adhesive label printing since 1996, Xeikon plays a leading role in the label and packaging market. Its digital printing technology has several unique advantages in terms of format flexibility, cost, print quality, productivity, color accuracy and consistency, lightfastness, food safety and brand protection. As a result, the Xeikon 3000 Series presses, which were specifically developed for label and packaging applications, are perfectly suited for self-adhesive label printing.

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In close collaboration with its Aura Partners, Xeikon developed the Self-Adhesive Label Suite, an integrated solution to print and convert self-adhesive labels. Like any of the four applications suites, the Self-Adhesive Label Suite is centered on a Xeikon 3000 Series press, complemented with four supporting components: (1) software, (2) print media, (3) consumables and (4) pre-and post-printing equipment.

Four live demonstrations

The Xeikon Café will showcase four live demonstrations of self-adhesive label applications:

§ A Xeikon 3000 Series press, equipped with CMYK and security toner incorporating taggant components and integrated with an inline DCoat and a laser die-cutting unit, will be printing labels of various shapes and sizes on 3M self-adhesive label stock certified for the pharmaceutical industry. This set-up will also show the power of Vectorizor, an add-on for Xeikon’s digital front-end, that drives the laser die-cutter. By enabling the die-cutting of different jobs in one pass, without interruption, it truly supports fully automated label production.

§ Labels pre-printed on structured wine label material from Raflatac will be die-cut on AB Graphic’s Digicon label converting line that will also include several embellishment features such as embossing, hot foil and raised varnish.

§ Grafisk Machinery will demonstrate another wine and spirits label application with pre-printed stock that will be finished on a stand-alone hot foil stamping and embossing unit.

§ The fourth live demonstration, booklet and leaflet label printing, will run on a Xeikon 8000 Series duplex press. While this Series was specially developed for the document printing market, it's also beneficial for specific label and packaging applications. Agrochemical booklets will be duplex-printed on 70 gsm coated paper. Pharmaceutical leaflets will be duplex-printed on 40 gsm uncoated paper. The prints will be reconditioned using Xeikon’s inline web-finishing module, cut and delivered to a stacker. These booklets and leaflets can be converted into self-adhesive booklet and leaflet labels, samples of which will be available on display.

There will also be demonstrations of the various software tools included in the Self-Adhesive Label Suite: Vectorizor, VariLane and Xeikon ColorControl. Next to the live demonstrations and displays, Aura Partners will describe their contributions to the Self-Adhesive Label Suite in detail during several technical seminars, with plenty of opportunity to ask questions.

Meet the Customer: kohlpharma

Xeikon is pleased to announce the presence its successful customer kohlpharma, offering visitors to the event the opportunity to find out first-hand about experiences on digital label production.

kohlpharma GmbH (www.kohlpharma.com) is one of Europe’s leading importers of pharmaceuticals. Based in Germany, the company buys original branded drugs from multinational pharmaceutical companies in Europe, imports them into Germany and repackages them for the local German market. Due to the nature of its business model, the demand for labels is rather volatile. In order to meet this demand as flexibly and as efficiently as possible, kohlpharma installed a digital production workflow consisting of a Xeikon 3300, with inline DCoat and laser die-cutting unit – the exact same set-up will be demonstrated at the event. The digital production line has been integrated within the company’s ERP system that submits print orders to the press. This digital production workflow has enabled kohlpharma to better manage its costs by only printing what is necessary, in the most flexible and efficient way possible.

For Weymans, the presence of customers is the icing on the cake: “Nothing beats listing to and exchanging ideas with someone who knows from personal experience what it is like to move into digital production and turning it into a success. This event will provide visitors with any information they might possibly need to understand how digital production could also work for them.”

About the Xeikon Café on Packaging Innovations – easy and free registration

The Xeikon Café will be held at Xeikon’s production site in Lier, Belgium. It will run from May 20 till May 22, with basically the same program each day so participants can choose the date that best suits them. Attendance is free but registration is required online at www.xeikoncafe.com.

The Xeikon Café is hosted in collaboration with the following Xeikon Aura Partners, who will all attend the event: 3M, AB Graphic International, ACTEGA Terra, Advanced Track & Trace, Argos Solutions, Bograma, CERM, CHILI Publish, Diamond Photofoil, Grafisk Maskinfabrik, Highcon, Hybrid Software, Iggesund, Kama, Label Traxx, Meech International, Michelman, OneVision, Rietstack, RotoMetrics, Schober Technologies, Siliconature, Stora Enso, Squid Inks, ThermoFlexX, Treofan, Tronics and UPM Raflatac.

