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FESPA 2020 Preview

Every year FESPA sees visitors and exhibitors come together to experience all that the industry has to offer. Carys Evans uncovers what is in store for 2020

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FESPA’s Global Expo 2020 is set to hit the ground running

Hit the ground running

FESPA Global Print Expo is known for bringing together the latest technologies and innovations from all areas of existing industry sectors, as well new and emerging sectors. FromA wide-format print, textiles and clothing, to colour management software, to vehicle wrapping. Exhibitors and visitors alike are given a space to unite in their passion for the specialty and wide-format print industries in a different European destination each year.

This year, the event will run from March 24th – 27th at the IFEMA in Madrid and is operating under three areas: digital, textile and screen. Organisers are expecting over 700 exhibitors who will demonstrate solutions for screen and digital wide-format print, textile printing and signage – all under one roof in the capital of Spain.

In addition to the Global Print Expo, the European Sign Expo and for the first time this year, Sportswear Pro, will also be running at the same location.

Neil Felton, chief executive officer of FESPA explains what we can expect from the upcoming show: “The strapline for this year’s event is ‘Where Colour Comes Alive’. FESPA Global Print Expo has always been a major platform for the most exciting product launches in screen, textile and digital wide-format print, but we also see the event as a celebration of the colourful, creative range of applications, processes and materials that we frequently come across in our industry.

“Whether we’re talking colour management, media inks or finishing techniques, ‘colour’ is a powerful theme that expresses the boundless opportunities in our vibrant industry. Add in the bright and exciting Mediterranean location – our first return to Spain since our FESPA Digital event in 2012 – and there’s no question that FESPA Global Print Expo is the hot ticket of 2020 for print and signage professionals.”

Colour is a powerful theme that expresses the boundless opportunities in our vibrant industry


Felton lists Print Make Wear and the Trend Theatre as must-see features. Print Make Wear will focus on end-to-end, from the provision of the product all the way through to the production, specification, design of sports, and athleisure. Visitors can attend the Trend Theatre to experience seminars hosted by experts on a wide range of subjects. The World Wrap Masters tournament will also be running again, which Felton describes as “the world cup of wrapping”.

In addition to these, this year’s line-up features Printeriors which focuses on interior décor, Colour L*A*B, which focuses on colour management, and also the FESPA Awards.

With three shows running alongside each other, visitors can also benefit from having everything in one place. Felton comments: “It’s all about providing opportunities for our community and for our printers and I think that’s really essential so that if you are a wide-format graphics printer, you may want to look at direct-to-garment. You may want to look at a variety of products that we are moving into. So to us I think it’s really important.

“The non-printed signage part of European Sign Expo is an essential part of what we do in sign trade. Therefore it does give you lots of opportunities to look at to make sure your business seizes anything which is going to be beneficial to your business.”

An explosion of colour

Described as a dedicated showcase of a future fast fashion factory, Print Make Wear 2020 will feature a live showcase of Sportswear and Athleisure manufacture in real-time through a custom-built environment. The Print Make Wear smart factory will make use of smart technologies as well as digital technology and manufacturing equipment. FESPA’s textile ambassador, Debbie McKeegan will also be hosting a series of tours.

The Print Make Wear smart factory features smart technologies, digital technology and manufacturing equipment


This year, the feature will include two workflows running side by side. The first will focus on direct-to-garment printing onto blank sportswear and athleisure garments and visitors will be able to order and customise either a running shirt or racer back vest and leggings.

A large core of FESPA’s audience is involved in the textile industry, with production focused on sportswear


The second will be dedicated to roll-to-roll printing and will mimic an entire production process from web-to-print to final delivery, with sample fabrics printed out, cut, sewn and packaged on-site. The finished products will be on show on the exhibition floor.

McKeegan comments: “Print Make Wear proved to be FESPA Global Print Expo 2019’s most attended feature and it’s not difficult to see why – it’s a vibrant forum where you can immerse yourself in all aspects of garment printing, from design to print finishing. We want to give our visitors the opportunity to see first-hand how digital print technology, software and automation can revolutionise the production of sportswear and define potential new routes to market.”

FESPA’s textile ambassador, Debbie McKeegan says Print Make Wear was the most attended feature in 2019


Back of the net

According to research by MarketWatch, the global market size of the sportswear market is predicted to reach $102.5m (£78.8m) by 2024, from $84.1m (£64.6m) in 2019. As a result of a growing culture of immediacy, more and more consumers now expect orders to be delivered within days, and even hours of purchase. Another major factor that has been making itself known in various areas of the wide-format print industry is personalisation.

While the market is already growing rapidly, the idea for Sportswear Pro actually first came about through FESPA’s 2018 Global Print Census. Conducted in partnership with InfoTrends, a division of Keypoint Intelligence, the research found that a large core of its audience was involved in the textile industry, with production focused on sportswear.

The census found that 80% of textile printers are active in sports apparel. A demand for faster production speeds was found to be a driver of investment for 69% of textile print businesses. In addition, 76% of respondents said that demand for environmentally sustainable products has influenced business strategy with mass customisation a key customer requirement.

O Factoid: FESPA’s 2018 global print census found that for 76% of respondents a demand for environmentally sustainable products has influenced business strategy O


Michael Ryan, group exhibition manager of FESPA explains: “We see trends also coming from sublimation printing that we saw in FESPA Munich and from our core exhibitors all focused on this industry.

