Strong debut in Mexico for Labelexpo

The inaugural Labelexpo Mexico 2023 featured 145 exhibitors
and nearly 6,000 attendees

The inaugural Labelexpo Mexico 2023 exhibition, held at the World Trade Center in Mexico City on April 26-28, welcomed 5,878 visitors from 46 countries and 145 exhibitors.

The strong turnout – and positive feedback from visitors and
exhibitors alike – vindicated the organizer’s decision to hold its first machinery show in Latin America, after running Label Summit conference and table-top events in the region since 2005.

Feedback from the show floor was uniformly positive, with
exhibitors frequently describing how the event had exceeded their expectations. Not only were visitor numbers strong, at nearly 6,000, but there was a significant attendance (around 20 percent of the total) from outside of Mexico, including Central America – Guatemala and Costa Rica in particular – as well as Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru.

The positive atmosphere on the show floor was a testament
to the current sense of optimism in the local market, which is benefiting from trends such as nearshoring – the influx of foreign companies setting up manufacturing operations in Mexico in order to serve the US market more easily. Numerous converters cited this as a key factor in recent growth. Both local and export markets for tequila are also growing strongly – particularly in the US where the
spirit is soaring in popularity.

A report by Mordor Intelligence estimates a 5.5 percent CAGR in the Mexican label market between 2021 and 2026, while local association Canagraf says that label converter numbers have risen in the past decade from around 300 to 450-550.

Tasha Ventimiglia, Labelexpo Americas group director, says of the show: ‘We saw the trends driving the growth of the Mexican label industry. For example, the tequila market is booming not just in Mexico but in the US as well, with lots of highly embellished labels from challenger brands appearing on store shelves. And a lot of foreign investment is happening in Mexico, mostly due to its strategic position to serve the US market, with international companies like Tesla and others building plants in Mexico, creating
further opportunities for local label converters.’

Feedback garnered from the show floor was uniformly positive, with exhibitors frequently describing how the event had exceeded their expectations

Labelexpo Mexico 2023 event manager Mirco Mazzarella adds: ‘This was a fantastic debut event and I would like to thank our exhibitors, visitors and staff onsite for helping to make this first Labelexpo Mexico an astounding success. Our suppliers were very impressed by the quality and number of converters, particularly from outside Mexico, and we had a few suppliers commenting on the number of flexible packaging printers in attendance. Over 70 percent of exhibitors rebooked for Labelexpo Mexico 2025, with
the majority of those upgrading their space.’ 

Labelexpo Mexico 2023

Printing technology

The show featured a wide range of working machinery, with
Nilpeter demonstrating its FA-17 printing shrink sleeves, and digital presses on display from Mark Andy, Epson, Konica Minolta, Durst and Pulisi.

AstroNova’s QuickLabel brand showcased the newly released QL-E100, an introductory, compact and portable color-label printer. Additionally, QuickLabel showed the QL-120X, and the QL-300, the first-ever 5-color label printer (CMYK+W). The TrojanLabel T2-C, claimed to be the first high-capacity label press with a footprint compact enough for a table-top, was also on display.

Bobst, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of its Mexico
office last year, made its first Mouvent digital press sale in the country last year, and Bobst’s head of narrow and mid web Matteo Cardinotti says further sales are taking place this year. ‘The shortage of flexo press operators means that digital is a solution,’ he says. ‘Inkjet can compete with flexo better than other digital technologies.’ Regional marketing communications manager Tove Dahlstrom said the event had exceeded expectations: ‘It’s a really good show, surprisingly so given it is the first edition. The audience is very qualified and we have received lots of leads.’

Over 70 percent of exhibitors rebooked for Labelexpo Mexico 2025, with the majority of those upgrading their space

Dilli showed its Neo Picasso inkjet press in Mexico for the first time. The South Korean manufacturer appointed Grupo Zur as its agent in the country last year. ‘There is lots of potential in the Mexican market for digital printing,’ says Jin-Kyu Jeong, overseas packaging solution team manager. ‘The Latin American region is a new focus for the company.’

Domino focused on promoting its K600i inkjet print bar, which can be retrofitted onto existing presses to add variable data printing capabilities. Senior account manager Gary Peterson says: ‘We do a lot of business in sectors such as tequila, agriculture and fruit where there is a need for variable data such as tax stamps. Nearshoring is creating a lot of opportunities in the Mexican market.’

