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Event Spotlight

FESPA 2018 Preview

With the industry’s exhibition season in full swing, Rob Fletcher looks at what is in store for print and sign-making visitors at FESPA and European Sign Expo

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Organisers expect 18,000 visitors from countries around the world to attend FESPA 2018

Global gathering

Industry events come thick and fast at this time of year, with both UK and global gatherings labelled as ‘must-attend’ on Signlink’s calendar. While several exhibitions across the UK offer a focused insight into both the print and sign-making markets, excitement is growing for this year’s edition of FESPA’s global expo.

Taking place from May 15th to 18th at the Messe Berlin in Germany, FESPA 2018 is set to live up to the hype, with a host of leading companies due to appear at the event. Further still, the main FESPA show will once again be complemented by the European Sign Expo, which focuses entirely on the sign-making market and features exhibitors from around the world.

FESPA 2018 will take place in the German capital of Berlin from May 15th to 18th

With visitors expected to attend from all corners of the global industry, what can we expect from an event that pledges to showcase solutions for all areas of the wider print industry?

Seeking out inspiration

Looking at FESPA’s website, the event certainly seems like a gathering that you cannot afford to miss. Due to feature more than 600 exhibitors, an expected 18,000 visitors will be able to see the latest innovations in the digital and screen printing sectors for graphics, signage, décor, packaging, industrial, and textile applications.
Roz Guarnori, divisional director at FESPA, comments:

The Messe Berlin wil play host to FESPA across four days

“Bringing together so many suppliers and innovations under one roof for screen, digital wide-format, and textile printing, as well as signage and non-printed signage, makes FESPA the leading destination event for international print-service-providers (PSPs) and sign-makers.

O Factoid: Messe Berlin comprises
26 halls and covers a total area of 160,000sq m. 

“PSPs and sign-makers will also have the opportunity to network with peers from the global speciality print industry, as well as be inspired by our line-up of experiential features.”

Regular visitors to FESPA will be all too aware of the many show features that form a key part of the event, each designed to offer insight into a key industry trend or issue. This year will be no different as organisers seek to address the demands of the industry.

The ‘Digital Corrugated Experience’ will be an experiential area, showcasing the potential of digital print for corrugated packaging and display work. Here, visitors from converting or box-making backgrounds can learn more about how they can integrate digital print technology into their production setup.

Also set to feature this year is ‘Print Make Wear’, offering visitors the chance to find out about the process behind print and fashion. From the initial design stage through to finished garments and accessories, experts from this field will be in attendance to talk with visitors about this creative market.

Elsewhere, the popular ‘Printeriors’ feature will be making a welcome return to FESPA, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with a whole host of printed interior décor products, as organisers say: “Join designers, printers, and manufacturers from all over Europe in discovering the innovative print applications and technology open to the interior design market. 

“Print is revolutionising the way designers and architects work and leading the way for digital technology in production. This means shorter lead times in addition to more economical, straightforward, and environmentally-friendly processes.”

Also returning this year is the final of the FESPA World Wrap Masters series, where regional winners from around the world will do battle to become the FESPA World Wrap Master. FESPA will also serve as the venue for the FESPA 2018 Awards, where the organisation will pay tribute to some of the best in global industry talent.
In addition, visitors can attend a series of special speaker sessions at the ‘Trend Theatre’. Presentations will cover many key talking points in the industry from interior design and industrial inkjet, through to packaging, sign printing, and wide-format print production.

Guarnori adds: “So, for those looking to take their business further or find new diversification areas for their business, FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 will have all the inspiration and tools visitors need to see how their business can take off.”

FESPA Global Print Expo 2018 will have all the inspiration and tools visitors need to see how their business can take off

Connecting with customers

One of the biggest names on the floorplan for FESPA 2018 is HP, which will be on hand to speak with visitors about its far-reaching portfolio of solutions. Thomas Valjek, vice-president and general manager large-format printing EMEA for graphics solutions business at HP, speaks highly of FESPA exhibitions and how important these events are to the manufacturer.

Valjek explains: “FESPA is one of the most important events for HP. It is Europe’s largest exhibition for the wide-format print industry, and where we connect with our growing customer base at a regional and international level. At FESPA 2018, we will continue to engage with our customers and inspire them about the latest innovations that are shaping digital print.

“FESPA is a meeting point for the global printing community. It’s a must-attend event where exhibitors and attendees from across the world will have the opportunity to learn about HP’s market-leading solutions.”
As to what HP will be showcasing at the event in May, Valjek does not name any machines in particular—with plans still ongoing—but does offer an insight into what visitors can expect on the HP stand.

