Nottingham-based specialist distributor ArtSystems has enjoyed a buoyant 2015 and has plenty of irons in the fire for an even better 2016, says Ted Freer, Sales Divisional Manager.
We recently took some time out to ask the InPrint Co-Founders Marcus Timson and Frazer Chesterman three important questions to help understand more about the thinking behind their InPrint show. Nothing clever from us here - we've simply asked the questions we feel most people would themselves ask if Marcus and Frazer were stood in front of them.
1. Why is InPrint important to the Print Industry?
FC: I am going to be direct, because this is our ‘call to action’ for the Print industry. InPrint is the most important ‘Print’ event in 2015. If you are really serious about looking at the future of your print business, then you should take a few hours to take a look at this event. You can get a free activation code at the end of the article.
Why? Because our industry is changing and the technology you will see at InPrint is different. I’ll give you an example: if you attended one of this year’s traditional wide-format or label shows, you might have seen bigger, better, faster….. which is fine, but this is about persuading you to buy a new bigger, better, faster machine to compete in a crowded market.
What you see and experience at InPrint is something entirely different, something new, somewhere different to sell your print services. This 'somewhere’ is the market that all of the manufacturers and all of the researchers recognise to be where the new market is going.
Consider also the way that DRUPA have changed their approach for next year’s show - with emphasis on areas such as print innovation, inkjet, functional print and 3D print - to me it is clear that things are changing. We are not focusing on an established and mature segment that is not really growing at the pace that it previously has been. The growth in industrial print technology whether it is inkjet, 3D or the continued growth of industrial screen print is greater than any other.
With our previous experience and our knowledge and understanding of growing exhibitions in developing markets combined with our partnership with Mack Brooks (One of Europe’s most successful trade show organisers) we are well placed to deliver a fantastic second event in Munich.
MT: It is important for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason I think is the fact is that his show is at the pinnacle of what print technology is capable of. InPrint is not a mainstream show. It is a show dedicated to advanced printing technologies that are pushing the boundaries of what is possible within manufacturing so as a result it is about now and the future. It is a unique show for visitors wanting to solve complex production problems and unlock new potential. It is not really a box shifting type of show.
2. Why should a visitor decide to attend the show? What will they see and experience?
FC: I’ll give you three good reasons to visit the show:
Firstly, this event is the only exhibition that focuses 100% on the evolving technology that we all refer to as ‘Industrial Print’. And it is clear from the research by all the major research bodies – IT Strategies, Infotrends and Smithers PIRA - that this is the ‘growing‘ part of the print market and it is set to continue this growth trajectory for the next few years. So if you are a printer who is considering where your business will come from in the future, you should at least be looking at this sector.
Secondly, we are fortunate enough to have over 80 speakers from the ‘Industrial Print’ sector delivering high value content in our InPrint Conference programme. This content is available without any additional cost to all visitors and is within two Theatres on the show floor, so easily accessible and representing the most comprehensive educational programme available in this format for 2015. I think attending for that alone is a no-brainer. If you are thinking ‘where can I go to understand more about the new developments in print', then Messe Munich 10-12th November is the place. You also get the extra value of your ticket giving you direct access to both InPrint and Productronica.
Thirdly, as a leading exhibition with one focus, we combine respected, traditional Industrial print methods such as screen print with the truly new and innovative technologies such as inkjet and additive manufacturing for the industrial segment.
What was really interesting last year with the first InPrint show was the number of visitors from the manufacturing industry. This is unlike any other print show in Europe. There is no denying that this show bridges the gap between the print sector and the end user Industry – with large numbers of visitors registering from the automotive, aeronautic, electronics, white good manufacture – and the developed/integrator market – helping us to develop an event that allows the print industry to rub shoulders with the a different part of the supply chain. But undoubtedly it's the sector that is really becoming excited by print technologies.
MT: They will see plenty of new products and ideas, meet experts who are able to solve complex problems and learn from over 60 conference sessions. It is not a show for posters, paper or anything you would expect to find at a regular print related trade show. If however a visitor is keen to develop new technologies that fit within a very specific manufacturing sector or marketplace, then this show is the perfect event that will provide unique access not only to advanced and sophisticated technologies for screen, digital, inkjet, speciality and 3D printing, but the expertise and people who know how to solve these problems.
