Opening the 30th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe at the Brussels Expo, Belgium Tarsus Labels & Packaging Group Managing Director Lisa Milburn confirmed that this is the biggest show yet, with 648 exhibitors from 40 countries – including 98 from Asia. The eight halls represent a total of 34,500 sqm of stand space and over 33,000 visitors expected.
Citing the Pack Print workshop and new exhibitors including Soma and KBA, Milburn identified package print as a growing trend at the show: ‘Labelexpo is really about labels and packaging today.’ Mike Fairley, Director Strategic Development at Labelexpo Global Series, looked at wider industry trends. Labels industry growth is 4-6 percent worldwide, said Fairley, with Europe growing at 5.7 percent, taking global volume of label stock up to 50 billion sqm with a value of $80bn. Western Europe is now challenging Eastern Europe in terms of label growth, said Fairley, and while China has slowed, India is becoming the world’s ‘label powerhouse.’
Pressure sensitive holds a 50 percent market share globally, with glue applied at 30 percent and shrink sleeves representing the sector with the fastest growth. Turning to machinery, Fairley identified two trends: a growing interest in mid-web presses for higher productivity, and the rapid growth of digital.
‘Half of all narrow web presses installed in Europe last year were digital, with inkjet now representing 35 percent of all new digital press installs.’ Fairley predicted that on current trends, digital will be the dominant press technology in the next 4-5 years.
Lisa Milburn earlier identified hybrid digital/conventional press launches as a key show trend, and Fairley predicted hybrid presses would reach around 5 percent of total digital installations. ‘Digitization is also affecting the packaging industries’, said Fairley, with over 10 percent of all digital press installations last year for folding cartons and flexible packaging. Digitization of finishing is also a growing trend noted Fairley, particularly with UV inkjet spot varnishing. The dominant end user trend identified by Fairley was the continued growth of private label brands, which today account for over 30 percent of the label market in 15 key European countries.
Visitors to Labelexpo Europe discovered label and packaging technology of tomorrow. Held from 29 September to 2 October, the show also took a close look at the latest developments in active and intelligent packaging as part of the inaugural Smart Packaging Lab feature area which is driving consumer demand and influence purchasing decisions while transforming the retail experience and stock management processes. The show also included a roundup of the latest advances in substrates, inks, digital systems and printing. Other features are augmented reality systems, radio frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) smart tags alongside anti-bacterial films that prevent label contamination. WHERE To Print covered the event live and presented some news in images…