The PrintPack brand is so strong that accusations and disruptions in the course of organizing its 13th edition in February 2017 were overcome by the unity of the IPAMA members. Although it is not clear to us if the organizational issues raised before drupa in May 2016 have been resolved completely, at least the PrintPack exhibition went off well and has received much praise for the way it was organized and managed. The 13th edition of the show, to our mind, was well attended by Indian visitors as well as by visitors from neighboring countries. The NPES Conference, which was held alongside, was also a great success and saw good attendance.
Exhibitors were pleased by the visitor response to an exhibition where many had questioned the quality and quantity of visitor promotion. Nevertheless, whatever and however it was done, it worked! One must acknowledge the efforts of the exhibitors as well, especially those who had invested a great sum in booking space and installing running machinery. They saw the PrintPack event as an important event for continuing their success in the Indian and South Asian market; and even in the face of various uncertainties, kept the faith and backed up their investment in both previous shows and this one.
The location of the event—Greater Noida Expo Center—was also key to the success of the show. Although somewhat out of the way, the location is well connected by the Taj Expressway on the way to Agra. By the time the next PrintPack rolls around, there will be Metro Rail services running and this could become an exhibition with even better footfall. The present site seems to continue to improve with more built-up space that is ready for heavy machinery to be placed on the floor and also improvements in the overall security, parking and other facilities.
PrintPack 2017 was a print exhibition with more than the benchmark 300 exhibitors that are needed to call it an international or global event. In fact, there were around 400 exhibitors with a large number of important international companies, especially from China and Japan. Increasingly we are seeing both direct presence of these companiesin India as well as crucial tie-ups with more reliable and active distributors. Of course, the great motive is the wide-ranging interest of Indian printers in modernization and investment in every technology. It is the purchasing interest and needs of Indian printers and print service providers that is really driving the exhibition.
What the show demonstrated was the current face of ‘Make in India’ in the print equipment, consumable and software industry. Many of the manufacturers have evolved to the next level of technology since a large number of globally certified automation components are available in the country. Print in India continues to grow right from newspapers, to books to every kind of print and on practically every kind of substrate and surface. India, too, is an example of ‘Whatever can be printed on will be printed on!’
Overall, the exhibition this year demonstrated both what can be achieved and where we are heading. One can only congratulate the printers who came from far and near; the exhibitors who invested and put up a remarkable and useful show; and the organizers who stuck together and performed with teamwork and grace. Let’s work together and fix whatever needs to be fixed, and look forward to the next PrintPack event that will take place in 2019.