BIG DREAMS become reality at FESPA
Updated: May 21, 2019
Freshly back from FESPA Global Print Expo 2019 in Munich Fraser Church, General Manager of CPX Group, provides his initial reaction to what was on show.
Firstly, there was a real positive vibe at the event. This was an industry on the move. You could feel the excitement about developments in the wide format, speciality print and signage market. This was not just about the equipment, but more about what you could do with it. There was inspiration in bucket loads, with exhibitors showing off some great applications and out of the box thinking. Advancements in quality, capabilities and speed are catalysts for a growing market.
Gone are the days of questioning the print quality of inkjet print. Like the leap in quality for commercial print, where inkjet quality is getting up to the levels of toner-based output, the quality on wide format for commercial applications has reached the tipping point. This is not about delivering great quality at limited speeds, but now about great quality at high speed and across a whole range of substrates.
If the wide format presses get any bigger then they will need bigger halls. Bigger presses with high speed inkjet nozzles mean greater output. HP came to the market with their HP Stitch S1000 claiming production speeds up to 220 square metres an hour, output levels claimed by a number of manufacturers. In real terms, this means a single press can produce enough output to cover the Wimbledon Centre Court in an hour! And not to be outdone, there is some big and clever finishing equipment to keep up with the output.
I was blown away by the deep blacks, vivid colours and subtle tones produced by a wide range of presses. Wide format presses were also running specials. But this was not just about having quality for one piece of output, there was considerable focus on the ability to colour match across different production equipment and substrates to ensure brand integrity.
I was amazed by the lack of print on paper! Everyone wanted to show off what could be produced on fabrics, cardboard, wood, ceramics, metal building claddings and also glass. In fact, if you stood still for too long, you were likely to have something printed on you! So, what were my favourites three?
Firstly, I can why understand how digital print of fabrics is taking off. The ability to produce high quality fabric print is revolutionising the industry, allowing fast turn round and short runs for clothing manufacturers. However, fabric is not only used in clothing, and some great examples of furniture, interior design and accessories such as handbags were on display in a wide range of materials, including leather style goods using Tessy’s stunning range of digital ready fabrics.
The most lingered over area must have been The 2019 World Wrap Masters which were held at FESPA. New and exciting materials were used to show off how you can truly pimp your ride. High gloss, matts or metalics, the range of materials used matched the skill of the individuals applying them. It gave me inspiration to take my old banger on a road trip to CPX’s partner Leaderform who are helping transform vehicles of all shapes and sizes.
Finally, display material. Be it glass, wood, aluminium sheeting or constructional board, the substrate industry is helping homes and businesses transform their look and feel on demand. Indeed, CPX’s member Hansaprint is experiencing an increasing demand for their on-demand décor and retail display solutions.
But it not need only be for business applications. Combined with printed fabrics, the show helped focussed the visitors with a “Printeriors” set of showrooms to show the art of the possible for the home. The concept of uniquely designing your home interior is now an affordable reality – architects will have a field day!
This was not just technology for technology’s sake! Real life examples of imaginative new business models were shown. Specialised software for setting up your own personalised print on demand shop to be integrated with your production software was on show; plus, there were workshops on “Print. Make, Wear”, showing how printers can get into the clothing market.
Big Presses, Big Options and Big Ideas were there to be had. It was a trip well worth making and is already in my diary for the 2020 event in Madrid to see what next Big Steps have been made. In the meantime, ask your local CPX partner if you want some big ideas about using wide format printing.
Article by Fraser Church, General Manager of CPX Group