ACTEGA, manufacturer of specialty coatings, inks, adhesives, sealants and compounds for the print and packaging industry, has today announced a successful 2023 despite a decline in volumes and sales compared to 2022. The year has been underpinned by significant investments in key production and R&D facilities, developments made, and partnerships formed to support ACTEGA’s sustainable solutions. ACTEGA also launched numerous new products, including those aimed at supporting sustainable packaging solutions and regulatory compliance, and many of which were showcased at some of the industry’s most important trade shows.
Thorsten Kröller, President, ACTEGA, comments, “With our business remaining firmly focused on innovation that supports improved sustainability in the print and packaging industries, we have continued to achieve many important milestones this year. In fact, the start of the new year marks just 12 months to go as we progress our goal of becoming a carbon neutral business by 2025 (as outlined by ALTANA(1)) and therefore, we are certain the year ahead will demonstrate further progress towards this objective.
“Of course, ACTEGA is also known for its product innovations and as such, 2023 saw new inks, lacquers, coatings, and technology added to our portfolio. With the investments in our production and R&D capabilities this year, we are sure that 2024 will bring even more exciting new products that enable our customers to meet industry regulations, improve the sustainability of their products, as well as offer brands high-quality, stand-out print and packaging.”
A year of significant investment
In April, ACTEGA confirmed a $5 million investment in its New Jersey facility. The investment funds numerous developments across the US site. The multiple expansion projects and process improvements planned for the New Jersey site – which is mainly dedicated to coating operations – have already begun, with the full development plan set to be completed in the first quarter of 2024. As part of this ambitious initiative, ACTEGA is implementing advanced technologies with the aim of increasing automation process reliability and efficiency. Standardizing workflows and enhancing manufacturing processes will also enable ACTEGA to optimize its product formulations, further improving accuracy and consistency of quality, as well as increasing overall production bandwidth and operational efficiency.
Shortly after the investment in the New Jersey site was announced, ACTEGA revealed its plans to open a new, extensive facility in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. The project is being supported by the State of North Carolina, providing funding to establish a brand-new production facility. With the goal of bringing together four existing premises located in North Carolina and Indiana, the site is expected to create additional jobs once operational and new opportunities for growth across the ACTEGA business lines. This facility will occupy 22,110 square meter site – twice the space of ACTEGA’s four locations in North America combined.
In October, ACTEGA also announced the completed consolidation of its three Brazilian sites into a new 22,500 square-meter facility in Araçariguama, São Paulo. This state-of-the-art production and R&D site is the result of a major $7 million investment over the last years and cements ACTEGA’s position as an industry leader in the region. Equipped with cutting-edge technology, the facility enables the company to continue to meet the highest safety standards, deliver unprecedented solutions for its customers and further grow its market presence. In 2023, Actega focused on strategically investing in new facilities across world, including the newly constructed laboratory building in Sedan, France.
Success and innovation at Labelexpo
One of ACTEGA’s sustainable solutions that took the spotlight in 2023 was ECOLEAF at Labelexpo Europe. Show visitors saw this pioneering metallization technology, running live on the ACTEGA stand. The company also revealed that this remarkable solution is now running at faster production speeds(2), enabling printers and converters producing labels for FMCG to take advantage of ECOLEAF on-demand metallization. By making it possible for more companies to switch to ECOLEAF, more can now look to reduce their carbon footprint by eliminating wasteful foiling processes. In addition, ECOLEAF metallization delivers the high gloss effects usually associated with these traditional hot and cold foil methods, so users do not have to compromise when it comes to quality.
Harald Jasper, Managing Director, ACTEGA Metal Print, comments, “The latest advances confirmed at Labelexpo gave the market some important updates about the technology, but I think the most crucial messages shared during the show came from our customers. Representatives from these innovative companies provided an insight into how ECOLEAF was already benefiting their businesses and generating much excitement among their own customers.
“Looking ahead to 2024, we expect adoption of this ground-breaking technology to accelerate. With the higher speeds achievable, even more companies and brands are keen to harness the opportunity to differentiate their products with high quality, more sustainable metallization processes.”
ACTEGA also presented its latest range of high impact coatings and inks for labels and flexible packaging at this landmark event for the industry. Samples showcasing ACTEGA’s haptic effect coating series, LED-UV coatings, and White and Metallic Inks captured visitors’ attention and impressed customers and prospects alike with their advanced functionalities.
The first Labelexpo Europe show since 2019 was busy from start to finish for the ACTEGA business lines serving this sector. Of course, the year’s success did not stop there and, throughout 2023, ACTEGA’s Labels and Flexible Packaging product ranges continued to be of interest to prospective customers and at the centre of ACTEGA’s existing customers’ businesses.
Trusted partner for regulatory compliance
ACTEGA’s approach to research and development has enabled the company to bring products to market that comply with the latest, most stringent industry regulations also anticipating upcoming changes.
A new Paper & Board coatings range was developed and launched to the US market in August 2023. Ultrasheen® PakSafe UV coatings have undergone thorough regulatory analysis and are specially formulated to exclude all California Proposition 65 materials and “forever chemicals” (PFAS – per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances). This new, more sustainable line of coatings not only meets a number of regulatory standards but retains the scuff resistance and flexibility required for a wide range of high-quality packaging applications.
Rob Andrews, Head of Product Management & Technical Service, Business Line Paper & Board, ACTEGA, explained, “These new coatings allow printers and converters to coat their packaging with confidence. By ensuring that our products meet all the necessary regulatory requirements, our customers can avoid the burden of worrying about complex industry standards, allowing them to focus their efforts on delivering their own exceptional, more sustainable products.”
