Metpack started off with a measure of achievement in that it has reached a level of 300 exhibitors in its 25th year. This is a benchmark for exhibitions and it has been achieved in no small part due to the strong Chinese participation. There are five Indian exhibitors as well. What appears clear at the exhibition is that metal packaging is growing and as in many other packaging sectors, the two key drivers of growth seem to be the rise in Asian consumerism and the food industry, although personal care, cosmetics and beverages are not far behind as well.
One of the highlights of our first look at the show was the KBA stand, which is showing both an inkjet multipass flatbed press, the Metal Decojet that uses water-based CYMK inks and its new CS MetalCan, a 10-color dry offset indirect letterpress) printing machine for formed cans. The press which is built at the same KBA-MetalPrint facility near Stuttgart is being shown for the first time at Metpack. A unit of KBA’s traditional metal decoration offset press is also on display.
The two inkjet digital presses for decorating high gloss color on formed cans that were seen at the last interpack also make an appearance here—the Hinterkopf shown alongside its dry offset press and the fascinating UV inkjet Michelangelo from Martinenghi, which is being shown at the technopack SYSTEMS stand. When we saw this machine at the last Metpack in 2014, it was still a prototype or still under development. Since then the machine has been sold to two European customers who look at the high gloss and high saturation effects and photorealistic fleshtones that the machine produces as a growing niche market. According to Martinenghi’s managing director Paolo Venturelli, it takes a lot of effort to get the machine out of the lab; in short, to make it robust enough for daily use in a customer environment.