The event has established itself over the years as the wide-format product launch venue of choice and, while it was therefore little surprise to see a packed line-up of new kit on show from all the usual suspects, it could at least be argued that this year more than a small handful of the new launches felt genuinely innovative.
Market trends were also easier to spot this year, and Fespa anticipated them well with two of its new features, Print Make Wear, an interactive visitor area focused on fashion textiles, garments and printed accessories, and the Digital Corrugated Experience, which highlighted the advantages of digital print for corrugated packaging and retail display applications.
Textiles and corrugated printing were well represented among the show’s 700 exhibitors while latex technology proved to be another strong trend, with Ricoh premiering an all-new, as yet unnamed, latex printer and HP making a splash with its new Latex R2000 hybrid production printer, the company’s first hybrid to use Latex technology.
“We knew that the R series was going to be a big draw but it’s been hugely popular. The feedback has been amazing and a lot of customers have expressed a desire to buy the product,” says HP Graphics Solutions Business EMEA general manager Simon Ewington, who adds the business placed a greater emphasis on applications this year.
And it wasn’t alone; Agfa Graphics used an immersive booth concept to debut its new Jeti Tauro H3300 LED hybrid printer and furnished its stand with printed samples rather than live machinery.
The final numbers were still being totted up as PrintWeek went to press, but exhibitors had been hoping to attract more than 20,000 visitors to the event, which was split across 10 halls over two floors at Messe Berlin.
EFI, which used Fespa to debut its new high-volume roll-to-roll/flatbed hybrid platform, the Vutek H series, says it saw “strong success”, with many current and prospective customers interested in its portfolio.
EFI chief revenue officer Frank Mallozzi says Berlin proved to be “an excellent venue”.
“Visitors liked the total package EFI can provide. Sales and lead activity has been strong, including the deal announced at the show for a Nozomi single-pass corrugated press sold to The Delta Group.”
Canon was marking its biggest presence to date at the show and says it attracted just shy of 11,000 individual visitors to its stand.
Epson and Mimaki both extended their growing digital textiles printer portfolios with new launches targeted at the flourishing sector.
Indeed, Fespa’s 2018 Print Census, the headline findings of which were outlined at the show, revealed that 56% of printers focused on textiles have made digital investments, and 19% plan to do so in the next two years.
Senior product manager Richard Barrow says the show was Epson’s “most successful to date”.
“We had some really great conversations, generated very many leads and inspired visitors to think creatively about the potential of inkjet technology moving forward.”
Mimaki senior marketing manager for EMEA, Danna Drion, called the event “exceptional”, and says the firm “had a huge amount of qualified leads and a lot of traction on our stand”.
“Fespa is our opportunity to meet new customers as well as engage with loyal customers, work together with our partners and distributors, and listen to important news from others.”
Exhibiting alongside its sister company New Solution, Mtex launched two new textiles printers at the show, the Eagle 16H and the Dragon 16H.
“We saw a number of existing customers looking to move forward in textiles and looking at new innovations coming through in terms of being able to print faster and better quality,” says New Solution and Mtex sales director Stewart Bell.
“Textiles in sign and display is continuing to grow because retailers love the fact that you can fold and ship it cost-effectively, and with a smaller carbon footprint.”
Among New Solution’s Fespa line-up was the new NS Multi LG flatbed digital corrugated printer for custom packaging. An entry-level machine, it was the perfect complement to the larger beasts being discussed by the likes of EFI and HP upstairs in the Digital Corrugated Experience.
“Corrugated has continued to grow because of the rise of e-commerce and the opening experience, where you get more from the message on the box. Whether that message is a welcome to a company, or money off the next order, it’s about connecting individually,” says Bell.
It wasn’t just printers making the headlines in Berlin. Other innovative new technologies were well represented, with ColorGate and Metis premiering their new 3D capture and digital reproduction system, 3D Surface Director, which enables users to acquire surface data that could be used to print items such as textured furniture or phone cases.
Elitron, meanwhile, says it saw “a lot of interest” in its new Custom Cutting technology, a software feature that enables the existing working area of its Kombo TH twin-head flatbed cutting system to be divided into two independent areas.
Marketing and sales coordinator Caroline Bell, who calls Fespa a “must be present” event, says the company met “a good presence” of existing and potential customers.
