Label release liners: Sustainability, in-house siliconizing & coating, nanotechnology & South American opps

There was plenty of useful information among the dozen presentations at Monday’s AWA Label Release Liner Industry Seminar in Chicago. Here are synopses of a few of them:

“A Label’s Life Value in a Green-Economy Value Chain” by Danielle Jerschefske of Labels & Labeling. Tarsus conducted its 2011 North American Label Converter Study, which surveyed 10,000 industry professionals. Among the results:

  • 61% of respondents said sustainability was extremely or somewhat important to their business. Only 5% said it was unimportant.
  • 45% have an Environmental Management System (EMS) implemented at their label-converting plant; among the 55% who don’t, another 25% said they will have an EMS in place in the next 12 months.
  • 55% of respondents with a current EMS in place have had it for the past 2-4 years.
  • 60% have an employee/team dedicated to directing sustainability initiatives at their companies.
  • 75% have made retrofits to their plants to reduce waste, cut water use and/or energy consumption.
  • Among main concerns regarding sustainability, 50% of respondents noted their confusion regarding a definition of sustainability, the cost of alternative materials, and the quality of alternatives. Almost as many–47%–are concerned about ROI. 35% are concerned about the cost of certifications such as SFI, FSC, ISO or LIFE.

“Release Liner Reduction through Vertical Integration Technologies” by Yves Lafontaine of ETI Converting Equipment.

  • The supplier of in-house, in-line siliconizing and coating systems estimates that 6% of the 17.5 billion sq meters of label laminate made worldwide in 2011 was converted in-house rather than outsourced. That figure, which covers large, integrated converters as well as smaller, primarily label printers, is expected to rise to 7% this year.
  • Vertical integration combines silicone and adhesive coating, printing and diecutting for more efficiency; is less wasteful via one setup; and offers tighter QC with +/-2% variance compared to +/-5% with outsourced processing.
  • The in-line coating station includes technologies for emulsion acrylic, UV-acrylic hot-melt and standard hot-melt coating; it allows pattern coating, applies 10- to 100-gsm adhesive thickness and runs at 1,000 fpm.
  • Linerless labels are a good solution for the 37% of the global market for label application that is hand-applied.
  • Linerless label advantages: 33% cost savings with no release liner, 50%  more labels per roll, less downtime via fewer roll changes on the label-application line, and it serves as an answer to the liner-waste recycling/landfilling debate.

“BOPP Release Liner” by Derick Arippol of Novelprint Sistemas de Etiquetafem Ltda. (Brazil). Novelprint is a vertically integrated company that converts release-liner and printed/finished labels as well as sells label applicators. Arippol covered work being with nanotechnology.

  • Adding 8% nanosilica to silicone coating results in 6-9% lower release force and 4-8.5% higher peel adhesion for PSAs.
  • Lower release force provides for a 10% increase in label-application speeds. Novelprint has achieved rates of up to 800 50-mm labels per min.
  • Nanosilica allows for greater opportunities for thinner facestocks and thinner adhesive layers as well as improved linerless-label apps.

“Label & Release Liner Market in South America” by Roberto Ribeiro of Asterisco Consultancy (Brazil).

  • Facts to keep in mind: South America has 13 countries with a total population of 388 million people and a 2011 GDP of US$4.5 trillion.
  • Release-liner demand in the region last year was 1.77 billion sq meters; 59% was used for labelstocks, which is increasing due to a growing Middle Class.
  • Release-liner demand is climbing 5.3% a year through 2016; anti-dumping duties on foreign-made paper liners is helping regional converters (particularly in Brazil).
  • Pressure-sensitive label-liner demand will likelly be 1.3 billion sq meters in 2012, up 5.5% over last year. End-use applications are products–47%, promotional–18% and variable information printing–35%.
  • There are 1,500 label converters in the South American region, who made about US$1.3 billion in total revenue in 2011.
  • The region’s p-s label demand is projected to rise +6% a year to 2016, about 1.5X the average rate of GDP of all nations.
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