Label Summit Latin America 2024 showcases Colombia’s growth and potential

Label Summit Latin America 2024 showcases Colombia’s growth and potential

The dynamic labeling market in Latin America is prime for opportunity, as industry experts estimate the percentage of digital presses in the region is still below that of the global average. And in this rapidly growing and diversifying market where cost is king, there is plenty of room for growth, as the Label Summit Latin America 2024 highlighted.

The 20th edition of Label Summit Latin America returned to Colombia this March, taking place in Bogotá for the first time, and returning to the region for the first time since Chile in March 2020.

The two-day conference, held at the Agora Bogotá Convention Center, brought together 750 visitors from 25 countries, with 13 conference sessions aimed at equipping delegates with in-depth label and package printing trade knowledge, market insights, regional trends and the latest technologies.

Hosted by Labelexpo Global Series, the conference program topics ranged from neuromarketing insights and industry sustainability to design innovations and coffee labels, as well as the impact of automation, the rise of counterfeiting and a keynote on the Colombia Plastics Pact.

More than 25 experts from well-known Colombian brands, label converters from the region and leading associations in Latin America’s label and package printing industry shared their insights and knowledge about the trends and technologies that are shaping the future of the market.

Meanwhile, converters participating in the conference included Viappiani, Servibarras, CCL, All4Labels, AlfaPrint, Everest Printed, Impresos y Acabados, Ideartes Impresores, Etiflex Mexico, Kuresa and Sismode.

The conference program was accompanied by a tabletop exposition featuring 54 industry suppliers.

‘The two-day annual conference is a renowned educational highlight for local label converters looking to network with key suppliers and share knowledge with the industry,’ says Mirco Mazzarella, Labelexpo Global Series event manager for Latin America. ‘Colombia in particular has one of Latin America’s most advanced label and package printing industries, driven in part by its flourishing coffee production market and Label Summit Latin America 2024 provides a big opportunity for label converters to grow their business.’

Day one

Chelsea McDougall, Labels & Labeling group managing editor, kicked off the two-day event with ‘Industry overview: the Changing Global Market.’

‘The label industry has shown impressive global growth over a number of decades and continues to do so when other print sectors are in decline,’ McDougall says. ‘Commercial print is seeing a decline in volumes in recent years. In contrast, packaging and label work is booming.

‘This is leading to a new focus for print service providers outside the labeling sector starting to look at the label and packaging market in order to diversify their product offerings.’

Next, Tatiana Duarte, executive president, Andigraf, and Cesar Bernal Gonzalez, executive director, Everest Luxury Packaging, zeroed in on the relevant market with ‘Colombia and the Wider Region: Market Analysis and Forecast.’ The session addressed some key trends in a post-pandemic industry, developing new markets in Latin America and challenges ranging from economic to political and the supply chain.

The two-day conference offered 13 sessions to equip attendees with in-depth trade knowledge, market insights, regional trends and the latest technologies

Andrés Felipe Peláez, R&D director at Arclad, the event’s platinum sponsor, talked of the responsibility of the industry to adopt and practice sustainability, and how Arclad is leading that charge in ‘Demystifying Label and Package Printing Sustainability,’ putting the planet above profit.

Arclad is leading the industry on that front with two products: sugar cane paper facestock and bio-based repulpable adhesives that wash off so the container can be recycled.

‘Right now the market is not demanding sustainable products because of the high cost,’ he says. ‘The market is price dependent. But we believe the initiative starts with us.

The first-day keynote, ‘The Colombia Plastics Pact,’ featured Laura Reyes Castellanos, executive director at Cempre, and Kari Virtanen of CCL Label who both spoke on greenwashing versus green hushing, as well as how label converters can contribute toward a circular economy and support brand owners.

Reyes Castellanos says: ‘The Label Summit Latin America 2024 event represented a valuable opportunity to explore and understand the dynamics of a consumer-oriented industry that has enormous potential to lead transformations that drive the circular economy and encourage changes in behaviors. Having these kinds of spaces is essential to continue exchanging knowledge and inspiring the development of sustainable solutions.’

In the afternoon, ‘Exploring Innovations in Packaging Design’ featured Juan José Posada of VML (previously Grey Colombia) and Eric Pell of supermarket chain Makro Colombia on how they partnered to address food waste, one sticker at a time, offering a simple solution to a massive problem. These stickers use colors, not technology, to help show consumers how their produce can be used at every stage of ripeness.

The first day concluded with ‘Neuromarketing Insights for the Label Converter to Consider’ from Fernando Arendar, founder of Nitid Studio, and ‘Creating the Perfect Coffee Label’ from Daniel Jaramillo of Alico and Juanita Jiménez of Buendía.

