Thoughts on Labelexpo Americas

Now that I’ve recovered from the three intensive days of Labelexpo Americas 2010, here are a few Converting Curmudgeon thoughts on the biennial narrow-web printing and converting extravaganza.

  • The show floor and conference rooms were pleasantly crowded on the first two days—a welcome sign for both exhibitors AND attendees. Total numbers were up from the 2008 show (about +5% or 12,671, according to Tarsus Exhibitions). That event was held just before the US economy really went to Hell in a handbasket. By the show’s close, more than 80% of booth space for Labelexpo Americas 2012 had already been booked.
  • Best conference session: The CEO keynote / roundtable on leadership. It was great to hear each speaker address issues that were important to them on a personal level.
  • With Hall F pretty much dedicated to digital-print technologies and about 20% of the exhibitors focused on this area, the digital vs. analog debate continues. Now, it’s not “Can digital compete?” It’s more like “When will the tipping point toward digital happen?”
  • Congrats to the marketing genius at Gallus who thought to have the ECS 340 printing-press Road Show make its first North American stop at Labelexpo. Positioned in an open-sided 18-wheeler (right on the show floor) that makes moving the press from one place to another—as well as press demos—easier, the flexo press with the technical granite core was an analog-printing highlight of the show.
  • Kudos to Tarsus for putting on the Technology Workshops where four pressmakers (HP, Xeikon, EFI Jetrion and Nilpeter) ran the same jobs (food, pharma and personal-care product labels). It was a priceless opportunity for attendees to get an objective, side-by-side comparison of print quality and performance.
  • What is it about the label industry? While all manner of other tradeshows and conferences have suffered (and died in some cases) in the past few years, labeling keeps on truckin’. If anything, this year I guess a lot of people thought it’s about time to reinvest in their business…or at least kick the tires while preparing capital-expenditure budgets for 2011.

I’m already looking forward to Labelexpo Europe next fall in Brussels.

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