Get ready for an explosion of wide-format possibilities

Simon Creasey
Monday, April 15, 2019

Next month hordes of printers from across the world will descend on Messe München, in Munich, Germany, for the Fespa Global Print Expo 2019.

Last year’s event, which was held in Berlin, attracted a record-breaking 20,442 visitors from 142 countries and the organisers are hoping to secure similar numbers this time around. Around 700 exhibitors are expected to showcase their products at the show, which features a host of new features.

PrintWeek spoke to exhibitors to find out why they are attending and how they hope to benefit from it. We also spoke to the organisers of the show to get the lowdown on what’s new this time around.

The over-arching themes of Fespa 2019 have been shaped by the findings of a ‘print census’ undertaken by the organisers coupled with feed-back from visitors to last year’s event. The six dominant trends that are shaping the current wide-format market are textile printing, environmental considerations, customer demands, digital technology investment, the evolving product mix, and optimism in the industry, according to Roz Guarnori, exhibitions director at Fespa.

The census findings led to the addition of Colour L*A*B* at this year’s Fespa, a technology showcase and conference programme. One in three respondents to Fespa’s research stated that they intend to invest in colour management technology and training within the next two years as part of a focus on consistency and customer satisfaction. 

“The launch of Colour L*A*B* is in direct response to feedback from our global community, who have highlighted a strong appetite for expert guidance and education to improve colour accuracy and consistency in the face of rising customer expectations and an ever more diverse applications portfolio involving multiple substrates,” says Guarnori.

Sustainability is another trend that will be centre of attention at this year’s show as it continues to be a hot topic for the print industry. 

“At the event, we will do our part to show visitors how they can incorporate more sustainable thinking into their business practices,” says Guarnori. “For instance, within Print Make Wear, we will be using garments from Neutral for the direct-to-garment textiles. These use FairTrade cotton and have been awarded the EU Ecolabel, meaning they meet high environmental standards. We will also be using water-based inks from MagnaColours for our screen printed direct-to-garment textiles. The Print Make Wear garments produced via the roll-to-roll technologies will be digitally printed for improved sustainability compared with screen printing, using sustainably sourced substrates such as recycled polyester and eco-canvas textiles.”

Fespa will also host an interactive Printeriors feature at the entrance to Messe München, which will showcase interior and exterior wide-format print applications, such as printed deck chairs and parasols and sustainable signage solutions. 

In addition, the World Wrap Masters European and Series Finals will also take place throughout the show for visitors interested in vehicle wrapping, with shortlisted entries to the 2019 Fespa awards displayed in the entrance of the Messe.

The exhibition’s seminar programme has also been boosted this year, according to Guarnori. “This year’s Trend Theatre programme comprises 38 individual sessions and has been put together with the needs and interests of the Fespa global speciality print community in mind and delivering key insights on a host of topics,” she explains. “The Trend Theatre will include daily trends forecast sessions hosted by KeyPoint Intelligence on a selection of topics including: workflow, the state of the wide-format industry, textile, decorative applications and packaging.”

Launch platform

There will also be daily panel discussions with influential industry speakers. “Of course, one of the most exciting aspects about Fespa is that it is the world’s major launch platform for technology innovation in screen, digital and textile printing and I’m looking forward to seeing what new products will debut in Munich and the impact of these on the market,” adds Guarnori.

She doesn’t look like being disappointed on the new product launch front. A raft of companies say that their primary reason for attending the show is to unveil new kit.

“Fespa 2019 represents our largest ever Fespa participation and will see us continue to showcase the amazing business opportunities enabled by our technology,” says Danna Drion, marketing manager at Mimaki EMEA. “With new product launches, an innovative application showcase and product experts on hand, a visit to our stand is not to be missed.”

As well as demonstrating new and existing technology the company intends to use the event to demonstrate “how businesses can become forward-thinkers and boost productivity” with the help of its technology as well as inspiring customers to “explore creative and innovative, profit generating possibilities”.

Fujifilm says it will be focusing all of its attention on its Acuity Ultra, with live demonstrations of the company’s 5m model, which will “demonstrate just how serious a player it [Fujifilm] is in the superwide-format market,” says Alois Timmermans, wide-format business director at Fujifilm Graphic Systems EMEA

“Our main aim is to present Fujifilm as a reliable partner for anyone who chooses to invest in Fujifilm technology and services,” adds Timmermans. “Fujifilm has for years delivered inkjet products to the market that helps printers gain an advantage and to leverage their revenues and market share.” 

SwissQprint intends to use the show in a similar way to Fujifilm. “Fespa, to us, is the major show in Europe and we will use the platform to launch our first roll-to-roll printer, Karibu,” says Petra Fetting, who heads up marketing services and communication at SwissQprint. “In addition, we will be presenting our Generation 3 range of flatbed printers.”

EFI also has an exciting array of machinery to take to Fespa. For Frank Tückmantel, the company’s corporate marketing vice president, there is one key reason EFI attends the show – to seal sales deals.

