Fespa hailed as ‘most international ever’

By Max Goldbart, Monday 22 May 2017

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This year’s Fespa has been hailed as the “most international ever”, with delegates from 139 countries visiting across the five days.

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Next year's expo will take place in Berlin

Taking place earlier this month (8 to 12 May) at the Hamburg Messe, the global wide-format expo, operating in its first year since becoming an annual event, saw a number of key manufacturers launch new products.

There were more than 700 exhibitors across nine halls, with the Messe split into three distinct zones, devoted to screen print, digital wide-format and textile printing. This year also saw the return of the World Wrap Masters and the Printeriors architectural design centre.

Visitor numbers were down on Fespa’s last outing in Cologne 2015, with the 20,456 unique visitors and 39,224 total visitors representing a dip of more than 10%. Divisional director Roz Guarnori said that this was largely due to a dip in German visitors, although she highlighted that visitor numbers from Asia and the UK, for example, were up.

Guarnori said: “The feedback we’ve had has been fantastic; the floorplan for 2018 is already so busy that we’ve had to extend the proposed layout. 

“You never know until after a show the true value of what’s been converted but having taken the decision to launch an annual event we already have feedback from companies saying this is a really good decision because it gives them that opportunity every year when they want to reach the market to know that it’s there for them.”

While this year's event overlapped slightly with Interpack in Düsseldorf and clashed with the Techtextil trade show, which took place at the Frankfurt Messe in the same week, Guarnori said she suspected this had limited impact.

“It’s challenging doing a show in May in Germany. What we did find is that from an international perspective visitors welcomed the fact they could visit more than one show on one trip. So from a visitor perspective it worked and from an exhibitor perspective we tried to support our exhibitors in any way we could.”

A number of new products were shown or launched at the show, including a B1 inkjet prototype from Fujifilm and Inca, new Latex machines from HP and kit from the likes of Durst, Kornit and Mutoh

HP head of marketing Graphics Solutions Business EMEA Michael Smetana said: "The show has been great, it's been amazing, we've been very happy with the traffic and the quality of people. We worked very hard to bring a very iconic booth design, we focus a lot on applications and we are hearing from customers that they like the focus on application."

EFI EMEA marketing director Reinhild Westmeyer said she was pleased with interest in EFI's new Reggiani Renoir Flexy textile printer.

"I would say that it's been equally busy as previous year's and we've had really good conversations with visitors, it's been a really successful show," she said.

Canon European wide-format marketing manager Matthew Faulkner said: "We've had groups from all of our sales regions across EMEA, including all our emerging business units. Fantastic traffic through the show, fantastic attendance and some really great sales across all of our portfolio."

Mimaki and Ricoh also used the show to move into new spaces, with Mimaki showing a prototype of its first 3D machine and Ricoh launching its new direct-to-garment (DTG) printers.

Mimaki Europe general manager of sales Ronald van den Broek said: "This year's Fespa has been our most successful show yet. In terms of leads we've got the most we've ever had compared to previous Fespa shows."

There was also a heavy stress on applications, a major theme of the show, with new products from the likes of Contra Vision and Senfa.  

At the Fespa Awards, a number of UK firms picked up gongs, and Christian Duyckaerts was sworn in as Fespa president for the upcoming two years.

Next year’s expo will take place at the Messe Berlin, from 15 to 18 May, with the following year’s outing set for Munich. 

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