Durst showcased its Tau RSCi UV inkjet press, which is available in web widths of 330mm, 420mm or 510mm. It is designed to be able to handle medium- to long-run jobs as well as short-run. The Tau RSCi is equipped by default with a chill roller and jumbo winders to guarantee material flexibility and maximum ease of use.

Strong Chinese exhibitor presence

Epson demonstrated its L-6534VW inkjet label press, which
enables reliable and repeatable high-speed printing at up to
164 ft/min for jobs up to 13.39in in width. The new generation PrecisionCore linehead center drum system is a space-saving, compact design integrating all the functions required for production, such as corona treatment, white ink, digital varnish, web cleaner, ionizer and an additional UV curing unit, all as standard.

Etirama was promoting its various flexo presses in a market that is second only to its native Brazil in terms of installations. The press manufacturer signed a distribution deal with local agent Jetrix at Label Summit Latin America 2015, and has since sold 42 presses in Mexico.

Flora showed its 5-color UV inkjet label press J330-S, designed as a compact and fully integrated single-pass platform. It uses the Epson S3200 600 DPI printhead and can run with speeds up to 60m/min. The 350mm print width can support a wide range of applications.

Labelexpo Mexico 2023

‘We’ve experienced strong growth in China, so in the past year we have increased our focus on international markets, exhibiting at both Labelexpo Southeast Asia and Labelexpo Mexico,’ says director Victor Xu. ‘International markets recognize that Chinese technology is high quality.’

Heidelberg was promoting the new Gallus One hybrid press, launched this year. Gallus presses are sold directly by Heidelberg Mexico, whose head of marketing Fernando Menendez says: ‘There is a lot of opportunity in the local market. Gallus is a premium brand, so we have to demonstrate to local converters that they can afford the presses thanks to our financing options. The gap is closing between the perception of the machines as expensive and
the reality.’ 

Konica Minolta demonstrated its AccurioLabel 230 and
AccurioPrint C4065 on its stand. German Farrugia, director of sales and marketing for Konica Minolta Mexico, was impressed by the number of visitors from the wider region. ‘We’ve had a good flow of prospects. There are lots of high-level visitors. We are growing our presence in the market as digital receives more interest.’

Watch video interviews from the show floorWe are excited by the opportunities in the Latin American market. The sky is the limit

Mark Andy’s Latin America sales manager John Vigna described the event as ‘outstanding’. ‘It has surpassed our expectations,’ he says. ‘It shows that the market here is active and growing.’ The company showed its Digital Pro 3 flexo/toner hybrid machine, an entry-level to mid-market system that offers a low cost-to-print ratio from its compact footprint. The digital toner engine offers CMYK printing at 1,200 DPI and can be complemented by a flexo unit before and after digital print to allow, for example, a flexo white to be laid down followed by a flexo spot color, or cold foil, or
lamination. Mark Andy closed ‘several deals’ on the show floor.

Nilpeter demonstrated its FA-17 flexo press at a booth that was constantly packed with visitors. The press features reduced waste and shorter job changeover times, as well as higher performance in terms of production speed and registration. The automation ensures the performance of the press and its optimal performance for short runs, without adding additional costs to the production process. At Labelexpo Mexico, the press was equipped with eight printing units with UV curing, and a rail system for the application of value-added processes such as cold stamping and lamination. The press ran shrink sleeves with cold foil applied in-line.

Pulisi, a Chinese manufacturer known for its inspection systems, demonstrated its new AOBEAD DPIM UV inkjet press in a 6-color configuration. The press has a 330mm web width and in-line inspection system. The company is represented in the US and Mexico by SM Investments, a new venture from Ajay Mehta and Rohit Mehta, respectively former founder and managing director, and corporate director, of Indian labelstock manufacturer SMI Coated Products, which was acquired by Jindal Poly Films last year.

SET Industry represents a number of Chinese and Thai suppliers in Mexico. Among the equipment on its stand was Han Global’s LabStar 3305 inkjet press and a Hontec finishing system. CEO Jorge Diaz reported high visitor numbers to the stand and noted the number of converters from Central America, Ecuador and Colombia.

Sun Digital, HP Indigo’s exclusive channel partner in Mexico, promoted HP Indigo’s digital technology and its own brand of finishing equipment, Suntek.

