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Market Trends

The Print Show Review Part 1

Jo Golding rounds up the show reports from this year’s edition of The Print Show, taking a look back at the equipment investments made, contacts formed, and successes had

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OKI launched its Print my Ride campaign at The Print Show. Designers can now upload their race car artwork to be in with a chance of winning

The Print Show moves up a gear for 2016

Before we take on another year, we thought it would be beneficial to take a look back to The Print Show 2016 and remember the successes had at this second-year show. In this two-part special, we have pulled together the reports from each of the three days of the exhibition.

The Print Show 2016 kicked off on Tuesday October 11th with visitor numbers at 5,916 by the end of the show. With a host of old and new exhibitors, many of which had stepped up their game with even more technology on display than last year, it was clear that it was certainly an exciting time to be in print.

O Factoid: Attendance figures at The Print Show 2016 were 5,916—with the biggest increase seen on the middle day of the event. O

First stop was the OKI stand. The printing technology manufacturer had just launched an exciting new campaign, Print my Ride, challenging designers to create a design for a British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race car. It all started at 11am on the day, when you could officially upload your artwork to OKI’s website (www.okiprintmyride.com/submit/)—and it is open until March.

There are six categories: Best overall visual design based on use of colour and style, Best use of ColorPainter capability based on technical application, Best professional creative designer, Best design from educational establishment (school/college/university), and Wild Card, judged by most social media shares. Winners will see their design on a 1:18 scale model car, and receive an all-expenses-paid VIP trip for two to a Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event in 2017.

Also on the OKI stand, and new to the show, was the ColorPainter E-64s, an affordable entry-level, eco-solvent inkjet printer. While the machine retails for £12,995 with RIP, delivery, installation, training, and a two-year warranty, you could get your hands on it for £11,995 at The Print Show through Signmaster Systems, making that trip out of the office highly beneficial.

Andrew Hall, marketing manager of OKI, says of the exhibition: “We came last year and it was massively successful, which we hope to repeat again this year. The quality of visitors is fantastic and we have taken this opportunity to show how our products have gone one step further than last year. We are offering a business in a box solution that will earn you income from day one.”

The quality of visitors is fantastic and we have taken this opportunity to show how our products have gone one step further than last year

Moving on over to Konica Minolta, you could get the answers to all of your questions at their ‘central hub’, from how to attract new customers, maintain high quality colour, and incorporate automation into your workflow.

One key piece of technology was the MGI Jet varnish 3DS for adding value to print, which Bernard Cassidy, head of marketing for the company, says is a key trend. Cassidy explains: “Adding value to short-run print is so important as well producing it quickly, using fantastic finishing equipment such as the JETvarnish or augmented reality; it all adds profit.

Konica Minolta highlighted the importance of fantastic finishing to add value to print, using equipment such as the MGI JETvarnish 3DS

“Production print is one of the key areas Konica Minolta are focusing on. The Print Show gives us the opportunity to take our products and show them to visitors who may not be able to come to our own showroom. Here we can tie all our solutions together in a controlled environment; it’s also a great location.”

Encouraging young talent

On the same day we were treated to a prize giving ceremony led to Neil Lovell, chief executive officer of The Printing Charity, in regards to a design competition held with the Print Futures Awards winners. The talented designers were asked to design a flyer for unlimited sweets on the Print Monthly stand. Melanie Edwards, Paula Caffrey, and Keir Mucklestone-Barnett were the lucky winners, taking away £250 of Amazon vouchers and luxury hampers. Lovell explains how there is a skills drain and it is essential to encourage young talent into the print industry.

(L to R) Brendan Perring, editor of Print Monthly, winners Paula, Melanie, and Keir, and Neil Lovell, chief executive officer of The Printing Charity

Exhibiting at The Print Show for the second time was Newtown Tapes. Showing how the exhibition has developed since last year, the company showcased not only its X-Treme Light, which the company brought to the show last year, but also the X-Treme Pro, which made its UK debut. The machines both apply double and single sided tapes, however, the Light version is ideal for small and medium sized businesses, and the Pro is suitable for large-format and POS businesses.

Jacob Underwood, head of machine sales and marketing for Newtown Tapes, comments: “We have had a couple of enquiries already. We really heavily marketed ourselves for The Print Show as we have brought such niche products to the show, which we’ll be constantly demonstrating throughout the show, so it’s a really hands-on stand. We are hoping to pick up some new customers and it’s a great opportunity to get out in front of people.”

Intec brought a number of new products to this year’s Print Show with on-demand digital print a key focus of theirs. The company debuted its Color Cut 500 label cutter which is ideal for labels and packaging, featuring pneumatic vacuum feed technology which separates the sheets to avoid misfeeds caused by static.

