Converting Industry News, Part 1

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Covering the Full Spectrum of Industry News, Events & Activities

Apollo Sheeter Helps Polish Converter Grow
When the Polish economy began to grow in preparation for the country’s entry into the EU, paper converter Gemipap decided to grow with it. Having already expanded factory space to 2,500 sq m, Gemipap—whose slogan is "We are clean cut"—decided to prove it by adding a Valmet TSK sheeter. (Valmet has since been purchased by Bobst Group, and the sheeter is now known as the Apollo.)

The Apollo TSK, installed early in 2004, converts a range of plain and coated paper and board and is said to be especially efficient on small sheet sizes.
Supplier Information:
Bobst Group—

Custom Slitter a Basic Success
Converdis, a div. of Cascades Paper and a manufacturer and distributor of packaging products, produces 55,000 metric tons/yr at its Berthierville, QC, Canada, plant. This includes wrapping paper, coated paper, and corrugated roll ends, as well as its trademarked laminated Sello-wrap-40, Sellopack, and Sellecoat products. It’s doing all of this faster and better than ever now, thanks to a custom-designed 120-in. Tds Std Hd slitter from Webco.

The heavy-duty, two-drum slitter features 84-in. diameters on the shaftless unwind and rewind, a running speed of 5,000 fpm, and a roll capacity of 30,000 lb.

"The winder is faster and more precise than anything we have ever had," notes plant manager Hughes Prudhomme. "Webco eliminated any non-value-added features to give us a robust machine with no costly frills."
Supplier Information:

Register System Suits Sleeve Converter
Fuji Seal manufactures shrink-sleeve packaging for some big, blue-chip companies. Quality is essential, as the award-winning converter knows. So it’s no wonder the company is so pleased with the QuadTech Autotron Packaging 2600 Register Guidance systems installed at Fuji’s Gillingham, UK, plant. The systems have resulted in an increase in press speeds by about 10% and a decrease in start-up times by 30%.

Says Fuji print technician Alan Henderson, "This boost in productivity has enabled us to retain our competitive edge in a fiercely competitive market." He adds, "We have also been able to improve the color-to-color registration on problematic substrates…. We needed a registration solution which was flexible as well as fast and simple to set up, especially on a combination press. Here we often run two jobs at once controlled by the same Autotron."
Supplier Information:
QuadTech—PFFC-ASAP 397.

Packaging Easy for Seniors, Tough for Kids
Stora Enso and Bosch have joined to introduce PharmaPak SHR, a customized packaging solution comprising an automatic cartoning machine, a novel package design, and a specially developed board material. The targets of the concept are the pharmaceutical industry, contract packagers, and clinical trial service providers, who will use the services of accredited converters and printers, says Stora Enso. The product is said to be senior-friendly and child-resistant. It is reported ideal for unit-dose packages such as blister cards but also can be used for ampoules, vials, and syringes. The cartons are made from the specially developed board CKB Pharma TR, which has high tear resistance. Cartons are reclosable and have a "both-hands" opening system, making it easy for adults but difficult for children to access.
Supplier Information:
Stora Enso—PFFC-ASAP 398.

By Corey M. Reardon AWA Alexander Watson Assoc.

What Does EU Growth Really Mean?
The accession of ten new countries to the EU has created an enormous amount of hype in the western European packaging industry, which is suffering margin pressures as a result of the purchasing leverage of multinational retail groups and product manufacturers. Profitability within the context of the existing geographical market is increasingly difficult—so the new EU member countries represent a route to future success and market expansion.

Real GDP growth across the whole of Europe, including the Eastern European entrants, is expected to be 5%–9% over the next ten years. There are opportunities in opening up a market of some 450 million people, but what will that mean in reality, and where will the benefit be seen?

Today, the average GDP across all the accession countries is just $94.24 billion—substantially less than The Netherlands, where GDP is $461.4 billion alone. This average GDP figure includes Poland at $427.1 billion GDP, which adds a further perspective to the current economic health of the other nine countries.

