29 August 2019

Gallus looks back over 30 years of exhibiting at Labelexpo

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Ferdinand Rüesch (pictured), grandson of the founder of Gallus Ferd. Rüesch, and the company’s senior vice president global key accounts, tells us what the show was like in the early days, and how things have changed over the years…

Gallus has been taking part in Labelexpo Europe for more than 30 years, which is fantastic! Tell us about your first show in 1987.
In 1987, it was the first show for me, in Brussels, in the City downtown, before it even moved to Brussels Expo. Back then the label industry, and also the trade show, was a whole different world. One amusing example of this is that our conventional label press, the R250, was shown live on show, but we were not allowed to show it live with the flat-bed die-cutting unit because the Gallus stand was located in the upper level. Just imagine: because of the vibrations of the flat-bed die-cutting unit the organizers were of course worried that it would not be safe for visitors. So, our R250 was running without die-cutting in 1987. Afterwards, the show was moving to Brussels Expo, where it takes place now.

What is it that keeps Gallus coming back every time?
Labelexpo Europe, taking place each second year, is THE event the whole label industry is talking about. For sure, Gallus, a Heidelberg Group Company, has been  a reliable partner in this industry for many years, and just has to take  part. This year will show once again that our customers can trust  Gallus` reliability and quality.

How do you think the show has changed over the last 30 years or so, and what have been the highlights? What role has it played in the label and package printing industry?
The label and package printing industry developed from a niche market to a remarkable wide-ranging industry. In the continually growing label market, Labelexpo Europe was always, and will be, the most important event in this industry. There is no other show which comes close. Since the beginning, Labelexpo has always been the meeting point for label printers from all over the world. Labelexpo Europe shows the developments and trends of the industry, mirrors the current situation each time and reflects the thoughts and worries of label printers and converters – that is impressive! Brussels Expo is, and will always be, the place to be for the whole industry.

What are you showcasing at this year’s Labelexpo Europe?
Gallus will showcase the company's most popular narrow web presses including two Gallus Labelmaster, a Gallus Labelfire and a Gallus Smartfire (hall 5, stand B28/C31). The Gallus Labelmaster will be shown with new Rotary Die-Cut Unit Quick, a fully rotary front-loading die-cutting unit, and the brand new Digital Printbar, a digital embellishing unit designed specifically for opaque white. The hybrid label press Gallus Labelfire will show the great potential of digital and conventional printing, combining for instance, high inkjet print quality with the efficiency of flexo printing.

How has the industry changed since Gallus started, and how has Gallus responded to that?
Since Gallus’s early beginnings, back in 1925, when the company developed its first letter press, the industry has been continually changing. Quality combined with flexibility and creativity is, today more than ever before, the key for running a successful label business.

What key trends are likely to have an impact on the region in 2019, and how do you think the industry will change in the next few years?
There are quite a few topics being discussed more and more in the industry, including sustainability, low migration and personalization. With all of these though, the key question is: how can a label printer and converter meet customer demand?

For us it is flexibility in combination with high quality and reliability. Thus, the Gallus Labelmaster enables the operator to change a printing or embellishing process at any unit and is producing narrow web products – not only self-adhesive labels but also tube laminates, wrap-around labels etc. – consistently in high quality with up to 200 m/min. Even the register control is precise, stable and reliable at any speed.

What message do you have for visitors to the 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe 2019?
Be open-minded and try to consider the whole picture. For label printers and converters keen to invest in a new press within today’s highly efficient and challenging label industry, there is more than one question to consider. One of the most important is: how long will  the Return on Investment be, considering time and cost savings?  A quicker process and die format changes save time and therefore costs, with the reduction in  material and ink waste.

With the Gallus Labelmaster, for example, savings of up to €80,000 per year are possible. And let’s not forget the possibilities of high-value labels which might attract new customers and open up new business segments. However, being flexible while considering more than the investments costs itself, will be more relevant than ever before.

Read the Gallus show preview here

The Gallus press conference takes place between 09:15-10:00 at stand 5B28 on Tuesday 24 September.