Eurolabel is an established company in the self-adhesive label market in Italy. Founded in Milan in 1964, it began as a family business and has grown to become a thriving company with almost 80 employees and an annual turnover of around €12 million. In 2021, Eurolabel moved its headquarters from the city of Milan to the outskirts, more precisely to Lainate. With production premises encompassing over 5,000m2, the company has around 20 production lines across its facilities which include several printing technologies, ranging from an old letterpress, to flexo presses and digital printing machines.
Eurolabel serves customers from a wide range of sectors, including pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, food, industrial and logistics. The team there have worked with GEW UV curing systems for almost two decades, their most recent investment being the retrofit upgrade of their Gallus Labelmaster to run both UV arc and UV LED curing side by side on the press.
Aldo Franco, Vice President, explains how the relationship has developed between the two companies: “We started with GEW about 20 years ago and indeed it is a long partnership. As soon as LED inks were introduced to the market, they immediately piqued our interest and we began to inquire, although at this early stage we had a degree of uncertainty because the technology was immature. We therefore continued to monitor developments in LED inks until it was time to offer them to our customers and start investing.”
Eurolabel’s approach was initially cautious about fully changing over to LED and Franco took advantage of GEW’s interchangeable UV arc and UV LED lamphead cassette system, known as ArcLED. This enables both UV technologies to run seamlessly on the same machine and allows printers to transition to LED at their own pace. It also means that the printer can continue curing special colours, coatings and varnishes with mercury arc if these are not readily available and competitively priced in LED form.
At present, Eurolabel operates GEW’s E2C and E4C high power arc lamps, alongside LeoLED lampheads. Having worked with UV LED systems since 2022, Franco is now fully confident in UV LED and is intending to transition the entire production line to LED at the earliest opportunity. He explains: “We are satisfied with the use of LED, especially in terms of quality. Perfect curing of the ink is a very important factor for us: avoiding the risk of ink transfer on the roller and, in general, improving the efficiency of the production cycle and machine setup are key. We are currently using both technologies combined but our intention is to switch to LED technology alone, as soon as possible.”
This commitment to LED is further driven by the inherent process benefits that it brings, as Franco describes: “The main difference from the operator side is that curing with the traditional systems you have a variability according to the speed of the machine, that is not always easy to control. Of course, with the LED we have only one wavelength to be controlled so it’s a matter of fact that it’s easier.”
Additionally, Franco points to the operating cost reduction that Eurolabel has enjoyed since switching to LED, which has been accentuated by rapidly rising energy costs affecting much of Europe in the past year: “LED is really important not only for energy savings and in terms of consumption, but also for the well-being of operators as it leads to the elimination of ozone and UVB and UVC rays during the printing process.”
Machine downtime was a significant concern for Eurolabel when considering the press upgrade to hybrid curing. However, the company was surprised by the speed and efficiency of the installation process, which was fulfilled by Fornietic Srl, GEW’s exclusive distributor for Italy. He notes: “Retrofitting on an existing machine for us was so simple, it took only two days and on the third day we started training the people. It was very impressive for us to be so fast, and to have more time and less running stop for the production.”
Sustainability credentials are fast becoming a key requirement for brand owners when selecting a labelling supplier, and Eurolabel’s drive towards UV LED is testament to its commitment to improve and maintain high standards in the field of corporate sustainability. This customer-driven demand is something that Eurolabel delights in being able to satisfy. Aldo Franco comments on the changing market: “It’s becoming something that is more and more required, not only in efficiency factor, but even directly from the customers, to be sure that they are supplied by a reliable supplier, that is really doing something very important in terms of sustainability.”
All of these factors combine to leave Franco in no doubt about the role that LED will play in the labelling industry, as he sums up: “This is not the future, this is the present.”
You can find out more about the GEW products discussed in this case study on our website.
And to find out more about E4C, go here.