Many companies assessed market opportunities in the accession countries some time ago and already have established commercial links. These companies identified, and in some cases secured, the most attractive areas of business opportunity for the future. Companies that are just now getting excited about the possibilities may well be too late to market.

The defining factor in the future success of the accession countries will be their economic stability. An economic crisis could overtake any one of these new member countries: Each is a separate economic entity.

I caution against overconfidence in the significance of the enlarged European community in both the short- and medium-term. While 450 million potential consumers are an attractive prospect, the new member countries have a long way to grow to reach the GDP—and buying/spending power—of their neighbors in Western Europe.

AWA Alexander Watson Assoc. is an international market research consultant company for the converting and packaging industries.

AIMCAL Conference Sets Record
By Yolanda Simonsis

CHARLESTON, SC—Within the historic Francis Marion Hotel, the Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators, Ft. Mill, SC, added to its own history with a record turnout of 226 attendees at the annual fall technical conference.

The organization picked up momentum several years ago, even before the Converting Equipment Mfrs. Assn. (CEMA) merged as a division, and it has continued to steam forward. The selection of topics at the conference obviously appealed to attendees during a three-day venue, including a two-track lineup of sessions devoted to web coating/laminating as well as vacuum web coating.

The first track on web coating/laminating focused on themes of "thinner": substrates, their processing, and handling; "better": improving the coating and web handling process and improving equipment and substrates; and "faster": practical challenges posed by processing thinner substrates at higher production speeds. A closing global market session tied the conference together with five sessions addressing trends, an outlook for coated/laminated paper, and opportunities.

The second track on vacuum web coating covered advances in vacuum web deposition processes with a total of 13 sessions; advances in materials technology; machine maintenance; and new products and testing.

One lunchtime tutorial tackled the soon-to-be-published AIMCAL Defects Lexicon; a second tutorial addressed growing your business in a mature market. And the venue’s traditional tabletop display, held throughout the conference, offered ample networking opportunities.

The organization continues to anticipate the needs of its member companies with serious treatment of appropriate subject matter while spicing the program with a good mix of enough free time to enjoy the local sites. A conference wrap-up, which again encouraged networking, featured speaker awards for Dan Bemi of MEGTEC Systems from the coating/laminating sessions and Pete Martin of Pacific Northwest Laboratory from the vacuum web coating sessions.

IMLCON 2004 Draws Crowd SCOTTSDALE, AZ—With 100 delegates and 18 tabletop exhibitors, IMLCON 2004 is described by organizers RBS Technologies as the best-attended such conference in recent years. Dedicated to in-mold labeling and in-mold decorating markets and technology, the event was held October 11–13. Now 14 years old, IMLCON this year was joined by AWA Conferences as co-organizer.

For the full conference agenda, visit IMLCON2005 is scheduled for October 26–28 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Supplier News
New Company Focuses on Color
ANN ARBOR, MI—Flint Ink Corp. reports the launch of Progressive Color Media, a new company providing a full range of workflow color management solutions integrating hardware, software, and services. Fully funded by Flint, the new company’s services will include baseline assessment, solution development and design, implementation, and ongoing support.

Creo Expands Plate Facility
BURNABY, BC, CANADA—Creo reports it will expand the capacity of its West Virginia printing plate manufacturing facility with an additional lithographic plate production line. The construction, expected to begin by the end of 2005, will more than double the plant’s capacity.

Creo launched its Digital Media (consumables) business in September 2003.

Avery Forms RFID Unit
PASADENA, CA—Avery Dennison Corp. has formed a business unit dedicated to the manufacturing and marketing of low-cost RFID inlays and tags. The division will leverage the company’s existing distribution system by marketing the inlays and tags to its label converter customers, who supply p-s labels to diverse end-user markets.

"As we shift our RFID activities from a business venture mode to implementing our high-speed, low-cost manufacturing strategy, we continue to be enthusiastic about the excellent long-term growth opportunities of RFID," reports Avery Dennison chairman and CEO Philip M. Neal. "We see our emerging RFID business as [our] largest long-term growth opportunity."

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