Also launched at the show was the new Color Flare, demonstrating the finishing effects achievable using lamination films, spot gloss films, and special effect ‘flaring’ foils. What is unique about the machine is you can load two rolls onto the system, meaning users will no longer have to move heavy rolls on and off the machine, making the whole process quicker.

Terri Winstanley, head of marketing and PR at Intec UK, says: “There is a real trend for premium products at the moment and for something a bit more special. You can still do it fairly cheaply with the equipment available today.”

There is a real trend for premium products at the moment and for something a bit more special

Over on the Spandex stand, there was so much to feast your eyes upon as the company brought a broad range of products along, as well as demonstrating live vehicle wrapping using 3M materials. Alongside its own ImagePerfect brand of materials, from digital vinyls to meshes and textiles, Spandex showcased a range of its partner brands’ equipment such as Roland DG, Epson, and HP.

Stephen Pridham, Swiss Q Print and Zund sales manager at Spandex UK, showed visitors all that the Swiss Q Print Impala 2 has to offer. The six-colour digital flatbed printer with a 2.5 × 2m printing table ran on a roll-to-roll system at the show, and Pridham has seen a lot of interest from the screen and litho market already. Spandex was another company offering a discounted show price, something exhibitions have become known for.

Equipment investments soar

On day two of The Print Show, the true impact of the event become clearer as exhibitors revealed several sales of major pieces of equipment, demonstrating the investment printers are making despite uncertain economic times.

RGB UK sold three wide-format print devices, including a new Canon Pro Series printer, resulting in a total of £25,000 of equipment sold on day one.

Grafityp sold a Roland DG SG 540 to The Vinyl Guys, which was set to be installed at the end of November, and the company has also procured a few other positive leads too.

Grafityp sold a Roland DG SG 540 to The Vinyl Guys during The Print Show

Neil Stevenson, sales director at Grafityp, says the company had a positive show and saw a lot of interest in the Roland DG LEF-20 and LEF-300, the TrueVis range, as well as the new M Series of print media and overlaminates.

Stevenson notes: “What is positive is that people are not afraid to invest if it will lower costs down the line. They are looking at the long-term plan. Here at Grafityp, we see a lot of potential in the commercial print market which is why The Print Show is ideal for us. The organising team have worked even harder this year and if it continues I’m sure the show will go from strength to strength.”

The ComColor GD9630 from Riso is a five-colour machine including CMYK and the addition of grey

Renz sold a MOBI 500 to ESP Colour and Dermot Callaghan, sales manager at Renz, explains: “ESP Colour’s calendar production has shot up and the binding machine was the perfect solution for them. It’s really easy to use and there are possibilities outside of calendar season to do book work too, so it’s a versatile machine.”

Renz also showcased the AP 300 COMPACT, which was launched at Drupa, and Callaghan says there was plenty of interest at both Drupa and The Print Show. Renz also displayed the Total Koil Binder (TKB) and the Total Cut and Bend (TCB), the latter of which is perfect for those looking to produce thicker plastic coil work.

Duplo was another company on a selling streak as it sold numerous pieces of equipment at The Print Show, such as the  PFi DI-CUT 300 and the iSaddle Pro Digital Booklet System. Indeed, its final sales total topped £400,000.

There were plenty of equipment sales at The Print Show, including Duplo, which sold a PFi DI-CUT 300

Sarah Crumpler, UK marketing manager for Duplo, says: “We are bringing what we showcased at Drupa to the UK and highlighting the key technologies we provide. The Print Show is providing us with a great platform to obtain new business leads and we have managed to secure 14 already.”

The iSaddle Pro Digital Booklet System is ideal for brochures and catalogues, and now produces more books per hour, as well as being more efficient due to a software update.

The Print Show was the ideal place to take a look at the latest equipment in action, however it was not just about the technology, you also need the skills to go alongside it.

One exhibitor demonstrating this perfectly was Antalis. Mike Bennett, marketing manager of Antalis, says: “We want to support commercial printers and communicate with them through many different channels. One way of doing this is through our Digital Academy with our wide range of courses, as it’s not just about selling products, it’s about giving people skills.”

Antalis has a wide range of courses on offer at its Digital Academy to get the skills to match the equipment

In terms of trends, Chris Green, head of channel sign and display at Antalis, comments: “Diversification is a real trend. You’ve got the machine, now there are so many other things you can do with it. Direct mail is also coming back as people like to touch and interact with something physical rather than email these days.”

Antalis also partnered up with Drytac this year to demonstrate many of its large-format graphics, such as Polar, Spot On, Chalkmate, and Floortac. This product segment is a particular focus for Antalis in 2017, which will see it expand its portfolio.

So, do not miss the January issue with our remaining Print Show observations returning in part two of this special look back, and otherwise we wish you all a happy, prosperous New Year.

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