Packaging Innovations returns to the NEC for two days next week (26-27 February) using the space in Birmingham to bring together all elements of the packaging supply chain from design, though materials, converters and machinery for production of packaging.
The show combines five elements in Packaging Innovations itself, Label&Print, Empack and Ecopack, Contract Pack and Fulfilment, ensuring the broadest flow of visitors. Seminars and presentations around sustainability will also have broad appeal.
This includes companies considering a move into short run packaging in particular. While there are no major press suppliers on the show floor, short run finishing is represented by Morgana, Duplo and Vivid Laminating. Each has a technology for finishing small batches of cartons, printed digitally.
Vivid has been successful with the Veloblade cutting table it launched at the same venue in September last year. It returns to the NEC with a larger version. Duplo will launch a similar product to the PFI Blade Digital Shape cutter. Both are using XY plotting technology with blades for cutting and for scoring using data from a PDF layer to drive the device. Cameras pick up job data from printed bar codes and registration information from set marks on the sheet.
The sheet is turned over when reverse creasing is needed, again with accurate registration for batches of boxes for a focus group testing, a presentation or product launch, or for personalised gift packs, for a wedding perhaps.
Morgana’s offer of a Valiani cutting table, for cutting one off boxes and point of sale displays, and the Rotary Die Cutting for longer runs, is a first for the show. Market manager Wendy Baker says: “We have decided to attend because packaging is a potential growth area for us and we have two great machines that fit into this market sector.”
AG/CAD has cutting table technology for larger formats while B&R Moll has folder gluer units for longer runs, but not for full production lines.
The design and mock up stage is also represented by Revolution Digital and iSub, offering large format inkjet printing for flexible packaging as well as colour accurate proofing of samples using films to wrap boxes.
If carton and flexo printing is, perhaps understandably, absent, label printing does feature with Domino, Dante and Epson flying the flag. The latter will bring the latest Colorworx presses that were introduced at Labelexpo last year, Astro Nova will also have bench top printing for functional and information labels. Oki is also present with bench top digital label printing, based not on inkjet, but on toner technology.
Dantex has the PicoColor family of inkjet presses aimed at the entry level of digital printing and commercial label production. Domino on the other hand has the N610i, which when connected to AB Graphic Digicon finishing, amounts to a fully fledged rival to a conventional flexo label press.
Production and colour management software help to complete the picture with Hybrid demonstrating the latest versions of its fully specified Cloudflow application from asset management to delivery of press ready files. GMG handles the colour management needed for spot colours and consistent output regardless of process and substrate.
These are the building blocks for packaging production, needed for a company aiming to expand into what is still a growing market.