Labelexpo is the leading event for label and packaging, taking place biannually in almost every continent all over the world. Late last year we attended both the Europe and Asia events and they did not disappoint, delivering the latest innovations and trends currently transforming the industry.
Hosted in Brussels, Belgium during 24-27 September 2019, the 40th biannual Labelexpo Europe broke records as the largest, most international show held to date. Over four days 693 exhibitors spread over nine halls saw 37,903 visitors from 140 countries flock to the show – a substantial increase in diversity compared to 2017’s 125 countries. India, China and Japan were largely represented amongst the visitors and eastern Europe had a stronger presence to previous years as well.
Following suit a few months later, Shanghai, China hosted Labelexpo Asia during 3-6 December 2019. While the show broke its own record on the previous year with 18% growth in buyer visitors, it was the smaller of the two shows with 300 exhibitors. In saying that, a substantial total of 23,636 visitors flocked to the four-day show from 90 different countries.
As with previous expos, visitors were surrounded with a wealth of technological innovations, with automation, artificial intelligence, and Industry 4.0 as clear influencers. From machinery to materials, visitors were able to see the technology in action, feel the textures of the substrates and see the quality of the print firsthand.
The topic of sustainability was often talked about in previous expos, however this year the conversation has become larger than ever before. Technology suppliers and label material manufacturers alike stepped up to the plate with solutions to assist manufacturers in this space.
In label manufacturing and converting one of the biggest wastes passed onto the customer is the label liner, so both parties have been innovating ways to try and eliminate this waste. Some manufacturers have explored recycling of the liner, however a solution that has taken off recently and had a large presence at the show was linerless labels. Many of these solutions involve a water-activated adhesive and a silicone coating on the label face which acts as the liner.
Another strong theme throughout the events was the concept of ‘smart labelling’. The development of intelligent technology has driven the demand for more advanced products. From packaging that interacts with your smart device delivering an augmented or virtual reality experience, to RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) or NFC (Near Field Communication) labels that track the location of an item. A label is no longer just a carrier for product information and the adoption of this type of technology is increasing rapidly as we move into this intelligent new era.
Through these Labelexpo events it’s positive to see the investment and technological innovations from manufacturers globally as the packaging and labelling industries continue to adapt and evolve in line with consumer demands and global trends.