A wealth of leading edge technology, new materials and machinery were unveiled at the Packlabel Europe show to be held in Frankfurt 8-10 April 1997. Organised by Labelexpo Exhibitions, the event gathered exhibitors from the USA, Asia, Scandinavia, UK, Australia; the Mediterranean countries, market leaders from France and Germany, as well as some of the industry’s most respected international suppliers.

Packlabel is very much a labelling solutions event, with the focus squarely on the end user. This difference of emphasis from the traditional style of show, which aimed more at the manufacturer or converter is reflected by the visitor profile. Buyers, specifiers, packaging technologists, marketing staff and senior management from such important market sectors as pharmaceuticals, food & drinks, beauty products, consumer goods manufacturers and supermarket chains made up a substantial percentage of visitors to the 1995 show and this share was predicted to grow.

Aside from the representatives of multinationals and major corporations, Packlabel was expected to attract a significant contingent from Eastern Europe and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Both these areas were vast and relatively untapped markets with numerous potential customers, the more so as economic activity in the region increases and firms strive to meet international quality standards. A number of visitors from the fast growing economies of South East Asia and the Pacific rim were also expected.

The main events of the show was a full programme of seminars, which allowed delegates to update their technical knowledge and assess the some of the developments which look likely drastically change the way we do business over the next few years.

A full day event, organised by Cowise Management & Training, was an introduction to the techniques of security printing and product and image protection presented in association with the LTSI.

Both Finat, the international trade body, and VskE, the German label producers association, which were sponsoring Packlabel, were running their own complementary series of events which featured some of the industry’s leading experts. Papers included a review of the latest developments in digital technology; filmic materials; pressure-sensitive and security labelling.

Security technology certainly made its presence felt, with a number of companies launching new products in this field. Holograms, tamper evident materials, advanced security substrates, high technology electronic tags and labels; and specialised anti – counterfeiting print systems were just some of the methods of beating the crooks on show.

Also prominent was variable information systems; laser, inkjet and thermal transfer printers and peripherals; over printers of various kinds; as well as electronic coding machinery and bar coding equipment.

Another big draw was the new digital printing systems, including desk top systems, some of which were nearing standards where they can give the older printing methods a run for their money in terms of quality, and which were likely to offer a challenge for the future particularly for shorter run lengths. Several of the materials suppliers present at Packlabel were showcasing their latest papers and filmics which were optimised for compatibility with digital presses amongst other new offerings.

Specialist label origination software for use on standard PC and Mac platforms was also on show, as well as software and equipment for the pre-press department.

Demands for a higher quality product at a cheaper price were becoming ubiquitous. Packlabel exhibitors had the full complement of machines and gadgets to help the converter achieve this ranging for sophisticated inspection systems, rewinds and web monitoring through to a variety useful press ancillaries.

Exhibitor previews
These were just a few of the highlights of what promises to be a very successful and informative show.

Materials supplier Raflatac displayed its latest lines of self adhesive labelstocks including the Jetlaser multifunction stock for non – impact printing and special ranges for use with thermal printers, on hot-fill lines and a high quality paper for wine labelling.

Spanish self adhesives firm CYG displayed its variety of papers and synthetic materials. Reels and sheeted products from the firm’s plants in Barcelona and Valenciennes, France, were on show and featured a versatile range of adhesives including emulsions, rubber solvent based products and solvent based acrylics.

TEC Elektronic demonstrated its CB426 colour desktop label printer along with its well known series of thermal and thermal transfer printers. The company was also highlighting its special 2D code – Data Matrix which allows more information to be packed into a smaller area.

German labelling experts Schreiner had a portfolio which included seals, adhesive tapes, integrated security packages and tear off labels. The firm also demonstrated its version of leaflet labels and unveil what it claims to be the latest in fragrance labelling. International specialists Computype was drawing on their 25 years experience in the coding business to produce an array of labels on materials as diverse as glass, plastic and cloth, as well as a variety of coding solutions.