3. What is your Vision for the show / and for the industrial print in the future?
MT: The show mantra is to ‘Lead the Future of Industrial Print’. So in this sense it is to continue to position the show to provide our growing industrial print community. Industrial printing is also unique in its growth. With 36% average growth across all sectors between 2012-2020 it outpaces any other print segment so if anyone is interested in joining this rapidly growing sector then InPrint is the show to attend.
FC: As the fastest growing Print technology event of 2015, we have a clear vision of growth. From the Hannover event in 2014 to the Munich event of 2015 we have seen a 50% increase in the number of exhibitors and we are have doubled the amount of conference content. No other event in the print industry has done this in 2015, so we are clear that there is an accelerated interest in the subject of industrial.
We believe there will be certain key trends which our show programme will match. For next November 2016, we will be in Milan, Italy and the emphasis will be on the decorative sector covering textile, glass, plastics, wood and ceramics for both interiors and exteriors as well as fashion. Whilst in Germany we will continue to see the functional and packaging sectors grow. We will also observe trends further afield and look to reflect significant industrial print developments with events to match the interest and demand on this exciting and developing sector.
There’s a psychological condition called ‘Imposter Syndrome’. It was first recognised back in the 1970s. At that time it was believed that only women seemed to suffer from it, but it isn’t sexist - it can affect anyone. Famous high achievers like Albert Einstein, Neil Gaimen, Terry Pratchett and Jim Carrey have all bowed under the condition, and if you are intelligent and a perfectionist the chances are you have too, at some point in your career.
In what has proved to be a politically turbulent month, Chancellor George Osborne has announced that he will present the 2015 Autumn Statement in conjunction with the Spending Review, on Wednesday 25 November. All eyes will be on the Chancellor as he presents his Statement opposite the newly elected Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and shadow Chancellor John McDonnell.
In the following blog, digital ink guru and General Manager Industrial Inkjet Inks at Agfa Graphics, Jan De Vooght, explains that ink, inkjet technology and ongoing ink developments are every bit as important, perhaps more so, than the latest all signing and all dancing hardware.
Go to any trade show and it is the inkjet printers that seem to take centre stage, gathering the largest crowds and the headlines. But although a great deal of attention is given to the mechanics and the output capabilities of the various inkjet engines, the ink technology itself rarely gets a mention.
However, it is not the hardware but rather the UV ink formulation that determines the suitability for each of the many applications of industrial printing.
Special ink formulations are indeed crucial for meeting the special requirements of most all industrial printing applications.
First of all the newest generations of print heads used in today’s inkjet engines require inks with excellent jettability and accurate dot placement. In particular compatibility with the newest print heads with speeds of up to and over 100m/min is required. This requirement calls for inks that feature high reactivity and ultra low viscosity capable of 4, 8 and 12 picolitre droplets.
With the increasing demand for industrial printing on various substrates such as plastics, metals, glass… all having different wetting properties, the ink formulations need to be tuned to the proper surface tension characteristics.
Industrial UV inkjet applications no longer print exclusively on flat surfaces. Inks are deposited directly on the product and are exposed to the same ambient conditions as the product itself during its entire lifetime. Chemical and abrasion resistance are therefore an absolute requirement. This can be achieved by the choice of unsaturated organic molecules, typically a mix of molecules with different degree of functionality. They form the bulk of the inkjet ink formulation, which after a sequence of radical polymerisation reactions will form a solid cross-linked network that determines specific physical properties of the cured ink layer, such as scratch resistance, solvent resistance, flexibility, and more.
In addition to this, pigments must be selected to have a good balance between colour gamut and outdoor resistance, e.g. for Sign & Display applications.
Perfect rendering of small print or fine details is equally becoming important for applications such as passport printing or the imprint of barcodes, QR codes or RFID tags.
Each of these requirements and many others are determined by the ink formulation and the design of inkjet inks has become a business on itself.