About the Xeikon 3000 Series

The Xeikon 3000 Series comprises five simplex presses, differing in maximum printing speed and imaging width. They have been developed with the requirements of label printers and converters in mind:

§ All presses are full rotary with variable repeat length and always print at top speed, regardless of the number of colors used. Labels of different dimensions can be printed in one and the same run, without any adjustment to the press, thereby maximizing productivity.

§ Depending on the model, the maximum imaging width is up to 508 mm. The larger width increases the scope of applications as well as productivity.

§ Dry toner technology enables printing on most conventional label substrates without any pretreatment. This helps save time and money and allows easy integration into traditional production environments.

§ True 1200 dpi combined with four-bit variable-dot density offers the image quality the market has come to expect, while automated quality control ensures perfect color registration and maintains color accuracy and consistency throughout print runs as well as between jobs and across presses. This resolution also makes it possible to print fine details, enabling the addition of bar codes and security features, such as microtext.

§ Application-tuned QA-I toner and ICE, the variant for heat-sensitive label stock, have been developed for label applications that place high demands on food safety and lightfastness. They meet FDA standards for food label packaging applications and offer a high degree of lightfastness.

§ When printing labels on transparent or metallic media on a Xeikon press, one pass is all it takes to produce a perfectly opaque white base layer, offering a better opacity than 'flexo white'.

§ All Xeikon presses come with the X-800 digital front-end, combining prepress, data processing and press operation functionality. It comes with several add-ons especially developed for self-adhesive label production, such as VariLane enabling the printing of labels with different SKUs and different sizes in the same run, and Vectorizor, for the creation of die-cut profiles and the driving of a laser die-cutter. Integrated into the X-800 are all the necessary tools to efficiently implement color management, ensuring consistent and reproducible results. The X-800 further offers seamless integration and connectivity with any market-leading PDF, design and production workflows. As a result, it enables the implementation of fully integrated self-adhesive label production workflows.

An inferior copy or a high-grade original product? At interpack in Düsseldorf (May 8 – 14), at the joint VDMA booth, Schreiner ProSecure will be showcasing security technologies that provide quick answers to this question. With digital counterfeit protection features that can be read by using a smartphone, authenticity can be easily determined and the supply chain secured.

 

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BitSecure authentication now also available for cell phones
Mobile authentication has major advantages. A wide range of users, from employees and customs officers, merchants and service partners through to consumers, can authenticate goods anywhere anytime without the need for special technical tools. For this purpose, Schreiner ProSecure has extended the BitSecure technology authentication by a mobile identification option and developed a special application for smartphones. The app allows the user to read the digital copy protection pattern on the mobile device and to find out within a matter of seconds whether the identified product is an original or a fake. The copy protection patterns can either be integrated into identification labels or applied directly on products or product packaging by printing or laser engraving.

NFC labels for direct communication
Another form of digital authentication is the combination of identification labels and NFC technology. For manufacturers, NFC labels open up completely new avenues of communication with partners along the distribution chain and consumers. For example, when reading the chips with an NFC-capable cell phone, the user may receive important information about identity and distribution channels, as well as optional information on integrated counterfeit-protection features, service instructions, warranty provisions or current offers that can be updated as required. As the NFC marking can be adapted to the relevant surface, it is suitable for use on any product and packaging.

Investing in numerous hardware systems will enable operations to add more strings to their bow, services to their portfolios and increase turnover. But efficiently and cost effectively managing the numerous short run jobs these systems can handle is essential to ensure profitability. This is the essence of Esko’s (www.esko.com) message on its E36 stand at this year’s Sign and Digital 2014 show, taking place April 29 to May 1 at the Birmingham NEC.

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“Creating a smooth production workflow is critical if operations are going to maximise their capabilities,” comments Paul Bates, Esko’s Regional Business Manager. “Wasted time, effort and materials all add up. We have a number of software solutions we will be demonstrating, including the re-developed 64-bit application i-cut Layout+ running on both Mac and PC platforms, that help customers create the most efficient flow of jobs from pre- to post press.

