The printing industry will demonstrate its capabilities at viscom, the International Trade Fair for Visual Communication, Technology and Design which will take place from 25 to 27 October in Frankfurt. This is where the leading domestic and international manufacturers and service providers in the segments of machinery, components, materials and services for digital printing will be exhibiting. Once again the trade fair will display the major themes and developments in the industry.

Large format prints of ever increasing size, special effects with metallic inks, excellent print results on a wide range of materials including glass, metal or plastic: The technical developments in the print sector continue to open up new areas of applications. Digital printing is on the advance in this field.

The focus will be not only on new technologies and applications. Increasing efficiency and productivity in printing, as well as environmentally friendly technologies are topical issues in the industry.

Major industry themes

Large format advertising catches customers’ attention – for the printing industry this is a business field with great future potential. ‘Already we encounter many large format printing products in our daily lives: at bus shelters, in department stores and supermarkets as well as many other places,’ said Susanne Rösner, Product Marketing InkJet with Agfa Graphics Germany. ‘Existing market segments will complement niche applications and thus create a broader basis. Some of the printing assignments still produced by classic offset printing today will be printed digitally in future, and the proportion of large format prints in the packaging market with its manifold possibilities will continue to grow. In screen and textile printing, there will also be more large format print applications in the creative field. Due to their high degree of specialisation combined with limited print runs, large format print jobs as the driving force for the entire company offer considerable profit potential,’ said Rösner.

To fully benefit from this trend, companies must at the same time become even more efficient: ‘Optimisation and automation of processes are major parameters for satisfactory productivity. New software, printing technology and further processing products for optimisation, automation, and for monitoring possible sources of error are our top performers to be presented at viscom 2012’, said Joachim Rees of Multiplot Europe. ‘The possibility to run several thousand different automated print jobs within a short period of time is also the logical consequence of another trend, that of ‘web-to-print’’. Another important issue is the question of sustainability, where Rees sees a need for further discussions within the industry. ‘Global trends such as ‘green printing technology’ are very promising but rarely meet with recognition in the form of customers’ willingness to pay a higher price. ‘Greenwashing’ practiced by some suppliers also results in a lack of clarity. In this respect, consumer education is required,’ said Rees.

Customer service and continuous adaptation and extension of the product range are important factors for Timo Keersmaekers, Marketing Manager with Roland DG: ‘A very important trend is the search for added value. White and metallic inks are becoming important assets to meet the clients’ wishes. Another trend is the increase of the possible colour combinations, so you can really select the colours you need,’ said Keersmaekers.
The combination of various techniques of visual communications is gaining in importance. ‘The large format and digital signage segments are merging to an increasing degree, and offer customers a potential practically undreamt of,’ said Michael Wartmann, Marketing & Projekt Manager with Mutoh. Wartmann also sees great potential in digital printing, also in the textile segment: ‘Especially in interior design, this segment still offers large growth opportunities. One trend clearly indicates that customers are not interested in a single product but in solutions tailored to their needs. This is a challenge especially for manufacturers. Integration in existing industrial workflows is one of the key concepts here.’

Lots of novelties in digital printing

At viscom, companies will again demonstrate that they have many innovative answers to current challenges and trends. Many new printing machines as well as improved units will be on display. NEOFLEX Printer from Bavaria is a case in point. For this year’s viscom, Managing Director Daryl Gooley announces as many as three novelties in the UV-LED machines segment, two flatbed printers and one roll-to-roll unit. A highlight will be a printer capable of printing 1300 x 800 mm formats on materials with a thickness of up to 300 mm.

The trade fair highlight at Multiplot Europe will be the Teleios Grande V18. ‘We already exhibited a prototype last year. Now we are delighted to be able to present the serial machine which has also been installed several times already. High-quality textile print with a resolution of 900 dpi is applied and fixed to Georg Otto Friedrich fabrics,’ said Rees. ‘However, sublimation transfer printing is also seeing a comeback with new products by Mimaki and Klieverik. As far as further processing is concerned, the focus is on products by Matic. In the software segment, as an Ergosoft distributor we present the Special Rip Texprint and the Automation Engine by Esko.’

Roland DG presents itself with several focal topics at viscom. There will be a highly efficient solution for printing and cutting in a single machine, new colour combinations will be presented, and a further topic are Eco-UV inks. ‘Innovation and efficiency are key words,’ said Keersmaekers. ‘We will show brand-new solutions with more colour combinations, higher print speeds and better ease of use.’

Agfa Graphics Germany is going for an effective total solution including further processing. ‘Agfa Graphics confronts this challenge and will present the ‘:Jeti 3020 Titan’ at viscom which can be adapted in speed and functionality in line with economic developments and individual requirements without any loss of quality. In conjunction with the modular print system, a digital cutting and milling system with multifarious cutting applications will be additionally presented, which is automatically actuated by a workflow solution’, said Rösner. The modular printing system stands out with its high resolution and high productivity.
Mutoh also presents itself as a versatile and innovative supplier. ‘In addition to our presentation of new products and participation in ‘PrintDesign’, our new end customer promotion will certainly be the trade fair highlight with its clear priority of building customer expertise’, said Michael Wartmann, Mutoh.