Finat event tackles technical challenges

“The world is changing: Growing geographically smaller through globalisation, and universally bigger via ‘the clouds’. In this complex value chain, the challenges that face participants at all levels today are massive. Our time-honoured print technologies have new young digital partners, new label decoration and finishing technologies, new substrates, and new inks and curing methods. On top of that, brand owners want just-in-time delivery, personalisation, and price restraint. How can we win in this multi-faceted arena?” asks Jules Lejeune, managing director of Finat, the international label industry association.

The biennial Finat Technical Seminar, which will take place on March 7-9, 2018 in Barcelona, will be opened by Finat president, Chris Ellison, and aims to deliver practical advice on how the industry (and label converters in particular) can achieve real results.

Andy Hobsbawm delivers the keynote

The programme will be launched by keynote speaker Andy Hobsbawm, a pioneer in internet marketing, and co-founder and chief marketing officer of IoT smart products platform, EVRYTHNG — connecting any consumer product to the web, as well as manage real-time data to drive applications. Hobsbawm will look at the way in which smart products can transform brand relationships, business operations, and service experiences. Labels and packaging are just beginning to explore the available technologies, among them augmented reality, sensors, printed electronics, batch/SKU QR codes.

Optimising workflow

Alex Knott, chairman of the Finat Seminar Subcommittee, will chair a session dedicated to workflow optimisation, a key topic for label converters today. Chris Ellison will share his personal experiences as MD of the growing OPM Group with the audience to provide a practical user guide to the challenges and pitfalls of choosing an MIS supplier. Then Jeroen van Bauwel, director of product management for Xeikon, will explore digitalisation of the production processes and Geert de Proost, director solutions marketing for Esko, will look at the principles of workflow automation, and the many improvements to productivity that it can deliver.

Daragh Whelan, process manager of BOBST Firenze, will discuss the technicalities of three different levels of digital automation for flexo print, and give insight into the economic values behind investment in each technology. His economic analysis will include several case studies simulating various production environments and job schedules and he will cover colour matching using Extended Colour Gamut ECG technology. The session will close with MPS’ global marketing manager, Marjolein Ekkelboom, discussing the different factors that influence a business connectivity platform, through which companies can combine and connect all their processes.

Troubleshooting workshops

De Ruyter Strategy will moderate troubleshooting workshops, extending in-depth research with Finat members that the company first introduced at Finat’s European Label Forum. Two specific scenarios will this time be explored in parallel sessions: Self-adhesive multi-layer peel-and-reveal labels, led by John Hammond, sales director of Nilpeter UK, and flexible packaging and sleeve labels, led by Nanette Thomas, CEO and founder of Synthogra. The session will be rounded off by a plenary follow-up and workshop outcomes by Paul de Ruyter, after which participants will adjourn to Barcelona’s Maritim Restaurant for dinner and an evening of entertainment.

Inks and decoration

The next day, Martin Stierle, Finat Technical Committee member, will chair a session on inks and decoration, opened by Bo Meyer (UK), European business development manager of UEI Falcontec. Meyer will detail value-added options for labels through the use of hot and cold foiling, embossing, and adding texture.

Effective UV ink cure with a reduced photo initiator platform is indeed practically achievable, and a useful added-value feature for food labels, as Heinz Schweiger, group research director of printing inks, for Zeller+Gmelin, will show. Sun Chemicals’ marketing manager, Jonathan Sexton, will detail developments in ink drying and curing, which are proving to be the key to faster speeds, web handling, and finishing.

Gary Seward, managing director of narrow-web ink and varnish specialists Pulse Roll Label Products, will discuss varnishes: The manufacture and constitution, the different types available, and appropriate applications.

Facestocks and finishing

The programme’s final session will be on facestocks and finishing, chaired by Mikko Risanen, Finat Technical Committee member. Dr Axel Niemöller, head of research and development for Sihl, will address coated facestock media for water-based inkjet inks for demanding applications, with a special focus on problems and solutions.

Recent advances in PSA label films will be explored by Dr Anil Gaikwad, head of research and development for Cosmo Film PVT. His paper will cover the growing range of today’s BOPP labelling films, as well as cavitated core layer splitting resistance for different cavitating agents and skin and tie layer composition. It will also show the variation in standard tests for core anchorage and end-use application challenges.

Stamping foil manufacturer Dragon Foils’ general manager, Raymond Lu, will be presenting his company’s extended research into cold foil application techniques, influential factors for cold foil applications, and the means to solving printing problems.

Smart labels

The seminar will close with an exploration of traceability, food safety, authentication and branding with smart labels from Günther Dieroff, sales and marketing manager for Beneli, who develop and produce printed, diecut, and smart self-adhesive label solutions. He will demystify IoT technologies and show how smart labels — embedded with electronics, software, sensors, or actuators — are used to increase consumer engagement as well as to provide traceability and product security.

The Finat Technical Seminar 2018 will be a particularly appropriate and insightful event, promises session chairman, Alex Knott, who will close the programme. Full details of the Finat Technical Seminar 2018 can be found on the Finat website.