Interview series: 20 years of the label industry – Press manufacturers take a look back
Since 1998 our magazine covers all parts of label production. Twenty years ago label production looked quite different. Topics like automation, lean management or hybrid printing were not as ubiquitous as they are today. For this reason, NarrowWebTech asked several label printing press manufacturers to take a retrospective look back responding to the questions, which developments or market trend(s) impacted the label industry the most.
By Rosina Obermayer
A twenty years throwback
For sure, the basics of label production did not change so much. In fact, what did change a lot were the possibilities of label printing and converting. Not only the embellishment department which nowadays offers much greater possibilities to create a diverse label which can even be personalised.
Label printers and converters, on the other hand, are talking about major issues such a higher degree of automation and digitisation, about shorter runs and lower margins leading to an increased demand for efficiency. Also migration is now much more a topic than twenty years ago. Food-compliant inks, for example, and in this regard, the number of directives, lists of brand owners or also ISO certifications are not to be underestimated – in general, about the difficulty to exist as a small or medium-sized label producer in the global markets. Thus, fragmentation and consolidation is a big issue in the label and flexible packaging markets.
In addition, flexible packaging and label production is not so separate anymore. Quite a number of mid web presses are already available and trends such as shrink sleeves or wrap-arounds labels further advance the progress of label and flexible packaging printing. The greatest impact on manufacturers of printing presses, has been the need to respond to the market changes and developments, or even better, to identify the demand of their customers and to recognize a new development before it is a market trend.
For this reason, NarrowWebTech asked a range of label press manufacturers to take a look back and answer the following question: Since 1998, which technological development(s) and market trends have had the most impact on the label printing market?