“Although adoption of software is still relatively new compared to Esko’s traditional markets, we see a growing interest from the sign and display sector year after year. It's true that not everything can be automated but as we can enable business to automate 90%, we are saving them an awful lot of work,” Mr. Bates continues. "This approach also has a significant impact on staffing. Because the onset of digital systems printers have grown quickly, companies considered the only solution was to put more people in their studios to prepare the files but there is no need to do that.” Solutions that save time, effort and material.

This is the role of Esko's i-cut Suite of pre-production software that automates the entire production process. Other key solutions are Automation Engine to streamline and automate high volume production and WebCenter that delivers end-to-end manufacturing process management, creating a competitive advantage by specifying requirements, managing assets and overseeing the entire design and production process.

These are supported within the Esko Software Suite of future oriented and sustainable solutions which are inspired by trends in the industry, and designed to help companies better meet the challenges of today's dynamic and rapidly changing industry. One example is complete integration with non-graphical systems. “A day to day application could mean a workflow set up for packaging based on the weather forecast. For example if it is hot there might be greater demand for more strawberry containers or salad packaging. This addresses the need for more and more Just-In-Time delivery. This level of integration is something we see becoming increasingly important to the customer base, ” Mr. Bates explains.

For the first time, Esko will have two Kongsberg digital cutting tables on display at Sign & Digital UK.. The company's highly popular Kongsberg XP24, the best-selling Kongsberg system among sign and display companies designed to operate 24/7, will be showcased on Esko's stand E36.

In addition, the most versatile Kongsberg XN24 will be presented on stand of UK reseller Graphic Printing Technologies (GPT).

imagePro Mach, Inc. announced today that Alan Shipman has been named President of its Identification & Tracking Group to replace Bob Zuilhof, who is retiring in June. Through its ID Technology and Labeling Systems (LSI) brands, Pro Mach’s Identification & Tracking Group designs and manufactures labeling, coding, and marking systems, peripherals, and labels for a wide range of industries and custom applications. The Identification & Tracking Group employs over 275 people across seven manufacturing facilities and dozens of regional support locations throughout North America.

Mr. Shipman will lead operations and provide strategic direction for the business unit, which has regional offices and manufacturing facilities throughout the United States and Canada. He most recently served as ID Technology’s Vice-President and General Manager. He began his career with ID Technology nearly 19 years ago as South Central Regional Manager and also served several years as Vice-President of Sales. Before joining ID Technology he was employed with Accenture Consulting. Mr. Shipman will report to Pro Mach President and CEO Mark Anderson.

“We’re fortunate to have a leader of Alan Shipman’s caliber and experience to assume responsibilities for our Identification & Tracking Group,” said Mr. Anderson. “He has been an integral part of our success and has grown up in the identification and tracking business under Bob’s mentorship. He is the ideal choice to continue the strong record of growth, customer satisfaction, and product excellence that has made us as the most trusted specialist in labeling, coding, and marking.”

“I'm looking forward to building on the strong reputation and track record achieved by Pro Mach’s management team,” added Mr. Shipman. “We have excellent products and services, a strong team, and a proven model for delivering customer satisfaction and innovative solutions. We have many outstanding opportunities to expand our leadership position in labeling, coding and marking. I’m grateful for Bob’s guidance over the years and the foundation of success he created.”

Mr. Zuilhof founded Fort Worth based ID Technology in 1993 and grew the company from a regional labeling equipment reseller to one of the world’s largest manufacturers and integrators of identification and tracking equipment, products, and services. INC. Magazine recognized ID Technology as one of the fasting growing businesses in the US for 1997-1998. For 12 consecutive years, ID Technology has been the largest label printer applicator manufacturer in North America. Mr. Zuilhof sold ID Technology to Pro Mach, Inc. in 2002 and joined the company as President to lead its Identification and Tracking business.

Under his leadership Pro Mach’s Identification & Tracking Group’s rapid growth has been fueled by innovative product and service development and the steady addition of regional offices for responsive, cost-effective customer support. In the past two years, the Identification & Tracking Group has added multiple label converting facilities and regional offices in the United States and Canada to become North America’s premier single source manufacturer and integrator of labeling, coding, and marking solutions. For the near future, Mr. Zuilhof will continue to serve Pro Mach in an advisory role.

“We deeply appreciate Bob’s longstanding leadership and dedicated service to Pro Mach,” said Mr. Anderson. “His strong record of growth, mentorship, and unfailing commitment to our customers has earned him unequaled respect and many friends throughout our company and industry. He holds a special place in our company's history and has been a major factor in our continued growth. We wish him and his family all the best in the future.”

