Flexography had a hard start time in Brazil and in Latin America in the 40’s. For many years flexo was synonymous of poor quality, no value, and not notable at all printed products or packaging. In the middle of the 80’s the change was noticed. More and more companies changed completely their production printing system from offset to flexography and in the 90’s we saw that flexo was standing out as having the most impressive job quality done with other printing systems. The pre-press development had a lot to do with this and in Brazil the plate makers made the difference. They started to travel and learn the high-tech technology to deliver excellent engraved plates.
Today the flexo converting market in Brazil is the strongest in South America, with more than 5.000 converters of all kinds, sizes and specialties spread all over the country in regard to continental dimensions.
This is not all. Several Brazilian converters, recognized as top converting companies, have just merged or were purchased by global companies from the around the world. This is still going on.
Looking back to last years, the Brazilian market has become uncertain, difficult to cooperate and slow in terms of investment and business relationships. But in 2018 we celebrate the first year in a full decade when companies began rehiring and the market is going up. The hopes are mainly due to the presidential elections, which gave Brazilians the opportunity to vote and elect another type of government. The new liberal government elected started in January, but directly after the elections, we were able to experience a completely new attitude from the market. Many projects, which were dormant, are now at full steam. New plants are being planned. New products are being presented. We feel we are again in the world game.
More specifically, in regard to the niches, we are seeing wide band converters looking to mix CI machines with modular machines in order to add more value onto the printed substrates. We cannot deny that digital is gaining strength in all converting areas, from labels to textile, and the area of film and ink jet is revealing itself to be the most important digital process for the near future. There is a rate increase in the production of IML labels and containers. Corrugated is now being considered as a notable material with green politics, and there are new developments wherever you look in the market.
As the president of the ABFLEXO – Brazilian Technical Flexography Association, for the biannual term 2019/ 2020, I am very excited about the near future. We will continue to promote our Flexo & Talk shows in different Brazilian cities. We are ready for the 2019 edition of our Intercontinental Flexography Conference to be held in São Paulo in September and working to present new seminars about the leading technology in our different segments.
An excellent 2019 to all of you and put Brazil in your development plans.
By Miguel Troccoli
President of ABFLEXO FTA Brazil