FESPA 2013 Serves up Innovation

The big tennis tournament Wimbledon is on here in London this week, and it is also FESPA (Federation of European Screen Printing Associations), which every year is one of the biggest events on the global wide format signage and graphics industry calendars. This year FESPA is being held at the London EXCEL center and I’m particularly excited about FESPA because InfoTrends is a research partner of the FESPA organization and we have, once again, developed a very strong body of new industry research called The Worldwide Survey 4. This study takes the temperature of the signage and graphics markets in a number of ways including issues such as buying expectations and technology investment plans.

This year’s World Wide Survey showed two really important findings along those lines; first is that buying expectations are higher than they have been in the past (perhaps a sign that the European hardware markets are getting better), and also that the users have very strong plans to invest in UV-curable, Latex, and Eco-solvent inkjet to help them meet customer demands and grow their business.

FESPA is expecting more than 23,000 visitors and 650 exhibitors at its London event. “For printers who are still figuring out their route map, we’re delivering the richest and most relevant visitor program yet here in London,” said FESPA managing director Neil Felton.

FESPA 2013 is sure to be a treasure trove of new solutions announcements from key vendors. The InfoTrends team on the ground will bring a short daily digests of key announcements and product innovations. As Ron and I roam the FESPA booths we see evidence of a few critical trends that will propel this industry into growth and profitability.

  • Users are expecting and seeing complete integrated solutions from vendors such as upstream customer workflow to final managed productions across multiple devices and media.
  • An industry effort to effectively use standard production practices such as FOGRA and G7 that enable end users who are adding new production capacity to maintain high quality level
  • Emergence of production systems, media, and inks that are targeted at Industrial production of decorative materials such as ceramic, textile, glass, wood as well as functional components such as device control panels

The FESPA show has a lot of new printer technology on display for the first time. Examples include the new HP Latex 3000, which is the first “production” Latex printer, and the HP Scitex FB10000, which uses HP Scitex HDR printing, which promise to garner a lot of the attention at FESPA.

The Latex 3000, the first HP–Latex model that could be considered a really robust production solution with print speeds of 830 sq. feet per hour (indoor quality) and 1,290 sq. feet per hour (outdoor quality), uses a new ink set that dries faster and offers better image quality than previous generations of HP-Latex.

The FB10000 is the new flagship of the HP-Scitex wide format printer UV-curable lineup. The FB10000 employs HP-Scitex HDR printing, which is an innovation from HP that promises to deliver high image quality at high-speed. The basics of the HDR technology including “on-the-fly” variable drop size modulation based on pixel level image analysis. HDR optimize ink load, as well as speed adjustment for each print. This technology is a first for printer that runs at over 7,000 sq. feet an hour which the FB10000 is capable of. HDR is a generational technology, which means that unlike a lot of the other innovations HP has introduced (like new inks or new paper handling options), older models cannot be upgraded with HDR technology.

Another technology that is expected to take a big step forward at FESPA is the single-pass wide format inkjet printers that utilize Memjet technology. One such announcement was made by Xerox, which is launching the IJP2000. The early info on the Xerox model is that it will print up to 4,500 square feet per hour using water-based inkjet ink. Last year this product was a technology demonstrations, and here in London it’s available and on display at Xerox’s FESPA booth. The key differentiator of this printer is speed – at over 4,500 sq. feet per hour the Xerox IJP2000 is expected to sell for less than 150,000Euro. With output intended only for indoor use the IJP2000 has a niche where shops responding to demand for fast turnaround of larger jobs without interrupting the flow of production on their high-end or outdoor printers.

By the way, if you are attending FESPA please come catch my “TrendSpotting” presentation on Thursday morning. In this presentation I’ll examine this year’s version of The InfoTrends/FESPA Worldwide Survey 4. I’ll be comparing this year’s version to last years and highlight some of the market directions on topics including end user demand trends, what new services are being offered, spending, and the analog to digital transition.

Finally, we’re launching The Ultimate Guide to Wide Format during FESPA, an extension of the popular Ultimate Guide platform that we have for a number of other hardware and software technologies. If you’re interested please have a look at the new Ultimate Guide to Wide Format.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post where Ron and I will cover announcements from vendors such as Canon, EFI, Durst, InkTec, and Screen.

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