“I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a long and rewarding career and develop many close friendships along the way,” said Mr. Zuilhof. “I’m looking forward to relaxing a bit and spending more time with my family and personal pursuits. I’m leaving a strong organization in very capable hands. I wish Alan and all my friends at Pro Mach continued success.”

After more than two years of utilizing Colordyne Technologies™ (CDT) 1600-C Continuous Format Digital Color Printer, Nasco's in-plant print shop continues to benefit from the printer's speed, quality, and ease-of-use.

Headquartered in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Nasco has successfully operated for more than 70 years providing 24 mail-order catalogs to educators, farmers, and industry in all 50 states and 180 countries world-wide. Nasco's unique blend of products targets education, healthcare and agriculture industries. To support this diverse and fast-growing business, Nasco's in-plant print shop has been tasked with a wide range of printing challenges, including producing labels for their thousands of unique items with the correct label, in the correct warehouse, exactly when needed. The company was searching for a viable solution to enable its in-plant print shop. That solution was found with the CDT 1600-C digital printer after several different systems were previously explored.

Supplying labels for thousands of Nasco's proprietary products and custom kits would normally lead many companies look to a big name company to print their required labels. Because of Nasco's success within its in-plant print shop, the company is able to print and apply nearly all its own labels in a more efficient and cost effective manner.

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One aisle of Nasco's packaging warehouse with cartons and inventory labeled with labels printed on the CDT 1600-C Label Printer.

Early on, many growing companies that require volumes of labels for packaging gravitated to large outsource companies or expensive in-house equipment. David Lass, Nasco Printing Supervisor, decided to look at the problem differently, asking the question, "How can I get the same work done without a huge investment, but with the same impact?"

The ultimate answer to that question came when Nasco purchased a Colordyne CDT 1600-C Printer in February 2012.

Nasco's history with in-house printers started with traditional offset printers. Operating these printers correctly was a long, strenuous and messy process. Early on, Nasco transitioned to digital while others clung to traditional printing technology. One of the first in the local area to transition to digital printers, Nasco took a more condensed and efficient strategy to printing labels.

Nasco's initial solution to its labeling problem was a 4-color thermal printer which used thermal transfer ribbons. This printer made producing labels faster than using an outside service, but its 300 dpi resolution could not print images at a high enough quality level. Eventually the unstable and ever-increasing costs of the thermal transfer PET film market steered Nasco to inkjet printers. The initial inkjet printing system purchased, was designed more like a home printer, was slow but offered better quality labels. However, with their business growth, this solution soon became inadequate as well.

"I started having to make excuses as to why our labels were not getting done, truth was, the machine was slow, business was growing, and I needed a new secret weapon," said Lass.

This is when Lass discovered the Colordyne solution in the form of the CDT 1600-C Continuous Format Color Printer. Nasco purchased a CDT 1600-C throughWaukesha Graphics Systems, a CDT Authorized Reseller Partner. The printer was added to the roster of label printers and has boosted Nasco's vitality.

With print speeds up to 12 inches per second and a print resolution up to 1600 x 1600 dpi, the CDT 1600-C immediately resolved Nasco's speed and print quality challenges. The CDT 1600-C is designed for printing carton labels with the ability to add color highlighting and pictograms. Additionally, Nasco purchased the optional Unwinder and Winder accessories to allow for printing labels and tags in roll form, rather than in fanfold mode. Using the winders gives Nasco tightly wound rolls of labels for its employees to effortlessly hand-apply to product.

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Phil Gaumond (left), owner of Waukesha Graphics Systems, a CDT Authorized Reseller with Dave Lass, Nasco Printing Supervisor, next to Nasco's CDT 1600-C.

Nasco's in-plant print shop is now able to compete with larger label print shops. The CDT 1600-C has given them the ability to print rush orders, and varying amounts of labels fast and efficiently. The more than 500,000 labels Nasco printed last year came with no problems, making it possible to provide a superior level of service. The shop is able to get labels printed in-house, same day, in the quantities needed, with no large inventories to buy or wasting away in a warehouse.

"The small footprint, inkjet printer, began to work for us right out of the box, fully capable of speeds of 12 inches per second, with exceptional print quality up to 1600 x 1600 dpi on a variety of stocks and substrates," said Lass. "Long or short runs-I don't worry about it when using the Colordyne printer, it's a workhorse that hasn't let us down."

