The launch edition of Labelexpo Southeast Asia – the biggest label and package printing event in the region – has exceeded all expectations, with 7,934 attendees from 62 countries flocking to BITEC in Bangkok, Thailand for the three day show from 10-12 May. Exhibitor rebookings for the next edition in 2020 already stand at 42 percent – the highest following a Labelexpo event launch to date.
Aimed at connecting printers/converters, brand owners, label and package printing technicians, buyers and design specialists, the event attracted strong delegations from across Thailand, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Vietnam, plus Australasia. Enthusiastically supported by the Thai Department of Industrial Promotion (DIP) under the Minister of Industry, and the Thailand Screen Print and Graphic Imaging Association (TSGA), Labelexpo Southeast Asia 2018 covered over 4,100sqm and hosted exhibitors from 174 of the global industry's principal manufacturers and suppliers. These included Bobst, Epson, Flint Group, GEW, HP, Konica Minolta, Lintec, Mark Andy, Nilpeter, Omet, UPM Raflatac, Xeikon, Yupo Corporation and Zhejiang Weigang Machinery Co. Almost a quarter of these were exhibiting at Labelexpo for the first time including Berli Jucker, Flying Man Assembly Automation, IGS Asia Pacific, Navitas Vision Solution, Ojitac, PMC Label Materials, Press Systems, Techno Global Graphics and Tsukatani Hamono Manufacturing.
Machinery on display on the buzzing show floor included HP Indigo's recently launched WS6900 digital press, Omet's iFlex press with 10 UV flexo colors and a 370mm (14in) web width, Nilpeter's FA-line press, Nagase Thailand's AWP-DEW water washable flexo plate system featuring Clean Transfer Technology, BST eltromat Southeast Asia showcasing systems from the TubeScan range and Zhejiang Weigang Machinery's flexo press, ZJR-330. Other demonstrations included Xeikon's 3300 roll 2 roll configuration and high quality production of self-adhesive and heat-transfer labels, ThermoFlex's ThermoFlexX 30, supporting plate sizes up to 635 x 762 mm and 3,94 mm thick, Siegwerk's latest range of reliable and user-friendly solutions for narrow web applications, Konica Minolta's digital label printer, the AccurioLabel 190, Tokyo Ink Group's new line of UV inks and UV flexo inks, and AVT's 100% print inspection products Helios S Turbo+ and Helios Turbo HD+ which include inline and offline inspection, color monitoring and barcode verification.
Running alongside the main exhibition was a two-day expert-led conference program, developed in line with feedback from printers in Southeast Asia. These topical learning sessions proved extremely popular with label and packaging printers, brand owners and designers. The opening session on 10 May was delivered by Harit Hiranyaphinant, deputy managing director of Copack Co. and TSGA member, who gave an overview of the label printing industry in Thailand and how to capture the future of the industry. Later sessions featured extremely well-received presentations from Brenton Barrett, president Asia Pacific of Multi-Color Corporation, who looked at market trends in Southeast Asia and globally; and Ryan Shaw, creative director Southeast Asia of Landor, who examined business models and 360 degree design thinking. A CEO printer panel moderated by James Quirk, group managing editor of Labels & Labeling, featured panelists including Piyapong Wongvorakul, managing director Trisan Printing (Thailand); Peter Woods, director and COO Southeast Asia QLM Label Makers (Malaysia); Adrian Pratiwhiharja, president and director PT Interflex Sejahtera Perdana, and Brenton Barrett.
Another show highlight was the sold-out Label Academy workshop covering shrink sleeve technology, which took place on the final day of the show. Moderated by Andy Thomas-Emans, strategic director Labelexpo, topics covered included design and origination, inks, substrates, and converting and application technology. The workshop ended with a presentation on quality control and fault finding by one of the global industry's leading shrink sleeve experts, Dr Séamus Lafferty, president of Barry Wehmiller company Accraply.
Jade Grace, project director for Labelexpo Southeast Asia said:
"We are absolutely delighted with the success of our very first Labelexpo Southeast Asia, which, as our most successful show launch to date, has exceeded all expectations. Visitor feedback has been excellent, with major sales deals being closed on-site and the high calibre of buyers at the show highlighted as invaluable for sourcing new contacts and partners who will be able to help printers improve profitability, quality and efficiency in order to stay one step ahead of their competitors."