Labelexpo 2017 recently wrapped up in Brussels, Belgium. I was proud to be part of the Avery Dennison team representing our company at the show.
Once again, we took the opportunity to use Labelexpo to connect with and talk to converters, and show off some of our current innovations. Our booth’s theme was “Pioneering Change.”
Labelexpo also offered a great chance to get a sense of the broader, more impactful trends emerging in our industry. As I reflect on the show — and the engagement and activities of our customers, competitors, and suppliers — I recognize that the event helped reinforce the fact that “the one constant in our industry is change.”
Here are a few quick observations.
1. Conversion technology continues to evolve at a fast pace.
Labelexpo is always a showcase for a wide array of new conversion technology. The 2017 event was no exception. This holds true for digital and hybrid presses, and I saw a number of examples of this on the show floor. Fact is, many press manufacturers — both traditional and digital — brought new capabilities to the show.
Digital is becoming a process of choice for many converters, as more applications now require some combination of shorter runs, greater customization, and high quality. I strongly believe that digital plus pressure sensitive technology can be a powerful combination for many converters looking to grow their business. Avery Dennison continues to invest heavily in pressure sensitive to produce the innovations converters need to differentiate and grow, and to sustain our industry.
There also was a strong theme of automation. A demonstration showed how the entire process, from job creation through invoicing, could be handled by just one operator. Such technology is still about a decade away from being scaleable, but it’s evolving fast. It could change many things in the industry, including workforce skills throughout the value chain.
2. Conversion trends continue to evolve at a fast pace.
If there was a time when label converters could plan for a well-defined set of standardized packaging formats, that time has passed. Labelexpo 2017 underscored the fact that staying ahead of the game means adapting to a growing array of packaging trends and applications.
Something I noticed in particular is the growing popularity of shrink sleeves, particularly in the wine/champagne and spirits spaces. Converters and brand owners are increasingly opting for shrink over more traditional technologies, as a way to give them more space to promote their brand. We have to be aware and understand clearly how this trend could impact our traditional pressure sensitive label business.
3. In an environment of rapid change, partnerships are more important than ever.
I saw a lot at Labelexpo that really impressed and inspired. I also saw a lot that underscored the need for converters to seek solid partnerships with suppliers that can help them keep up with change in our industry.
I am more confident than ever that what we do every single day to innovate separates Avery Dennison from our competition. It creates a level of confidence with our customers. And, it brings credibility to our efforts to help the industry sustain its momentum. That, really, is what “Pioneering Change” is all about.
To learn more about “Pioneering Change,” please check out our Labelexpo 2017 website at https://label.averydennison.com/en/home/Labelexpo-2017.html.
If you were able to attend Labelexpo 2017, I’m curious to know your thoughts. What trends and technologies did you see that impressed and/or inspired you?