Lass is impressed with the speed and quality the CDT 1600-C offers for fast turn-around times, putting Nasco in a great position. Nasco has gained new customers and is looking forward to a bright future because it is now able to meet the needs for its labeling jobs.

"Sure, there are other digital label printers on the market, but all have lists and lists of consumable parts to purchase and stock, and need to set-up and train their skilled professionals to run the equipment," said Lass. "All the Colordyne printer needs is ink, a spare print head, and a computer to launch your graphics. By the time they start printing their labels, I have thousands done and in the hands of my people applying them to packaging, and our products are out the door on the trucks because of our CDT 1600-C."

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Lass showing a label printed on the CDT 1600-C printer for one of Nasco's products.

"The CDT 1600-C has helped us in keeping with Nasco's motto, 'Dedicated to Delivery.'"

More information about Colordyne and the CDT 1600-C can be found atwww.colordynetech.com. To learn more about Nasco, please visit www.enasco.com.Nasco International, a division of the Aristotle Corporation, publishes 29 different mail-order catalogs serving education, health, agriculture, and industry worldwide. The Aristotle Corporation has facilities located in Wisconsin, California, Indiana, New York, Minnesota, Colorado and Ontario, Canada.

Addressing the needs of today's brands, including color accuracy, faster time to market and regulatory compliance.

Esko (www.esko.com), the global leader in software solutions for packaging brand management, design and prepress, announces that it will be exhibiting at Interpack, the international trade show for the packaging industry and related process technologies. Esko will be located in hall 7A, stand B28 at the show, which is held in Düsseldorf, Germany, 8-14 May.

 

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“Esko is dedicated to solving the business issues faced by brand owners, pre-media companies and packaging converters as they work to meet the needs of a demanding and rapidly changing world of packaging,” says Christian Korte, Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Services at Esko. “Together with our partners, we present a full range of innovative solutions that address today’s challenges of global packaging management and production supply chain. Amongst others, these challenges include avoiding recalls because of packaging misprints or non regulatory content; shortening long approval cycles; ensuring traceability and packaging protection; remaining sustainable and guaranteeing brand color consistency on different types of packaging. Esko's solutions tackle each of these challenges, enabling brands to gain full control of their packaging production."

Smart software for world-class packaging development and production

As the recognized leader in packaging design and prepress solutions, Esko will show unique, smart software that incorporates its wealth of expertise in the packaging arena. Esko solutions make it easier and more productive for brand owners as well as packaging converters to remain competitive while staying in tune with industry and consumer trends.

Esko experts will detail how to enhance content management, shorten approval cycles and ensure regulatory compliance with WebCenter, a fully-featured online packaging management solution. They will inform brands how to manage brand color accuracy across the global supply chain – from proof to package to display – in a smart and comprehensive manner with dedicated color solutions such as PantoneLIVE™ and leverage the benefits of multi-color printing with Esko Equinox. Brand owners and retailers will experience the highest possible realism during the packaging development process using Esko's 3D technologies, including Studio and Store Visualizer, to present hyper-realistic 3D images of packages from design through positioning on store shelves.

Visitors to the stand can also learn how to save costs with sustainable packaging, by using Esko Cape solutions to optimize packaging logistics throughout the supply chain – including secondary packaging, palletization, and loading of trucks and containers. Finally, Esko will also present its leading solutions for producing high quality, consistent print results with flexo printing, the most cost-effective print technology for the packaging industry. Packaging converters should visit the Esko stand to see the stunning results that are achieved for labels, flexible and corrugated packaging and folding cartons using Esko’s broad array of flexo tools and solutions.

Better together

Esko has also assembled a portfolio of market-leading partners that augment its packaging management and supply chain capabilities. Partners joining Esko at Interpack and showing integrated solutions that streamline the entire packaging development process include:

§ HP Indigo and HP Scitex (Hall 13, stands C77 and E94): showing digital and wide format printing solutions, powered by Esko software solutions, for the digital print production of folding carton, flexible packaging, labels and corrugated production.

§ Sun Chemical (Hall 7A, stands C6 and C10): one of the key ink partners to the PantoneLIVE ecosystem, showcasing the color management capabilities of PantoneLIVE on their stand.

