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Converting Industry News

Covering the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Correction
In the feature article “Lenticular Labels Emerge,” July 2003, p27, the contact information for supplier Kohl and Madden Printing Inks should have read: 800/793-0022; kohlmadden.com.


Easy-Open Amcor System Suits Cheese Package
The EasyPack system from Amcor Flexibles Europe, Gloucester, U.K., proved to be the solution for Mozzarella Danesa, F. Uhrenolt Dairy's new Friendship brand of grated cheese.

The Danish food trading company selected the patented system that features a unique pack configuration combined with peelable materials. A peelable, airtight lapseal is achieved between coextruded OPP and a special PE so the easy-open feature is built into the laminate without the need for extra materials. The overlap seal is said to peel away easily when pulled, without the need for scissors or knife. The packages are reclosed with an adhesive tape.

The packages, which feature a clear window for consumers to see the product, are reverse printed in six colors at Amcor Flexibles, Raackmann, Denmark.


Technology News
Contract Proofing—Fantasy or Fact?

BEDFORD, MA, USA—The quest for developing a contract proofing system that produces predictably consistent results appears to be a reality for the world of print in the converting industry.

Latran Technologies is the new name for a company with a 16-yr history stemming from Polaroid Graphics Imaging and licensed use of the PolaProof name. Latran manufactures the Prediction line of imagers and finishers said to produce contract quality, digital half-tone proofs, using real dots, real ink, and the actual substrate the final production run requires, employing Laser Ablation Transfer (LAT) technology

Recently, PFFC participated in a trade press tour of Latran facilities. A mini-technology update and demonstration, as well as a complementary converter tour of DowIndustries' Wilmington, MA, plant put everything in perspective. Until recently, the contract proof has been a printer's and consumer product company's ever-elusive fantasy. As recently as the Flexographic Technical Association's May Forum 2003 in Salt Lake City, UT, print buyer Shane Kelly of Loblaws Brands Ltd., a Canadian-based grocery chain, outlined the perceived limitations of flexo proofing versus printing. If he had only seen the Latran Prediction 1420 system in operation, his presentation might have had a different hue.

The Prediction proofing systems, including the Prediction 2000 Automatic Digital Halftone Proofer, The Prediction 2230, and Prediction 1420, employ the patented LAT technology to transfer pigmented printing inks directly to actual printing stocks. It's suited for proofing virtually all types of packaging substrates. DowIndustries' graphics director Andre Michaud explains, “Because we print on such a wide spectrum of substrates, [the Prediction 1420] allows us to transfer the image to the exact substrate being used in production…. By having the ability to proof to the exact substrate, we then can make whatever color adjustments to the file we need.” In addition, Michaud says, “The Prediction 1420, along with Esko-Graphics' color management, allows us to indicate on a proof those areas of dot gain that cannot be controlled on press, or with a dot gain curve, mainly in the highlight areas…. For customers, the proof is in the packaging.”


Materials News
AET Begins Embossing at Canadian Plant

NEW CASTLE, DE, USA—AET has started in-house production of wide web holographic film embossing at its plant in Varennes, QC, Canada. The company reports it will focus the production on the special effects packaging segment. According to Marty Aleksis, AET's business director for holographic films, holography is broadening from niche products to more mainstream uses. “Our studies indicate package designers are extremely eager to embrace holography in new and creative ways in order to achieve unique, attention-grabbing appeal for everyday products.”

AET says cost and quality issues have kept holography out of reach for many global marketers in the past, but that is about to change. By bringing production line embossing services in-house, AET is confident many of these issues will fade away, putting holography within reach of more package designers, packaging engineers, and consumer product marketers.


Alliance
PVdC Latex Subject of New Alliance

CHICAGO, IL, USA—Darex, a div. of W.R. Grace, headquartered in Cambridge, MA, and H.B. Fuller Co., St. Paul, MN, have formed a joint marketing and distribution alliance. Under the terms, H.B. Fuller will sell Darex's Daran PVdC latex for flexible packaging in conjunction with its Hydroflex family of water-borne adhesives for drybond and wetbond laminations. The alliance is effective immediately.


Industry Studies
A Different Perspective on BOPP Increases in China

OXON, U.K.—According to a new study, planned BOPP capacity increases in China may not have as great an effect on the world supply/demand balance as some expect.

PCI Films Consulting, which conducted the study on the 3.2 million-tonne world BOPP film market, reports China now has approximately 900,000 tonnes of capacity to produce BOPP film but is running at an estimated 72% utilization level. China has announced plans to install another 400,000 tonnes over the next two years, representing a 44% increase in Chinese capacity and about half of the world's increases in capacity over the same period.