Continuous label company Karl Gronemeyer GmbH & Co was showing many of its most advanced products including the firm’s speciality: continuous tags which can be printed using all conventional printing methods and which can be die cut or punched and include features such as self-adhesive strips.

Avery Dennison incorporated a leading edge print head into its new TTX 650 printer. The machine prints up to 300mm per minute at a 12 dots per mm resolution and can produce all common barcodes. A foil saving mechanism was said to reduce consumables costs significantly.

Guhl & Schliebler, a Stralfors Group company was demonstrating its global sourcing abilities. The company can supply customers with labels and complete labelling systems, as well as printers, dispensers and custom designed machinery. The firm can supply a complete range of labels including ranges tailored for use in the medical, food and automotive industries.

Bluhme Systeme unveiled a number of developments. Typical wastheir AP87 Print & Apply system. The machine was configured to meet EAN128, VAD, ODETTE and AIAG requirements and incorporates a high quality thermal transfer printer with a versatile automatic applicator system.

The Deublin GmbH stand featured sophisticated air chucks created by this leading European maker of core holding equipment and custom machinery.

De la Rue Holographics, part of the famous security print firm De La Rue plc, displayed weapons against counterfeiting and tampering. The company also presented its range of high security documentation, optical microstructures, swipe cards and brand protection devices.

Also on the security side, PSE revealed their latest innovation, an electronic multi purpose hang tag which was developed in conjunction with partners in Germany and America. A full portfolio of security labels and techniques was also on display.

Map 80 Systems were showing their flagship Prisym for Windows software package. Claimed to be one of the most advanced label origination packages in the world, the program features database utilities and incorporates OLE2, enabling it to be linked to other software.

US company Label Aire was demonstrating their line of specialised label applicator systems. Using the firm’s proprietary ‘kiss of air’ technology, the machines were capable of applying multiple labels and even attaching them to recessed areas.

Mactac was introducing two cast PE facestocks at Packlabel. Available in clear and white, the Medallist films were said to offer superior die cutting abilities and improved register control. According to the company they were especially suitable for applications such as the cosmetics or toiletries markets. The films can be purchased either with or without a topcoat.

ISO 9002 registered Fad Fabriano demonstrated their expertise in the field of pressure sensitive materials with a range of self adhesive papers, synthetics and triplex constructions. The firm’s range of anti counterfeiting papers was available for inspection.

The new Sundance colour
label printer took centre stage at the Astro Med booth. Capable of both single or double sided printing the Sundance had on-line cutter and stacker options and is compatible with industry standard design software such as Adobe Illustrator or Quark Xpress. Astro Med’s design program, Colour Quicklabel for Windows was also on show, as the firm’s single colour printers and over 30 different thermal transfer ribbons.

American Bank Note Holographics, one of the largest suppliers of holograms for commercial purposes in the world, was demonstrating the facilities offered by their high security factory. The company, which includes institutions like Visa and Mastercard amongst an extremely prestigious list of clientele demonstrated their abilities at hologram design, mastering and production to show visitors.

Japanese printer giant Sato presented at Packlabel with a number of its thermal printers. The firm’s economical CL range offers the option of a 4 or 6 inch print width and ability to print bar codes and many of the new two dimensional codes. Sato’s wide selection of printer consumables was also on display.

Italian graphics group Poligrafica San Faustino’s printed products range from stationery to labelstocks. They showcased their line of pressure sensitive labelstocks, as well as booklet labels, coupons, and piggybacks. Poligraphica can print variable information on the surface of any booklet label in the form of bar codes, text or alphanumeric symbologies. Digital printing and CD ROM production were two of the company’s latest activities, along with web site creation and Internet Service provision.

Polinas were a major producer of BOPP films and claimed to be the largest manufacturer of filmic materials in Turkey. Making more than 60,000 tonnes of film annually the company exported to over 30 countries. Polinas has been ISO registered since 1993. The results of an extensive programme of research and development into flexible packaging were on show.

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