“I would question the honesty of anyone who tells you they are not going to the exhibition to sell something,” says Tückmantel. “We are definitely going there to show our products and sell them. Fespa has done a great job of attracting its members and visitors in very large numbers and out of all the shows outside of Drupa, Fespa is the one that has been the most productive for us for several years in a row.”

While he says the exhibition presents a good opportunity for EFI to sell its equipment to a vast array of different visitors he praises the different education streams, such as the programme of industry speakers, that run parallel to the show.

“As a result, visitors can not only just look at our products, they can also educate themselves about market trends, what direction the future is heading [in terms of innovation] and what they need to prepare for,” says Tückmantel. 

This education piece is something that is close to the heart of Canon. “With a deep understanding of the changing commercial landscape for print and marketing service providers, including sign makers and graphics producers, Canon can help visitors to Fespa 2019 explore the range of opportunities to develop their business,” says Christian Unterberger, chief marketing officer and executive vice president of production printing products at Océ. “By understanding their product offering and client base today and their ambitions for the future, we can give them a clear sense of direction and inspire them with a positive view of the many avenues to improve and even transform their business. Their focus may be broadening their portfolio into new application areas, or their priority may be to optimise production efficiency. Either way, we can support them as they navigate their chosen path with an extensive range of end-to-end technology solutions, backed by business development and applications expertise. Fespa is therefore an important strategic platform for Canon.”

It’s a view shared by Barbieri electronic’s vice president of international sales and marketing Wolfgang Passler. “Our products are dedicated to the signage and digital printing market and therefore this is our most important trade show,” says Passler. “We are there mainly to launch a new product, but also to get new and meet existing customers.”

He adds that Fespa is the “most important trade show in signage and digital printing in Europe and for us it is a must to be there. It’s the best occasion to meet people and showcase our products”.

Of course this year’s show takes place under the looming dark cloud of Brexit, which some people fear could put a dampener on proceedings. Whether or not the situation will be resolved by the time the show commences is doubtful, but Fespa’s Guarnori says that to date the organiser hasn’t seen any negative impact on the strength of exhibitor commitment to the event, or on the response from prospective visitors.

“Pre-registration levels have been consistent and both Fespa and European Sign Expo continue to attract new exhibiting brands and first-time visitors,” says Guarnori.

The terms of the UK’s exit from the EU could well be a talking point at this year’s event, but thanks to the organisers’ efforts there are plenty of other things for exhibitors and visitors to discuss when the show kicks off next month.


When 14-17 May

Where Messe Munich, Germany

Opening times 14 May-16 May: 10:00-18:00; 17 May: 10:00-16:00

Entry fee If you pre-register before the 13th May 2019 using one of the promotional codes found on adverts and marketing promotions, entrance is free of charge. Visitors who pre-register without a code will be charged €40 online or €70 on the door. Entrance fee includes German City Tax. Tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable. 

Co-located with European Sign Expo 2019 in Munich, is Europe’s largest exhibition for non-printed signage and visual communications. This show will exhibit the latest products and innovations from more than 100 exhibitors.

For more information visit and download the show catalogue from here.

NB Fespa 2019 will not permit any persons under the age of 16 into the exhibition as there will be live machinery in operation. Identification will be required where deemed necessary.

Fespa Gala Night 

The annual Awards Gala Night is on the evening of 15 May. This is an opportunity for attendees to Join Fespa in celebrating the very best of print in Munich, with the winners of the Fespa Awards 2019 announced. The event is open to all members of the print and signage industry. The organisers promise a “fantastic evening of live entertainment, a sumptuous three-course meal, an electric atmosphere and an unforgettable night of celebrating the very best in print!”

Where Lowenbraukeller Munich, Nymphenburger Str.2 80335

When 15 May, from 18.30

Fespa Daily

PrintWeek is proud to be once again producing the FespaDaily, the official daily newspaper of Fespa Global Print Expo.

In partnership with the leading German title, Druck & Medien, a team of English and German journalists will produce the dual-language FespaDaily live from a specially built newsroom on the show floor.

The 24-page newspaper will cover all of the news as it happens: the deals, the launches and everything in between. In addition, it will offer insightful and thought provoking analysis of some of the key trends at the event. The editorial team’s key objective is to ensure that no delegate’s visit to the show is complete without securing their copy of FespaDaily, which will be available at all of the hall entrances, registration points and other high-traffic areas.

The team will also create a special daily Fespa news email bulletin that will be sent to more than 40,000 key players in the wide-format sector, which, along with the Daily, will ensure maximum penetration of the global marketplace and ensure that latest news and views of the world’s largest wide-format show will be broadcast to the global industry’s leading players.

To register to receive our daily Fespa 2018 bulletins during the show, you can sign up to our exhibitions bulletin here. And to receive your copy of the FespaDaily, simply make sure that you’re at the show – because we will be.


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