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The Print Show 2016 – a platform for innovation

With the second edition of The Print Show regarded as a huge success, we take a look at some of the major headlines from the three-day event

Last year’s inaugural The Print Show was a resounding success

Last year’s inaugural The Print Show was a resounding success

“If we build it, they will come”, was the battle cry of The Print Show team when the event was first announced at the end of 2014 and the show certainly did not disappoint in its first year, attracting thousands of visitors and some of the biggest names in the industry; Konica Minolta, OKI, Riso and Ricoh to name but a few.

However, as is the case with many new events, the second edition of the event is a much harder task, with a certain level of quality to maintain, as well as the requirement to out-do the previous year’s show by introducing new content and exhibitors.

Walking around Hall 3A of the NEC in Birmingham in mid-October, it was clear that The Print Show achieved just this, with the thousands of visitors that were in attendance seemingly impressed with what they saw.

Speaking shortly after the show, Event Director Chris Davies said: “After the success of our inaugural event last year, we were extremely confident heading into this year’s show and I’m really pleased with how it went. Not only were we able to bring in a number of new exhibitors, but also record a significant increase in the number of visitors that attended the show.

“The feedback we’ve had from exhibitors has been really good and I’m pleased to hear that so much business was done at the show, not only by those visiting, but also between exhibitors,” he added.

Retaining and adding quality

In addition to returning exhibitors, including major brands Konica Minolta, OKI and Riso, the organisers were also able to secure the signatures of new exhibitors such as Duplo, Spandex, Friedheim International, Apex Digital Graphics, Intec and Xeretec/Xerox.

And while the presence of so many major names on the floorplan was enough to bring significantly more visitors that last year, what also caught the attention of many was the return, and addition, of various show features, including the very popular Traditional Print Masterclass, where visitors were able to take a look into print’s past and view some of the technology that helped shape the modern print industry.

Also returning this year was the Business Seminar Theatre, which played host to a series of informative sessions, including a presentation from Julia Bradbury of the BBC’s Countryfile, who,in partnership with Premier Paper Group, looked at the benefits of going green and adopting an environmentally-friendly approach.

The Software Training Theatre, this year sponsored by Roland DG, was the stage of daily sessions from the likes of Adobe, Corel and Quark, while visitors who fancied a break from the action were able to return to the Printers’ Arms, which was sponsored by Harrier Print. An added bonus at The Print Show’s pub was the opportunity to face off against snooker great Ken Doherty in a game of pool.

Print Show 2016
Print Show 2016

New this year and a feature that was heralded as a major success by organisers and visitors alike, was the Printers’ Bazaar, which played host to six sections, each dedicated to a certain area of the industry that traditional print companies can expand into; 3D print, stickers and vehicle wrapping to name a few.

Getting down to business

However, as is often with shows like this, it is all about what happened on the floor and what business was done over the three days.

Many of the major exhibitors reported sales, Cascade Group, a London-based commercial printer signed a contract for a Konica Minolta C1085 digital press at the show and Grayson Print and Design ordered a C71 High Chroma device as well as a Vivid Matrix Foiler/laminator on stand. Another sales success for Konica Minolta was with Canada-based greeting cards and gift packaging set-up GiftInTime, who purchased a C1060L for its new UK operation.

First-time exhibitor Duplo conducted sales of over £400,000 during the three days. The highlight on the firm’s stand was its new PFi DI-Cut 300 die cutter, which was handed its UK launch at The Print Show. Such was the popularity of the machine, that Duplo actually sold the model that was on display at the event!

Sarah Crumpler, Duplo UK Marketing Manager, said: “The show has certainly lived up to expectations. We’re delighted at not only the quality of leads, but the real interest in our market-leading systems that have provided the perfect opportunity for UK printers to come and get their hands-on with live application printing. All our systems are designed to enable customers to work smarter, faster and more efficiently.”

Another successful company from the finishing side of print was Intelligent Finishing Systems (IFS), which had one of the larger stands at the show this year after attending in 2015 on the IPIA’s stand. The move to its own stand proved to be a shrewd move from IFS, who sold three Foliant laminators over the three days, as well as generating a lot of interest in its new Horizon SmartSlitter, which also had its UK launch at the show.

Managing Director Bryan Godwyn said: “We had a great show. We signed a number of deals for our Foliant laminators and there was a lot of interest in all of our solutions including the foiling attachment for the laminators. The Horizon SmartSlitter also drew a lot of attention.

“We have secured some business and have set up a number of meetings with operations keen to enhance their bindery capabilities. There was some great positivity at the show and we hope this continues to grow throughout the industry,” he added.

Print My Ride

Other big news from The Print Show this year included the launch of OKI’s new ‘Print My Ride’ initiative, which was officially unveiled on the opening day. The competition, which runs through to March next year, challenges designers to create a design for a British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race car. The manufacturer was also showing off its ColorPainter E-64s, which it has billed as an entry-level, eco-solvent inkjet printer. Visitors to The Print Show were able to see the machine on the Signmaster Systems stand at the NEC.

Also making news at the show was new exhibitor Intec, which used the event to showcase a host of new products, such as the ColorCut 500 label cutter, ideal for labels and packaging as well as the ColorFlare, with the company showing the finishing effects achievable when using lamination films, spot gloss films and special effect ‘flaring’ foils.

On the wide format side of print, pandex showed the Swiss Q Print Impala 2 on its stand at The Print Show, demonstrating the model and explaining to visitors the type of work that they can take on when using the device.

Also in this sector of the market, RGB UK sold three wide format print devices on day one, while Grafityp reported 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.

In addition, Colourbyte was keen to draw visitors’ attention to Epson F-Series, which it has recently begun distributing in the UK. Tim Stockley, Director of Colourbyte, said the firm experienced a lot of interest in the range at the show, adding: “Textile printing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the wider print market and machines in the SureColor F Series offer the more traditional print companies the opportunity to expand their business and add new revenue streams.

“The Print Show was the perfect opportunity for us to speak to companies that are thinking of expanding their business and show how the machines we stock can help them access the opportunities on offer in the market.”

SignLink Live

Major news that broke just before the show, and was discussed in-depth during, was the launch of SignLink Live, a new event that will run alongside The Print Show when it relocates to the International Centre in Telford next year.

SignLink Live will host sign-making industry suppliers and manufacturers, as well as the products and services that span everything from built-up LED illuminated letters, through to digital signage as well as materials for wrapping buildings in graphics. Davies, who will serve as Event Director of both shows, said the two events will take the entire venue in Telford, which spans some 10,500 sq. m. (113,021sq. ft.).

Davies said: “We’ve already spoken with a lot of new and potential exhibitors about both The Print Show 2017 and the debut SignLink Live, and the feedback we are getting is really positive. There is a clear demand for a show like SignLink Live, and with an established brand like The Print Show to support it, we are very optimistic about where we can go with this new event.”

The dust may have settled for this year, but going by what both exhibitors and visitors have said, The Print Show is only set to grow. This year’s impressive performance not only stands the show in good stead, but also helps whet the appetite for SignLink Live ahead of its launch next year.

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