Labelexpo looks increasingly limited as a title for a show where the big growth opportunity is mid width digital printing for flexible packaging.
Many of the companies that have produced 330mm wide inkjet presses, using LED UV to print on heat sensitive films, are pushing to wider formats that will take them into flexible packaging. The organisers have recognised this with a dedicated flexible packaging area with a conventional flex Bobst press facing a Xeikon to represent digital printing, albeit toner based digital print, delivering standup pouches.
HP Indigo will also make pouch production a theme of its stand at the show which opens on 24 September in Brussels. It will hook an Indigo 20000 to its Pack Ready Lamination finisher and a Karlville pouch making machine. Among the first customers to offer pouches is SITI Tea which has ordered a third Indigo 20000 to meet demands for digital print and to begin to offer stand up pouch packaging. Indigo has added a set of inks suitable for compostable packaging.
But these are far from alone. Durst launched the tau 330 RSC as a digital press platform for labels at the show two years ago, returns with a higher speed machine with three options on width. The Tau RSC 330i will be available as 330mm, 420mm and 508mm versions running at up to 100m/minute.
It is introducing a high opacity white ink along with certified low migration UV inks, both pointing to expansion in the direction of flexible packaging print. Durst has entered a joint venture with Koenig & Bauer on digital packaging printing with first machines aimed at corrugated to be joined by a carton press which debuts at Drupa.
MPS is pushing to a 430mm width with a version of its Symjet press and including a Domino inkjet print unit also operating at 430mm wide. Omet is pushing wider still with a 670mm web width, a full half web in flexible packaging terms, on the new X7 flexo press for both flexible packaging and labels.
Likewise Nilpeter is increasing print width to 430mm on the F-Line press with cold foils and semi-rotary die cutting.
By Gareth Ward
HP will focus on packaging pouch applications that are possible with its Indigo technology, underlining how label press suppliers are pushing into flexible packaging markets.