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FINAT Technical Seminar Addresses Sustainability

April 7, 2010
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands—This past month, the biennial FINAT (www.finat.com) technical seminar drew nearly 200 participants to Barcelona to debate current technology-based opportunities and issues in the printing industry. Taking as its central theme ‘Self-adhesive labels adding value’, FINAT, the international association for the self-adhesive label industry, created a full and broad-ranging program that embraced the entire value chain; it focused on raw materials, new processes, and—perhaps most importantly today—the way in which industry participants can bring together added value and sustainability for their end-user customers.

Packaging innovation
Guest speaker Mike Fairley—founder and editor of ‘Labels and Labeling’ magazine and co-founder of the Labelexpo shows—delivered the call to action that was the central thread of the seminar. He identified the need for the self-adhesive label industry to actively position itself as a core part of the broader packaging industry, and to become an influencer in packaging industry sustainability, environmental management, and best practice initiatives.

There is ongoing legislative activity in the area of sustainability, and delegates benefited from an in-depth update of EU environmental directives, including REACH, the chemical legislation in Europe.

In his opening address, FINAT president Andrea Vimercati highlighted the parallel driver for the future success of self-adhesive labelling: to support customers with a continuing stream of innovative solutions that draw on the many technical capabilities of the self-adhesive label industry supply chain.

Advances in raw materials and technology
The seminar also examined advances in adhesives and inks, with papers presented on recycling-friendly, dispersion-based, and UV hot melt adhesive developments and on solutions to current product food contamination concerns surrounding the migration of printing inks through packaging and set-off.

Today’s self-adhesive labels involve a number of new technologies—including digital label print—and delegates benefited from an in-depth overview of the available digital print processes today, including how prepress software is enabling label printers and their customers to manage locally, but produce globally. Diecutting and tension control on reel-fed presses were the topics of other insightful papers. Specialist topics such as RFID and the use of holography as an ‘added value’ design feature for labels were also addressed.

The sustainability imperative
Sustainability is at the center of label buyers’ agendas today and the label industry is equally keen to streamline its business and manufacturing processes to deliver sustainable solutions to its customers that also contribute to cost reductions and improved profitability. The development of guidelines for good environmental health and safety practices are the focus of a project currently underway in the German labelling association, VskE, which, as delegates learned, is moving forward quickly.
 

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