Raj Manek: Our strategic orientation is based on sustainability principles - The Noel D'Cunha Sunday Column

Raj Manek, the executive director and board member of Messe Frankfurt Asia, says, the major trend in packaging and printing is digital, and it has enabled waste minimisation, maintaining high print quality. In this conversation, Manek discusses Messe Frankfurt India's upcoming trade shows and industry trends. Read on...

26 Feb 2023 | By Noel D'Cunha

PrintWeek (PW): How were the past 12 months for you?
Raj Manek (RM):
The last year was eventful for Messe Frankfurt India. The performance of our trade shows signalled a positive reset for us as an exhibition organiser. Talking about Media Expo in particular, the 2022 Mumbai edition had a record-breaking footfall, crossing our pre-pandemic (Feb 2020) numbers. With product showcases from 127 exhibitors including 17% new participants on the show floors, Media Expo 2022 garnered the best-ever footfall of 13,199 visitors and buyers from 15 countries and 27 Indian states.

Media Expo’s 49th edition in Delhi in 2022 was also buzzing with action with more than 132 exhibitors attracting a footfall of 11,338 visitors from 555 cities in India and 16 other countries.

PW: What are your plans for 2023?
Screen Print India – Industrial will be introduced as a segment targeting industrial print businesses. From woodwork printing, and stone engraving machines to laser cutting to 3D printing technologies, Media Expo’s printing segment covers diverse solutions. Representing a multitude of applications for functional graphics used for product promotions, industrial screen printing, therefore, opens up promising growth areas for print businesses.

Apart from these, Messe Frankfurt India along with the Screen-printing Graphics Association (SGAI) will also host the first-ever Industrial Print Excellence Awards – 2023 (IPEA). The award show will celebrate established and emerging brands steering innovation across the industrial screen-printing segment. We will also be hosting workshops on new products as a part of Media Expo New Delhi in the latter half of this year.

PW: Visitors have returned to expos and conferences in a big way. What kind of expectations do they have? Ample opportunities to connect, networking dinners, guided tours?
Post-pandemic, businesses, and corporations have started looking at alternative sources to manufacture and procure their raw materials. This has presented ample opportunities for Indian manufacturers to fill the gap and in fact, they have been doing a great job for the past two years. The visitors also have high expectations from these manufacturers in meeting international quality standards. 

To provide a variety to our visitors, we onboard many international exhibitors as well to meet their needs. The overall expectations include, but not limited to procuring new products, technologies and solutions from the exhibitors. Media Expo shows are one of the most interactive exhibitions conducted, as exhibitors not only showcase their new technologies but also have live demonstrations as well as sampling, providing real-time trial and testing of products giving a hands-on exhibition experience for our visitors. Of course, we always offer our visitors ample opportunities to connect and network with industry folk.

PW: Today, trade show organisers are making the extra effort to tap brand owners and print buyers from industries, such as food and beverage, food service, FMCG, beauty, and personal care, pharmaceuticals, and others. Describe your outreach programme?
We have associated with domestic and international industry bodies, like Delhi Printers’ Association, Screen-Printing Graphics Association (SGAI), European Specialist Printing Manufacturers Association (ESMA) and are looking forward to getting more associations on board which will help us in tapping our core exhibitors and buyers.

Over the years, Media Expo has become a recognised brand throughout the printing and branding industry and therefore, we have achieved a comprehensive outreach across the country, which is further affirmed through our visitor demographics each year.

PW: Almost all events have added new features. be it seminars and conferences or buyer-seller meets or hands-on training sessions, and workshops or developed collaborations association. What is the new component in your show?
Media Expo provides a hands-on experience to all its visitors by encouraging all exhibitors to host live product demonstrations and product launches. This allows the visitors to get an in-depth perspective on the product and developments taking place in the sector which would ultimately help them in making a definitive purchasing decision. Moreover, we onboard many international exhibitors to provide variety to our visitors, and more importantly, showcase the advancements that are taking place in the ad printing sector across the globe.

PW: One trend in packaging/printing that you have detected which you think can benefit the industry?
With the world talking about sustainability and technological advancements, it has helped us to put it into practice. Numerous aspects of practically every industry are trending toward digital technologies. The major trend we see in packaging and printing is also digital and it has enabled waste minimisation, maintaining the high print quality.

The focus on sustainable practices will certainly continue with increased pressure on businesses to maintain environmentally-friendly practices and a growing awareness and appreciation for these issues among business owners.