Built on experience
Agfa has a history of designing and developing high-tech consumables and components of inkjet printing, with focus on the interactions between these components, including the ink, the substrate, the piezo print head and the waveform of the piezo-electrical crystal, i.e. the sequence of electrical pulses that are applied to determine the drop size.
Agfa Graphics can also boast previous experience in applying functional liquids on various substrates, which gives us a leading edge over other ink manufacturers. Our R&D skills result in customised inks that can be formulated according to a list of technical specifications and with the purpose of fulfilling one of the following needs:
• Tuning of system-ink to the characteristics of (a) given inkjet device(s)
• Quality upgrade of an inkjet system through improved ink formulations
• Customised ink formulation for special (new) applications
With respect to the latter, Agfa Graphics has an extensive assortment of UV ink formulations that can be modified according to the specs for a given application – sometimes confined to certain conditions or requiring the ability to accommodate a wider variety of conditions. An example is the labeling industry: Next to general purpose UV inks which are designed for a broad range of label substrates (paper based and plastic based, as well as substrates primed, or pre-printed with flexo ink, or post-printed varnish), Agfa Graphics has also developed an UV ink set targeted specifically for paper based labels as well as another UV ink set targeted specifically for plastic based labels.
The industrial print applications can go pretty far. When Eartha, the world's largest revolving and rotating globe, was in need of restoration FedEx Office stepped in to give this landmark at DeLorme Headquarters, in Yarmouth, Maine (US) a facelift. With the Jeti 3020 Titan large-format printing technology, using UV inks on corrugated plastic, FedEx Office was able to reproduce the 792 map panels that comprise Eartha. Thanks to this creative use of industrial printing technology, visitors from around the globe will be able to admire this Guinness World Record attraction for years to come.
For more information on Agfa Graphics' involvement in the Eartha Globe restoration project, please visit: http://www.agfagraphics.com/gs/usa/en/internet/maings/products_solutions/customers_experience/fedex.jsp
Jan De Vooght
Live with people you love, work with people you trust and respect, and write as if your life depends on it because, one day, it just might. Who said that? I did, and apart from the writing bit I think it works as an ideal life principle for just about anyone.
Of course ‘ideal’ is the catchphrase here. Not everyone has the opportunity to make that step into an ideal world, some will spend their lives with people they have to put up with (at best) and work in a job that fills them with loathing alongside people they hate. My heart goes out to them.
At some point I must have done something good enough to earn some luck. I’m married to my ideal partner and I work with people on Large Format Review (LFR) who offer a level of support, enthusiasm and professionalism that allows me to enjoy my job without undue pressure. This isn’t some sort of smug statement about how well off I am, it’s more profound than that. It’s about making the right choices and seizing opportunities when they present themselves.
I’ve been working within the sign industry for nearly two decades, and I have gained a number of friends over the years. The majority of people I’ve got to know have been hard working and intelligent businessmen and woman who know when to roll their sleeves up but also when to have a good time. I haven’t spent the last 19 years grinning like a loon but I have spent most of it smiling and laughing while talking with up-beat, positive characters who pepper their words with humour and more. So many off-the-record conversations, non PC, blue, vulgar and strange − long may they continue.
Gates of change
When the chance to work with Marc Burnett, Abi Ricketts and the LFR / Format team came onto the radar it felt very much like I was being invited to join an exclusive club whose motto is proudly displayed over the bright doorway ‘Sit scriptor habere nonnullus fun’ (Let’s have some fun) and laughter peals from the windows. Abi’s welcome grin has become one of the highlights of S&D UK and Marc’s rapid wit is notorious. Now I join them.
Work hard, we’re told, and enjoy the rewards. Joining LFR feels like earning a reward for doing what I enjoy most, writing. Polishing some decent prose or taking a poor sick puppy of a press release and nursing it back to life are meat and drink to me. Stripping out over-enthusiastic superlatives to uncover an item of real news or putting boots on the street and visit a supplier, manufacturer or workshop to create fresh copy and tell a good story well, this is what makes the week sing. I work out of the public eye most of the time and it’s my words that have to enter the spotlight. When the stage they must perform on is LFR, one of the best, most prestigious in the business, I’ll make sure they’ve polished their shoes and washed behind their ears so they’re fit for their new audience.