Global partner for label converters

Recently honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award, Vice President of Technology at RotoMetrics Steve Lee talked to Converter about industry developments 

An industry leader in the design and manufacture of rotary tooling for label converters, RotoMetrics has no intention of relinquishing that position any time soon. Recently honoured with a Lifetime

Achievement award from the judging panel of the Label Industry Global Awards 2012, vice president of technology Steve Lee modestly observes: “This is a very humbling experience because it is not really about me but rather recognition of the success attained by the whole company of which I am just one small part.”Over the past 35 years Lee and his team have been instrumental in growing the business to where it is today: from small beginnings as a low tech die supplier in a relatively ‘new’ industry to a global technology and solutions partner in what now includes tag and labels converting and a growing range of specialty pressure sensitive applications.

Response to global demand

Established in 1957, RotoMetrics began as a St. Louis based solid die manufacturer, expanding throughout the Americas in the 1980s and 1990s with facilities in Virginia and Canada. Responding to global customer demand, the company established manufacturing in Europe and Australia with both solid and flexible die products and in 2010 launched its first Asian manufacturing site with the opening of the company’s flexible die operation in Bangkok, Thailand.

“Our customers can be found in all parts of the globe and to support them RotoMetrics is committed to growing its product portfolio and additional local support in South America and Asia,” explains Lee. “The pressure sensitive label market is currently seeing modest growth in the US and Europe with higher growth in fast-moving consumer goods and pharmaceuticals, especially in the Asian markets, having an impact on demand – and we have to be in a position to meet that.”

Recognised as pioneering names in the rotary tooling industry, RotoMetrics and Gerhardt merged in 2011 to create a global partner for the converting industry with unmatched local manufacturing, product development expertise and customer service. From its headquarters near St. Louis, Missouri, major manufacturing operations on four continents provide a global sales and service network.

A supplier with exceptional technology leadership in responding to customer’s needs for rotary tooling and converting solutions, the company delivers the most complete product offering in the industry as well as market-leading solutions for rotary and flexible cutting dies, print cylinders and sleeves, adjustable anvils and die station modules and converting systems.

Emerging economies

“We are seeing a shift in growth to the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Brazil, China and India. As consumer wealth increases so does the demand for Western brands – which is good news for the industry,” continues Lee.

“Label converters, our customers, need the right tools in order to deliver ‘shelf appeal’ and RotoMetrics responds by keeping a finger on the pulse of consumer demand, predicting what the next generation will be purchasing and how these products should be packaged and labelled.”

In a time of economic squeeze a further driver to product development is reducing costs through improved technology and increased functionality.

“At RotoMetrics we are actively involved in developing tooling to convert substrates on thin polyester liners in high speed, high volume applications to address issues of sustainability and cost reduction. We are looking at the area of resealable packaging and working with customers and suppliers in order to deliver rotary die cutting solutions for processing pressure sensitive labels,” explains Lee.

Accessing new markets

“We work with customers to meet new requirements for label content and design or help them access new markets.

“For example, we see customer interest in our soft embossing, luxury texture and new hot foil applications. New materials for ‘no look’ labels and reduced consumption and waste are key technology challenges and we are introducing the AccuStar flexible dies to meet those needs.

“Looking at trends in new press technology we see a focus on ease of changeover and trouble-free production. Working with our press OEM partners we are introducing our AccuStrike anvil with dual adjustment technology.

“This allows press operators to adjust blade clearance on press with extreme precision. Controls enable the bearers to be adjusted independently or together for unparalleled control over die strike on various liner thicknesses – without interrupting production.

“We aim to continue as an industry leader through expansion in all markets our customers operate in. As one of the few companies with a global reach, we want to build on that to be the technology leader and preferred partner for the best value, highest-quality tooling for label and packaging converters.”


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