Record Performance for Labelexpo Americas 2012 –Polischuk
It was real encouraging to see such a great turnout for Labelexpo Americas 2012. According to the show management, this year's rendition posted a record performance with 14,300+ attendees—up 12 percent versus 2010. This was no great surprise to me, as for several weeks building up to the event it was obvious that the exhibiting companies were excited and gearing up to put on a good show. From my side of things you can get a reading on this by the number of press releases, press conferences, and contacts for booth meetings. For Labelexpo, I could have cloned myself several times over and still not have seen everything I wanted to see. And further, my one relaxing 15-minute lunch in the press room did not allow enough time for the journalists at my table to solve the Chicago teachers' union strike—although I was pleased to hear later that this got resolved without our assistance.
In keeping with its granddaddy, drupa, a good amount of the energy at Labelexpo had to do with a slate of new digital printing offerings. And it wasn't just digital printers and presses on display, but a host of substrates, inks, and finishing equipment lining up to get in on the action. It was noteworthy that this year's Labelexpo included the Laser Die Cutting Workshop, which showcased this up-and-coming technology.
It was also noteworthy that three of the premier flexography press manufacturers—Gallus, Mark Andy, and Nilpeter—showed digital printing technologies right up front in their booths. Gallus displayed a Heidelberg Linoprint L digital press, Mark Andy showed off its new SRL 4.0 digital label printer, and Nilpeter showed enhancements to its CASLON InkJet module. Does this mean these three industry stalwarts are going to the "dark side"? Not hardly! To me, it just re-enforces the fact that these top-rated press suppliers are working to meet the needs of their customers—just like they've always done and continue to do with their highly productive, state-of-the-art flexo presses.
I also took note of a couple printers I ran into on the show floor who were going to invest in digital printing. One in particular is an award-winning wine label printer who said he had just committed to purchasing an inkjet press. Having investigated a number of suppliers and technologies, he said he was very comfortable with the quality and the cost-effectiveness of his selection. Knowing that wine label printing typically pushes the envelop in terms of graphics and printing craftsmanship, and knowing this printer to be a top-rated printer spoke volumes to me. When I congratulated the inkjet press supplier on this sale, I was told that this printer had put them "through the ringer," which I had no doubt.
For a rundown on some of the news from Labelexpo, see the review starting on p. 38.
Tom Polischuk, Editor-in-Chief
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