Mergers, acquisitions, innovative use of technology, strong organizational trade representation and outstanding winning entries in local and international award contests marked yet another round of robust evidence of the importance of Oceania’s place in the global print market.
One of the important moves which will have profound effects on the local printing industry was the recent merger of two of the country’s best known paper companies, B J Ball and K W Doggett.
The event sent signals to the industry that in consolidation lies strength and needs to be seen beyond paper inventories, given it involved Australia’s largest source of production materials significantly beyond paper, encompassing packaging, plastics, inks and ancillary supplies.
Re-badged as Ball & Doggett, the combined entity’s impact will have major benefits to the label industry beyond traditional self-adhesive labelstock requirements.
According to B J Ball’s Jason Brown, the decline in recent times of the commercial print market is not reflected in the burgeoning activity in the label sector. It will benefit from a stronger platform of roll label commodities and result in a market which provides unique constructions within today’s ever increasing emphasis on smaller quantities and deliver a previously unavailable mix and match ordering process.
A significant post-merger benefit has been the new entity’s Adestor brand offerings which center on paper-based roll label products, thereby broadening the local market to embrace quality European laser papers.
Yet another positive post-merger outcome is reflected by the 51 percent shareholding acquired in the new company by Japan Pulp & Paper (JPP). This will strengthen the local organization by adding new supply channels and technologies. While some way yet to go, it puts the local industry closer to claiming to be able to cater to virtually all of a label printer’s needs.
Shake hands in the ring
Technology advances in the Asian part of the park are constantly concentrating on bringing the flexo and digital worlds closer together to shake hands in the ring. Fuji for packaging and Mark Andy, Screen and Gallus on a broader sphere are all demonstrating the advantages of combined digital capability with in-line flexibility.
People who claim to know are providing prognostications of diverse proportions of the inroads the industry is likely to see being made by hybrids in the next 3-5 years.
As a result, changes in consumer purchasing behavior and population density in Asia continue to drive the volumes of self-adhesive labels such that overall label demand in sqm per capita throughout the region is expected to grow from 3-8 sqm. 2016 saw pressure-sensitive labels strengthen their position
in the Asian region with a volume of 8,767 million square meters, representing 43 percent of the total world demand by volume.
Growth in Asia in 2016 was estimated at 6.2 percent, with a CAGR of 6.3 percent in 2017-2019.
Fast changing dimensions
Meanwhile the freshly minted antipodean Flexible Packaging and Label Manufacturers Association (FPLMA), the product of the 2017 merger of the two trade specialties, celebrated its first birthday in the form of a highly successful conference and technical forum, rounded out by a glittering awards ceremony. Main topics covered by the forum centered on the fast-changing dimensions and progress of digital technology along with the advances of pre-press and design requirements to suit these technologies on a global level.
Re-elected president Mark Easton announced at the 2017 Awards Night that, to ensure the organization can cover better programs and attendance to events, it is reviewing outsourcing the services of the planning of events to a contractor used by other associations such as the Packaging Institute and APPMA. Moreover it plans to develop a wider range of industry workshops aimed at fostering programs for apprentices from prepress to print shop floor. ‘Working with an outside contractor will allow us also to provide combined events where there is a common cross over in technical and commercial events and to encourage more than just single attendances by converter companies,’ he stated.
This article was written by Henry Mendelson and first published in the Labels & Labeling 2018 Yearbook. Go to www.labelsandlabeling.com