Fespa: Identifying opportunities

Applications to take centre stage at the show, with the message being how printers can boost profits by “exploring the wider opportunities”. Jon Severs from PrintWeek UK reports on what to expect

17 Feb 2012 | By www.proprint.com.au


First there was revolution, then there was evolution, and in 2012 it is all about application – keeping up with the themes of Fespa Digital certainly requires some concentration.
However, this changing focus just reflects the quickly changing focus of the sector it serves. Digital has come a long way very quickly and this year is about taking stock to work out what can be done with the power and potential that has been created.

“The key theme this year has emerged from a great deal of research in our print community,” says Fespa managing director of exhibitions and events Neil Felton. “They all seem to be looking to discover the huge range of applications their kit is capable of. It is our job to help them. Exploring the wider opportunities, then, is what Fespa Digital 2012 is all about.”

This year’s show has moved from the unassuming Hamburg to the Mediterranean glamour of Barcelona, and the show itself will be a much-changed beast, according to Felton, with every facet of the exhibition geared to the mantra: ‘How will this help printers make more money?’

“We need to focus on giving our visitors as much advice as possible about all the opportunities, so we have invested almost double the amount of money as last time in our feature content,” says Felton. “For every feature we have asked ourselves, ‘will this be of benefit to the visitor?’ So rather than necessarily having presentations about pieces of machinery, we are doing things like the Big Bucks Cafe, the Explore Conference and the Print Shop Live.”

The Big Bucks Cafe will be an eatery with a difference: it will be adorned with a vast array of products showcasing the possibilities of digital print. Print Shop Live, meanwhile, will be a fully functional live print shop, showcasing full end-to-end workflow, from design software to RIP solutions, and multiple output devices using different print technologies and finishing. In addition, the Explore conference will provide workshops aimed at giving practical advice to printers.

There will also be a focus on the environment, with the Planet Friendly Printing Zone and the Planet Friendly conference and workshops. All three are geared at aiding printers with practical advice on becoming more sustainable.

 “I think the conference and workshops are going to be really effective, as previously the eco elements have been left in the background,” says managing director Tony Moscrop.

That’s not to say that applications and the environment will leave little room for innovation – there will be lots of new technology on show from across the digital production process. Optimus and GMG will both be launching new front-end solutions, with the former launching Optimus Cloud, a modular-based web-to-print software program that can be integrated with Optimus MIS and workflow solutions. GMG, meanwhile, is not revealing too many details of its entry into wide-format digital, other than to say it will be showcasing a new comprehensive front-end workflow automation system.

As for presses, Epson will reveal the new SC-S30600, a 64-inch (162.6cm), four-colour eco-solvent roll-fed printer; Fujifilm will be giving a European debut to the Acuity LED 1600 UV printer; and Mimaki will do the same with its new TS34-1800A Sublimation Transfer Inkjet Printer. HP, meanwhile, will give the first showing at a major international exhibition to the new HP Designjet L28500 and HP Designjet L26500 printers that use latex. It will also be providing transport for the 25 minute trip to its GSB Experience centre to see other presses, including the new HP Scitex FB7600 press.
HP is a corporate sponsor for the exhibition and HP EMEA marketing director Ronen Zioni says that, although the shadow of Drupa looms large, Fespa will still be a very significant exhibition.

Different audiences
“The Drupa audience is not necessarily the same as the Fespa audience,” he explains. “Small and medium-sized enterprises in this sector tend to go to Fespa, rather than Drupa. We haven’t invested as much into this year’s show as previous years, for the obvious reason that we have Drupa as well, but we still consider this a significant event.”

Felton concedes that Drupa will have an impact on the Fespa show, with pre-registrations understandably fewer than last year, but he argues, as does Zioni, that the audience is different, so the impact will not be felt extensively.

“I wouldn’t say it was a shadow, as around 80% of our exhibitors won’t be exhibiting at Drupa as well,” says Felton. “Likewise, though we are not expecting as many visitors as last year, at the moment we are faring better in terms of pre-registrations than the last Fespa Digital held in a Drupa year, and we are also faring better than Fespa Digital 2009. In addition, we expect as many decision-makers this year as there were last year. As far as I am concerned, the outlook is positive.”

Many UK printers seem to share Felton and Zioni’s opinion and will make the short hop over to Spain to attend the show. Augustus Martin group sales director Daniel Pattison says that Fespa is the best exhibition for the company, as – unlike other shows – Fespa is completely focused on the sector that Augustus Martin operates in.

Speedscreen managing director Tim Hill is another long-term Fespa attendee and says that this year, as much as ever, a visit is a must.

“In such a fast-moving industry, it is important to go,” he explains. “I understand some major players may not attend as they’re concentrating on Drupa, but for me that’s a mistake.
“I am looking primarily at fabric printing this year; at dye-sub options. I think this is a market that is growing in awareness and popularity in the UK – it’s long overdue as the event is already huge in the rest of the EU.”

And that is really what Fespa is all about – identifying new markets and growing opportunities. Printers from all over the world will come together at the Fira de Barcelona and share their expertise and experiences, and all who attend will have something new and hopefully profit-harvesting to take away with them. So if you are in the digital print market or eyeing a move in that direction, it may well be that a trip to Fespa Digital is worth the journey. 

Fespa Essentials
  • Date 21-24 February
  • Location Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via, Barcelona, Spain
  • Price Attendance is free if you pre-register (fill in your details at www.fespa.com/digital/en/register.html) or €25 on the door
  • Opening times 10am-6pm every day except Friday, when the show closes at 4pm
  • Exhibitors More than 400 companies will be showing the latest in digital print technology
Key attractions Apart from the exhibitors, there will be: 
  1. Big Bucks Cafe This cafe will be full to the brim of printed products, showcasing the wider opportunities of print. The cafe will also have internet access, so visitors can enjoy a drink and a snack while collecting their emails and browsing the web
  2. Print Shop Live Print Shop Live will be a fully functional live print shop, showcasing full end-to-end workflow from design software to RIP solutions and multiple output devices using different print technologies to finishing
  3. Wrap Cup Masters Series One of the most animated and exciting elements of Fespa Digital, the Fespa Wrap Cup Masters Series will take place each day during the event, featuring a host of vehicle–wrapping superstars
  4. Planet Friendly Printing Zone If you are on the look-out for free, impartial advice on how best to embed sustainable printing techniques into your business, be sure to pay a visit to the Fespa Planet 
  5. Friendly Printing Zone, located on Stand B15a
  6. Explore Conference The schedule is packed with talks by print and media experts and starts at 11am


The four-day show will be held from 21-24 Februaru at Fira de Barcelona, Gran Via in Barcelona, Spain.