A total of 693 exhibitors took part in the landmark 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe 2019 in Brussels, with major press manufacturers signing "multiple sales on a daily basis" at the largest, most international Labelexpo to date. Sydney sign company Next Printing was among the buyers at the event, entering the label sector with the purchase of an HP Indigo 6900 with ABG Digicon finishing line.
“Spread over nine halls and covering almost 40,000 sqm of floorspace, the show presented the largest offering of label and package printing technologies and live demonstrations seen to date,” said the organisers. “This included the fast growing areas of hybrid printing, flexible packaging and automation. Poor weather didn’t deter 37,903 visitors from 140 countries flocking to the four-day show.
“Major press manufacturers announced multiple sales on a daily basis, including: HP’s 200th HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press, sold to a Slovenian converter; Domino’s 7-color N610i inkjet press sold to a Belgian converter on day one; Lombardi’s sale of five Synchroline 430 presses during the first two days of the show; Gallus’ sale of three presses into India; Konica Minolta’s AccurioLabel 230 toner label press, sold on day one and which also debuted at the show; Grafisk Maskinfabrik’s DC350 digital converting line and a SR350 inspection slitter rewinder sold to a UK converter; Grafotronic’s laser die-cutting system sold to an American label converter after launching the machine at the show; and Screen’s first Trupress sold into Germany.
Indian machine manufacturers did well, with UV Graphic Technologies selling seven Ultraflex UFO presses, Multitec selling its full servo S1 press to a Russian converter, and Monotech Systems selling three Colornovo presses, one each in China, Europe and Asia.
Chinese manufacturers also fared well, with sales highlights including label press manufacturer Wanjie’s sale of a printer to a converter in Spain. Rhyguan sold three finishing systems on day one - one to an Italian converter and two to companies in Germany.
Demonstrating that the show has evolved from a labels show into a wider package printing show, flexible packaging innovations were much in evidence on the show floor, with press launches including OMET’s new X7 flexo printing machine for labels and flexible packaging with 670mm (26”) web width. Lombardi unveiled its Invicta i2 line, designed for flexible packaging in the mid web sector, while Nilpeter launched its 17” wide FA-Line press featuring cold foil, lamination and their new high-speed semi-rotary die-cutting unit.
Hybrid machinery was another trend much in evidence, with launches including BOBST, who unveiled its new Master DM5 hybrid label press, and MPS, who launched a new 17”/430mm edition of the hybrid EF Symjet press. Mark Andy unveiled a new entry- to mid-level digital hybrid press, which was demonstrated live at the show with advanced in-line converting.
Other machinery launches included Gallus’ Digital Printbar digital embellishing unit designed specifically for opaque white and using inkjet-based digital print technology. Konica Minolta premiered its recently launched AccurioLabel 230, a new version of its digital toner press, while Grafotronic showcased seven new models out of a total eleven machines presented at the show.
“We are delighted that our 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe has been our largest, most international to date, especially as it is now rapidly moving forwards into a show that encompasses not just labels but also package printing,” said Lisa Milburn, managing director of Labelexpo Global Series. “This was clear from the incredible array of flexible packaging innovations and hybrid machinery on the show floor, giving label converters ever more options to diversify their businesses.
“The feedback we have received from visitors and exhibitors alike has consistently highlighted the superior quality of the leads, enquiries and contacts made at the show, with an incredible number of deals sealed on the exhibition floor and 83 per cent of space already booked onsite for Labelexpo Europe 2021. This demonstrates that the global label and package printing industry remains as vibrant as ever, and that this show – 40 years on – is still a vital platform at the forefront of the entire supply chain.”
The popular educational program included three expert-led Label Academy-hosted master classes that covered the topics of Inks, Coatings and Varnishes; Digital Label and Package Printing; and Flexible Packaging, while a workshop covered Self-Adhesive Label Materials.
The Label Industry Global Awards 2019 took place on the evening of day one, with winners from Avery Dennison, Esko, GMG and GEW honoured at the 1980s themed celebration, which also marked Labelexpo’s 40th anniversary.