“That led to investigations, market research, looking at trends in the industry and then thinking this is the right time for companies to get involved in customisation of sportswear. Activewear is a trend right now as it is one of the biggest growing sectors in apparel manufacturing.”

When asked whether he believes the trend will continue in years to come, Ryan says: “If you look back to 2013 when we had the first European Sign Expo which was held alongside FESPA, that exhibition has been growing every year and that’s now still part of the portfolio. So I would expect this exhibition to develop and continue to be alongside FESPA in the future.”

The European Sign Expo will run alongside FESPA Global Print Expo and Sportswear Pro


A sign of the times

Designed for the non-printed signage and visual communications markets, the European Sign Expo 2020. This co-located exhibition is an opportunity for sign-makers and sign companies to assess the competition, generate leads, explore the latest trends and experience the newest technologies on the market.

Felton explains: “We want our visitors to discover the colourful ways in which the non-printed signage sector is evolving along with the latest technology developments, application possibilities and trends.

“Our exhibitor line-up features a diverse range of companies specialising in channel lettering, digital signage, dimensional signage, engraving and etching, illuminated displays, out-of-home media, LED and sign tools.”

As the exhibition continues to grow and develop, FESPA will be welcoming over 25 new exhibitors to the European Sign Expo including Kalisign, Kunstdünger and Grupo Herme.

The World Wrap Masters will test the best wrappers from around the world


When asked what makes this show worth visiting, Felton adds: “The creative and commercial opportunities offered by the non-printed signage markets have never been more diverse and exciting. Throughout the exhibition, our visitors will be able to see a variety of non-printed signage samples and techniques, from etching and engraving right through to three dimensional signage and out-of-home media.

“As the event is co-located with FESPA Global Print Expo, sign-makers can also explore the opportunities available in visual communications beyond print and be inspired by the wide-format print applications on display.”

An assortment of solutions

Esko will be on hand at FESPA Global Print Expo to showcase its latest integrated software and hardware solutions for the digital and screen printing sectors.

On stand will be ArtiosCAD Preflight and Share & Approve, both of which promise to boost productivity and reduce waste across the print process. Esko also plans to demonstrate how these individual solutions combine to unlock new heights of efficiency as part of a connected digital ecosystem.

Jan De Roeck, director of Marketing, Industry Relations & Strategy explains: “Delivering quality control at the touch of a button, ArtiosCAD Preflight automatically analyses structural design files and flags quality issues to avoid downstream errors and save time for converters. We will be demonstrating how the software alerts designers to potential design issues before releasing the file to estimating or production to ensure increased operational uptime and efficiency.

“With Share & Approve, anyone in the workflow can upload, share, annotate and approve jobs in 2D and hyper-realistic 3D. The ability to record, store and send feedback in a single, centralised online tool brings new clarity to the process, reducing the amount of approval iterations and shortening the time required to get a job approved.”

Esko will also demonstrate its workflow server, Automation Engine which automates print production tasks and integrates business systems. What’s more, the firm will be showing how its solutions can compliment the Kongsberg X Edge digital finishing table.

In another corner of the exhibition hall, AXYZ Automation Group will demonstrate the Trident CNC combined routing and cutting print finishing system. Trident has been developed specially to meet the needs of print finishing specialists who are continuously having to add more types of substrates to their production processes.

Available in different sizes, Trident is able to accommodate virtually any length of material. Design features include a solid steel frame construction to accommodate more vigorous machine operation, a multi-station automatic tool change system, an exclusive live vacuum deck for optimum material hold-down efficiency and an integrated helical rack and pinion drive system.

In a statement, the company explains: “This latter feature incorporates a multiple gear teeth configuration that that ensures more even distribution of the workload and radically reduced machine wear that enables greatly enhanced routing/cutting precision and ultimately a longer than normal machine life.

“Interchangeable blade attachments, up to 120mm long, provide increased cutting efficiency when processing harder, thicker and heavier materials.”

Signage throughout

Last year, Drytac partnered with FESPA to provide media across the Messe Munich venue. For 2020, Drytac will again provide all of the official show graphics at the exhibition, as well as operating its own carbon neutral booth.

Visitors to this year’s show will see Drytac products through wall, window, floor and other graphics across the IMEA Exhibition Centre. The entrance to the venue will be decorated with sign-in kiosks covered in Drytac ReTac Smooth 150, and non-slip short-term wayfinding floor graphics using Drytac SpotOn Floor 200.
Vibrant window graphics will be created using Drytac ViziPrint Impress Clear film and the VIP lounge bar and walls across the exhibition space will be decorated using Drytac ReTac Textures.

Drytac will provide all the graphics for the exhibition for the second year running


What’s more, Drytac’s very own stand will offer environmental benefits as it has been certified carbon neutral. On this booth, the firm will launch and debut brand-new ranges and products, as well as giving visitors to see and feel its range of films and substrates.

Hayden Kelley, chief executive officer of Drytac, comments: “We’re delighted to once again partner with FESPA to supply all the official graphics across the show floor. Visitors to Madrid will get a real taste of Drytac’s award-winning products and their application versatility.”


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