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Belgium's PCV targets IML sector

By: Hamish Champ

April 16, 2012

ORLANDO, FLA. (April 16, 1:15 p.m. ET) — Printing Co. Verstraete is a Belgium-based in-mold labeling company that used NPE2012 to highlight its products in a market where it claims a 70 percent market share of the IML sector.

The company has not taken a booth at the trade show, but PCV business manager Dieter Maes said attending NPE “confirms our market status” in IML, a position boosted by the seven companies exhibiting at the event that are running the company’s technology, including Arburg, Engel and Wittmann Battenfeld.

“We produce 34 million IMLs a day, 7 billion a year, at our two Belgian facilities. A quarter of our labels are exported outside Europe, with 20 percent going to North and South America,” Maes said. PCV turnover is about 82 million euros ($109 million) a year.

Adaptability is a key element of PCV’s IML system, said Maes, since retailers can change their requirement demands for tub and other container labeling at a moment’s notice. “Take ice cream flavors; they change all the time. You need to be able to respond quickly,” he added.

Maes also has seen a shift in attitude toward the benefits of IML technology in packaging.

“A growing number of brands are moving some of the money they’d previously earmarked for advertising over to packaging innovation, and we’re seeing budgets rising in the Americas,” he said.

PCV also is looking to exploit its range of aesthetic options and the functionality of its IML systems.

“Not only do we want to make the process as cost effective as possible, IML is also a sustainable process, which is important for retailers like Wal-Mart who score packaging according to its environmental friendliness.

“Plus we want to broaden the horizon of what IML can do for things like paint and cosmetics containers and areas such as metal-to-plastic,” Maes said.

PCV offers metallic IML in a range of colors, peelable IML, IML-T — an orange peel foil developed to work with thermoforming processing — and oxygen barrier labeling that can extend a product’s shelf life.