Fespa preview: Opening up new perspectives

When the Fespa Global Print Expo last opened in Munich, in 2019, no one could have predicted that a global pandemic would severely hamper all exhibition activity around the world for the next few years.

So, there’s a pleasing symmetry to the wide-format print and signage show’s return to the city this year for what organisers say will be the biggest Fespa since the Covid-19 outbreak.

And the return to Munich also sees the return of 95 suppliers, forced to miss out on the past two expos because of travel restrictions, back in the halls once more.

Expo chief Michael Ryan says there will be more than 500 exhibiting companies, this year. Among those 95 returning are some significant players, including DP Solutions, Lüscher Technologies and Vivid Laminating Technologies. 

Ryan says: “Exhibitors who haven’t been able to participate in Fespa events in the past few years can’t wait to share their innovations and expertise with our visitors. And we know that printers benefit hugely from being able to see products from many suppliers in one place, helping them to compare and evaluate the right investments for their business.”

The line-up also features 78 new exhibitors, including Aerolam Decoratives, UK’s CarbonQuota, Duveholm Stallbacken, Magon, Newtown Packaging, Ronchini Massimo, Scandinavian Print Group, Toscana Systems and Xeikon.

This year, Fespa opens under the slogan ‘New Perspectives’, which Ryan explains refers to giving attendees the ability to flex to the new market realities. He says: “We can guarantee that visitors to Munich in May will be in the best place to get the insight and advice they need to overcome their production challenges, access new opportunities and imagine their business future.”

New feature

New for this year is the Personalisation Experience, a standalone feature intended to highlight the potential of the personalisation capabilities of digital printing technology. It will feature an exhibition space open to all visitors, offering an experiential showcase of products and solutions for personalisation.

The experience is targeted at brand owners, retailers, marketers, agencies, and membership and loyalty organisations seeking to enhance or differentiate their offering with personalisation and customisation. Organisers say that printers and fulfilment houses wanting to put personalisation at the heart of their service offering will also gain valuable practical knowledge and insight.

“Consumers everywhere want experiences that are personalised, instant and augmented,” explains Duncan MacOwan, Fespa’s head of marketing & events. 

It’s a topic that many print manufacturers feel could be better exploited. Mathew Faulkner, director of marketing and innovation at Canon Europe, describes personalisation as an untapped opportunity for printers that can deliver meaningful and emotional customer engagement. He says printers need to be talking to their customers to explore the possibilities, but should also practice what they preach: “Are you personalising your own communications? Are you flying the flag?” he says, adding that recent developments in data management can help printers exploit this “amazing opportunity”.

MacOwan continues: “Brands that embrace personalisation are sharpening their competitive edge, creating value and increasing market share. With the launch of Personalisation Experience, we want to help delegates grasp the commercial value of personalisation by hearing actual business cases and seeing real-time customisation in action. 

“By de-mystifying personalisation and demonstrating what’s possible, we can turn bright ideas into profitable reality.”

Fespa’s long-running Printeriors interior decor feature will be incorporated within the Personalisation Experience, showcasing a variety of individualised interior spaces curated by the show’s ‘textile ambassador’ Debbie McKeegan. Visitors will have the chance to go through the process of defining, ordering, and collecting personalised items from participating sponsors within the exhibition.

More automated

Visitors can also expect to see more in the way of automation for print and workflow processes. Zünd, for example, will be exhibiting various solutions for partial and fully automated material handling (see Stand highlights). The company says these solutions are able to work without human intervention and ensure consistent, uninterrupted production. The manufacturer will have live demonstrations on stand showing robots picking and sorting finished parts automatically. 

The company says: “Whether their operations are large or small, graphics providers can benefit from the enormous savings potential these solutions offer.”

Similarly, Christoph Gamper, CEO and co-owner of Durst, comments: “Whereas there was a strong focus on faster production in recent years, digital printing is now no longer the new kid on the block. 

“The emphasis is now on automation, efficiency, and an overall sustainable process in the various digital printing applications.”