According to Simon King, author of the study, “The numbers certainly look dramatic, but our research and analysis suggest the reality will be different. Firstly, we don't believe all of the announced contracts will come to fruition; secondly, those projects that are implemented will take two to three years to reach full utilization; thirdly, with Chinese demand for BOPP films growing at over 10% per annum, within two years a large proportion of the extra capacity could be absorbed by the growth in domestic demand; and finally, China currently imports about 200,000 tonnes of BOPP film annually, and we see much of this volume being substituted by domestic suppliers in the future. As a result, the rapid expansion of the Chinese BOPP film industry is likely to have little impact on external markets.” For more information on the World BOPP Film Market 2002, contact PCI at +44 1295 817670 or visit pcifilms.com. Also see PFFC this fall for an expanded look at the BOPP study as well as a companion feature on China and the converting industry.

Demand Grows for Garden, Lawn, Agricultural Packaging
CLEVELAND, OH, USA—A new study from The Freedonia Group says demand for lawn, garden, and agricultural packaging is projected to increase almost 4%/yr to $1.1 billion in 2006.

Growth will be stimulated by changes in the product mix toward higher-value products and an increased use of packaging as a way to differentiate products that are primarily commodity in nature.

The best opportunities, says the report, are expected in the consumer market where an emphasis on eye-appealing and informative packaging, coupled with a general resurgence in interest in gardening, will increase produce demand and stimulate packaging gains. Agriculture products is the largest market, accounting for more than half of consumables packaging demand in 2001. For more information on the study, contact Freedonia at 440/646-9600 or visit freedoniagroup.com.


Association News
SPI Asks Lawmakers to Help US Plastics Industry Compete

WASHINGTON, DC, USA—The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. (SPI) is spearheading a petition to Congress and the Bush Administration seeking policy changes that will help the industry remain viable in today's global market.

SPI reports plastics processing is the nation's fourth largest manufacturing sector, providing 1.5 million jobs and contributing more than $320 billion in annual shipments. However, an $894 million trade surplus has fallen to a $1.4 million trade deficit in just two years, says SPI, due in part to a weakened economy and deleterious domestic and international trade policies that have forced processors out of business or offshore. The petition calls for six specific measures:

  • Continuous and aggressive negotiations to promote free and fair trade worldwide and to ensure US trading partners, including China, live up to their obligations under the World Trade Organization;

  • Energy initiatives that provide reliable sources of, and reasonable costs for, power for plastics manufacturing;

  • US tax policies that encourage capital investment and manufacturing growth in the US;

  • Tort reform that puts an end to frivolous lawsuits that impede job-creating investments;

  • Sensible and meaningful insurance reform that allows employers to provide critical medical or other insurance to employees in a cost-effective manner;

  • Implementation of a regulatory regime based on sound science that also protects our workers and the environment.

SPI kicked off the campaign for signatures during NPE 2003 in Chicago, IL, June 23-27. For an electronic version of the petition, visit plasticsindustry.org/feedback/pmmsurvey.htm.


Acquisitions
Management Buyout at EDI Is Complete

CHIPPEWA FALLS, WI, USA—President and CEO Timothy C. Callahan and his top management team have purchased Extrusion Dies Industries LLC (EDI) from U.S. Bank. EDI did not disclose the terms of the acquisition, which was completed May 30. Says Callahan, “This purchase puts in place the final structure necessary to end a five-year period of transition at EDI and strengthen our capabilities for carrying out a strategy of investing in innovation and customer service.

The management buyout came eight months after U.S. Bank purchased EDI in a transaction that stemmed from a 1998 recapitalization. In addition to Callahan, the new principals include CFO Ronald Kuhnen; executive VP of sales and marketing Christopher C. Curtin; and executive VP of engineering and technology John A Ulcej.


Business News
Mesirow Says Consolidations Continue

CHICAGO, IL, USA—Mesirow Financial reports it has seen no abatement in the consolidation trends affecting all segments of the packaging industry. The investment banking firm adds healthy prices still are being paid for packaging companies that have attractive customers and plans for growth. Mesirow initiated the recent transaction in which International Paper Co., Stamford, CT, sold its Wilmington, NC, folding carton operation to Pinnacle Packaging Co. and acted as financial advisor to IP.


Supplier News
Harper Adding Tech Support

CHARLOTTE, NC, USA—Harper Corp. of America has introduced the Harper Graphic Solutions Group, a highly trained technical team of specialists formed to help the flexo converter meet the challenges of today's competitive market. Services will include analyzing internal processes and equipment; validating/correlating depth to density relationship; QC procedures; upgrading graphics capability on-press; developing procedures for inspection and measurement for anilox rolls; and more.



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