Labelexpo Europe 2023 is almost here.

For most in the industry, this event feels like a long time in the making. Since the last edition in 2019, a global health crisis has shut down much of the world, strikes in Finland have brought print to the brink of a standstill, war continues to rage in Ukraine, food and fuel prices have skyrocketed, inflation has ballooned and interest rates remain high. Each are issues in their own right for manufacturing businesses, but when compounded they have made the last 18 months a particular challenge for many. Notwithstanding such headwinds, labels and package have continued to be resilient and resourceful sectors of print. Many continue to make good money, invest in their production and seek out new revenue streams.

For their part, suppliers have sought to bring new equipment and technologies to market to give converters the tools to succeed in such a climate. Many of these developments are ‘fresh out of the box, although others are not new per se, rather are seen in the steel for the first time by many at Labelexpo Europe 2023. This all adds up to the returning
flagship Labelexpo show being an all-encompassing, and potentially overwhelming, experience for those in attendance.

Below are selected highlights from the digital printing supply chain that will be present at the show – Read issue 5 (August/September) 2023 for a comprehensive overview.

HP Indigo has the V12 running live at the show. Whilst not new, V12 is likely to be a big draw as a digital label press that uses the company’s LEPx printing technology to run six colours at 120m/min, or 12 colours at 60m/min. Also presented is the HP Indigo 200K, a digital press designed with the flexible packaging market in mind.

Xeikon gives a European premiere to its Titon toner technology, developed to meet market demands for paper-based flexible packaging applications such as stand-up pouches and sachets. The first press presented with this technology is the 520mm-wide Xeikon TX-500, which prints in up to five colours at 30m/min with a resolution of 1200dpi.

Fujfilm highlights its Jet Press FP790 digital flexible packaging press, via a demonstration run live from a beta customer in the UK. Jet Press FP790 features water-based inkjet technology, and is pitched as a digital alternative to flexo production for mainstream applications and print runs.

Screen showcases Truepress Pac 520P, a water-based Inkjet press optimised for printing on paper-based flexible packaging materials. The press targets short-to-medium production runs (less than 10,000-15,000m), enabling converters to print smaller quantities of paper with a lower environmental impact. This, according to Screen, responds to the growing trend of brands looking for a sustainable alternative to multi-layer plastic packaging.

Dantex brings its updated PicoJet technology to Brussels. PicoJet 1200s is the flagship machine in the inkjet digital press series. PicoJet presses can be configured roll-to-roll or with a range of inline finishing capabilities. On day one of the show, the company will be unveiling a significant reveal of new technology to the Pico range, plus exciting upgrades to its interface, print quality and finishing capabilities.

Mark Andy’s hybrid technologies, using digital and flexo printing with conventional finishing, are highlighted. This includes the Digital Series HD, equipped with a Kurz Distorun embellishment module. Printing at speeds up to 73m/min, this press combines high-resolution digital print and production capability into a single pass workflow.

Amica Systems presents a new family of narrow web UV label presses. Specifically, Gemini 330-4C UV is a 600 x 1200dpi standalone press with a roll-to-roll drive train and arc concept to ensure required web tension. Further to this, the Scorpio family of six-colour narrow web UV label presses provides an entry point into the market for digitally printed labels.

Brand-new from Durst is Hawk Eye, technology that utilises computer vision and artificial intelligence to assist operators automate print quality.

A focus for A B Graphic (ABG) is its automation technology – ABG Connect – that streamlines the print and finishing process by connecting all stages into one automated workflow.

Cartes presents six special and unique configurations including GE363VJL, where Jet D-Screen (JDS) is integrated into the company’s Gemini platform and combined with laser die-cutting and converting. A GT360 line is shown incorporating JDS, flexo, screen printing, hot stamping and semi-rotary die-cutting.

Easily Converted showcases the latest MDF330 modular digital converting machine with new patented semi-rotary cold foiling system and optional laminate to register capability (peel-and-reveal) system.

SEI Laser shows a world-first, with its Labelmaster laser die-cutting and finishing system featuring the company’s proprietary KyoJet inline high-resolution UV inkjet digital printing technology. This combination delivers a single-pass production platform, from PDF to shipping. This is noted as particularly of interest for web-to-print/web-to-label applications.

ePS showcases a portfolio of products purpose-built for the packaging industry, including labels and flexible packaging. This includes Packaging Suite, which offers an end-to-end, enterprise-wide software ecosystem that is purpose-built for label and flexible packaging production, especially those with multiple products and plants. Bi-directional integration with HP Indigo label presses is also a major part of its presence at Labelexpo Europe 2023.

Hybrid Software Group showcases a stack of products, ‘which power the heart of industrial printing’. Specifically, Hybrid Software demonstrates updates to its Packz and Stepz PDF editors for pre-press, version 9 of each, as well as the Cloudflow modular production workflow suite for file processing, asset management, soft proofing and workflow automation. 

Synthogra uses its presence at Brussels Expo to further its narrative around the creation and use of synthetic materials with built-in environmental credentials, from the raw materials to their application. One such recent development has been a transparent BOPP film made from 70 percent used cooking oil.

Nanovis provides automatic and manual parts cleaning systems, such as the Bella DC-1300. This is a device for the manual cleaning of parts from an HP Indigo digital press. With a width of 1300mm, the unit offers a large working area. In addition, the integrated recycling system ensures that the imaging oil used to clean parts always remains clean.

Re SpA shows ReVision Net, a fully integrated web viewing and control system. From a single control point, with up to two Touch Display, users have access to any number of the company’s ultra compact high-quality cameras. A wide range of web guiding systems are presented also, with different sizes and with many options available.

The above examples serve to highlight the depth and breadth of digital’s role at the returning Labelexpo Europe 2023. Be sure to read issue 5 (August/September) 2023 for a comprehensive overview of all the names and faces you’ll need and want to see across 11-14 September in Brussels, Belgium.

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