Labelexpo Europe 2003 broke all records. The exhibition welcomed over 20,000 visitors - the highest attendance ever

Eyes on the future

Vision Assurance Systems – a new name and corporate identity for vision inspection and verification specialist Ledavision was launched at the show. The Andover, UK, based company, recently acquired by the AEWDelford Group is in the same division as Vacuumatic – manufacturer of counting, tabbing and batching machines for security and commercial printers.

Managing director Lyn Curran explained the new name and direction to Converting Today. “We took a long hard look at the markets we wanted to be in.” Although there is considerable synergy between VAS and Vacuumatic in the security area, she was keen to see the name reflecting the wider area the company serves. It can also call on the Delford group for “creativity and substance”. For example, VAS recently linked up with Delford on a label line, providing inspection systems that give 100 per cent verification of label information.

Splicing in a spin

“A new concept in automatic splicing” was Martin Automatic’s claim for the STS splicer, developed for narrow web converting applications. In a novel roll indexing design, two cantilevered spindles rotate about a vertical axis, enabling the operator to load new rolls and prepare splices from a single aisle position.

In addition to taped butt-to-butt splices, the STS can make taped overlap splices – and tapeless heatseal overlap splices with no leading or trailing edges.

Life after no MACtac deal

Following the US blocking of the UPM-Kymmene acquisition of MACtac (see September issue), Raflatac Group president Pentti Kallio said at Labelexpo: “Our strategic targets are the same, but different. It takes more time for the growth, the product range and the geography.” And he added “I can’t reveal any acquisition targets at present.” He was not prepared to comment on the Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigation into the US labelstock industry, other than to confirm: “We have been interviewed and will be interviewed again.”

The company claims some 10 per cent of the current paper based and filmic pressure sensitive labelstock market and a €100M turnover. Growth is expected in synthetics, Asia – especially China and intelligent labelling (Rafsec). It has also invested in the EU enlargement countries.

Pumping head

Ink pump specialist Watson-Marlow introduced the 520RC pumphead for flow rates up to 4.6 litre/min. The unit is made from polyphenylene sulphide, a material said to combine dimensional stability with impact and chemical resistance. An increased track diameter and large occlusion rollers are also designed to reduce tube stress and prolong tube life by up to 20 per cent.

Screen savers from Stork

Stork Prints, which has an agreement with over 30 leading press manufacturers to incorporate its systems into presses through its Rotary Screen Integration (RSI) programme, introduced three new drop-in cassette units. These systems are light and claimed to be easily integrated into the existing press for relatively low financial outlay. They will enable converters to incorporate techniques like the no-label look, 3D or Braille text into their portfolio for a fast return on investment.

Raymond Wiggers, sales manager, said: “There has been strong market demand for a rotary screen printing solution that enables printers to offer the technique, competitively, in-line with other techniques in one pass.” The drop-in cassettes are claimed to be half the price of the RSI units.

The company was also showing the fruits of its venture with Codimag. The Viva 340 press includes Stork semi rotary screen printing technology featuring a squeegee which applies minimal downward movement against the screen during the time when the screen comes off-contact with the web. Registration accuracy is said to be better than 0.1mm and productivity is up to 50m/min (12,000prints/hour).

Simcic confirms investment policy

Coinciding with the show was the unveiling of Avery Dennison’s largest ever single investment: the €48M, two metre wide coater and fully automated warehouse for its Roll Materials Europe’s manufacturing and distribution centre in Rodange, Luxembourg.

In an exclusive interview with Converting Today, group vice president Roll Materials Worldwide Christian Simcic said: “We needed the extra capacity in Luxembourg; we have been short for a while. This state of the art plant is geared towards consistent and cost effective production.”

Investment is clearly important globally. The Luxembourg plant complements another two metre coater commissioned in the summer in France. “We will continue to invest, particularly in Asia and South America. We keep adding DCs in China and the Asean region, where we are seeing a 20–25 per cent growth in pressure sensitives. As we speak, we are building a 1.5m coater in Brazil.”

The Jacstädt merger has proved fruitful. “We have seen an outstanding retention of the Jacstädt customers. There is not only a solid portfolio and spread of products, but both companies are extremely innovative.”

