Second edition of Screen Print Sri Lanka expo concludes with good response


The second edition of Screen Print, Sri Lanka expo (22-24 June 2018) concluded at Sri Lanka Exhibition and Convention Centre (SLECC) in Colombo. Sri Lanka being an emerging market, the exhibition received a good response.

The exhibition had more than 40 stands representing over 200 global brands. The products and services on display were related to screen printing, textile printing, sublimation printing and digital printing and signage. Besides Sri Lanka, products and services from India, China, Japan, Thailand, S. Korea, France, Germany, Turkey, Taiwan and USA were also on display.

Some of the leading textile printers in Sri Lanka visiting the event called it a great platform for exploring new technologies and see live demonstrations of different garment decoration techniques, traditional screen printing, new-age DTG, heat transfer vinyl films, sequin and stone motif machines, sublimation printing, textile embossing and tagless label printing by pad printing process.

For the Indian exhibitors such as Skyscreen, Lakshmi Bio Chem, TechNova (exhibited through local dealer), Hi-Tech Marketing, Chola Heat Press Machines (exhibited through local dealer), and Varsha Transprint, the exhibition provided an opportunity to display their export capabilities.

For the first time, Mumbai-based Skyscreen showcased its WTS Automatic Sequin Motif machine with constant live demo. The company also had on display Stahls’ heat press and heat transfer vinyl films and the live demonstration of the GCC cutting plotter.

TechNova showcased its range of prepress products such as positive output films, HP inkjet film printing machine, screen making chemicals, etc. through its local distributor Be Es En Traders. “This was our first ever screen printing exhibition in Sri Lanka. We participated in this expo to expand our presence in Sri Lanka’s screen printing market as we already have a strong presence in offset printing industry,” shared Pravin Jha, deputy general manager – Sales, TechNova Imaging Systems, Mumbai.

Surat-based Hi-Tech Marketing, manufacturer of sublimation paper, was another Make in India brand which participated in the event. “Sri Lanka being one of the growing hub of garment/textiles, by participating in this expo, we tried to boost our market presence and we received well-focused visitors,” said Amit Jha, business head of Hi-Tech Marketing.

“Sri Lanka is an important market for us, and being a manufacturer of a wide range of textile printing inks, the expo gave us a platform to showcase Make in India products in the overseas market and we received many new business leads,” said V Prakash, director of Lakshmi Bio Chem, Tirupur.

As a value addition to the exhibition, a series of technical seminars were conducted. The seminars on textile printing vis-a-vis garment decoration were conducted by Charlie Taublieb, Taublieb Consulting, USA, who is an international textile screen printing expert, a board member of ASDPT and a member of SGIA. On the other hand, Charles Arputhaswamy, a screen printing consultant and a printing technologist, conducted a series of seminars on advanced screen printing with special focus on screen making and industrial printing.

In addition, the Charlie’s Corner, a separate hands-on training lounge, witnessed a big rush of knowledge seeking visitors who wanted to learn the art of textile screen printing from Taublieb.

Taublieb demonstrated T-shirt printing on the 6-color M&R manual carousal textile screen printing machine. “I am quite happy to see the enthusiasm of the Sri Lankan printers who asked some sensible questions during my technical seminars. The growing Sri Lankan garment printing market certainly needs knowledge upgradation,” said Taublieb while commenting on the Sri Lankan textile market. The Charlie’s Corner was supported by Inkuin, a Turkey-based textile screen printing ink manufacturer.

The exhibition was supported by Screenprinting and Graphics Imaging Association of India (SGAI), INGRIN Institute of Printing and Graphics, Colombo, and South India Printers’ Association (SIPA). The 3-day exhibition was inaugurated on 22 June 2018 by Ranjit Fernando, president of Sri Lanka Association of Printers (SLAP), along with Ananda Wickremaratne, managing director and chief executive officer of INGRIN and the board members of SGAI, Taublieb, and other invited guests and exhibitors.

“The technical seminars being organized on the sidelines of the expo were really beneficial to the printers at large,” said Fernado.

Commenting on the exhibition, Wickremaratne said, “It is appreciable that an Indian exhibition organizer (Aditya Exposition) has well thought of organizing a trade exhibition related to screen and textile printing for the second time in Sri Lanka. Such exclusive screen printing exhibitions were never held in Sri Lanka.”

Devang Sheth, director of Aditya Exposition concluded saying, “The expo was also an opportunity for some of the Indian exhibitors to proudly showcase Make in India products in an overseas market. Many of the exhibitors said that they received focused visitors’ footfall, rather than overcrowding. They said that they could spend a lot of time with potential customers. Most of the overseas exhibitors were very optimistic about the Sri Lankan market and wish to expand their presence in the island nation.”

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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