§ Videojet (Hall 6, Stand A1): an Esko sister company within the Danaher Industrial Technologies Business Unit, showing a unique joint project where coding and marking of complete content blocks such as nutrition panels and regulatory content is applied to preprinted material. This is done through a workflow setup that combines the production data of flexible packaging with end of line added data. This concept opens new opportunities to add variable, regulatory data end of line on the finished and packaged product.

“We look forward to attending Interpack,” concludes Korte. “and are excited about the opportunity to start conversations with brand and packaging professionals from all over the world on the range of Esko solutions that help them improve their operations. We will have brand management and product experts on hand to inform visitors how Esko and its partners address the challenges brands are facing with intelligent solutions for the 21st century.”

'Racing' themed Esko stand will mark European debut of Kongsberg C Series, the first fully-featured super-wide digital finishing systems.

Esko  promises visitors to its stand at FESPA Digital 2014 a fast-paced experience full of innovative ideas for business growth. Esko will be located on stand B2-238 at the show, which is being held in Munich, Germany, 20-23 May.

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“FESPA Digital is always a high-energy show,” says Armand Gougay, Esko Vice President EMEA, “and we will add even more enthusiasm with a racing theme that fits perfectly with our ability to speed up sign and display graphics production – from prepress through finishing. Both cutting machines and software solutions will be on display in our stand, demonstrating the breadth of our offerings and our leadership position in this market. The racing theme also highlights the unique capabilities of our newly launched Kongsberg C Series cutting tables, the fastest digital finishing solution in the market for the widest range of materials.”

Next-generation cutting tables to see European debut

At FESPA Digital 2014, Esko will show the Kongsberg C64 cutting table for the first time in Europe following a successful launch last fall at SGIA in the U.S. This first-of-a-kind super-wide digital finishing system is a brand-new platform whose development is based on decades of engineering experience from Kongsberg, and is designed for 24/7 production and semi-industrial environments. Unique is its ability to handle materials up to 3.2 by 3.2 meters. Due to their robust design and the unique carbon traverse beam, the Kongsberg C Series cutting tables do not decelerate when cutting demanding materials and are capable of working with the a broader array of materials than any other super-wide finisher, from paper and textiles to fluted board, plastics, aluminum composites and (unique to the Kongsberg C) corrugated up to triple-wall thickness. “With this next-generation cutting table,” adds Gougay, “our customers will truly be able to improve productivity and decrease time to market with excellent precision at high speeds and extreme fast acceleration. Visitors to our stand at FESPA Digital will see this clearly demonstrated, in a fun way!"

Launch of Kongsberg V Series

Another family of cutting tables that Esko will showcase for the first time in Europe at FESPA Digital is the Kongsberg V-series. These Kongsberg tables have a standard design that delivers true Kongsberg production quality. Available in two configurations, the V-series tables are ideal for sign & display as well as packaging applications. “Initial market testing in Asia generated strong demand for these new tables,” explains Gougay. “We are now scaling up manufacturing to make these models available through all Esko channels.”

The two new Kongsberg Series that Esko will showcase at FESPA Digital have broadened the market scope for Esko’s Kongsberg tables to meet the needs of customers who are producing base model packaging applications up to the most demanding super-wide and highly versatile sign & display or industrial applications producer. Esko experts will be on hand during the show to help visitors determine which table best meets their finishing needs.

A complete software solution for prepress and finishing

In addition to market leading digital finishing equipment, Esko also offers highly innovative prepress, workflow and finishing software specifically developed for this industry. Visitors to the Esko FESPA Digital stand will be able to view first-hand the new developments in layout functionality within the i-cut software suite – Esko i-cut Layout+, a re-developed 64-bit application that runs on both Mac and PC platforms and makes nesting and layout preparation extremely intuitive and productive. Esko will also be demonstrating ArtiosCAD and Studio structural design software for design of displays and other structures in 3D; workflow automation with Esko Automation Engine to streamline and automate high volume production; and exceptional color management capabilities with Esko Color Engine to deliver against the high expectations of brand owners for color integrity in their signs and display graphics. A new color module not only proves to be a great ink-saver, it can also be integrated in an automated workflow and thus saves job setup time. Lastly, online editing capabilities integrated within Esko's workflow solutions will also be demonstrated on the Esko booth by CHILI Publish.

Learn from the application experts

Esko’s expertise goes beyond the hard- and software solutions it offers to sign & display and large format printing professionals, with extensive know-how on applications translated into the wide range of tools and tool heads that guarantee the best and most productive cutting, creasing or milling results on the widest range of materials. At a dedicated desk with tools and applications, Esko experts will guide visitors in their search for the best-fit solution for specific application needs.

