Avery Dennison, Esko, and GMG were among the category winners honored at this year’s Label Industry Global Awards, which took place on September 24 at Brussels Expo, Belgium, the first night of Labelexpo Europe 2019. Now in the 16th edition, the awards reportedly recognize the most innovative, influential, and successful work from the label and package printing industry across the globe in the last 12 months. The 1980s retro-themed ceremony brought together hundreds of guests featuring some of the biggest names from the international label community, as well as those working behind the scenes to constantly move the sector forward. It was reportedly the largest Label Industry Global Awards event yet, as it also celebrated the 40th anniversary of Labelexpo. 

The Award for Innovation (for companies with up to 300 employees), sponsored by Flint Group Narrow Web, was presented to GMG GmbH & Co. KG, for its GMG calibration creation wizard. Developed to enable customers to create color-accurate mockups for labels, flexible packaging and cartons, the judges were reportedly impressed with how the company had connected GMG Color Management software with an Epson SC-S80600 to achieve accurate, reproducible proofs.

The Award for Innovation (for companies with more than 300 employees), sponsored by  Xeikon, went to Esko for its Esko print control wizard software, developed to simplify the implementation of screens and dot gain curves in the reprographics process. Its main feature is the ability to control where the transition from AM to FM occurs. The judges were reportedly impressed by the way that transition points can be changed at the touch of a button, enabling the operator to see the immediate impact on tonal values.

Avery Dennison won the Environmental & Sustainability Award, sponsored by Labels & Labeling, for its recycled PET liners. The launch of the product in Europe has focused on meeting sustainability objectives and the need to support recycling in the packaging industry. The judges were impressed that the sustainable liners were made with 30% recycled PET post-consumer waste from PET bottles while maintaining the technical qualifications the liner material needs for supply chain labeling success.

The Rising Star Award, sponsored by the Label Academy and Avery Dennison, went to Robert Rae of GEW. Rae joined the company in 2014 following an early career in research with P&G. With a chemistry degree from Durham University, his skills have reportedly enabled him to make an immediate contribution toward developing a world-class LED product introduced in 2016, and now in launching an LED system at Labelexpo 2019. He has also been heavily involved with the UVFoodSafe Group.

The European Converter of the Year Award, sponsored by Grafisk Maskinfabrik, went to Reynders. Founded in 1956, Reynders has label plants and Centers of Excellence in Belgium, France, Poland, Spain, and India. The judges reportedly felt that the company’s recent developments in digitally printed, full-color booklets were especially noteworthy, since after only 18 months, the company’s investment in the production of “loyalty stamps” has resulted in over six billion labels. Reynders also promotes sustainable label alternatives, with a planned installation of 800+ solar panels and investments to reduce water, gas, and electricity consumption. Its emphasis on career growth and after-work activities for employees also impressed judges.

A Special Recognition Award, sponsored by ILS, was also presented to Clive Smith, founder of Labelexpo, honoring his creation and ongoing development of the label and package printing exhibition. He entered the exhibition industry in 1968 and started his  own company in 1974. In 1979, he launched the first labeling event in London, before the decision was taken in 1985 to move it to Brussels. Sister shows were launched in the U.S. in 1989 and in Singapore in 1991. The company became the founding part of Tarsus Group in 1998; Smith remains chairman of the Labels Division.  

The final award of the night, the R. Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award, which was previously announced in June, went to Jim DeFife, vice president of Pressure-Sensitive Materials for Multi-Color Corp. This award, sponsored by Avery Dennison, honors the contribution an influential individual has made that has really impacted the growth of the international label industry. DeFife has reportedly been a driving force in the global label industry for almost 40 years, with a focus throughout his career on the development of technical solutions that have revolutionized and grown the pressure-sensitive market. 

“I, on behalf of the judging panel, would like to commend and congratulate all our finalists and winners at this year’s Label Awards,” said Mike Fairley, chair of the judges. “What really made them stand out was the demonstration of genuine brilliance in their innovation, leadership and sustainability, and dedication to improving their businesses. They illustrate the very best of the label and package printing industry, so it is important that their efforts are recognized in moving our industry ever forwards.

“These awards are also unique in that they are the only awards of their kind that celebrate both innovative companies across the globe, and outstanding individuals in our industry. This year’s awards are particularly special as we also mark 40 years of Labelexpo with the addition of two new categories, so I sincerely hope all our winners will go on to inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders as we look ahead to the next 40 years of Labelexpo.” 

For more information, visit www.labelawards.com. Details regarding Labelexpo Europe are available at www.labelexpo-europe.com.