Valjek expands: “HP is leading in the analogue-to-digital transformation and creating new business opportunities. This year at FESPA 2018, HP will showcase its market-leading solutions and the wide array of applications made possible with its latest portfolio of digital printing technology, demonstrating how it is reinventing the large-format printing industry.”

Another leading digital print brand keen to champion the value of a visit to FESPA 2018 is Epson. Richard Barrow, senior product manager, production large-format print, says FESPA 2018 is a “critical” show not just for Epson, but for anyone using wide-format inkjet technology.

Barrow expands: “FESPA brings our industry together and provides a forum for displaying and viewing technology and assessing the wide range of applications that are possible today. It also provides an environment that makes research and networking convivial and constructive.

“There is a rapid pace of change and PSPs cannot afford to miss out on seeing not only what technology is available to them but also what new applications they might offer their customers.
“Printers are diversifying, identifying new opportunities for existing customers and with new markets. Many have realised that they are the keepers and communicators of the brand for their client and how they do that can be extended, adding value to their services. Where better than FESPA to take the pulse of the industry and to make a new business plan?”

With this in mind, Barrow draws attention to the Epson stand and gives an insight as to what the company will be displaying in May. Two new textile printers in the form of the Sure Color SC-F9300 dye-sublimation model and Sure Color SC-F2100 direct-to-garment device will both feature at the event, having only been released within the past twelve months.

Epson plans to showcase its Sure Color SC-F2100 direct-to-garment print device, which is a relative newcomer to the market having only been launched in the past twelve months

Visitors can also learn more about the Monna Lisa industrial level textile press, which will be placed centre stage for the first time.

Epson’s new Sure Color SC-F9300 dye-sublimation model textile print solution will be one of many machines on display at the company’s booth

In addition, there will be both Sure Color S and P ranges represented, which Barrows says means there will be equipment on stand that can be used for a wide variety of applications including proofing, signage, backlit displays, giftware, fashion, and décor.

Three-dimensional innovations

At this year’s FESPA, Massivit 3D will demonstrate how large-format print-service-providers can secure a new revenue stream from their current customer base with its 3D printing technology.

FESPA visitors will be able to experience a live demonstration of the Massivit 1800 3D printing solution and see a large array of visually-striking 3D printed applications, including billboards, super-size point-of-sale displays, illuminated channel lettering, customised soft signage and selfie points, and cost-saving moulds for thermoforming.

You can have a professional consultation with an application engineer or sales director on Massivit 3D’s stand in hall 1.1, stand A55 at FESPA.

Massivit 3D’s technology can produce cost-saving moulds for thermoforming

Reinforcing capabilities

Also due to exhibit at FESPA this year is Antalis, as it seeks to spread the word about its new products. Chris Green, channel head for visual communications at Antalis UK, says the event will help bolster its presence in the European market.

Green expands: “FESPA 2018 provides a significant opportunity to reinforce Antalis’ capabilities as a market leader in Europe. We will also be showcasing the latest innovations and products, whilst promoting the range of support services available, such as logistics, conversion, technical support, sales, and access to stock.

“From a UK perspective, we plan to use the platform to raise awareness of the growth and success of the Antalis Academy, and to help printers, sign-makers, agencies, and brands alike take advantage of the specialist training we offer.”

Antalis recently launched Oracal 970 Vehicle Wrapping film, a multi-layered, high performance, cast PVC film that has been specifically developed for complete product wrapping, particularly of vehicles. The new product is also suitable for uneven and deep corrugated surfaces, with Antalis to stock the full creative range of colours in 970 Gloss Rapid Air.

Antalis recently unveiled Oracal 970 vehicle wrapping film, a multi-layered cast PVC film specifically developed for complete product wrapping

In addition, plans to expand its portfolio of Drytac adhesive-coated products with the introduction of the Polar range of printable products, as well as the Spot On range, which it bills as “ideal” for short-term, indoor floor graphics applications. This white matte monomeric PVC film can be applied to multiple surfaces, whilst also boasting a post-print anti-slip rating of R10.

With so many leading names in attendance, FESPA 2018 is seemingly an event that few can afford to miss. While we have picked only a small representation of the companies that will exhibit this year, a quick look at the floorplan and the exhibitor list on the FESPA 2018 website shows just how in-depth the event will be. Safe travels to all of you making the trip to Berlin.

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