The biennial Labelexpo Americas show took place from September 25-27, 2018, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Illinois. As is the case with Labelexpo, many exhibitors planned special product launches to complement their participation at the event. Here’s a look at some of the most notable innovations Flexible Packaging’s editorial staff saw at the recent show:

Kodak’s FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution

Kodak’s release of its FLEXCEL NX Ultra Solution marks the company’s continued investment in flexo. Specifically, the solution enables the outstanding and proven print performance for which FLEXCEL NX plates have become well known, with solvent-free, VOC-free, water-based processing that can deliver a press-ready plate in less than an hour and sustain clean, consistent plates in a high-volume production environment. It is the first aqueous solution that provides consistent, high-performing flexo plates in a high volume, low maintenance environment.

FLEXCEL NX Ultra Plates utilize the Kodak flat-top dot structure and are fully compatible with Kodak’s NX Advantage technology and patented Advanced Edge Definition for an unprecedented level of ink transfer control during printing that delivers superb quality and production efficiency benefits. The plates will be available in thicknesses of 1.14 mm and 1.70 mm, and are ideal for label, paperboard and flexible packaging applications.

The first product to be made available will be the FLEXCEL NX Ultra 35 Solution, which can produce plates up to 35 x 48 inches (889 x 1219.2 mm) in size. Product is due to ship in the first quarter of 2019, initially for the North American market.

INX’s New Digital Label Printer

INX previewed its new single-pass NW340 Printer, a UV digital label press that gives label converters, packaging, in-house and commercial printers the opportunity to seamlessly transition to digital inkjet technology. The complete solution includes high quality inks and expandable modules to help printers meet the increasing demand for high quality, short-run digital printing.

The NW340 represents third generation label technology that Jim Lambert, INX’s VP of digital sales, says is an important and natural progression.

“We’ve elevated the resolution to 1200-by-600 or 1200-by-1200 dpi, improved the width range to 340 mm, and have increased the speed up to 300 feet per minute to satisfy market demand,” he says. “Printers want faster equipment and higher resolution so they can more favorably compete with offset presses. This machine does that and more.”

Epson Announces New Digital Label Press

Epson announced the Epson SurePress L-6534VW digital label press, which offers three print speed modes from 49 feet per minute to 162 feet per minute (fpm).

Designed for label converters investing in a digital label press for the first time or looking to expand production facilities with a reliable, easy-to-use press, the SurePress L-6534VW delivers three print speed modes to meet a range of converter needs:

  • High density white: 49 ft/minute
  • Standard: 98 ft/minute
  • Productivity: 162 ft/minute

The SurePress L-6534W digital LED UV inkjet press can produce high-quality, durable labels and integrates all functions required for label production, including a corona treater, white ink, digital varnish and an additional UV curing unit. The print heads, inks, LED pinning and curing lamp units, media feeding and control system are all developed and manufactured by Epson. Additional features include a PrecisionCore linehead, digital varnish, substrate feed, LED UV ink, white ink and variable web width.

The SurePress L-6534VW, and a conversion kit for the existing SurePress L-6034VW, will be available in summer 2019.

DFE’s New Tension Controller

Dover Flexo launched the SteadyWeb6 Controller, the company’s second device to provide a full-color touch screen for all user inputs, and display of control functions and status. 

The SteadyWeb6 Tension Controller includes an easy-to-access P.I.D. tuning feature, TuneView, which allows the machine operator to view a time-lapse line graph of fluctuations in tension. The operator can change P.I.D. values and see a graphic of real-time output response. This allows fine tuning of the process to achieve a flatter system response. 

Avery Dennison Launches Sealable Reclosure Technology

Avery Dennison released a first-of-its kind sealable reclosure technology, which reduces the amount of plastic packaging required and eliminates liner waste, thereby providing an economic, sustainable solution to both converters and brand owners. R1490, the only FDA-compliant direct food contact adhesive, and a heat-sealable film liner turns the release liner into a functional part of the final package. The heat sealable reclosure system provides direct adhesion of the entire construction to rigid containers, eliminating the need for flow wrapping and requiring significantly less plastic packaging by eliminating both liner waste and clamshell lids. This delivers a more environmentally friendly solution by significantly reducing material, particularly for produce such as tomatoes, berries or lettuce packaged in rigid plastic containers.

The heat seal reclosure technology also provides converters a more affordable, sustainable way to provide brands with the convenient, easy peel-and-reseal functionality today’s consumers seek. The ability to eliminate the clamshell lid creates the opportunity for brands to enhance creativity in package design, helping to differentiate and add value to their products.