Green pressures

As has been the case for a number of years, sustainability will be key a focus for many of the exhibitors. One area in particular where this is becoming increasingly important is textiles. Textiles production has been operating
somewhat below the environmental radar for a long time, and the demands of fast fashion have created some of the most unsustainable practices in manufacturing – however, this looks set to change.

“The lack of accountability within the textile industry has left the door wide open for social and environmental neglect and misconduct,” says Shannon Mercer, CEO of FibreTrace, an organisation set up to improve fabric traceability.

The company says that 50% of the world’s largest fashion brands disclose little or no information about their supply chain. “However, transparency has become a priority on political agendas and legislative development from the US’s Fabric Act to The Sustainability Pledge of the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe),” it says.

And the market for environmentally sourced, responsible materials seems to be booming with the sustainable fabrics market estimated to be worth $69.5bn (£55.9bn) by 2030, according to a report by Market Research Future.

In a bid to improve the situation FibreTrace has released a free digital traceability solution to the textile industry, which maps the global textile supply chain from fibre to retail. Similarly, the machinery manufacturers in the sector are ensuring their latest machines – and the consumables they use – meet the highest standards of sustainability. 

Recent developments include EFI Reggiani’s ecoTerra, an all-in-one solution for pigment printing that requires no ancillary equipment for pre- and post-treatment. The company says ecoTerra dramatically cuts energy and water consumption for a more sustainable direct-to-fabric printing experience. 

Similarly, Xaar’s Aquinox aqueous printhead is intended to drive the spread of aqueous technology throughout the sector.

D.gen recently launched the Artrix H8 waterless inkjet, which features CBS Technology, an inline fixation system, that means products do not need further coating or finishing operations.

Wrap up

As usual, the World Wrap Masters will be contested by 36 vehicle wrappers from around the world. The feature also showcases the latest vinyl products, tools and techniques and provides free training workshops and live demonstrations delivered by world-renowned wrap instructors. The competition opens on 23 May in hall 6.2 with the World Wrap Masters Final being held on 25 and 26 May.

Also on show…

Co-located with Fespa will be the European Sign Expo 2023, the leading European exhibition for signage and visual communications. The event will reunite key signage professionals with companies specialising in channel lettering, digital signage, dimensional signage, engraving and etching, illuminated displays, out of home media, LED, outdoor systems, laser cutters and sign tools. 


Fespa Global Print Expo and European Sign Expo 2023 will offer visitors a wealth of product innovations for digital, screen and textile printing and signage

When Tuesday, 23 May to Friday, 26 May

Where Messe Munich, West Entrance, Am Messesee, Munich

Opening times

Tuesday 23 May 10:00-18:00

Wednesday 24 May 10:00-18:00

Thursday 25 May 10:00-18:00

Friday 26 May 10:00-15:00

How much The full price of a ticket is €80. However, there are lots of promotional codes to be found on Fespa’s marketing collateral, which will reduce the cost of entry to €50

More information www.fespaglobalprintexpo.com/welcome


Agfa Hall 2, stand D15

Agfa acquired Inca last year and will show the Onset X3 HS flatbed inkjet using new Agfa inks and driven by Agfa’s Asanti workflow software. On stand, the printer will be demonstrated with a three-quarter automation setup, featuring a lay table and an unloading robot, and will run a variety of stocks, including corrugated boards.

Also on show will be Agfa’s fastest hybrid inkjet wide-format printer: the Jeti Tauro H3300 UHS LED, which is intended for 24/7 high-quality production. The printer has recently been upgraded with a varnish option that allows producers of corrugated cardboard displays to enhance their prints by adding a layer of high-gloss or satin varnish. 

The stand will also show off the 3.2m-wide Avinci CX3200, a dye-sub printer that Agfa says produces vibrant high-quality prints on a wide range of polyester-based fabrics for soft signage, interior decor and fashion items. It prints both directly to fabric and to transfer papers. The new Avinci 110 printer inks have received the Oeko-Tex ECO Passport, indicating that they are free of any hazardous components and can be utilised for eco-friendly textile manufacturing.

Berger Textiles Hall A2, stand D40

Berger Textiles will launch its new Architecture product portfolio, adding a selection of high-performance functional textiles for interior architectural applications.

