I’m not really sure what to make of last week’s Fespa show. Most journalists in the press office, being typical media types, spent as much time discussing if the Hamburger came from Hamburg as they did talking about wide format printing.
The Hunkeler Innovation Days may have started out as just another open house event, but it has evolved far beyond that into one of the most compelling events on the print industry calendar.
If we’re honest, last week’s InPrint was a very small show. It didn’t even fill a single hall at the Munich Messe, and was tucked away around the back at the Eastern Entrance, which is closer to the tube station but lacks the grand entranceway with the pond full of swans and the broad driveway with all the flags fluttering languidly in the breeze, as flags do.
The graphic arts have become increasingly industrialised over the last five to ten years, as standardisation has taken much of the craft aspect out of the business. So it’s hardly surprising that many equipment vendors are now looking for opportunities in manufacturing industries. But what are those opportunities, and what exactly is industrial printing?
This week sees the second outing of the InPrint show, this time in Munich, starting on Tuesday. It’s hard to define industrial printing. It includes conventional print technologies such as screen and wide format, but also more niche elements like 3D printing and some novel approaches to inkjet. It covers a wide market, from automotive, electronics and white goods to interior décor, as well as a fair bit of packaging.
There’s a technical conference with some 60 sessions and a second show, Productronica, which covers electronic manufacturing. I’ll be there so look out for a report later this week.
Now that this year’s label show is all done – and I’ve had a chance to write the stories that people actually pay me for – it’s time for a final appraisal of the show.