Labels and a Whole Lot More

Having the pleasure of sharing these past 32 years with you and watching the label industry change and morph into what it is today has helped me appreciate not only the value of new technology itself but also what it has done to grow a global economy and help identify, sell, and safeguard both consumer and industrial products. Tarsus Group very adeptly has selected a most appropriate theme for this year's edition of Labelexpo Americas: “Technology to the Rescue,” to be held September 14-16 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont (Chicago), IL.

There's no question we've come a long way since 1845 when Dr. Henry Day, according to author Bill Klein of They Built an Industry, invented rubber-based pressure-sensitive adhesive for use on medical and surgical cloth tapes, eventually spawning the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Co. (ultimately known as 3M). Then in the 1860s, Klein writes, “Josiah Mitchel, a young immigrant drug clerk from England, made gummed labels at night for use in his day job clerking in Alfred Wright's store. Josiah Mitchell's night labeling eventually became his business, and the company passed through a number of name changes before becoming Salem Label in 1907.”

But one man, Stan Avery, says Klein, with the financial backing of $100 from his fiancé Dorothy Durfee, was responsible for adding release paper to the pressure-sensitive construction. With the introduction of this new technology in 1935, the rest became history.

It's a good thing Dorothy had confidence in her soon-to-be husband. Not only did she secure her own future, she secured the future of the multi-billion-dollar pressure-sensitive label industry we know today. And all this occurred at a time when our country was in the middle of the Great Depression.

So this year's “Technology to the Rescue” theme is not untimely as converters plan their exit strategies from challenges imposed by the current Great Recession. Tarsus will feature technology workshops for both conventional and digital working presses, a major new development of the show run by a “neutral” moderator. Another area will examine opportunities beyond labels to help converters learn how to expand their product offerings, including flexible packaging and medical products. Green initiatives and environmental strategies will help converters reduce the impact of the production process on the environment. Still more technology will be offered in collaboration with the Tag & Label Mfrs. Inst. at the conference program, which will feature the use of new digital technologies and solutions, current market intelligence, a panel of industry editors (including me), a brand owner panel, color management evaluation, even a Masterclass by Mike Fairley on the how-to of digital label printing, and lots more.

Technological innovation and creativity is what inspired the beginning of this industry, and it's what will carry us into a successful future.

My friends call me… yo

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