Actega is a global specialist for labels and flexible packaging solutions, with production and technical service experts in many countries throughout Europe and the world. Actega develops, produces and distributes a wealth of products, including coatings, inks and adhesives
The labels product portfolio includes solutions for self-adhesive labels, shrink sleeves, wet glue, wrap around and in mold labels, and addresses different market segments, from food and beverage to cosmetics, pharma, household and industrial applications. As well as offering functional benefits, the company’s products also deliver high-value, aesthetic finishes, enabling converters to offer labels with an outstanding, high-quality appearance. In addition, Actega’s portfolio includes specialty products that provide visual and haptic effects. With production facilities in Europe, the Americas and China, the company ensures that the full portfolio is available worldwide.
We spoke with Andre Soterio (AS), Head of Sales EMEA, Flexible Packaging and Anthony Carignano (AC), Technical Director Marketing, Signite to know more label products and especially about Signite, that allows you to leave a mark without leaving a footprint, a unique decoration technology combining zero-waste printing techniques with state-of-the-art application machinery.
What are your flagship products/solutions?
AS – Our extensive range of products enable us to address different regional needs. The Italian market is quite innovative and the specialty wine and beverage markets in Italy is very advanced. Italian companies are always looking for new developments and state-of-the-art products. ACTEGA is able to meet those specific requirements through its special haptic and visual effect coatings for shrink sleeve applications, as well as its functional solutions such as opaque whites and clear UV coatings for high shrinkage areas. We have recently introduced soft touch haptic coatings, matt coatings, UV based silvers and solvent based silvers and rainbow effects for shrink sleeves. The same coatings used for shrink sleeves can also be used for self-adhesive labels and for flexible packaging. This represents both a sustainable and economical solution for the converters that can reduce inventory and costs while providing the same effects for different types of packaging.
Another focus is our UV FoodClass product line for indirect food contact. There are a lot of requirements for low migration coatings for the labelling of food, cosmetics and beverage applications which can be very confusing. FoodClass UV coatings are certified for indirect contact with products that are dry or have a high fat content, including foodstuffs, without the use of a functional or absolute barrier. FoodClass UV coatings meet regulatory requirements and comply with the overall and specific migration limits in Europe. External and/or internal migration studies have been conducted for each coating.
Concerning labels and sustainability, what are the opportunities and possible future developments?
AS – Advances in label substrates offer the greatest opportunities to improved global sustainability. Opportunities to improve the sustainability of label solutions include the development of thinner film substrates and recycled paper substrates. Shrink sleeves now have the option for perforated edges to make them easier to remove from the packaging which improves the recycling process. Although we receive a lot of inquiries for bio-degradable coatings, coatings are the one of the smallest components in the label construction.
In addition, there are efficient tools enabling companies to assess the sustainable reach of their overall practices and processes. One such example is EcoVadis, a renowned sustainability rating that analyses environmental aspects, procurement policy, compliance and working conditions based on the international sustainability guideline ISO 26000. ACTEGA has started inviting its suppliers to provide the company with proof of their scorecards on the EcoVadis platform. Approximately 90% of requests were successful and the remainder are open or in clarification. The aim is to continue to track the sustainability credentials of our suppliers.
How do you see the label market and how has it been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
AS – The label market has experienced positive growth rates even during the pandemic. There was a spike in demand at the start of the pandemic for product staples such as food, pharma and cleaning and household supplies, but this has now stabilized. Looking at the present situation, the label market continues to experience global supply chain disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This is causing growth rates to be lower due to challenges in meeting demands, although demand is still present.
Concerning Signite, can you please let us know how this solution enables such significant reduction in terms of waste?
AC – Firstly, Signite decorations are only created where there are label graphics or content. Depending on the design of the label image, from 40%-80% less material is used in the creation of Signite™ vis-à-vis a conventional no-look pressure-sensitive prime labels. Signite label images are “face-stock” free and, on average one third the thickness of traditional pressure-sensitive labels. “Face-stock” free means no matrix waste which ends up landfilled. When applied, Signite label images are designed to chemically release and wash off glass containers when exposed to a medium caustic detergent bath at temperatures above 75C. Thus, Signite label images are highly suitable for reusable glass packaging where commercial bottle washing is used, and a clean release of the label image away from glass is required.
Elsewhere, with mass adoption, the no-look, minimalist construction of Signite could make rigid consumer product containers such as PET plastic much easier to identify with infra-red sortation equipment during recycling. In addition, QR codes have successfully been printed in Signite label image format. Finally, Signite could conceptually carry digital watermarking and last-minute laser markings to further improve track and trace along with municipal consumer product packaging recycling. Together, these environmental benefits enable Signite to be a truly transformative technology for low-waste, efficiently recyclable consumer product packaging. Signite is currently commercially available in North America. It is anticipated for future expansion into the European market. However, a European commercial launch date has yet to be set.