If EU member states choose to use graphic colour health warnings on cigarettes of the style pioneered by Canada and described in the EC Commission decision of September 5, the gravure industry will be incredibly under-resourced. This is the view of Markus Kohler, of Philip Morris Europe.
Speaking at the European Rotogravure Association packaging conference in Bern, Switzerland last month (see separate feature), he suggested that if the majority of the 25 member states decide to go ahead, more than 75 additional print stations would be needed. Currently, 60 per cent of cigarette pack designs use six colours; in the future, he says 60 per cent would need 10 colours and 25 per cent 12 colours.
Needless to say, this would involve downtime at converters as installations go ahead. But perhaps more alarmingly, there would be a need for substantial investment by the converters.
The member states may well be publishing provisions from October, 2004, and the tobacco industry and its suppliers are saying they will need a couple of years to get everything in place to be able to meet the provisions.
In addition, remarked Markus Kohler, a high number of additional cylinders will be required (there are likely to be a series of pictorial warnings for each brand) and he questioned whether the cylinder making capacity is currently available.
More cylinders also means more storage at the converter. Again, a high investment in engraving equipment may be required, but there certainly will be more business for the cylinder suppliers.
It looks as if press builders and engraving equipment producers can look forward to an interesting 2005.
One man’s meat is definitely another’s poison.