28 Jun 2022

LFR talks to the InPrint team about Industrial Print trends

InPrint Marcus Frazer

LFR recently spoke to Frazer Chesterman and Marcus Timson of Mack Brooks about industrial printing, and of course about their pending InPrint show:

Q: Following the success of your previous In Print event, what are your main hopes for this year?

A: With any new event idea, you want to create a concept that really excites the industry that it serves. Our vision for this event was always to develop a new market opportunity for the Print industry and to broaden the visitor audience and potential opportunities for print technology manufacturers. We, like many others had observed that traditional printing segments are being challenged by the effects of digitalisation, promotional budget cuts and the volatility of the publishing house industry. Industrial print has benefited from rapid technological development and from the increased variety and broadness of the potential application. It is the only sector of the printing technology industry to show a two-figure growth rate: The industry experts I.T. Strategies predict a cumulative overall growth of 36% for the years 2014-2020.

The growing success of the InPrint show, with 50% more exhibition space since 2014, confirms this trend. In the manufacturing industry, there is a strong demand for technological innovations, supported by considerable pull-factors from the consumer side. At the same time, the developer community is bursting with energy.

Q: What sections of the industry will you be focusing on and how will this be reflected by exhibitors?

A: Industrial print refers to a procedure whereby ink or another substance is printed onto a product for either functional or decorative manufacturing purposes. It covers cutting-edge and innovative printing technologies in manufacture, including specialty, screen, digital, inkjet and 3D technologies, in the application segments functional and decorative printing and packaging printing. You will see a range of exhibitors from all these sectors, what they have in common, is their interest in addressing a new market – The Industrial print market.

It is being applied in various industries: from functional print that enables an electronic product or device, individually designed mass products and packaging, to decorative print onto various surfaces. Special technologies such as 3D print are used by industrial designers for prototyping, or to generate tailor-made packaging for fragile goods.

You will see new Industrial Print technology and applications from some of the recognisable Print names such as Konica Minolta, HP, Agfa, Canon, Durst , Ricoh and Heidelberg who will show their technology and applications for the first time, as well as more unique and specialised technology from the developers and integrators who have created technology that you would not see at any other Print event.

Q: What sort of visitors are you hoping to attract to the show and why should they come along?

A: With 150 exhibitors, of which more than 60 are new exhibitors, InPrint is characterised by offering high level expertise, product launches and showcases. One of the impressive aspects of the event in 2014 was the quality of conversations that Exhibitors had with Visitors. Unlike any other traditional print event, our unique audience (over 50% board level) comes from both the manufacturing sector and industrial print production companies as well as from traditional print houses looking to adopt new techniques and technologies to generate new revenue streams. In 2015, we also have the extra value of being co-located with Productronica providing added value for visitors interested in the electronics market and other related technologies.

Q: In your opinion, what does InPrint offer that other events do not?

A: The key to understanding the opportunities for printers in the industrial sector is the continually growing range of applications amid evolving technology for applying inks, coatings, liquid & 3D material to more and more substrates. This event is for the printer who is interested in ‘Tomorrow’s World’ and who wants to understand what opportunities there are to develop his business further.
There are lots of transferable skills and technology from commercial printing, large format printing and packaging printing in more industrial applications. With industrial print technologies being highly innovative, the underlying expert knowledge & understanding is what manufacturing companies rely on when implementing new technology into their production line.

In this context, our innovative and comprehensive technical conference featuring about 60 free seminars, discussions and showcases alongside the show, will provide lots of impetus, knowledge sharing & learning that will support classical printing companies in moving their business forward towards industrial print.

Case studies from a range of ‘real life’ industrial applications in the automotive, aeronautic, decorative and packaging industries will give insight into how traditional technology is applied to this growing market.

Q: There is a wide format printer, they have a broad portfolio of print equipment covering roll to roll, flatbed and superwide, plus automated finishing. The margins in sign and display print are getting tighter. How would you advise a business like this to begin preparing for, or diversifying their business into, any of the new niches created by the ongoing march of industrial digital?

A: You are right there is definitely a sense that Industrial Inkjet Printing offers a ‘holy grail’ to the wide format industry as the opportunities for continued growth in Sign and Graphic slows.
Industrial Print is the only print technology sector that can claim double digit growth.

The growth rate of InPrint Show itself is proof of this. In one show cycle the show has increased in size by over 50%, proving the sector is in a dynamic phase of change. There is simply a huge amount of interest in this evolving marketplace and from our experience in launching the show, there is clearly a big need for insight, information and innovation for print in manufacturing from the entire industrial print supply chain.

InPrint research partner, I.T. Strategies have forecasted that between 2014 and 2020, the average cumulative growth across all industrial print segments is slated to be 36%. This is an increase on previous estimates of approximately 20%. The growth of the show proves that the market is accelerating in its growth as the forces for innovation continue to impact on the manufacturing sector.

As well as the considerable ‘push’ for development and the energy of the developing community, the fact is that there are also considerable ‘pull’ factors from the consumer market which is also fuelling this drive for change. In order to align with this and to synchronise with the changes within the traditional manufacturing sector, production simply requires innovation through the adoption of new technologies, whether this is screen, specialty, digital, inkjet or 3D printing technologies.

In terms of key sectors for a wide format printer to explore, we have tried to break into 3 broad topic areas: Function and Future, Design and Décor and Packaging and the core technologies shown at the event will include screen, specialty, digital, inkjet and 3D printing processes.

Typically in each of these cases ‘Wide format digital technology’ is being used.  So whether we are talking about for short run versioning or prototyping in a functional environment or a broad variety of different materials that can be then used for a more industrial environment, opening up a more industrial market offers different opportunities and different customers.

Let me give you a couple of examples: “4D Digital printing onto objects, shapes and curved surfaces. This can certainly be used within the packaging sector for direct to cylinder decoration, but we also see exciting potential within automotive and fashion production”. Heidelberg, Hinterkopf and Encres Dubuit will be showcasing machines doing this, using inkjet technology. “The potential for 4D inkjet along with robotics is considerable as you can make real one offs.  Take for example a motorcycle helmet. You can personalise this within around 20-30 seconds! I can see retailers creating new personalised solutions for their customers helping them to distinguish the products they buy but also helping the manufacturer create a unique service.”

Another example is Digital Print that could be used in a more decorative environment, printing a short run wood surface, or on glass for interiors. Companies such as Durst and Hymmen have really opened this market.

Alternatively there is the packaging sector, which is now open to Wide format Printers. Microbreweries have become one of the biggest supporters of digitally printed labels and packaging. “With the UK being the biggest Craft beer market in Europe, and the desire not to have over stocked inventory, then digital gives you the competitive advantage needed and the cost savings”

What is interesting about the InPrint show, is the fact it brings together three different communities - the Printer, the Industrial End-user and the Integrator/developer. No other show in Europe does this.
If you are looking for new opportunities then join us in Germany on 10th -12th November at the Messe Munich – find out more at www.inprintlive.com