Sign India New Delhi 2022 held

Raises question on the safety of in-person exhibitions

Sign India
A wood laser engraver on display at Sign India 2022. Photo IPP

The New Delhi edition of Sign India 2022 was held from 15 – 17 April at Pragati Maidan in the capital. The exhibition is mainly directed at indoor as well as outdoor signage and wide format printing for advertising and solutions for digital signage. Signage industry service providers and equipment and consumable suppliers participated in the expo.

Caldron Graphics which is the official dealer for HP Latex wide format printers was present with demarcated sections for HP and its own range of signage applications. The HP Latex 700W and HP Latex 335 printers were displayed in the HP section of the stand while the Caldron area showcased Caldron CJ 4008 with the Seiko 508 GS-12 PL printhead. Other Caldron printers shown were the QI-1605 with Epson DX5,DX7/XP600/13200 printheads; the Caldron CS1325A CNC router engraver; the Caldron CS9060/CS 1390 acrylic/wood laser engraver; and the Caldron FY-1600 DA auto hydraulic roll-to-roll laminator. Caldron also exhibited its range of signage inks – solvent ink CG 06 plus, solvent ink CG 06, and solvent ink CG 25.

Sign India
Rajat Mitra, director Caldron Graphics and official dealer for HP Latex series with the HP Latex 700W at the HP stand at Sign India 2022 show in New Delhi. Photo IPP

JX Enterprise displayed its JXE GZC 3202 SG Plus and JXE AC1800 UV, entry-level 1.8-meter roll-to-roll UV printer for outdoor, indoor, and illumination signage. Unique International exhibited its Excitech range of CNC engraving router while CDI (Colors Digital India) showcased the CRJ 0408 S12i/1024i 4/8 heads printing equipment. Benson Polymers exhibited its range of bonding solutions for the signage industry which included Polyfix instant glue, and Polyfix kit.

Apsom Infotex, which is the authorized dealer of Roland and Colorjet in India, was present at the exhibition. Apsom is currently promoting Colorjet’s complete portfolio along with Roland SG2-540, SG2-640, SG2-300 large format inkjet printer/cutter; Roland Versa Express RF-640 wide format printer; and Versa UV LEF2- 300D/300/200 benchtop UV flatbed printers. The Apsom stall, however, did not have any printing equipment on display. Digital Vision showcased its Vision Jet inks for Konica, Xaar, Seiko, Spectra, and Proton eco-solvent inks, LED UV and mercury lamp inks, and pigment and dye inks.

sign india

Konica Minolta India, Lisco Systems, VN Technology, CMT (Chanlong Manufacturing & Trading), Daksh Enterprises, Asian Cards, Sign Tech India, GB Tech, SS Infotech, Britomatics India, Sun Sign & Technologies, Akshar Sign Technologies, SS Industries, D-Kit Media, Umpire Technologies, and SDT (Somya Digital Technologies).

A fire broke out at the exhibition on the first day of the event (15 April) and the entire Hall 11 of Pragati Maidan, where the exhibition was taking place, had to be evacuated. This unfortunate accident spread dismay among the exhibitors participating in the event as they lost hours of precious exhibition time. The hall was opened to the public only after 3 pm in the evening. This adds another safety question to in-person events and exhibitions.

Even though there is an uptick in fresh Covid-19 cases in the capital with the city reporting 366 cases on 15 April and 461 fresh infections on 16 April, there was a lack of Covid-19 precautions practiced at the exhibition. There was a huge crowd at the registration counters showing little regard for social distancing, and the majority of the attendees were without masks. We could only locate a single sanitizer dispenser at the show. This again raises the question about superspreader events and the safety of exhibitors and visitors at in-person events – even as a threat of a new wave of Covid-19 looms ahead.

Poor footfalls blamed on lack of promotion

Our team interacted with several exhibitors who lamented the lack of advertising and promotion from the organizers of Sign India, BusinessLive Trade Fairs. The exhibitors complained that while other exhibition and trade fair organizers heavily advertised their shows through leaflets in local newspapers, fleet advertisements on eRickshaws, and autorickshaws, apart from billboard displays at strategic locations, there was minimum to negligible promotion efforts by the organizers. Some also complained of the lack of promotion on LinkedIn and relevant social media. As a result of the fire incident on the first day, and the general lack of promotion, the event saw limited footfalls.

The Chennai edition of the Sign India trade fair is set to take place from 17 – 19 June 2022 at the Chennai Trade Centre in Nandambakkam.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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