PW: Sustainability is the buzzword these days. What have you unveiled in the sustainability category?
Yes, as an organisation, our strategic orientation has been based on the principles of sustainability and sustainable business for decades. Our parent company, Messe Frankfurt has been a member of the United Nations Global Compact since 2010. Sustainability is a big topic – and as organisers we promote and highlight it within diverse industry sectors through our exhibitions and conferences. On that note, we have introduced two categories: non-PVC media for the wall graphics industry and non-PVC fabric for the retail industry.

PW: What is your show tagline?
RM: Media Expo 2023 - The branding show.

RM: PW: One tip to anyone who attends your show?
RM: Exhibitors, be ready to get new business; and visitors, come prepared to purchase and experience new technologies.

Arrow to showcase Canon and EFI wide-format presses

Canon Colorado 1650 and EFI Vutek Pro 30h will be the highlight kits for the Ahmedabad-based digital specialist representative of Canon and EFI.

The Colorado 1650 will make its India debut at the Media Expo 2023.  The Canon Colorado 1650 with FLXfinish+ technology offers opportunities for those catering to high-value and premium applications such as interior décor and wallpapers.  Using the UVgel piezoelectric inkjet printing head, the 64-inch wide roll-to-roll printer gives any application a matte, gloss or mixed matte and gloss finish without special inks, media, or extra varnish channels.  “The Colorado 1650 works with a new version of Canon UVgel ink, formulated for maximum flexibility by increasing the stretchability of each cured ink droplet,” said Sam Patel, CEO and managing director at Arrow Digital.

The CMYK Canon Colorado 1650 is specially designed for sign makers, print service providers and in-house printers, who need print quality of 1800 dpi with high durability.

At the stand, visitors will also see the popular EFI kit, the Vutek Pro 30h.  “The Vutek Pro 30h has been a showstopper for us. It’s a versatile, hybrid, high-production printer that delivers a stunning range of benefits,” said Patel. “If you are looking for a perfect 3.2m hybrid, then the EFI Pro 30h is the ideal choice.”

The Vutek Pro 30h is a CMYK printer that comes standard with two channels of white for those high-value prints. It features UltraDrop Technology 7pL printheads with grayscale printing up to 1200 dpi.  


Canopus to launch a new industrial printer

Mumbai-based solvent and eco-solvent wide-format printer manufacturer is set to launch a new high-speed 3.2 mtr wide industrial printer. The Cygnus, is capable of belting at a speed of 3,000 sqft/hour with instant drying supported by IR heater and drying fans.

The Cygnus uses an intelligent negative-pressure ink supply system, which, Canopus stated, assures the stability of printheads during high-speed printing. The Cygnus is built on a heavy-duty frame, aluminum beam for the best precision and to reduce vibration while printing at very high speed.

Besides the new Cygnus, Canopus will also showcase a range of its other wide-format models. 


The power of SignAgent software at Cosign stand

Pune-based signage specialist Cosign will unleash the power of software, simplifying the overall signage program management process, which includes designing, mapping, planning and management. The company has partnered with Canadian software company SignAgent to distribute its App-based cloud-based sign management platform.

According to Cosign, many sign makers still conduct sign or site surveys in the traditional methods using a digital or phone camera, pen and paper to collect photos, location plans, markup and specification of each signage. It’s slow, painstaking, prone to error and difficult to share with vendors or clients. “Easing this process is the SignAgent, which vastly reduces the time it takes to complete a signage survey,” the company statement said.


Kunal Enterprise to explain prototype-specific contract manufacturing

As an industrial print service provider, if you have something you want to do but are constrained because of the initial large investment at the prototype stage or want to proceed with prototyping without labour cost and mass production as soon as possible, what do you do?

Ajay Gandhi, managing director of Kunal Enterprise, says, Sakurai's prototyping and contract manufacturing business – SAP-CMS – can solve these problems. “With Sakurai’s prototyping and contract manufacturing, no initial investment, utilisation of our operators, and early mass production can be realised. Sakurai will have its printing presses and peripheral equipment (laminating, punching, slitting) fully equipped in the clean room of its factory. Customers do not need to invest in initial equipment and can utilise its operators with specialised skills such as manufacturing and production control.”

Gandhi and his team will explain a flow scheme related to Sakurai’s prototyping and contract manufacturing at the show.

Also on the Kunal stand will be samples of applications, multi-colour printed and embellished, produced with Sakurai screen printing machines.  German-based Sarlon will demonstrate new developments in the conductive inks at Kunal stand.

“There are some good projects that we are working on. Though Media Expo is touted as a digital show, we hope to demonstrate the capabilities of Sakurai screen printing technology and Sarlon’s conductive inks to the visitors at the Media Expo 2023,” said Gandhi.