Packaging’s purpose is twofold, Arendar says: to package your product but also to advertise it. ‘The more exposed we are to a brand, the more familiar it becomes,’ he adds.

Day two

Day two kicked off with ‘Business Diversification: How to Become a One-Stop-Shop’ from Carolina Petro Otero of Ideartes Impresores and Alfonso Cifuentes of Suprapak who discussed diversifying their portfolios into new markets such as flexible packaging and shrink sleeves.

‘Flexible packaging was the big winner,’ Petro Otero says.

The speakers also emphasized the importance of finding niche market opportunities and acquiring the appropriate technology and training.

Then ‘Unlocking Your Continuous Improvement Potential’ by Aislan Yaron Baer, CEO of ProjetoPack, offered tips on improving operational efficiency and financial management, and prioritizing business investment choices.

Consider, for example, ‘the impact of an untrained operator,’ he says.

In another session, María Paula Murcia Sánchez, a talent hunter and career adviser, advised on diversifying the workforce and bridging the skills gap.

‘It is essential to foster a business culture based on data, research, critical thinking, learning and creativity,’ Baer says, urging the audience to ‘think outside the box’ and ‘question the status quo.’

The second afternoon started with a panel discussion, ‘Pan-Regional Growth Opportunities for the Label Converter,’ led by Giovanni Gomez of Asociación Nacional de Comercio Exterior.

He was joined by three panelists: Jaime Yoshiyama of Kuresa, Alessandra Costa of All4Labels and Francisco Arias of Sismode exploring ways to make the converter business more commercially viable and choosing the right suppliers amid the trend of diversification.

Label Summit Latin America 2024 brought together 750 visitors from 25 countries

‘Overall, it’s a good outlook with nearshoring bringing vendors and suppliers closer to home to reduce dependency on China,’ Arias says. ‘This is going to put Latin America on the map.’

However, cost remains a major obstacle in the region, which has always been hyper-focused on the bottom figure, according to several experts.

‘[In Latin America], everything is very focused on costs,’ Costa says.

In ‘The Rise of Counterfeiting and Opportunities in Brand Protection Through Traceability,’ Ari Vonderwalde of Etiflex Mexico, Santiago Cadavid of ScanTrust and Juan Zuluaga of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization offered the latest on RFID, QR codes and traceability via smart labels and digital product passports.

The second and final day of the conference concluded with a forward-looking panel, ‘The Converter of the Future: What Will It Look Like, and Are You Ready?’

David Ricardo Muñoz, editor-in-chief of El Empaque + Conversión, moderated the discussion with Manuel Yepes of Viappiani de Colombia, Luis Fernando Herrera Salinas of Impresos y Acabados, Jorge Galofre of Alfa Print and Angela Espinosa of Servibarras Official.

The panel addressed light-out converting, digital versus flexo, and the impact of digital technologies and automation.

The audience was curious about that precise tipping point from digital to flexo, but panelists advised it depends on various figures like volume, budget, quality and what the client is specifically looking for.

Leading exhibits

On the exhibit floor, 54 industry suppliers from across the label and printing value chain showcased tabletop exhibition.

Arclad, the event’s platinum sponsor, focused its messaging on sustainability.

Carolina Jaramillo Osorio, marketing director at Arclad, states, ‘Having the opportunity to share information on sustainability to our customers and industry delegates means a lot to us, understanding how to meet the requirements of sustainable labeling can be very challenging, and we believe this event provided the perfect platform for us to continue working together towards this goal.

‘At our booth, we were able to experience a significant number of client visits, coming from different countries across the region, contributing to a very dynamic atmosphere where we even successfully closed several business deals.’

Other leading industry suppliers, HP and Grafix Digital, were the gold sponsors for this year’s event. Grafix Digital discussed how HP Indigo digital presses are uniquely placed for customization in label printing.

Finishing equipment manufacturer, Cartes, was a silver sponsor, as well as an exhibitor at the accompanying exposition, presenting the latest finishing solutions to produce printed labels.

Also joining Cartes and Eco3 as silver sponsors was Avery Dennison, which specializes in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of labeling and functional materials. It showcased a range of products, including its RFID and NFC inlays at a display of connected products.

Baldwin offered its upgraded Guardian PQV 4.0 with the new Wizard-iQ Interface. Wizard-iQ can set up a repeatable process with a few clicks, lowering the barrier of entry for new employees. PQV 4.0 incorporates automated-Delta-E color monitoring and both single- and dual-sided 100 percent print quality inspection.

