Wide-format event prepares for lift-off

As befits any summer blockbuster, Fespa 2015 has an epic trailer, complete with animated intro, plentiful CGI and what appears to be the music from the 2010 Christopher Nolan box office smash Inception.

To be fair the booming bass and dramatic music suits the show’s space theme down to the ground, which is mercifully where the actual event will take place: in Cologne from 18-22 May.

And while it might seem a tad far-fetched to compare a trade show with interstellar travel there is a logic behind the theme for this year’s main wide-format event, which is expected to attract 25,000 unique visitors from over 126 countries.

“This is the biggest show of the year, visitors come from all over the world and they want to understand how they can move their business forward, not just in the present, but in the future, which is very much what our space discovery theme is about,” says Fespa divisional director Roz McGuinness.

“There are planets out there that are currently unexplored by some printers; Fespa gives them the opportunity to board a mission of discovery, safe in the knowledge that we’re supporting them as they explore the planets of print.”

Seminar programme

That support comes in the form of the largest education programme in the history of the show, with 100 free seminars across the five days on a broad range of topics and aimed at different levels of expertise – from introductions to specific markets and applications to more in-depth technical sessions.

“We are supporting their journey with our educational content and through our partners who are able to provide them with the applications and the business cases to be able to make that step confidently, knowing they’re heading in the right direction,” says McGuinness.

While printers visiting Cologne will embark on a ‘mission of discovery’, Fespa’s own mission – ‘profit for purpose’ – can be seen in the continued evolution of the show’s main features. In particular, Fespa 2015 sees the introduction of an Industrial Print Showcase and a separate 3D Print Showcase, in partnership with trade associations ESMA and 3Dion respectively.

“For the Industrial Print Showcase we’ve chosen the three biggest growth areas, which are automotive, printed electronics and decor laminates, as well as packaging. There will be other examples but obviously what we want to do is make sure people are able to pick up and run with the growth areas of business where they will get most potential business opportunity,” says McGuinness.

“Adjacent to that we will have the 3D Print Showcase where you will see the leading purveyors of 3D print armed with examples and samples to show how the technology has moved forward. It’s also supported by a lunch and learn session for those that really want to drill down a bit deeper into what’s happening with 3D.”

Manufacturers taking part in the showcase include Stratasys, Makerbot, Roland DG and the Chinese manufacturer DreamMaker, which will show its DreamMaker Overlord 3D printer in Europe for the first time at Fespa 2015.

Building demand

Fespa’s main new feature, the Printeriors exhibition and conference, exemplifies the organisation’s mission to ensure every bit of profit goes back into building demand for print. “It is about widening the audience for our print service providers and equipment manufacturers,” says McGuinness. “It’s about developing the knowledge of interior designers and print service providers about what they can achieve when they bring print into their interior design and architectural projects.

“The interior design world and the architects don’t know Fespa – why would they – this campaign is very much intended to reach out into the interiors world to make sure we’re spreading the message about how print could enhance their business and enable them to undertake more projects with a lower budget and in real time. Being able to transform an interior in 48 hours using materials that would otherwise be prohibitive in cost is one of the benefits of using print.”

With all these new features it is little surprise that Fespa 2015 will be the biggest ever for the organiser, with over 700 exhibitors filling the show’s 62,500m2 gross floorspace. Contributing to that increase, Fespa Fabric is 44% larger than it was at Fespa 2013 in London and European Sign Expo is 50% larger. The exhibition’s other mainstays, the Fespa Awards and the World Wrap Masters, return and visitors will once again have the opportunity to try their hand at wrapping for themselves. “There’s lots of opportunity throughout the show to come along and have a go,” says McGuinness. “I did it last year and who knew I was going to become rookie queen!”

Visitors will be able to view the award finalists’ work in the boulevard between halls and can vote for the winner of the people’s choice award, which will be presented at the awards ceremony and dinner at Cologne’s Botanical Gardens on 19 May.

So take your protein pills and put your helmet on as the wide-format industry prepares to lift-off from Cologne into a galaxy of print opportunities.


Pre-media   Presses   Post-press   Consumables: inks   Consumables: substrates   Ancillaries


Date 18-22 May

Location Koelnmesse, Cologne

Price Pre-register for free before 17 May at 2015.fespa.com (after which entry is €70 on the door or €40 online)

Opening times 18-21 May: 10am-6pm; 22 May: 10am-4pm

Exhibitors 700-plus

Key attractions 

  • New features including the Industrial Print Showcase, the 3D Print Showcase and the Printeriors exhibition
  • A total of 100 seminars across the Digital, Fabric and Sign Hubs as well as the one-day Printeriors conference on 21 May
  • The best entries shortlisted for the Fespa Awards will be on show at the Koelnmesse where visitors can vote for the people’s choice awards
  • The last qualifying round for the World Wrap Masters Series will take place from 18-20 May followed by the finals on 21-22 May


Digital Hub

18 May

12.00-12.30 Large-format becomes water based – Sustainability with highest print quality

12.30-13.00 Functional screen printing – online reference guide 

13.00-14.00 Lunch and Learn: industrial printing with ESMA 

14.00-14.30 Global print management with standardised colours

14.30-15.30 Digital Tech Time

16.30-17.00 Digital printing textiles 101

17.00-17.30 Economise and excel with ECOPrint

19 May

10.30-11.00 Functional screen printing – online reference guide 

11.00-12.00 Technology is not enough - solution selling 

12.00-13.00 Marketing guide for printers who don’t do marketing 

13.00-14.00 Lunch and Learn: industrial inkjet printing with Agfa

14.00-14.30 Colour calibration for DP textiles 

14.30 - 15.30 The art of constant colour (basic) part 1 

15.30-16.00 Digital printing on packaging: shifts in value 

16.00-16.30 Economise and excel with ECOPrint

16.30-17.00 The art of constant colour (advanced) part 2 

17.00-17.30 Global print management with standardised colours 

20 May

10.30-11.00 Lean, mean and profitable wide-format printing in the short-run market

