Kurt Walker of FINAT
FINAT, the international association for the self-adhesive label industry, reports on a very successful 2011 edition of Labelexpo, that marked the 20th anniversary of the Labelexpo – FINAT partnership.
“In all respects this has been the best show ever,” says Kurt Walker, FINAT President. “I heard very positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors. Labelexpo gave a ‘motivational and comforting’ injection to the industry. Exhibitors demonstrated how new technologies such as digital print can create market potential in new segments. Labelexpo also revealed the ongoing initiatives taken for a greener and more sustainable industry. These in turn can result in additional business opportunities and value adding services.”
For FINAT in particular the show meant the reunion of old acquaintances, the renewal of contacts, the welcome of new members, the introduction of new initiatives such as the launch of Operators’ Day and the FINAT Release Liner Recycling Programme.
Leveraging the Recycling Opportunities
“The self-adhesive labelling industry received a wake-up call from UPM Raflatac’s President Jussi Vanhanen during the opening session at Labelexpo this year,” says Jules Lejeune, managing director at FINAT. “Label makers were encouraged to ‘take the self-adhesive label to the limit’ and in this respect Mr Vanhanen gave the audience three pieces of advice: use the cost out opportunities, demonstrate the USPs of the label sector and mitigate the threats to the sector, a.o. by leveraging the recycling opportunities.”
“As for the latter topic,” Lejeune continues, “FINAT recently introduced the release liner recycling initiative. This is meant to support member companies in exploring and exploiting common recycling solutions and to provide a gateway to identify opportunities for collection and recycling.”
FINAT’s Public Affairs/Issues & Recycling Manager Mark Macaré and several members of the FINAT Recycling Group experienced great interest from visitors worldwide at the FINAT Recycling Desk this year. “As we get many questions, we underline the economic and environmental importance of release liner recycling, stating that unlike some years ago, viable options now exist in the market. Moreover, these options not only offer solutions for the final recycling of release liner waste, but also for the collection of this waste at the end-user,” says Mr Macaré. During his recently held recycling presentation at the annual conference of Afera, the association for the self-adhesive tape industry, he witnessed similar interest and encouraged Afera members to leverage from the fast-developing recycling opportunities and programmes available today.
Networking, a major benefit for members, old and new
“As FINAT’s congress 2012 will take place in Athens next year, we have seen a particular interest from Greek companies to sign up for membership,” says Mr Lejeune. “We anticipate receiving at least five new members from Labelexpo this year. Among these newcomers, we are pleased to announce that PRATI confirmed its membership application during the show.”
“FINAT is a well respected and important association promoting the interest of our industry,” says Chiara Prati, sales director at PRATI, Italy. “Increased visibility, benchmark opportunities and sharing of best practices with peers in the industry are only a few of the many benefits we anticipate to receive from our membership.”
A PDF version of the Comprehensive Guide to FINAT’s Membership Benefits that was made available to all visitors of the Labelexpo show will be posted on the FINAT website end of October. Several visiting member company representatives took the opportunity to access the new online FINAT Member to Member Community to complete their profile and review the possibilities of this new networking tool that was first launched at the FINAT congress in Sicily last June.
The completely revised FINAT web portal has also integrated the former FINAT Knowledge Hub and at the show, visitors had the opportunity to review the latest draft of an important addition on this Hub, the completely revised and expanded (300 pages) edition of the FINAT Educational Handbook, soon to become available for downloading by FINAT members.
Operators’ Day: a Hands-on Learning Experience
Operators’ Day, organised in cooperation with national label associations in Europe, attracted 155 participants from 10 companies based in Germany, Switzerland, Poland, and France. The purpose of this special programme was to allow production personnel from label companies (design and prepress, plate production personnel, press operators (conventional or digital), converting operators, including die cutting, slitting, rewinding) to get a direct view of the global world of labeling and to receive further education and hands-on experience of new technologies. FINAT likes to thank the 22 exhibitor member companies that hosted the ‘Operators Show Trail’.
Upwards and Onwards
“Over the years, Tarsus has succeeded in continuously raising its standard and establishing a true brand personality of Labelexpo,” concludes Mr Lejeune. “As the leading global trade show for our industry, Labelexpo Europe is an icon for the international label community. We are very much looking forward to the next edition. Our next stop is Labelexpo in Shangai end of November. To stay tuned on what is happening in our industry in these emerging markets and to further explore and acknowledge the opportunities and challenges of a globalized labeling industry.”