Product ranges like ACTExact® SafeShield low-migration inks have proven extremely popular since being launched at Labelexpo Americas 2022. The most extensively certified ink product line from ACTEGA to date, this range can help customers create a safe and compliant printing environment while simultaneously reducing the risk of contamination from ink migration onto food(3), cosmetics and nutraceutical packaging.
Mell C. Bishop III, Global Market Manager Labels, Business Line Flexible Packaging, ACTEGA, added, “We look forward to further supporting our customers in areas like regulatory compliance, as well as enabling them to meet other market trends in 2024. Labelexpo Americas in September is sure to be the ideal platform to showcase ACTEGA’s exceptional offering when it comes to compliant, functional solutions, as well as products that deliver high-impact effects. It will also be yet another chance for the team to connect with its valued customers and industry partners, and we look forward to seeing you all there.”
Putting sustainability in the spotlight
With ACTEGA’s unwavering commitment to reducing the environmental impact print and packaging has on the planet, ACTEGA put its new and existing sustainable solutions front and centre in April and May 2023.
The new ACTEseal® PVC-Free Heat-seal Lacquers for Coffee Capsules were unveiled at Interpack 2023, marking a major step forward in both sustainability and convenience for the coffee capsule market. This product range eliminates the need to use coatings containing PVC, which are harder to recycle and increasingly subject to regulatory restrictions. The innovative heat-seal lacquers have passed a comprehensive series of tests to be ready for the market today.
ACTEGA’s Interpack stand also showcased ACTGreen® Sustainable Coatings and ACTGreen® Barrier Coatings. ACTGreen® Sustainable Coatings are water-based overprint varnishes partly based on a mix of conventional and bio-based materials formulated for use on folding cartons, publications, and commercial prints. The range of advanced water based ACTGreen® Barrier Coatings also designed for folding carton applications, represent a significant step forward in eco-friendly packaging without compromising the barrier properties required for products high in oil, fat or water.
METPACK 2023 saw the launch of UV DIRECT TO METAL(4) and INNOCAN™ – the latest innovations from ACTEGA’s Metal Packaging business.
UV DIRECT TO METAL allows a UV coating to be applied directly to a surface pre-treated substrate with atmospheric plasma, an advanced process that represents a major step forward in terms of sustainability. Requiring only a UV lamp to cure the coating, this new process eliminates the need for excessive, energy-consuming gas ovens required for drying solvent-based coatings and replaces them with more efficient and sustainable UV systems. The result is significant energy savings, faster production, reduced costs, lower VOCs, and 40% less CO2 emissions.
ACTEGA’s digital solution ROTARflow has received a silver award from Metpack Innovation Awards, cementing it as one of the significant highlights of 2023. With ROTARflow, Actega sets a new standard in reliable lining operations by continuously monitoring the amount of sealant applied to lids. This innovative solution uses a rotating liner system and makes immediate adjustments based on the data gathered, eliminating downtime and manual interventions. Additionally, production data is available from any digital device. This recognition is further proof of ACTEGA’s commitment to driving innovation in the packaging industry and delivering technologies that enhance quality and efficiency.
Developed in cooperation with Brasilata Labs and HP-Indigo, INNOCAN™ enables digital offset-quality decoration of metal sheets for 3-pieces products (such as aerosol, food and general line cans), whilst still meeting the required protection and migration standards of decoration materials. This novel, cost-effective technology meets demand for smaller volumes with special designs in metal can production.
Another pioneering solution intended to improve sustainability within the industry is ACTEGA’s Signite® sustainable decoration technology. ACTEGA announced a collaborative agreement with Makro Labelling, aimed at accelerating the development and supply of container application machines for Signite®.
Signite® labels are a pioneering sustainable decoration solution that enables brands and converters to significantly reduce waste, while providing expanded design flexibility, recyclability and reuse possibilities. In order for the benefits of Signite® labels to be employed, modified applicator machines based on traditional pressure sensitive labelers are required. Low-speed applicators suitable for craft spirits, wines, craft beer and other similar markets have been developed and manufactured in-house by ACTEGA. The next phase of machine development and market adoption for Signite®, however, requires the expertise and scale, as well as future service and support, of a forward-looking, dynamic OEM label machine partner. Makro Labelling has, to this end, agreed to collaborate on the design, manufacture and supply of low and medium-speed rotary style labelling machines with an initial focus on models that have application speeds in the 100-400 containers per minute range.
Happy New Year
“Needless to say, despite all challenges and difficult economic and market developments it’s been an eventful and extremely positive year for ACTEGA. All that remains is to wish everyone a happy New Year! In addition to the year-round support and service we offer, we are counting down the days until we get to connect with you at drupa, Labelexpo Americas and other local events. 2024 promises to be another great year and we hope it will be successful for all of our customers, partners, prospects and colleagues,” concluded Thorsten Kröller.
(1) ACTEGA is a division of the ALTANA group, a global leader in specialty chemicals
(2) ECOLEAF runs at 70m/min on digital inkjet lines and 80m/min on flexo lines
(3) ACTEXACT(R) SafeShield inks have been developed for use in low migration applications such as indirect food contact, cosmetics and nutraceutical packaging
(4) UV DIRECT TO METAL has been developed in cooperation with Brasilata Labs and Plasmatreat GmbH