It’s important for the Latin American region to have a Labelexpo”

Uteco promoted its Onyx Go central impression (CI) flexo press, which was launched last year. The Onyx Go is claimed to offer the fastest printing speed in the short-run flexo segment at up to 400m/min, which enables users to print up to 50 million square meters annually across three print widths: 820, 1,020 or 1,320mm.

Converting equipment

AB Graphic showed its Omega Ti200 and DigiLite systems.
The Omega Ti200 is an entry-level machine that enables the production of RFID and electronic article surveillance (EAS) labels. Designed to take rolls of printed die-cut labels and insert smart RFID or EAS tags (or a range of other inserts) in a single pass, the Omega Ti200 is described as single-lane, low cost and easy to use. The DigiLite is a versatile, compact digital finishing system, available in both rotary and semi-rotary configurations.

Brotech demonstrated its SDF-E digital converting system,
equipped with semi-rotary flexo and semi-rotary die-cutting.
Additional options, such as cold foil, can be added to the modular machine. The company had sold five SDF-E systems from the show floor at the time of L&L’s visit, with a sixth about to be confirmed, according to managing director Ramon Lee. Also on display was a seaming machine for shrink sleeves, which had attracted a further two sales. Lee said that the company plans to set up a demo center in Querétaro, Mexico, next year. Brotech has sold into the Latin American market for nearly 10 years. It has two technicians based in Mexico, and is represented in the country by local distributor Banzi as well as Konica Minolta. An extensive dealer network covers the rest of the region, as well as channel partners of HP Indigo.

Labelexpo Mexico 2023

Cartes ran demonstrations of its digital finishing technology Jet D-Screen (JDS) on the Gemini platform, combined with its laser die-cutting and converting system, which together allow for the embellishing, finishing and die-cutting of digitally printed labels. According to Enrica Lodi, the company’s key markets in Latin America have historically been Argentina and Chile, because of the advanced embellishment options offered by its machines and the large wine label markets in those countries. ‘We’ve received lots of interest in our laser cutting and digital embellishment technology, and leads from Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru and Central America.’ Cartes is looking to appoint an agent in Mexico.

Dimatra launched a new inspection system at the show – the first developed by a Mexican company, according to sales manager Eduardo Flores. A slitter rewinder equipped with the new inspection system was on display, alongside shrink sleeve seaming and cutting equipment. ‘It has been a very good show – it has a big future,’ says Flores. ‘We sold a sleeve cutter to a Mexican converter on the first day, and
almost half of the visitors to our stand were from outside Mexico.’

DPR launched its new Aries semi-rotary slitter rewinder, which comes in 250mm and 350mm width versions and runs at 30m/min. Also on show was the Taurus laser finishing system. DPR’s vice-president Michael Panzeri says: ‘We target a niche part of the market: mid-range production level but high quality. We’ve received lots of good leads and seen people who are looking for equipment to improve their production.’ Up to now, the company has mainly sold ‘entry-level equipment’ into the region, according to Panzeri, but the first Latin American installation of the Taurus system was scheduled for the week after Labelexpo Mexico in Suriname – a lead garnered at Labelexpo Americas last year. An Aries system, sold through Mexico-based distributor Imidia, is being installed in Guyana in June.

GM showed its DC330Mini finishing system, equipped with UV flexo varnish, lamination, cold foil, die-cutting, slitting
and dual rewind, and sold the machine to long-time local customer Eticom. Taking up just 2.7 meters (8.8 feet) in length due to the short web path, it features servo-driven
tension control and offers excellent registration. It is also suitable for running in line with a digital press or GM’s own hot foil and screen embellishment units. ‘It’s important for the Latin American region to have a Labelexpo,’ says GM’s Latin America sales manager Jos Kabouw.

Labelexpo Mexico 2023

Golden Laser showed its newly designed LC-350 double-head high-speed laser die-cutting machine. It is equipped with a barcode scanning camera and supports job changeover on the fly with automatic speed change. It features a modular design that can be fitted with functions such as corona treatment, varnish, hot stamping and slitting.

Grafotronic demonstrated its DCL2 modular converting line and boon-Raptor sheeter for self-adhesive material and film.
Latin America sales manager Francisco Soto describing Mexico as ‘an important market’ for the company.

Lemorau showed its ICR3 table-top rewinder and CT1500 manual core cutter. The company’s Natalia Lopes said: ‘We
were able to collect over 300 leads mainly from Mexico and nearby countries and had over 10 floor sales.’ Since making
its Labelexpo debut in Brussels in 2013, before which it only served its local market, Lemorau has built a customer base of 600 companies in 81 countries.

