Labelexpo Asia 2015 closed on a high last week after attracting a record breaking attendance of 22,104 visitors; an increase of 3.2% on 21,416 in 2013. As part of the world’s leading and most international exhibition series for the label and package printing industry, Labelexpo Asia again showcased many new innovations and put the spotlight firmly on the major trends facing the Asian label printing sector going forward.
The two-day conference program proved very topical with delegates and was well attended with highlights including the keynote presentation given by Sharon Xiao, sustainability manager, Greater China of UPM Raflatac. Exploring how to increase profits through sustainability, Xiao co-presented with Mingming Sun, senior officer of WWF China’s sustainable paper and palm oil program. They shared guidance on how to improve operational efficiency and identified environmentally sound products such as the FSC Forests For All Forever branding which can help create environmental awareness with consumers.
Other stand out conference sessions included overviews of the latest available technologies and also the event’s first ever converter panel discussion. Featuring senior level converters from the Asia-Pacific region, speakers included Ajanta Packaging’s Shailesh Nema from India, Alex Tan of Singapore-based Orient Quality Print, QLM Label Makers’ Peter Woods from Malaysia and from China; Yi Sun of RAKO Group and Henrich Quek from Top Print Labels. Fielding numerous questions from the audience, the panel members were straightforward and open in discussing their own experiences and sharing best practice advice with their printing colleagues.
The 300 industry suppliers exhibiting at the show announced strong sales and the generation of well qualified leads from right across China and South East Asia. There were also numerous new product launches which provided a compelling reflection of how the Chinese market is developing in response to and in line with global market trends and newest technological advances and associated applications.
Digital, as it is worldwide, was a key trend and Xeikon reported an excellent show and used it as the world launch of a press dedicated to the Chinese and Asia-Pacific markets. The Xeikon 3020 has a 10in web width which is common to the letterpress and offset presses in this market and means converters can use their existing conventional tooling. There was also a wave of new anti-counterfeit solutions unveiled at the show with AVT citing that it had received its highest number of enquiries for verification and track/trace vision systems and exhibitors like Univacco debuting sophisticated anti-counterfeit systems.
The show also saw a move towards flexographic press platforms in line with the Chinese government’s commitment to a sustainable future for print. OMET demonstrated its XFlex X4 UV flexo press which combines shaft driven with servo-drive technology and Iwasaki showed an innovative intermittent flexo press system. Zhe Jiang Wei Gang Machinery – up to now an offset press manufacturer – successfully launched a new flexo press, announcing multiple sales.
James Samuel, events portfolio director at Labelexpo commented: “This year’s Labelexpo Asia ended on a massively positive note. The market here is rapidly maturing and there is an evident shift towards sustainability, particularly as the Chinese government is encouraging converters away from more traditional solvent-based printing technologies towards using flexography. With a continued rise in visitor numbers, exhibitor feedback was extremely upbeat with many meeting new contacts from across the wider South East Asian region. Business was brisk with many closing big sales during the show including OMET, Xeikon and Zhe Jiang Wei Gang Machinery. The Asian market is experiencing an exciting time of change and we look forward to returning in 2017.”