The organizer of Labelexpo Americas is pleased to report that the 16th edition of the biennial trade show was the largest in its history. A total of 487 exhibitors were spread across the biggest floorspace yet, at 203,642 sqft, with almost 30% of exhibitors new to this year’s show.
During the course of the three day show, which took place from 25 to 27 September at Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Chicago, an increase in attendees to 16,413 from 86 countries passed through its doors. The Latin America region was especially strongly represented*, with a 95% increase on its 2016 show attendee total. Day three, traditionally a quieter day, saw over 11% more visitors than on the same day in 2016. By the end of day three, the show organizer reported an 83% rebook rate for its 2020 event.
Labelexpo Americas 2018 was the perfect place to showcase new products to the US market, with key press unveilings including: the Mark Andy P9E, P7E, and P5E; Xeikon’s entry-level label printing and converting option, Label Discovery; Epson’s UV LED cured L-6534 digital press; Grafisk Maskinfabrik’s DC330Mini converting machine; and AB Graphic’s new ILC760 in-line coating machine.
Among the many innovations launched at the show were: Avery Dennison’s heat sealable reclosure technology; Flint Group’s portfolio of food compliant inks for short-run flexible packaging including the web based Vivi Colour Solutions; Phoseon Technology’s FireJet FJ605, a self-contained and air-cooled UV LED curing lamp for flexographic applications; Kodak’s Flexcel NX Ultra Solution, a solvent-free, VOC-free, water-based system; and GEW’s E4C UV curing system, engineered to offer converters access to higher power in a compact footprint.
Tasha Ventimiglia, Labelexpo Americas event director, said: “The tremendous feedback we’ve had from exhibitors and visitors alike at this year’s Labelexpo Americas demonstrates that there’s a real momentum in the industry right now, and that was reflected in the buyer’s mood, with numerous sales achieved on the show floor and a strong international focus. This year’s theme ‘Explore your Future’ really was evident, with more fascinating innovations than ever before providing even more choice for buyers, and a significant increase in exhibitors. It really shows that press manufacturers and the industry supply chain are upping their game. The Automation Arena and TLMI Ecovillage proved to be huge hits, with many packed out demonstrations on the show floor, and are further proof that the industry continues to evolve.
“This show is very much about the visitor experience, and it was fantastic to see this pay dividends with 140 exhibitors and 800 attendees opting in to our brand new Label Connections 1:1 matching program, and all attendees using our lead retrieval touch NFC badges offering for the very first time. These really helped connect suppliers and buyers more effectively than ever before.
“In summary, we are delighted with yet another hugely successful show. This continued rise in exhibitor numbers, the increasing interest from Latin American visitors, alongside the rebook rate for our 2020 show, are testament to Labelexpo Americas’ unrivalled quality and variety. All of these reaffirm Labelexpo Americas’ position as the number one label and package printing show in the Americas.”
Dan Muenzer, president of TLMI, agreed: “There’s a lot of excitement around this Labelexpo that I haven’t seen before. There are more innovations being launched here than in previous issues, just because the speed of technology introduction is changing. It’s exceeded my expectations, and my expectations were high. I had the chance to talk to a lot of people and there hasn’t been anybody who hasn’t said it’s been the most energetic, successful Labelexpo they’ve ever experienced. It’s been a great show, not only in terms of the new innovations and technology that we share, but in relation to the amount of business that was actually written. People absolutely see the value in Labelexpo.”
Micheal Lane, CEO, The Meyers Printing Companies, who took part in the conference CEO panel discussion on day one of the show, added: “You sense a positive buzz from the economy, clearly we are in a good economic cycle, people are buying. This show is as good as any I’ve ever seen. And there’s more options, more solutions, than perhaps ever, and this whole idea of digital and flexo, melding together to create different solutions than existed before - there’s booth after booth after booth that’s an example of where that technology is going. My expectations this year for Labelexpo have been exceeded.”
Geert de Proost, director solutions marketing for Esko, who took part in the Automation Arena, said: “It was brilliant in its very simplicity. Not everybody who attends Labelexpo has a way to comprehend everything in the different booths. You’ve got many vendors and technologies on the show floor, and it can be difficult for attendees to try to ‘connecting the dots’. That’s precisely what Automation Arena does. It combines what is in all the different booths and helps people understand how easy and simple it is to take their businesses to the next level.”
Three popular Label Academy master classes were led by Mike Fairley and Andy Thomas-Emans, covering shrink sleeves; inks, coatings and varnishes; and MIS workflow automation. This was complemented by a packed two-day conference program, with highlights including a CEO converter panel discussion presided over by Craig Moreland, a panel discussion on package printing, plus sessions on workforce development, flexible packaging, and creating products with stand-out presence.
Adam Gray, president and CEO, SheetLabels, who presented a conference session on the rise of printing on demand, said: “We have attended the Labelexpo Americas for ten years now, and have always learned something new. Most importantly, we’ve established many long-lasting relationships with other converters, vendors, and many great people in our industry. I would encourage anyone in the labeling and packaging industry to go to this show!”
Dr. Paulo Vieira, research and development director, Flint Group Narrow Web North America, who led the master class session on inks, coatings and varnishes, said: “The Label Academy master class program provided an unique open forum to discuss not only fundaments of label, inks and printing technologies, but also to discuss main challenges and market scenario, aligning knowledge to practice, making it a true instrumental tool for excellence in printing.”
The quality of show visitors was consistently highlighted. Ed Dedman, flexo technical support/product manager, Zeller+Gmelin, said: “I can tell you that from my personal perspective, and for Zeller+Gmelin as an exhibitor, Tuesday and Wednesday were probably the best two trade show experiences I can recall for my almost 40 years in the industry. The number and quality of the visitors in our booth was exceptional!”
Federico D’Annunzio, strategic product marketing director, Bobst, said: “The quality of attendance at the show was very high, it was not only a US show, but we had very international visitors, so it met our objectives.”
Juan Da Silva, Director of Sales for the Latin American region, AVT, added: “Be ready, because this is not a local show, this is an international show, so there is going to be people that speak many different languages from many different regions with the same goal – which is to actually improve the quality and lower the cost.”