Labelexpo: A Candy Store
For those of you whose favorite shopping venue is a candy store, Labelexpo Americas might have been able to satisfy your craving—albeit, at slightly higher price tag. When I shop at my favorite store (Hershey’s Chocolate World in Hershey, Pa.), I tend to fill up my basket with one of everything and then two or three of the treats I really like.
In response to a question at Labelexpo’s State of the Industry Editors’ panel discussion held on Wednesday, one of the dangers I mentioned was shopping at Labelexpo like I shop at Chocolate World. Exhibitors at the show were showing a wide array of truly interesting technologies, all geared toward making label printers/converters much more productive. Although tempting, it wasn’t the place to “throw” one of everything into a shopping basket. The challenge for label converters, as always, is to stay focused on the core technologies their businesses need to grow and succeed in today’s super-tough business climate.
Overall, the show had a real digital flavor to it as digital prepress and printing technologies were everywhere to be found—especially an amazing number of inkjet printing solutions. Flexo press manufactures were determined not to be overshadowed and demonstrated a continuing evolution in press enhancements that improve makeready and productivity to handle the increasing needs for short-run printing. Mark Andy showed the easy, quick makeready of its Performance Series presses; Gallus kicked off its Road Show for its new ECS 340 servo press built on a stable “rock” of a technical granite core; and Nilpeter showed its new FA-6 UV flexo press with a wider width to enhance the ability to print flexible packaging jobs—and these were just the tip of the iceberg.
One of the highlights of the show was the Technology Workshop in which four different printing press technologies ran the same print job. Nilpeter ran its HD Flexo technology; EFI represented inkjet with its Jetrion press; Xeikon ran its dry toner digital press; and HP Indigo showed the capabilities of its liquid toner technology. Attendees were treated to this demonstration three times on each day of the show.