11.00-12.00 Colour correction: when and how 

12.00-12.30 Global print management with standardised colours 

12.30-13.00 Packaging with ‘wow factor’: a review of the latest innovations

13.00-14.00 Learn and Lunch: thermoforming applications with EFI 

14.00-15.00 Industrial Tech Time 

15.00-16.00 Fogra specification for wide-format printing applications 

16.00-16.30 Resists & more

16.30-17.00 Opportunities of emerging countries for the digital print industry – Focus discussion: Brazil

17.00-17.30 Economise and excel with ECOPrint

21 May

10.30-11.00 Functional screen printing – online reference guide. 

11.00-11.30 How to select and evaluate an external DP textile supplier 

11.30-12.00 Digital print for packaging 

12.00-13.00 Print2web: (intermediate) 

13.00-14.00 Learn and Lunch: green round table 

14.00-15.00 Top 10 things printers can learn from airports 

15.00-16.00 RGB, CMYK, Lab: pros and cons of each colour space 

16.00-16.30 Colour challenges in signage on non-paper substrates 

16.30-17.00 Functional screen printing – online reference guide 

17.00-17.30 Global print management with standardised colours

22 May

12.00-12.30 Economise and excel with ECOPrint

Sign Hub

18 May

12.00-12.30 The dog ate my business plan

12.30-13.00 What’s up, it hasn’t changed!

14.00-14.30 Digital signs of the times

14.30-15.00 Illuminating the lightbox: What LED solutions to choose and why 

15.00-16.00 Daily Forum - Ask the experts panel 

16.00-17.00 Custom kiosks – the best of both worlds?

19 May

11.00-11.30 Total solutions for sign art and display

11.30-12.00 Digital signage - threat or opportunity 

12.00-13.00 Emerging technologies 

14.00-15.00 Sign Tech Time

15.00-16.00 Daily Forum - Ask the experts panel

16.00-17.00 UK planning and maintenance inspection regulations 

20 May

11.00-11.30 I found the way - an introduction into wayfinding 

11.30-12.00 Using transparent displays for public signage 

12.00-13.00 Exploring the threats to the traditional signmaker 

14.00-15.00 Future trends in signage and beyond 

15.00-16.00 Daily Forum - Ask the experts panel 

16.00-17.00 Traditional sign painting workshop: design and signwriting 

21 May

11.00-12.00 Pictorial and gold leaf: Traditional signpainting workshop 

12.00-13.00 Ghost signs 

14.00-14.30 You are here - digital wayfinding 

14.30-15.00 Why quality matters in your digital signage strategy 

15.00-16.00 Daily Forum - Ask the experts panel 

16.00-17.00 Why effective digital signage begins with the procurement process 

22 May

11.00-11.30 Understanding content management for digital signage 

11.30-12.00 Getting content onto screens – a how-to guide for sign professionals

12.00-13.00 Diversity in the sign industry: Women and young people

Textile Hub

18 May

12.00-12.30 Introduction to screen printing 

12.30-13.00 Direct to garment printing - should we or shouldn’t we 

14.30-15.00 Advances in squeegee technology

15.00-15.30 Documentation part 1 

15.30-16.00 Enabling new business model paradigms for textile

16.00-16.30 Going Green. Putting together an environmentally friendly screen print shop

16.30-17.00 Advances in environmentally friendly textile screen printing inks

17.00-17.30 Simplifying workflow for white and clear inks in direct-to-garment and UV printing

19 May

11.00-12.00 The re-colouration of textile patterns 

12.00-12.30 Quality in, quality out: File preparation for DTG 

12.30-13.00 What’s new in the global textile screen printing market 

13.00-14.00 Digital pigment printing next generation of inks 

14.00-14.30 Implementing an e-commerce print-on-demand system 

14.30-15.00 Digital textiles: the value network and growth segments

15.00-15.30 The engine behind online personalisation 

15.30-16.00 Your best move this year: entering into DTG 

16.00-17.00 Garment Tech Time

17.00-17.30 Large-format sublimation for hard substrates: One technique, many applications 

20 May

11.00-11.30 Profit trends 

11.30-12.00 New technology in textile printing equipment 

12.00-13.00 Textile Tech Time 

14.00-14.30 Growing your business with fabric printing 

15.00-15.30 Growing your textile screen printing business- what it takes 

15.30-16.00 PVCs, phthalates and what the future holds, both in the US and Europe 

16.00-16.30 Direct-to-garment printing: should we or shouldn’t we? 

16.30-17.00 Documentation part 2

17.00-17.30 Simplifying workflow for white and clear inks in direct-to-garment and UV printing

21 May

11.00-11.30 The importance of picking the right heat press 

11.30-12.00 Your best move this year: entering into DTG 

12.00 - 13.00 Challenging images for textile printing 

14.00-14.30 Quality in, quality out: File preparation for DTG 

14.30-15.00 Designing for black shirts 

15.00-15.30 Exploring current film positive and CTS technology 

15.30-16.00 Using the Spoonflower API 

16.00-16.30 Textile screen printing globally 

16.30-17.00 Promotional products

17.00-17.30 Large-format sublimation for hard substrates. One technique, many applications

22 May

11.00-11.30 Screen making 

12.00-12.30 Simulated process separations

12.30-13.00 Four-colour process


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