Will you be driving to Birmingham for Sign and Digital UK or flying to Berlin for Fespa Global Print Expo 2018? We bring you the low-down on both to help you make the call.
At A Glance
Sign and Digital UK
Where: Halls 17-18, NEC, Birmingham.
When: 24 - 26 April 2018
Times: 10am - 5pm, Tuesday - Wednesday, 10am - 4.30pm, Thursday
Cost: Free. Pre-register online at: bit.ly/2DrKZi1
Where: Messe Berlin, Germany
When: 15 - 18 May 2018
Times: 10am - 6pm, Tuesday - Thursday, 10am - 4pm, Friday
Cost: Free if you use a promotional code (found across Fespa marketing collateral) or 40 Euro online, 70 Euro at the door
Yup, it’s that time of year again. Sign and Digital UK and Fespa Global Print Expo 2018 are practically upon us. So are you going to one, or both? No doubt you can get online to check the basic info about each show’s format so I won’t duplicate it all here, but there are a few things worth pointing out to those of you still wavering about attending.
First show first then - and you’ve got to give it to the organisers of Sign and Digital UK for nabbing Mary Portas, ‘Queen of Shops’, to deliver the keynote address in keeping with the show’s 2018 theme ‘creativity brought to life’. The retail/branding expert - who will take part in a subsequent Q&A and tour the show floor on the opening day - says that “with my Sign and Digital UK audience I will aim to cultivate a new confidence in diversification. I look forward to rallying with business leaders from these adapting sectors and offering advice among small business owners who are looking to explore ways of getting ahead of their competitors.” Get in there.
This year Sign and Digital UK is also introducing a TV studio for a series of practical, interactive sessions, panel debates and keynote talks will take place in the Sign and Digital Live space. And there are three new demonstration areas - Spandex will run a Vehicle Wrapping Live demonstration, Antalis a Decor Live demo and Hybrid a Textile Printing Live demo.
Surprise, surprise, Fespa 2018 too will have new show features! In line with what Fespa CEO Neil Felton says is its duty to ”inspire, educate and grow the speciality printing sector” we will see a new ‘Print Make Wear’ fast fashion/ garment printing showcase/seminar programme, as well a new ‘Digital Corrugated Experience’. Both are designed to encourage new visitor types to the event and have been earmarked as natural tangential markets for the Fespa community
‘Print Make Wear’ will take form of a live production environment highlighting every step in the screen and digital printing production process, from initial design to finished product. A fashion catwalk will provide the ‘wear’ part of the equation. Non-fashion textiles production kit will be spread throughout the main show.
The ‘Digital Corrugated Experience’ will combine short seminars and business-building discussions with suppliers to the sector.
Fespa 2018 will also boast a new Printeriors format to better showcase possibilities in printed decor. Drawing on the show’s ‘take off’ campaign, it will be themed ‘airport lounge of the future 2030’ and take the form of room-sets in the atrium of the Messe Berlin.
Fespa has also amalgamated the seminar streams for the 2018 event. The whole programme of free talks will this year take place in one location - the Trends Theatre.
Off site, Fespa will announce the winners of its awards at a gala dinner on 16 May - entries will be on show at the messe. European Sign Expo - for non-printed signage - will again run alongside the main event.
New and Novel
AXYZ (Stand F20)
The Trident hybrid CNC combined routing and cutting print finishing system will be shown by AXYZ International, which will also showcase its 24/7 tools and accessories online resource. This constantly upgraded facility accommodates the requirements not only of AXYZ and Pacer routers but also virtually any other machine regardless of make or country of origin.
Esko (Stand J10)
Alongside its Kongsberg C64 and Kongsberg X24 cutting tables finishing specialist Esko will demonstrate its software portfolio - Studio structural design software and ArtiosCad for 3D projects, i-cut Suite to optimise prepress production and Automation Engine Quickstart for Sign.
Graphtec (Stand A50)
New and recently launched plotter/cutters will be running on the latest Graphtec Pro Studio dedicated software. This is based on the FlexiSign family of design and production software developed by SAi for which Graphtec GB is a preferred business partner and distributor in the UK and Ireland.
A new addition to the CE series of roll-fed machines will be the entry-level CE Lite-50. It has a cutting speed of 500mm/sec, a 50cm-wide roll media handling facility, and incorporates Graphtec’s latest proprietary Version 7 of ARMS (Automatic Registration Mark Sensing)
Hybrid (Stand E10)
For the first time, Mimaki distributor Hybrid will show the entire range of Mimaki’s UCJV Series LED UV printer/cutters alongside solvent printers and printer/cutters. In addition to its main stand, Hybrid will also be running the Textile Printing Live Demo feature in hall 18.
Inktec (Stand G22)
The show will act as the UK launch platform for the Jetrix KX6U-LED printer which Joey Kim, MD, InkTec Europe, says: “heralds the arrival of a new suite of LED printers where we are looking to offer a range of various sizes and formats.”
The KX6U-LED supports rigid media up to 2,440 x 1,220mm and 100mm thick. Using Konica 6pl printheads it has a top resolution of 1440 x 720dpi, and can print at up to 28m2/hr.
Neschen (Stand F42)
Neschen and ArtSystems are teaming up to provide a retro garage look to the stand and promote media’s potential for point of sales signage and interior décor applications
QPS (Stand K2)
As a Roland DG reseller QPS will provide the first UK demonstrations of the new VersaExpress RF-640 with ID-64. The 64in-wide printer uses a UVL ink to produce instantly dry output. Chris Bailey, QPS MD, says: “Thanks to its low power requirement, lower ink costs, and non-consumable printheads, it comfortably returns savings of around 65% when compared directly with latex output.”
As the main UK distributor for Nazdar inks, QPS will also host the company’s Ink Answers Live at the show
Soyang Europe (Stand F44)
“Getting back to basics with our Print Collection will be a real focus on our stand this year, says MD Mark Mashiter, pointing out that speciality products such as SoDecor printable wall coverings and G-Floor are now included. Artist Emily Campbell of Blue Butterfly Flooring will be at the show to highlight the creative side of the latter.
William Smith (Stand L36 and L40)
The recently renamed William Smith Group 1832 will have two stands: stand L36 will be divided to provide demonstrations of the latest vehicle wrapping and architectural decorative and special effect films; on stand L40 the recently formed Smith Sign and Display division will showcase the service and manufacturing capabilities available to the trade.
Zund (Stand K30)
Zund will be running one of its S3 M1600 cutters for roll and rigid materials on the Canon stand (H10) to demonstrate workflow capabilities with its printing equipment.
The finishing specialist will also have its own stand where it will show three cutting tables configured for different applications: a G3 3XL1600 will demonstrate textile finishing; a G3 L2500, fitted with the RM-L 3.6 kW router module, will highlight routing and polishing capability; a S3 L1200, fitted with a robotic arm, will flag-up automation developments.