Printers Survey: What is happening in the label industry? – Part 4 with Christian Poirault, APE
Which challenges label printers and converters worldwide have to meet? What plans do label producers have for the future? Do they intend to invest; if so, in which technology? In the NarrowWebTech 2018′ survey a range of label printing and converting companies as well as associations discuss what is currently going on at the “label production front line”. In the fourth part Christian Poirault from APE, Labelys Group, talks about digital revolution and the current most relevant developments in label printing and finishing.
CEO, APE – Labelys Group
Looking back at 2017, what were the most important developments in terms of technology and production workflow to affect the label industry?
Christian Poirault: In 2017, the digital revolution was at its height: the speeds of machines currently on the market have reached the same level of performance as some professional letterpress, flexo and offset presses. However, high-tech production lines, multiple colours and lines for multi-page labels, among other specialities still have a significant part in this market when it comes to long runs.
Other relevant developments are in quotation and order processing, and in integrating these functions into computerised workflow processes. We are in the era of global automation, both in IT and in printing. There are more and stronger imperatives, with differentiation and originality driven by our customers.
My feeling is that our profession is in the middle of a period of change, that the competition in the label market has only just started and that we must not fail to “jump on the band-waggon”, to avoid being quickly left behind.
- What do you expect in 2018? What trends or developments will be most relevant?
Christian Poirault: The most relevant developments are undoubtedly in workflow systems, rather than in printing and finishing processes. In 2018, I think, we need to reflect even more about several elements of our business. The environmental aspect is a subject that is becoming more and more an issue, particularly concerning the treatment of waste, the recycling of used liner, etc. On the raw material side, suppliers are recommending adhesives and silicones allowing faster and faster label application to be achieved, whilst still being as ecological as possible. As for inks, the talk is of low migration and LED curing. All this drives the trends of performance, speed and embellishment expected by our customers, who are always looking for more flexibility and shorter lead times.
- Do you intend to invest in new equipment, e.g. digital printing press? What plans do you have for 2018?
Christian Poirault: For 2018, the Labelys Group, which includes APE, diversified its Domino digital inkjet equipment with an HP 6800 installed at the Etiquroll plant. Our company group plans to invest in a finishing line complementary to existing ones, then in a flexo press, able to respond to our customers’ requirements. Today our customers – even more demand tomorrow – will demand products that are more beautiful, greener and more informative, and even smart, fun and interactive.
Labelys Group will concentrate even more on the label market, to offer the very best (by increasing its R&D), and to expand its technical competence and its capacity, perhaps by lining up more acquisitions.