Debuted was the Corona Narrow Web, a modified version of its corona surface treatment system for the narrow web industry with improved handling on a higher level. The handle grip is designed for easy removal of the cassette from the corona unit, allowing for simple cleaning and maintenance.

Beontag showcased its portfolio of products and sustainable technologies, including Eco RFID Tag, Couchê PCR, Liner rPet and linerless self-adhesives, all of which are also based on paper or recycled materials.

Ricardo Lobo, Beontag CEO, says: ‘LATAM is a critical market for Beontag – it’s where it began for us, and we look forward to meeting with customers, clients, friends, and partners to discuss their priorities and needs for 2024. Label Summit LATAM is another great opportunity to showcase Beontag’s diverse portfolio, including self-adhesives, RFID technology, and linerless labels.’

Eco3, a global supplier of prepress systems to the offset industry formerly known as Agfa Offset Solutions, debuted at Labelexpo Europe 2023 to demonstrate its portfolio for the flexo label segment. Eco3 was a first-time exhibitor at Label Summit Latin America 2024 as a silver sponsor. It presented its Magis portfolio, a complete solution for flexographic label printers, from editing and improving image quality to producing the highest quality water-based flexographic plates.

Fujifilm discussed its Flenex FW, water washable flexo plate range, which the company says improves productivity by reducing platemaking times to 40 minutes, while still achieving high-quality resolution and better ink transfer significantly lowering the cost-in-use compared to solvent plate processing systems. The company also highlights its narrow web UV and LED inks for flexo.

GEW showcased its Aero LED, an air-cooled UV LED curing system. AeroLED is a high-power system for full cure, printing, coating and converting applications up to 60cm wide.

K Laser, a global manufacturer of metalized substrates and holographic paper, showcased four holography applications for the first time: traditional cold foil, Viridian holographic sheets and paperboard, holographic lamination, and Kast and Kure.

Mark Andy, the lanyard sponsor of the event, says there was a lot of interest in hybrid technology as companies seek to reduce costs and increase efficiency. Investment activity in the Andean region has slowed recently, mainly due to politics, but the Latin American sales manager expects that to turn around.

‘Companies are a bit more cautious and are waiting before investing. But that always changes eventually.’

Nilpeter promoted its FA-Line and new FB-14/-17, which was launched earlier this year. The company also used the Latin American show to push for Labelexpo Americas, where we will bring both the FA-26 and his new FB-14/-17.

Nilpeter’s Andean sales manager, Juan Pablo Patino Arevalo, says there is a notable increase in shrink sleeve production in the region, as countries like Peru, Ecuador and Colombia are mandating the use of shrink sleeves, particularly in dairy products. Meanwhile, the rest of the food industry is moving away from cardboard packaging in favor of flexible packaging.

‘Overall volumes are on the rise, but they’re spread across more SKUs,’ Arevalo says. ‘Customers are looking to reduce job change times and minimize waste.’

Other press OEMs were on hand at the exhibit, including Bobst, Konica Minolta, Omet and Pulisi.

Maxcess Group, which includes RotoMetrics, WebEx, Magpower, Tidland and Componex, discussed its full portfolio of narrow web offerings from every stage in the flexo printing operation, including rotary dies and tooling, web guides, vision systems, and winding, slitting and tension control rolls. Maxcess has a facility in Brazil for which it services the Latin American region.

Nazdar Ink Technologies showed its range of inks developed for narrow-web printing applications and explained the benefits of its UV and LED flexo, UV offset and UV letterpress inks, durable UV coatings, water-based flexo, UV and LED rotary screen inks, and UV and LED overprint varnishes and adhesives.

‘Latin America Label Summit is a great opportunity for businesses in the label and packaging markets – and those considering moving into them – to meet us and discover why our inks and coatings are used worldwide,’ comments Mike Harjung, Nazdar vice president of narrow web products.

A longtime supporter of Label Summit shows Yupo discussed the sustainability benefits of its in-mold label materials.

‘We always expect good things, and the Label Summit delivered,’ says Alex Cruz, Yupo director of sales. ‘Our expectations were fulfilled, we saw key industry players that was evident in the quality of the speaker lineup and attendees coming by our booth.’

Mazzarella concludes: ‘Label Summit Latin America always aims to deliver highly engaging, educational content with an esteemed line-up of expert speakers looking into the latest industry trends and market insights that are shaping the future of the industry.’

Stay tuned for Labelexpo Americas 2024, taking place in Chicago September 10-12, and Labelexpo Mexico 2025 in Guadalajara next April.

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Publish date : 2024-05-14 03:00:00

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