In the first year since it moved to an annual cycle, to enable the screen printing community to exhibit every year, Fespa was a success. Exhibitors and visitors alike were positive, and many will likely make the trip to Munich for next year’s event. It will then head down to Madrid in 2020, bringing the latest wide-format technology and applications closer to a southern European audience.
Kit and opportunities were key to the show’s success
Roz Guarnori, exhibitions director, Fespa
Every time I look at my phone, I have something like 30 or more messages from exhibitors wanting to book floor space for Fespa 2019 – this exemplifies the feedback we have been getting from our time in Berlin.
As the first show since we moved to an annual cycle, some of our screen and industrial exhibitors were cautious about signing up for the Berlin show, but we have heard from them that they have seen the value in maintaining a presence every year.
This is a truly global print show – all of our exhibitors’ customers are here, as well as new faces, proving the value in networking.
Our new areas have been very successful. The Digital Corrugated Experience has proven very popular, every seminar filled with people wanting to learn about how digital print for packaging could enhance their business.
Textiles is one of the fastest growing areas of print and people are truly living and breathing it. Our new Print Make Wear feature was at the heart of our most prevalent trend this year as textiles printing took centre stage, illustrating to visitors a fast fashion production line.
Our exhibitors really pulled out all the stops to bring new equipment and exciting new opportunities to the show – that newness and freshness was key to its success.
All stands at this year’s Fespa have been equally vibrant, all the way from the big players like HP who turned their stand into a village to our smaller exhibitors. Every hall was a din of noise and machinery, with people really engaging with each other.
Looking towards 2019, we will identify growth areas for our return to Munich. Expect the Digital Corrugated Experience, Print Make Wear and Printeriors to grow alongside more new areas.
What were your imp ressions of Fespa Global Expo 2018?
Michelle Henry, owner, HNS Signs
“I loved it. It was my first time at the show. I have been to other shows and so thought I knew what to expect, but this was different. There was so much variety, it was spacious, and the atmosphere was alive. I liked that there was a definite move towards green technologies. We work hard to try and clean up our act at HNS, so some products offered food for thought. Our highlights were seeing our work on display at the Fespa Awards stands and the Printeriors section because our work has a lot of crossover with interior design.”
Lawrence Chapman, managing director, Countryside Art
“We go to Fespa every two years for an overview of the technology. You want to see all of this in more detail, but with the scale of the show it is good to have everything in one place. Pigment ink seems to be coming of age in digital print which is very interesting to us – that has been the most major change I have seen since our last visit. Technology is moving on quicker than it used to and digital is quickly coming to rival screen printing in its brightness. We may have to change how often we visit.”
Nathan Swinson-Bullough, director, Imageco
“My main purpose for visiting this year was on the invitation of a client so I treated it more like a networking event. I managed to meet new customers with a view to working with them and I am hoping to follow up on that. I loved the Printeriors section which pushes the boundaries of fabric printing and we are trying to keep abreast of that. HP’s new Latex machine and the 3D printing by Massivit also got my attention. I enjoyed the signage side as we are looking to expand our non-printed offering.”
HP debuted new printers for both its Latex and DesignJet families, including the 2.5m-wide Latex R2000, the firm’s first hybrid to use Latex technology
EFI launched the Vutek H range, a high-volume 3.2m-wide roll-to-roll/flatbed hybrid platform targeted at high-end applications
Ricoh handed a world premiere to an all-new, as yet unnamed, latex printer, the company’s first own-brand machine in the latex space
Fujifilm launched the Acuity Ultra, a new superwide-format printer which it says offers “almost photographic levels of quality” with tighter registration and higher production speeds
Epson and subsidiaries Robustelli and ForTex debuted the Monna Lisa Evo Tre 16 textiles printer
Mimaki unveiled its Tiger-1800B MkII digital textiles printer, the successor to the Tiger-1800B, which has a high-quality 1,200dpi mode and other quality improvements
Inca Digital previewed an unnamed 1.6m-wide printer, which runs Fujifilm Samba heads and is capable of 30,000m2/hr
SwissQprint launched the latest generation of its LED inkjet printers, which includes the Nyala 3, Impala 3 and Oryx 3 models and the high-productivity Nyala 3S and Impala 3S
Agfa Graphics used an immersive booth concept to introduce its latest flagship hybrid printer, the 3.3m-wide Jeti Tauro H3300 LED