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This week ESMA confirmed Sean Smyth as keynote speaker for Advanced Functional & Industrial Printing (AFIP) 2016, which takes place on 2-3 March in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Sean Smyth is a print consultant and author who has spent over 25 years in the industry in senior technology positions for a variety of print businesses across the supply chain. Sean has a deep knowledge of digital print and a strong background in appropriate application of technology to print; this includes implementing digital print systems, MIS, and workflows to take time and cost out of the print supply chain.

At AFIP 2016 Sean’s talk will focus on functional and industrial print, and the rapidly emerging use of printing-for-profit in novel areas outside the traditional graphics and packaging arenas. This will capitalise on Smithers Pira’s exclusive data for this segment, drawing on research used to produce the latest Smithers market report The Future of Functional and Industrial Print to 2020.

Sean will offer insight drawn from the report into the key trends that are driving business opportunities. These include new niche applications, such as printing electronic circuits; as well as extra value-adding options in more mainstream print markets, such as decorating promotional goods, architectural glass and home decor, for example.

Sean said: ‘There are many new areas of functional and industrial print growing rapidly, with printed electronics coming to maturity in circuitry, display and photovoltaics. There is also huge growth – and a healthy dose of hype – in 3D printing. We are seeing medical and healthcare applications use print, with much interest in biosensors to monitor the condition of more people as they age across the world.

‘Real-world experiences, and how the functional and industrial print sector is changing, are not widely known and understood. The sector offers enormous opportunities to a beleaguered commercial printing sector, and events like the AFIP 2016 conference provide a platform to promote and explore these.’

The functional and industrial printing industry is a dynamic one, with exciting developments across its many sectors. Collectively, the industry is worth $67 billion in 2015 and is expected to exceed $107 billion in 2020.

In Japan, several of the largest printing companies report very large businesses producing decor, laminates and printed electronics, exploiting their printing skills on behalf of customers to manufacture products more efficiently.

Inkjet is growing strongly in many areas of functional printing – promotional items, ceramics, glass, electronics and décor – not to mention 3D. Additive manufacturing is being studied in pure and applied research labs in universities, and at large companies, with new fluids and techniques being described and brought to market. Equipment and software companies are also keen to spread their capabilities to industrial 3D printing, an exciting and rapidly growing sector of the functional and industrial print industry.

With Sean’s in-depth analysis of key market drivers, trends and the cutting-edge technologies making real impact on the industry, delegates will gain a unique insight into the future of industrial and functional print.