FINAT Technical Seminar Ranges Widely

THE HAGUE, THE NETHERLANDS | FINAT, the European association for the self-adhesive label industry, recently held its biennial Technical Seminar in Barcelona, Spain. The seminar combined networking and exploring as well as evaluating the challenges in the label market that constituted the event’s agenda.

Keynote speaker Andy Hobsbawm, co-founder and CMO of leading Internet of Things smart products platform EVRYTHNG, discussed the way in which the Internet of Things and its key advantage —data—have enabled smart products to transform brand relationships, customer interactions, product authentication and brand security, business management, and service experiences—a vast arena where labels on packaging can play a number of key roles. It is currently in its infancy, he said, but is growing fast, particularly in such areas as serialization and on-pack augmented reality device. Hobsbawm said 99% of things will become part of a connected network. The benefit of on-pack communicators for brand owners is the huge source of data received as a result. It can deliver end-to-end visibility across a product’s lifecycle, enhance business efficiency, and help to secure the supply chain.

Jeroen van Bauwel, director, product management at Xeikon, discussed the complex business of making ready the production process, which today is much simpler and faster by the linking of “front end” activities via digital workflows. Digitizing the production process can, he showed, not only reduce the costs of print job preparation, prepress, and manufacturing time (by more than 20%), but also creates additional production capacity, reduces on-press waste, and can improve all-round quality. A ‘no paper’ workflow from order entry to invoicing is a prime benefit of digital production, coupled with optimized color management; substrate standardization and order grouping based on substrate; plus the addition of ‘separator labels’ for better integration with on-press finishing systems.

The principles of workflow automation were covered by Geert de Proost, solutions marketing, Esko. He detailed the ways in which production can be streamlined, so that label converters can better meet the requirements of their brand owner customers and enjoy benefits across the production process – without compromise.

“All of a sudden, your bottleneck is NOT the printing machine,” said Daragh Whelan, process manager at Bobst, who discussed digital automation for flexography in the face of the challenges in the label market from digital print. Bobst is a member of the REVO Partnership formed with other leading industry suppliers to provide viable full-circle digital flexo; and he showed how, with digital UV flexo, the REVO solution delivers wide graphic flexibility in terms of extended color gamut technology.

MPS Systems’ global marketing manager Marjolein Ekkelboom was uncompromising in telling seminar participants to ‘accept, create, invest’ in the benefits of connectivity. The hardware and software are ready, as prior speakers had shown, and can deliver multiple core business rewards in terms of a successful business future. Indeed, she underlined that revenue generated from IoT and ‘Big Data’ services is set to exceed €300 billion by 2020, and that is just the beginning. Interactive troubleshooting workshops for delegates included self-adhesive multi-layer peel-and-read labels and their construction, and going into flexible packaging and sleeves’ on narrow web presses, alongside traditional self-adhesive labels.

Also coveredi in the seminar were the following topics:

  • inks and decoration
  • ink migration
  • ink drying methods
  • varnishes
  • cold foils
  • water-based inkjet printing
  • BOPP films
  • choosing an MIS system.

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