01 August 2019

Innovating a sustainable future - in conversation with Michelman

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We spoke to president and CEO at Michelman, Steve Shifman (pictured), as they mark 70 years, about how the industry has changed and what the future holds.

Happy birthday! Tell us about your very special company milestone.
We just celebrated our 70th birthday. We are excited about the growth of our company over that time which has led us to where we are today. Our company purpose revolves around Innovating for a Sustainable Future. We now have production facilities not just in in North America where we were founded, but also in Europe and Asia, product development and technical service centers in several major global markets, and a worldwide team of highly trained business development personnel.

That allows us to serve the needs of our customers and help solve challenges for brand owners and consumers worldwide. Michelman‘s environmentally conscious solutions protect and enhance the materials that shape our world - in addition to solving printing, packaging and label challenges with environmentally friendly chemistries, we are helping grow food and keep it fresh, making vehicles lighter and more fuel efficient, and shielding our homes from the elements.

How has the industry changed in that time and how has Michelman responded to that?
The rapid and ever-changing growth of digital printing and the increased number of vendors that serve this market has been remarkable.  While Michelman has provided print receptive chemistries for many years, the rise of digital technology has driven us to invest and innovate so that we can serve all segments of the supply chain, including film and paper makers, converters, label producers, and printers. 

Moreover, we have made it a priority to help the entire industry grow with our primers for Electroink® and water based and UV inkjet technology.  In addition, we have added overprint varnishes for digital printing to our product line to help digital labels be appropriate for applications that need to be more robust.

What are you showcasing at Labelexpo Europe 2019?
Michelman is offering Labelexpo Europe 2019 attendees a selection of water-based in-line and off-line primers, and overprint varnishes for both HP Indigo and inkjet-based digital printing platforms. Our range of water-based and UV-based brands for digital presses include DigiPrime® primers for HP Indigo, JetPrime® primers for inkjet, and DigiGuard® for OPVs.

Many of our DigiPrime® solutions have recently passed ecotoxicity, heavy metals, and fluorine content testing according to ASTM and the European Committee of Standardization for use in compostable packaging. One of our JetPrime® solutions includes JetPrime® WB 1100 for pigmented water-based inkjet printing applications. Because Inkjet technology offers the advantage of printing larger formats on a broader range of substrates, this technology is useful for high-speed printing applications such as folding cartons and corrugated.

Have you exhibited at Labelexpo Europe before?
This will be our third time exhibiting.  The show is a great venue to connect with our existing customers and partners, and to help provide education to those we can bring new solutions to. 

How do you think the show has changed since you’ve been involved, and what have been the highlights? What role has it played in the label and package printing industry?
Labelexpo Europe keeps growing as more vendors enter the digital space, and as ongoing technology development continues to expand the industry.  The increased number of exhibitors, technology types, end-to-end solutions, and collaboration across supply partners continues to push Michelman to think big, innovate, and enable our solutions across many formats.

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?
We see more printing done closer to its final use, which requires that all substrates are ready for print, regardless of source, print engine, and ink.  Labels also need technical solutions for specialty applications that require increased durability, heat resistance, and chemical resistance among other areas. We also of course see more focus on sustainability, with a priority to develop compostable and recyclable solutions.

What message do you have for visitors to the 40th anniversary edition of Labelexpo Europe 2019?
First off – Happy 40th Birthday to Labelexpo! Just like Michelman, the global label industry has undergone significant changes over the years, including globalization, digitization, environmental sustainability pressures, workflow automation, and changing consumer demand. These changes continue to provide both the label industry and Michelman plenty of opportunities to develop solutions to reduce raw material and energy usage, increase recycling, further improve production efficiencies, and create better ways to package and identify goods.

Our purpose is Innovating a Sustainable Future, and this purpose aligns to the future of the dynamic label industry. We are excited to collaborate with all members of the industry’s value chain to provide innovative solutions that improve both the lives of consumers and our planet.

You can view the full  Michelman show preview here.