Manroland Latina demonstrated a DCM BabyCat inspection and doctoring machine and a Prati Saturn inspection slitter rewinder equipped with camera technology from BST Eltromat, while also promoting equipment from Pantec, Omet and Miyakoshi – all brands it represents in Mexico. Hans-Ramon Hoffman, of Manroland Latina, says: ‘We had a very successful show with over 120 leads. There has been an evolution in the market – even smaller printers know they need to add value to their labels and increase their productivity.’

Vemax presented its VRR HD 430 and VRR TA V380 inspection slitter rewinders, suitable for labels, films, tags, laminates and flexible packaging. The VRR HD 430 has a wide width, and is driven by servo motors both in the unwinder and in the rewinder. It is compatible with any 100 percent inspection system. The new VRR TA V380 system features an automatic changeover head rewinder with double disc-type shafts driven by servo motor, with stop for
automatic change and cutting, and precision in repeatability.


Arclad launched three new self-adhesive products at the show: WO PET, a recyclable material available in white and clear polypropylene; Natural Bond, a paper-based self-adhesive material made of sugar cane bagasse, a source that is renewable in shorter periods (less than a year) compared to conventional wood-based sources; and Natural Banana Seal, which expands this sugar cane bagasse facestock to banana and other fruit labeling applications. In addition to its two plants in Colombia, Arclad began production in Minas Gerais, Brazil, last year. Marketing manager Carolina Jaramillo says: ‘We are very happy that there is now a Labelexpo in Latin America. Mexico is our biggest export market, and we have seen many new and existing customers.’

Labelexpo Mexico 2023

Armor-IIMAK, which runs a plant in Querétaro, Mexico,
demonstrated its Inkanto range of thermal transfer ribbons,
which now include as standard the company’s new CleanStart technology, which removes dust from the printhead. Armor-IIMAK’s textile resin range has been expanded, and now also includes a new black material.

Beontag presented products from its two segments of graphic and label materials and IoT technology. Among the products shown were EcoTags, made of paper and emitting less than half the CO2 per unit compared to a pet tag; in addition to PCR Coated Paper, Liner RPet and Linerless, which are eco-friendly self-adhesives.

Mactac promoted its range of pressure-sensitive adhesive
materials for use in graphic design, packaging, retail display, fleet graphics, automotive assembly, medical device assembly and more.

Yupo was showing its synthetic substrates for in-mold labeling and promoting the recognition by the Association of Plastics Recyclers (APR) of its white polyolefin IML  unprinted substrates for HDPE bottles. Alex Cruz, sales director for North and South America, says that Mexico is ‘one of our top markets’, and that the company is also seeing strong growth elsewhere in Latin America, particularly in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Central America.

Workflow and inspection

eProductivity Software (ePS) presented version 11.0 of Metrics ERP, a management software designed specifically for the packaging and labeling industry. Among the modules is iQuote, an estimating system that automates the process of choosing the most cost-effective path to produce a job. The company is represented in Mexico by ISBI.

Esko promoted its ranges of software, AVT inspection systems and platemaking equipment. ‘It’s great to have an exhibition in the region,’ says regional business supervisor Miguel Badillo. ‘The event has surprised us – we’ve seen a huge number of clients from all over the region. We see Mexico, Brazil and Colombia as the three countries with most market potential in the region.’

EyeC showcased its latest technology for quality control
automatization. Visitors could see live demonstrations of the
scanner-based EyeC Proofiler DT line with scan sizes up to 1,778 x 1,219mm. Also on show was the EyeC Proofiler Graphic, which automatically verifies the entire content of print-ready files or stepand-repeat files against the approved artwork when integrated with the user’s workflow system, as well as inspection systems from the EyeC ProofRunner Highlight series.

Label Traxx showed the recently launched version 9 of its MIS, which has various new features. Cloud Data Warehouse provides secure online access to real-time data, while Cloud API is a public, documented API enabling label converters to integrate Label Traxx with other applications in a mixed technology environment. The Enterprise Edition offers a set of capabilities designed to serve the requirements of multi-site organizations. At the show, Label Traxx unveiled a new subscription pricing model which requires only a small initial investment, helping Latin American converters to invest in its software. ‘The market is ready, and the product is ready,’ says Label Traxx president Rob Mayerson. ‘There is a generation shift in owners – the
new generation is tech-savvy, used to the digital world, and is embracing software. We are excited by the opportunities in the Latin American market. The sky is the limit.’ Mayerson reported the first sale in Mexico of Siteline, Label Traxx’s online ordering system, on the first morning of the show as well as ‘lots of leads’.