“Esko is one of the few global suppliers to the sign & display industry with such a broad range of integrated software and hardware solutions,” concludes Gougay. “We are looking forward to welcoming visitors from all over the world to our stand at FESPA Digital. We will have Esko representatives and distribution partners from everywhere available to speak with visitors in their native tongues and to address region-specific questions.”

imageJoint Integration Efforts Will Drive Engagement and Profit Through Highly Variable Print in Newspaper Markets Globally.

Kodak and manroland web systems GmbH have signed an agreement to integrate the KODAK PROSPER S20 and S30 Imprinting Systems into webpress lines. The integration will enable high-value variable print for newspaper applications. Based in Augsburg, Germany, manroland web systems is a 170-year-old web press manufacturer focused on the newspaper and publishing markets and will become the first worldwide reseller and OEM partner focused on the newspaper industry utilizing KODAK Stream Inkjet Technology.

“We appreciate the technology and engineering experience that manroland web systems brings to this partnership,” said Eric Owen, Vice President of WW Sales & Business Development for Kodak’s Digital Printing & Enterprise Business. “They understand how to mount print heads, control speed and micro-movements and make appropriate adjustments, resulting in a head that is positioned at the right location for printing. This creates a true advantage for customers.”

Dieter Betzmeier, Executive Vice President, Technology & Project Execution, manroland web systems said: “The addition of the S-Series print head technology from Kodak enables us to create new opportunities for our newspaper applications as well as the other markets that we participate in. Personalized advertising, micro-zoning, logistics, codes and gaming customization are just a few applications which are enabled through the use of variable print. Our engineering expertise has allowed us to offer sophisticated integration kits to our web press customers, enabling a high degree of automation for adjusting performance and delivering proven success. The result is a highly flexible automated system that can be integrated into every web press.”

These new systems are available in the market currently and customers around the world are already taking advantage of these high-value personalized print opportunities.

Industry associations have recognized the high quality production capabilities of Esko Full HD Flexo by presenting adoptees with a number of prestigious awards. "Launched just over a year ago, Esko Full HD Flexo continues to conquer the industry and provides converters worldwide a unique way to achieve excellent flexo print quality results," comments Thomas Klein, Vice President Digital Flexo at Esko. "We congratulate our customers with their outstanding achievements and are very proud with the recognition of their work!"

 

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Most recent were the EFIA Print Awards. Along with packaging printers RKW Finland and Pa-Hu Full HD Flexo customer Marvaco, a leading prepress house in the Nordic region, won double gold for International Flexo Print on Paper, and Flexo Print on Film with the Hau Hau Champion and Koff Lite designs (Marvaco.fi). In addition, PPP Digital Imaging, a UK-based provider of quality flexographic repro, was recognized with a gold award in the Technical Innovation Supplier category for its PPP Fusion solution that combines the capabilities of Esko Full HD Flexo with PPP’s techniques to achieve the ultimate flexographic printing plate (PPP.co.uk).

 

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Earlier at the FlexoTech International Awards, JV Uniflex (Uniflex.by), one of the largest flexo packaging and self-adhesive label specialists in Belarus, was awarded the Supreme Award for their ‘Moskovskiy Kartofel’ entry, which was also recognized for Flexo Job Previously Printed By Another Process. "It demonstrates our advances in flexo printing, a breakthrough which was possible thanks to the Esko products, Full HD Flexo and Equinox we implemented," said Eugene Lungin of Uniflex.

Even at the early beginnings of Full HD Flexo in 2013, two Esko customers were honored for their ground-breaking work at the DFTA Awards. Bischof + Klein (bk-international.com), one of Europe's leading full-service suppliers of flexible plastic and paper packaging and technology, won gold in the category for flexible packaging category pet food while Glatz Klischee (Glatz.at), a specialist in packaging prepress and plate production for flexo printing and corrugated board, was recognized with the gold award in the snacks and sweet category.

Henkel will be present at the Interpack show this year with numerous innovations and proven adhesives systems. The focus is on solutions that Henkel has engineered in response to the requirements of the packaging industry.

The major themes for the present and future include, among others, food safety, occupational health and safety, sustainability, lighter packages and the effects of volatile raw materials markets. Henkel, the world’s biggest adhesives manufacturer, will be tackling these challenges with a broad range of applications and products at Interpack.

