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Wed, Sep

Will wide-format continue to be a money spinner as we look towards 2017? According to those print chiefs debating the state of the sector at the annual Image Reports Round Table the answer is ‘yes’ - but with caveats (see feature p14).

Hey! We have a new website here at Image Reports – click though (http://www.imagereportsmag.co.uk/) to have a look-see. The updated site makes it easier to navigate through news, features, blogs and all the other lovely add-ons we bring you like round tables, Widthwise, show previews…. Let me know what you think.

News of Data Image taking a Kongsberg C automated robotic production system makes me wonder how many more of you are looking at robotic systems as we head towards 2017. Have you the money, space and type of workload that would benefit from such an investment? A question for the upcoming Widthwise Survey methinks!

As a BAPC special missal succinctly outlined following the Autumn Statement, the National Living Wage will rise from £7.20hr to £7.50hr next April, and that same month the tax-free allowance will be raised from £11,000 to £11,500 (rising to £12,000 by 2020) and National Insurance contributions from employees and employers will be aligned at £157 per week. Insurance Premium Tax will rise from 10% to 12% from June next year, and Corporation Tax is slated to fall to 17% by 2020. What does all this mean for your business? Let me know.

Will you be visiting Heimtextil in the New Year? If so, drop me a line – I’m interested in talking to digital large-format orientated PSPs about textile print and how it might impact the sector in 2017.

Given the continual debate about what is meant by ‘industrial’ printing I’d be interested to know if you attended InPrint, and whether it gave you any insight as to how you might establish an industrial print service.

It’s great to see results of collaboration between this sector and creatives – and the dress from Yuima Nakazato using Fuji inkjet know-how and kit/consumables just shows how far the boundaries can be pushed. Let’s see more joint ventures coming to fruition – loving it.

So, Fespa and Esma are jumping on the industrial print bandwagon with the launch of the Industrial Print in Production conference. As inkjet printer manufacturers seek help to scope-out new contacts in new markets for the technology they initially developed for graphics arts sector it’s understandable that they have turned to the bodies they have long supported. It will be interesting to see what former Fespa chief Frazer Chesterman, who with ex-Fespa colleague Marcus Timson run InPrint, will think of that. Their event takes place in Milan this week! But what do you think?

So first we have the Brexit vote, and now a Trump presidency. At our annual Round Table event with PSPs on the state of the wide-format print sector (write-up in the forthcoming December issue of Image Reports) there was a degree of angst over what Brexit would mean for those trading with Europe. And, according to Christian Stadler, of Warwick Business School: "Trump's victory brings a similar uncertainty as Brexit did. For UK business it is a particularly big threat as trade with Europe is likely to decline as a result of Brexit, so companies have to offset business losses, but the US will also be a more difficult place to trade with.” So how’s that likely to impact on where you do business outside the UK – will it thwart your plans?

I’m just starting to pull together the questions for the 2017 Widthwise Survey, which will kick off in the New Year. As the whole point of this annual exercise is to deliver Image Reports readers with a grassroots view of the large-format print sector, it seems only sensible to ask if there are specific questions you would like asked of your colleagues and competitors! Let me know if there are…

The environment is back on the agenda. It would be great to feel it never fell off – but hands on hearts, how many PSPs have over the last few years dismissed it as a box ticking exercise they could do without. According to the findings of our annual Widthwise survey, plenty have thought just that. But retailers, via increasingly robust CSR programmes, are strengthening their environmental supply chains, largely at the behest of the public.

As you read this I’ll be on my way to The Printing Charity’s 189th annual luncheon in London. The organisation - and the funds it distributes - could do with a higher profile so that those in need know they have somewhere to turn. Can you help spread the word within your business? Details can be found at: www.theprintingcharity.org.uk

I don’t usually flag up offers on my enewsletters, but I thought this was worth an exception. The organiser of Digital Print Europe has said that given it's Halloween - and its own MD’s birthday! -  it is running a special one-day discount for the event. There’s 100 Euro off the fee for the Digital Printing Conference, or 200 Euro off the total if you register for the conference and a supporting event. You need the special code to register online: HALLOWEENDPE16

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