Architecture comprises two products. Shift is a printable odour control textile, specifically engineered to absorb and neutralise odours, such as kitchen smells and cigarette smoke, as well as neutralising formaldehyde. A 250gsm, 470µ polyester, Shift can be used in display frame systems, banners and interior panels and can be printed directly or via dye-sublimation, making it suitable for use in corporate, hospitality and domestic interiors.

Absorber offers two different noise-absorbing materials, designed to improve acoustics in a range of settings, from corporate offices to leisure and hospitality spaces. Absorber 009 is a needle felt made from 100% rPET fibres. 

Brother Hall B1, stand D10

Brother is expected to be showing off its newly developed latex wide-format printer, the WF1-L640, ahead of the machine’s launch. The printer is intended for outdoor advertising materials, posters, and interior decorations.

The WF1-L640 takes Brother into a new business area by exploiting knowhow cultivated through the development of garment printers.

Brother says the latex ink developed for the WF1-L640 achieves “rich expressiveness”, and in addition to having high weather resistance for outdoor advertisements, is water-based, making it more sustainable.

Canon Hall B2, stand B10

Canon will debut its new Colorado M-series 1.6m roll-to-roll wide-format printer platform. The scalable M-series, announced in March, offers a choice of output speeds. The M3 has a “cruising speed” of 29sqm/hr (M5 40sqm/hr ) and a maximum print speed of 111sqm/hr (M5 159sqm/hr).

Users have the option to upgrade from one speed to the other either temporarily for production peaks or permanently, while both printers can also be upgraded with the new white ink option to M3W and M5W models, as well as equipped with the FLXfinish+ matt/gloss print technology option for CMYK prints.

Canon said the introduction of the new UVgel white ink option substantially expands the range of applications that customers can create, and is particularly suitable for window graphics, labels, and wallpaper.

Canon also confirmed that the Colorado M-series would replace the current Colorado 1600 series, upon release.

Durst Group Hall A2, stand A10

Durst says it will be introducing the “fastest roll-to-roll printer to date”, although it is not releasing details ahead of the show. 

Exhibiting under the banner ‘360 Production Excellence’, the company will showcase its new and integrated systems for “fully automated, sustainable and cost-effective large-format print production”.

The company will also be providing a shuttle to its Customer Experience Center in Brixen, Italy, to view its P5 large-format portfolio.

Fujifilm Hall A1, stand B10 

Fujifilm is to unveil a new Acuity printer at the show, while also revealing more details of its partnership with Barberan.

The manufacturer says it will present developments to its existing Acuity models, as well as “unveiling an entirely new machine in the line-up”, although it is keeping specific details under wraps for now.

Fujifilm will highlight the technological developments and enhancements made to the Acuity line-up since Fespa 2022.

Fujifilm’s alliance with Barberan was revealed last year, with the aim to bring single-pass inkjet to the sign and display market. It will be demonstrated with an intricate scale model and video demonstration.

Kiian Digital Hall B1, stand A10

Kiian Digital, part of the Italian JK Group brand, will be launching Digistar Helios, a dye-sub ink developed specifically to print onto rigid coated surfaces designed for outdoor applications. 

The manufacturer says the CMYK inks are compatible with next-generation Epson piezo printheads and offer higher lightfastness than the standard sublimation inks on rigid-metal coated substrates, for display photography and signage outdoors.

Kongsberg Hall A1, stand B30 

Kongsberg will be showcasing its flagship C Series digital cutting solution and the MultiCam Apex 3R CNC router. 

Visitors to the stand will be able to see how Kongsberg’s CorruSpeed tool, Psaligraphy knife and RotaCut tools make it possible to make highly creative designs a practical reality, while options like the manual roll feeder, i-camera and Fast Tool Adapter drive productivity and efficiency gains for businesses.

Magnetic Solutions/Sanders Group Hall B2, stand A19

UK manufacturer Magnetic Solutions will be launching a new eco-conscious magnetic substrate Green Power, that it hopes will meet soaring customer demand for more environmentally focused products. Green Power, which is free of PVC, phthalate and halogen, was developed over an 18-month period with the help of Canon.

