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FESPA Preview

With the international show set to return after 18 months,Carys Evans speaks with exhibitors and organisers about what we can expect to see at FESPA Global Print Expo 2021

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FEPSA plans to open its doors for the first FESPA Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo shows since 2019

A long-awaited reunion 

Founded in 1962, FESPA is the global federation of national Associations for the screen printing, digital printing, and textile printing community. The association is set to bring the industry together in one of the first European events since the ‘C’ word first hit in December 2019.

Since then, globally we have endured various lockdowns, cancelled and postponed events, and some serious uncertainty in many industries and sectors. However, showing true resilience and grit, the industry has weathered the storm as best as possible. Some sectors such as retail, hospitality, and events saw business drop overnight whilst others including home décor, personalised print, and wall and floor graphics boomed.

Now, FESPA is preparing to open its doors to the Global Print Expo 2021 in Amsterdam’s RAI Exhibition Centre from October 12th – 15th. The show returns after being postponed three times in the last 18 months due to uncertainty caused by the pandemic and will run alongside the European Sign Expo 2021.

O Factoid: The last FESPA Global Print Expo was held in Munich in May 2019  O

FESPA Global Print Expo is described as Europe’s largest international specialty print exhibition. The show attracts hundreds of exhibitors from a variety of sectors including digital and screen printing, graphics, signage, décor, packaging, industrial, and textile application. Running at the same venue, the European Sign Expo features exhibitors specialising in channel lettering, signage, dimensional signage, engraving and etching, illuminated displays, out-of-home media, LED, and sign tools.

As well as hosting hundreds of exhibitors, FESPA Global Print Expo will also see industry members battle for the title of World Wrap Master. Attendees can compete in the qualifier event and successful wrappers will then go on to the final which is taking place at FESPA Global Print Expo 2022 in Berlin, Germany. As well as the competition, the area will feature training workshops, demonstrations, and examples of vinyl, films, and print and cut machines.

Described as “bringing together the world’s print communities in celebration of interior design and decoration”, Printeriors is another feature visitors can attend at the show. Attendees can explore a range of products and applications and find out the opportunities for print-service-providers (PSPs) in this growing market, which FESPA estimates to be valued at $737.20bn (£537.48bn).

Pent-up product launches

With the environment on the forefront of the industry’s agenda, wide-format substrates manufacturer, Guandong Italia, is returning to this year’s exhibition with a sea-themed booth on stand 5-K10 in Hall 5.

Under the theme of ‘S.O.S.tainability’, the company will be showcasing a range of green, recycled and recyclable printing media. All of Guandong’s media is REACH, RoHS, Global Recycled System, and GreenLife certified. Also on the stand, visitors will be able to see the company’s wall dressing range which Daniele Faoro, Guandong’s team principal describes as “the widest green range of printing media for wall decoration other than wallpaper and vinyls.”

He adds: “Visitors are welcome to join us for an Italian coffee and discover the tools created by our marketing department, designed to support our distribution partners and printing houses. These tools provide end-users with knowledge and appreciation of Guandong Italia’s enhanced visual communication solutions.”

Whilst national events have been put on hold, Guandong has been attending local events and exhibitions since June 2020. Faoro explains that there has been a positive response to in-person events. He says: “We find that visitors want to maintain a personal approach with colleagues and suppliers.

Our conversations display positivity for the future and enthusiasm to return to normality and discover new business opportunities

“Our conversations display positivity for the future and enthusiasm to return to normality and discover new business opportunities. Guandong Italia is expecting good participation of visitors at FESPA.”

Another company looking forward to meeting customers in-person again is digital printing and production manufacturer for large-format print, labels, and packaging, Durst. Visitors can see the company’s large-format P5 portfolio and the European launch of the Durst Vanguard at stand 5-K20 in Hall 5.

Peter Bray, managing director of Durst UK & Ireland, says: “The introduction of the new Durst P5 350 High Speed version this year is a key pillar in our ‘Pixel to Output’ strategy. It comes complete with our Durst Automat, a new automatic system, enhanced Durst software and a full LED ink portfolio.

“We provide Durst Smart Shop, Workflow and Analytics software, the latter being the basis for future sales and profitability.”

He adds: “This year, Durst has also set a milestone in the field of sublimation printing with the launch of the P5 TEX iSUB. The abbreviation iSUB stands for ‘inline sublimation’. This eliminates individual work steps, resulting in a significant increase in quality and efficiency for the user.”

Durst will be showcasing its large-format P5 portfolio as well as the launch of the P5 TEX iSUB

Over at stand 5-K30 in Hall 5, 3A Composites will be showcasing its range of branded products for markets such as direct-to-substrate digital printing and screen printing, exhibition, shop, and furniture design, as well as point-of-purchase and signage.

According to the company, this year 3A Composites will be presenting its products in a special way that enables visitors to “dive into another atmosphere, besides from work and the daily life”. The idea is to demonstrate the versatility of sheet materials for attractive graphics through the booth itself.

The company explains: “Besides the well-known printing substrates Dibond (aluminium composite panel), Smart-x and Kapa (lightweight foam boards), Lumex/Hipex (APET and PET-G polyester sheets), 3A Composites presents the enlargement of the Dispa paper boards.

3A Composites’ booth will allow visitors to “dive into another atmosphere, besides from work and the daily life”

“The three new varieties are: Dispa outdoor ideally suitable for short-term outdoor applications, Dispa canvas featuring high-quality covering layers on both sides in ‘canvas’ look and the additional thickness of 2.4mm.

“All products in the Dispa range are made of FSC-certified paper and are completely recyclable – a simple and inexpensive disposal as waste paper is possible.”

SwissQprint, will be presenting its latest developments in neon inks for UV printing that enable eye-catching signage and event applications. The company will also be demonstrating the speed model of its Karibu roll-to-roll printer for high productivity as well as the option for automatic, double-sided roll-to-roll printing for the Karibu model range.

SwissQprint will be demonstrating the speed model of its Karibu roll-to-roll printer

The company says: “We are very much looking forward to meeting the community and exchanging ideas.”

A safe environment

The uncertainty of the last two years has caused many to feel (rightly-so) unsettled and uncertain as to what the safest course of action to take is for various situations. With the exhibition welcoming on average 18,000 visitors and 600 exhibitors from 137 countries, it’s important to ensure the show can run as safely as possible whilst Covid-19 cases are still present.

Neil Felton, chief executive officer of FESPA, explains what has gone into making sure the event can run: “It’s been a rollercoaster 18 months for the whole industry, but we’re finally feeling optimistic about being able to open our first live event since 2019. We’re working hard to ensure the events run in accordance with Covid-safe practices and that all participants feel secure during the event.