Labelexpo Mexico 2023

The company has a new team in Mexico, with sales executive Isaac Velasco, formerly of HP Indigo, and training and support specialist Elias Barajas Alvarez, formerly of Multi-Label Corporation, joining the company this year and present at Labelexpo Mexico alongside Mayerson.

Unilux showed the newly launched UniPrint inspection system. UniPrint is a print monitoring system which the
company says offers ‘similar features to comparable vision systems at a more affordable price’. The most significant
innovation comes in the ability to inspect standard and UV-visible inks and coatings with a single system.

UpSoftware showed the latest enhancements to its Sispro production and planning software. A new cellphone app
allows remote monitoring of production machines in real time, while various new modules are being launched this year including for quoting and production orders, according to CEO and founder Sergio Perez. The Argentine company sells exclusively to Latin American clients, and cites Mexico, Chile and Ecuador as its fastest-growing markets currently. With two local distributors in Mexico, it has around 20 installations in the country across various print sectors, including label and corrugated.

Ancillary equipment

Alphasonics demonstrated its Melanie anilox cleaning system. ‘We are the only company in the market that can clean aniloxes 100 percent,’ says Chris Jones VP of Alphasonics USA. The company serves the Mexican market from its US operation in Virginia, and has recently increased its presence in Latin America through the appointment of ELO Graphics as its agent in Brazil. It has also partnered with Laserflex in the same country to install a demo system at its facility.

Etirapid represents brands such as Epson, Godex, Argox, Eclipse, Austik Technologies and Afinia. Daniel Cahmi, general manager, says: ‘It has been a great show. We sell
mainly into Mexico, and are impressed by how many converters have come from all over the country. It’s a high-quality audience with many big converters here.’

Flexo Wash featured its FW Handy Mini 2 anilox cleaner and the PW 45 WR plate washer.

The FW Handy product line of anilox cleaners are fully-automatic units designed to deep clean/restore anilox rolls  and print sleeves of all sizes. The fully-automatic plate washers are designed to gently wash flexo polymer plates and letterpress plates, leaving them 100 percent clean and dry, ready for immediate reuse.

GEW showed its AeroLED system for full cure, printing, coating and converting applications up to 60cm wide. It is also compatible with GEW’s ArcLED system. Using the same fan and ducting arrangement as the industry standard
E2C, customers have flexibility to switch between arc and LED curing on any station. The switch to GEW’s LED technology is ‘super quick and easy’, according to VP of sales Amir Dekel. ‘It has been a very good show – better than expected,’ he said, confirming that the company has signed up for the next edition in Guadalajara in 2025.

Heaford received more than 50 leads on the first day of the show alone, according to international sales manager Nick Vindel. The company was demonstrating its best-selling FTS plate mounter as well as a new plate demounter.

Kocher + Beck showcased the latest development within its GapMaster range, the new GapMaster EM, in addition to its ranges of magnetic die-cutting technology such as magnetic cylinders and flexible dies. Amin Silva, sales manager for Mexico and South America, reported seeing ‘a huge number of new potential companies’ at the show. ‘I’ve been able to talk to not only CEOs but also plant managers and technicians, who are the people I sell to. I’m surprised at how good a show it has been.’

Martin Automatic promoted its range of web handling equipment. The company’s Kelly Hart says: ‘Martin Automatic has been a consistent exhibitor at every Label
Summit held in Mexico, and the recent Labelexpo event surpassed expectations. The attendees showed genuine interest and presented Martin with numerous inquiries. As a result of this positive experience, Martin Automatic plans to participate in the next Labelexpo Mexico.’

Wilson Manufacturing promoted its ranges of custom-manufactured engraved cutting dies, flexible sheet dies, magnetic cylinders, print tooling, accessories and more. Among the products on show was a Bogota to host Label Summit Latin America 2024 magnetic cylinder with a flexible die sheet.

Bogota to host Label Summit Latin America 2024 magnetic cylinder

Visit Labelexpo Mexico website for more information.

James Quirk

James Quirk

  • Latin America Correspondent