Although Green Power is suitable for use with UV, latex and eco-solvent inks, it has been tested and produced with the Canon Colorado in mind.

Mimaki Europe Hall B1, stand B10

Mimaki will be showing off its first DTF device to date, the TxF150-75, will make its international show debut. The Japanese manufacturer says the machine offers an easy and affordable process for decorating apparel, most commonly t-shirts, and “responds to the market need for a reliable, stable DTF technology”.

Other notable technologies on show include Mimaki’s flagship sign and display technology, from the entry-level 100 Series to the high-performance 330 Series. The print-and-cut workflow will be demonstrated with Mimaki’s latest cutting plotter, the CG-AR series. For industrial printers, visitors can see the Mimaki’s advanced UV flatbed printers, from the smaller size UJF-6042 MkII e to the large-format JFX600-2513. For textile printers, the sublimation printers, the TS100-1600 and TS330-1600, will also feature.

Mutoh Europe Hall A1, stand C30

Mutoh Europe will be showing its latest digital print equipment for direct-to-object, dye sublimation and sign & display applications, including its new “revolutionary” hazard-free MS51 inks. 

Mutoh XpertJet Pro printers are targeted at high-quality volume production of sign & display graphics for long-term outdoor applications and durable prints for indoor use. The company says a new printhead guarantees improved droplet quality, along with more accurate drop positioning. 

Also on show are Mutoh’s MS51 CMYK inks, described as cost-effective quick dry sign & display inks, these are suitable for printing on a wide range of uncoated and coated substrates, for indoor and outdoor durable commercial graphics.

Neschen Hall 2, stand D14

Neschen will be highlighting its expanding range of PVC-free substrates and laminating technology. Brand new is an addition to the manufacturer’s self-adhesive easy dot series, easy dot PET transparent L-UV for use on glass, such as shop windows and doors. Also on show will be the easyStyle PVC-free furniture film, which it says “enables high-quality, scratch-resistant results in various looks with uncomplicated handling”.

Neschen will also be presenting one of its high-performance laminators: the ColdLam 1650 laminator has been specially designed for mounting and laminating prints up to 1,650mm wide and is a benchmark in terms of quality and performance in the industry.

Roland DG Hall A1, stand D10

Roland DG is expected to be putting its new-launched large-format UV flatbed printer, the EU-1000MF, front and centre.

The EU-1000MF is capable of printing “vibrant and detailed graphics” directly onto a wide variety of rigid and flexible substrates up to 2.4x1.2m and with a maximum height of 95mm, making it suitable for applications including signs, exhibitions, interior decoration, and special products.

The company says the printer also boasts a range of advanced features that optimise performance, speed up workflow, and ensure safe operation.

Shenzhen Yuxunda Electronics Hall B2, stands A31 and E33 

This Chinese manufacturer of UV flatbed printers and sublimation machines will be showing a new UV printer fitted with Gen5, Gen55 and GH2220 printheads.

Sun Chemical Hall 2.2, stand B40

Sun Chemical says it will present an extensive solutions for a variety of wide-format applications, with the intention of showing visitors to the stand how it can help customers to innovate their businesses.

Solutions on display will include Sun Chemical’s wide- and super-wide-format inkjet inks, textile inkjet inks, screen inks and industrial inks, including solutions from SunJet, its digital inkjet brand.

SwissQPrint Hall A1, stand D30

SwissQPrint will show three models from the latest generation of machines in operation: the Nyala and Kudu flatbed printers, and the dedicated roll to roll printer Karibu. 

Supplementing the live experience will be an application gallery illustrating the versatility of the large format printers. And there will be an “exclusive” special exhibition devoted to UV printing with neon inks.

Zünd Hall A2, stand D30

Zünd will launch a new, integrated system for autonomous, pallet-to-pallet production, although it will not have a system on stand. The Swiss manufacturer is keeping details of the new system to itself, for now, but says it “will be pushing the envelope in terms of industrial and highly automated production of packaging and displays”. 

Zünd will use a PortaTable 130 robot to demonstrate how robots can be used to pick and sort finished parts automatically. The PortaTable consists of a mobile off-load table equipped with a robotic arm, which can be moved from one cutter to another.