Sustainable innovations for glass labeling
Glass bottle labels are exposed to such influences as strong temperature fluctuations and high humidity, particularly in summer. Labeling adhesives have to retain their stability and thus prevent the label detaching from the bottle in ice water or when condensation water forms. At the same time, the label should be easy to remove during the washing process for returnable bottles. With its broad application and performance spectrum, casein-free Aquence XP 190 satisfies these requirements, performing just as well as adhesives based on casein.

 

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Henkel offers a comprehensive product portfolio for different types of PSA labels

Since Aquence XP 190 is casein-free, its price is not subject to seasonal fluctuations like that of adhesives based on milk protein. In the grip of a steady, long-term rise, the casein price reached an all-time high in recent months. There are no signs at present of a trend reversal, as demand from other industrial sectors is also increasing and availability depends on milk output. Experts therefore expect a continuation of the upward price trend in the medium and long-run. Casein-free Aquence XP 190 is thus an efficient and economically sustainable alternative to conventional labeling adhesives for the beverage and liquid food industry.

Foamed adhesives yield optimal results
In high-volume applications like lamination, efficient processes are particularly important. The innovative Aeration System from Henkel reduces process times during lamination in the corrugated board industry considerably, while creating potential for enhanced efficiency at the same time.

This proven system solution for the foaming of laminating adhesives allows clean machining even at high production speeds. The system consists of a Henkel laminating adhesive and a perfectly adapted third generation Glue Mixer, foaming the adhesive inline. By considerably increasing the volume of the adhesive, the system thus significantly reduces the quantity of adhesive required per unit of laminated area.

New hotmelt adhesive sets standards
With a processing temperature of 100 degrees Celsius, Technomelt Supra 100 Cool from Henkel is the new record-breaking hotmelt for the packaging industry. Featuring all the known positive aspects of the proven Supra product series, the innovation from Henkel offers superior efficiency in the end-of-line packaging process while also contributing to greater sustainability and increased work safety at the customer.

 

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Ice Label Test

The continuing trend toward higher bond performance, greater mileage, and long-term availability is increasing in importance in the consumer packaging industry. In addition to its low processing temperature of 100 degrees Celsius and its high bond strength, Technomelt Supra 100 Cool also is distinguished by its wide range of applications in case, tray and carton bonding. Field tests among consumer goods manufacturers all over Europe have shown that the low processing temperature of Technomelt Supra 100 Cool reduces the required energy input by up to 50 percent relative to conventional hotmelts. Like all products of the Technomelt Supra series, Technomelt Supra 100 Cool is suitable for bonding food packages.

Freedom System and Central Hotmelt Feeding System
The Henkel stand will showcase an innovation that Henkel has developed in cooperation with the Nordson Corporation, a leading manufacturer of precision dispensing systems for adhesives and other materials. The Freedom System is a combination of tailormade hotmelts and high-end application equipment. Customers benefit enormously from the system and the different degrees of freedom it offers that gave the innovation its name. Thanks to innovative adhesives formulations, customers gain a measure of independence from raw materials markets, and they can set up the system with ease and virtually anywhere in their facility. They can reduce downtimes and escape the complexity of traditional dispensing systems. With the Freedom System, material is well optimized.

Another innovation at the trade show is the Central Hotmelt Feeding System. This new unit from Henkel enables customers to supply several adhesives application systems from a central adhesives store at the same time. This is made possible by an intricate piping configuration in which granular hotmelt is conveyed by compressed air and via an adjustable valve to the hotmelt application system. The system is cost-effective and saves energy during the production process. Smart software makes the feeding process easy to control.

Henkel presents product portfolio for self-adhesive label production
At Interpack, Henkel is presenting its extended range of pressure-sensitive adhesives for the production of self-adhesive labels, tapes and films. By closing its acquisition of the high-performance adhesives business of the US specialty chemicals company Cytec Industries in 2012, Henkel again strengthened its competencies in this specialty adhesives sector and now offers an even broader product portfolio.

The acquired PSA technologies are put to varied use across multiple industries to give special characteristics to self-adhesive labels, films and tapes. For the label industry, Henkel today offers a comprehensive range of pressure-sensitive adhesives that is designed for a multitude of removable, repositionable and permanent applications and covers all common technologies: water-based, solvent acrylics, hotmelts and UV-curable adhesives.

Complete info here