Five Fespa awards to Indian printers

Fespa 2018

Fespa messe Berlin
Fespa messe Berlin

Even though Fespa’s Global Print Expo has been reduced from five to four days, this year’s edition in Berlin has been packed like never before. As many as 720 exhibitors compacted in nine halls, with 115 additional exhibitors in the adjacent European Sign Expo and close to 23,000 visitors. While the Global Print Expo covers its classical triad of screen, textile and digital printing, Sign Expo focuses on non-printed visual communication, a combination that is particularly relevant for companies active in industrial printing, textile printing, display- and sign-making, and the production of Point-of-Purchase items. Originally a very European setup, both events have increasingly been determined by Asian manufacturers, particularly from Japan, China, Korea and Taiwan, but in Berlin a strong trend towards companies based in Russia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East could be observed. The number of Indian exhibitors has also been on the increase, this time.

A daily five-hour seminar program—the Fespa Digital Corrugated Experience Conference—pointed participants at the rapidly rising application of corrugated board in displays and Point-of-Purchase products. At the conference sessions, the major business trends—short runs, versioning, customization—were confronted with the technologies enabling these: file management, substrate selection, ink types, digital printing technologies, coating, and finishing.

In addition to the mainly Japanese multinationals dominating this market and other companies represented by their European subsidiaries, the official statistics for both trade shows included 80 exhibitors from China and Hong Kong, 20 from Korea, 12 from Taiwan, 5 from India, and 3 based in Thailand and Singapore.

A regular face at Fespa, Noida-based ColorJet presented its recent Vulcan UV, a 7-color roll-to-roll printer in three versions: the 3201, a 3.2 meters wide entry-level printer with 7 Kyocera printheads, the 3202, a 3.2 meters wide high-end printer with 14 printheads, and the 5 meters wide 5002. The Vulcan UV is based on CMYK plus light magenta, light cyan and white, with CWC white technology to keep color hues identical when unlit in daytime and backlit at night, and Intelligent Pass Optimisation to maintain consistency in the printing of multiple print patterns. The company brought three other presses to the show—a TXF pigment ink printer for fabrics, a Metro production printer and an Aurajet 3.2 meter dye-sublimation printer. With 3,500 installs in India alone, ColorJet claims a 40% market share in the country.

Navratan, based in Ahmedabad and also a regular at Fespa shows, showcased samples of its flex banners, foam boards, inkjet inks, tarpaulins and knitted fabrics.

Listawood from Chennai is the manufacturer of RN Duraglaze, a coating to make dye sublimation prints on ceramic merchandising, such as mugs, dishwasher proof.

Zibo Paper Tech from Gujarat came to Fespa with its range of dye sublimation papers.

Excel Plastics, a manufacturing plant based in Ireland but owned by Jain Irrigation Systems from Jalgaon, showcased a range of PVC foam substrates used in displays, digital printing, shop fittings and interior design.

Two other companies, Eptanova from Italy and Cosign/Lucoled from Belgium, exhibited products manufactured in their respective Indian plants. Eptanova produces inks and coatings, whereas Cosign/Lucoled is a designer and manufacturer of poster frames, displays, LED modules and sign-making tools.

Fespa Awards
At the Fespa Awards event, five of the awards went to Indian companies. In the Functional Printing category, all three prizes went to companies from India. Gold and Silver winner was Protolab Electrotechnologies from Mumbai for screen-printed motorbike autodials and membrane switches for medical applications. The Bronze winner was Keetronics from Pune for a screen-printed Glenfiddich whisky bottle box with an electroluminiscent display. In the Special Effects Garments category, Sri Lakshmi Fashions won Silver for its reverse-embossed, screen-printed design on textile. In the Special Effects Posters category, Print Vision Sainath Polylam won Bronze for a calendar with the Age of Empires theme used as a canvas showing the latest trends in printing.

Viscom, another series of trade fairs for the display- and sign-making industry, can be considered complementary to the Fespa shows, albeit with considerable overlaps with Sign Expo, as Viscom focuses more on ancillary equipment and materials such as processing equipment, milling tools, letter benders, LED technologies, ironmongery and the like. Organized by Reed Exhibitions, Viscom had to change its strategy lately because of insufficient participants. Last year’s Paris edition had been cancelled altogether, and the German edition is to stay in Düsseldorf, combined with PSI, an advertising-agencies-only event on marketing, and a new show, PromoTex, geared at promotional apparel and merchandizing. The upcoming Viscom series has been planned for Paris in September, Milan October 2018, and Düsseldorf January 2019.

Fespa’s next global edition has been planned for 14-17 May, 2019, in Munich, Germany. Other Fespa shows are to take place in Johannesburg, Mexico City, Istanbul, Bangkok and Sao Paulo between September 2018 and March 2019.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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– Naresh Khanna

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