Opportunities, challenges, and celebrations
This year’s calendar of events and supporting activities offered by the international association for the label and sleeve markets, FINAT, is a full one. It reflects, and addresses, the complex and ever-changing opportunities and challenges in the overall world of packaging today for the benefit of the FINAT membership which, in itself, is a diverse web of companies, from raw material suppliers through inks, printing and application machinery, to converters and contract packers.
Tackling the technical challenges
First on this year’s agenda of international events is the FINAT Technical Seminar – a two-yearly event which attracts high attendances for its astute combination of all the key elements of commercial label production today. Taking place in Barcelona on 7-9 March, this year’s seminar addresses a broad range of topics for printers and converters. Setting the context, keynote speaker Andy Hobsbawm, founder of smart products platform EVRYTHNG, will provide a leading-edge insight into the IoT, and how ‘smart’ products transform brand relationships, business operations, and service experiences.
The programme will go on to address choosing an MIS supplier; the digital print technologies – both stand-alone and in combination with flexo; workflow automation; inks and decoration techniques; and facestocks and finishing. As well as the formal presentations, the seminar will feature parallel troubleshooting workshops where participants can address two arenas of current technical focus and relevance: the flexible packaging and sleeving technologies, and multi-layer, peel-and-reveal label constructions. The event’s accompanying tabletop exhibition and social programme also, of course, offer exceptional opportunities for networking across the extended label industry value chain.
European Label Forum
FINAT’s annual industry event, the European Label Forum, travels this year to Dublin, Ireland, 6-8 June. As in previous years, the program covers a range of issues relevant to the European labels and narrow web packaging industry. Topics on this year’s agenda include the European label industry after Brexit, diversification of the labels and narrow web industry, intelligent packaging, talent development, total cost of ownership of the different printing technologies, the state of affairs in digital label printing, the latest innovations in brand protection, online marketing of your company, as well as the impact of upcoming legislation in food compliant packaging as well as serialization and tamper evidence. Keynote speakers confirmed include TV commentator and spokesman of former British PM Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, founder of XYZ University, author and expert on intergenerational issues in companies Sarah Sladek, and Professor Noreena Hertz, author, visionary economist, decision-making guru and author with an impressive track record in predicting global trends.
FINAT International Label Competition
The ELF also provides the platform for the prize presentations in the 2018 FINAT International Label Competition. This long-established and prestigious competition – now accepting entries, but closing 23 March (link to entry form) – features a number of technical and marketing/end-use categories. For the first time this year, it includes flexible packaging – since it is now an additional option offered by many label converters.
The competition creates a ‘shop window’ of the label industry and brings recognition and international press coverage for winning companies.
A third live event on the FINAT calendar takes place on 5-7 September in Bucharest, Romania: the FINAT Global Young Managers’ Congress 2018. This creative FINAT initiative represents an opportunity for younger-generation print managers across the globe – whether FINAT members or not – to come together to focus on management skills development in the fast-moving packaging print arena, where a continuing flow of new-generation expertise is essential for the industry’s future.
Throughout the year, FINAT will host a programme of free-to-attend webinars for members, focussed on technical and recycling matters. Scheduled subjects include intelligent packaging, self-adhesive label dispensing, and RecyClass – the recyclability tool for plastic packaging offered by Plastic Recyclers Europe. One of the subjects covered is the circular economy strategy for plastics, being one of the major substrates for labels, with a webinar dedicated to the general recycling strategy, followed by more detailed webinars on best practices for packaging and label design, and new label marker technologies for better polymer sorting at the recyclers.
On the FINAT RADAR
The association’s website is also home to in-depth market research, published twice a year for the benefit of members in the FINAT RADAR. The summer 2018 edition will feature detailed statistics on the European labelling industry, and the year-end edition will focus on brand owners.
Confirmation of the high levels of service FINAT has provided to its members is the fact that the association will be celebrating its 60th anniversary in November 2018. Officially established in 1958, FINAT represents unique historical documentation of the self-adhesive label industry from its inception, and is now supporting, and promoting that industry’s ever-widening profile in the world of packaging.