He declined to comment on the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division investigation, except to confirm that the company had received a subpoena.

Digital goes conventional

According to HP, the last year has seen a real change in marketing and distribution practices in the labels sector industry with reduced run lengths and turn-around times moving digital printing into the mainstream. Marketing manager Europe Danny Dams says it is now a viable alternative to conventional printing. “We are no longer positioning ourselves as digital press producers. We are looking at positioning the presses at run lengths of under 2km.”

Latest company to join a growing list of label converters buying presses is Tamar Labels. The company purchased a WS4000 press with in-line die-cutting on the opening day of the show. Managing director of the Devon, UK, company Alan Jones told Converting Today that he intends to use the press not only to free his other presses from the shorter runs, but also to gain new business from this growing area of work.

Worldwide marketing director digital publishing solutions at HP Ed McCarron confirmed that there has been a 40 per cent increase in sales to the label market since May, 2002. “We have installed 50 of our flagship model, the WS4000, in the last year.

“Digital is really here now. Customers have everything they want from Indigo combined with everything from HP. Those who were not comfortable with Indigo now see they are dealing with a multi million pound company. And we have found partners to help us deal with customer needs.” These include label finishing solutions from Nilpeter and Omega as well as developments such as laser die cutting shown at Labelexpo by Cartes.

More UV for less energy

IST Metz revealed innovations claimed to increase the efficiency of its UV systems considerably. The new MBS-2 system, developed especially for narrow web UV applications, features an enlarged reflection surface in the interior housing to increase the proportion of light directed onto the substrate. Field tests are said to have shown that, with its reduced energy consumption (lamp output of 160W/cm), production speeds can be reached which have so far only been possible with conventional UV systems using a lamp output of 200W/cm.

The company’s new generation of electronic power supply devices for its narrow web UV systems is also said to help reduce energy consumption and costs; and its URS cold mirror technology enables heat sensitive materials to be processed.

Servo switch print

Launched by Gallus was the EM 260/410/510 S platform press, which has a servo driven print unit that can be used for both flexo and screen work – change-over between the two being effected without breaking the web.

The company also stressed the new machine’s facility to re-use with minimum modifications, many of the units and modules from existing Gallus model EM260/410/510 presses.

Hunting defects

New from Tectonic was the Jaguar 100 per cent web inspection system. It features intuitive primary system navigation on a 17in touchscreen with a 19in SVGA monitor for video display. The Windows NT based distributed processing system includes a multiprocessor to control and service events in real-time, performing different analysis on common images, using only one camera.

Optional modules allow for bar/pharmaceutical codes and print defect detection. The system stores images and data for off-line management tasks and analysis.

Labels cut and shaped by laser

Latest development from Klemm was the Laser Cut, a compact laser system for marking, kiss-cutting, punching and shape cutting of synthetic materials up to 1mm thick. For operation with a standard PC, its application software allows reading of CAD data through data exchange files (DXF format) and a variety of import filters.

Formats range from 100x100mm to 300x300mm and maximum cutting speed is 500m/min. The CO2 lasers are available with capacities from 10-1,000W.

Die changes without web breaking

The Roll-A-Ready die removal system shown on Total Register’s Reflexion range of foil stamping machines enables stamping cylinders to be changed without breaking either the foil or paper web. The anvil cylinder is moved on and off impression pneumatically, and has motorized controls for increasing or decreasing stamping pressure.

The Reflexion can use both conventional engraved brass and magnetic cylinders with flexible stamping dies.


Tel: +44 (0)1264 335005

Martin Automatic
Tel +1 815 654 4800

Tel: +358 204 16143

Tel: +44 (0)1326 370370

Stork Prints
Tel: +31 (0) 0485 588485

Avery Dennison
Tel: +31 71579 3324

HP Indigo
Tel: +31 (0) 43 356 5751

IST Metz
Tel: +49 7022 6002 680

Tel: +41 71 242 86 86

Tel: +44 (0)1685 722225

Tel: +49 521 92 40 40

Total Register Machines
Tel: +44 (0)1268 680764

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Avery Dennison
HP Indigo
IST Metz
Martin Automatic
Stork Prints
Total Register Machines