It seems like most of the news these days – is bad news. Never wanting to be the one forecasting doom and gloom, I will instead recommend that we heed the Boy Scout motto to “Be Prepared.”
After just recovering from a global shortage of label materials, prompted at least in part by the 112 day strike at the UPM plant in Finland, the label industry is about to get hit with another market changer.
Pixelle’s Androscoggin plant in Maine, that produces a disproportionate amount of paper liner for the label market, is slated to close Q1 of 2023. There are no other plants with capacity to fill the gap. You can read more in the linked article:
So…what to do if you are a label user?
Stay pressure-sensitive…but switch to film liner. PET has come a long way, baby. Though it may require a slight modification to your line – like adding a clear label sensor, there are benefits: keeping your current equipment, reducing line breaks, ability to run at faster line speeds, and better recyclability of waste liner.
Go linerless! New label technology allows some to skip the liner all together. Using this great eco-friendly solution does require new applicators that can handle the exposed adhesive, so there’s an upfit cost. In these times of unstable supply chains and increasing costs, eliminating one of the cost and scarcity components (liners) can help stabilize your unit cost.
Consider shrink sleeves – Full body decoration also requires specific equipment to apply and shrink to fit, but for applications like canned beer, sleeves get rid of the silver above and below the label. Another added benefit is the ability to deco contoured surfaces.
Direct printing – generally available only to large volume applications, my money is on technologies like pad printing and other direct print methods adapting to accommodate lower runs in response.
Regardless of what choice you make, we’re here to help and have resources in all these print areas – and equipment too!