Our CEO Rod Larson looks back at FESPA Digital which took place in Amsterdam at the start of March, and discusses his five key takeaways from the show:
1) Walking the halls of the RAI exhibition centre you couldn’t help but notice just how advanced the whole Interior Decoration theme has become. It was exciting for me to see so many innovative materials and applications for digitally printed interior decoration displayed on the stands. This really fits with where Spandex sees the industry going, and with the number of new and exciting substrates we are continuously recommending to our customers, like 3M’s DiNoc for interior refurbishment or Avery Dennison’s new MPI 8000 printable, textured wall coverings, for example. Just taking a quick break in the Printeriors Café I also found very interesting, as anyone stopping there could experience first-hand just what can be achieved with the right materials and expertise to help them. I’ll be keen to see what the future holds for this sector when we come back to FESPA in May next year.
2) Another very prominent application area that stood out for me is Textile. We’re simply not participating enough in this growing portion of the market. Our recent acquisition of OTS in Turkey has also opened our eyes to desk top and wide format sublimation. The breadth of applications possible with digitally printed textile is amazing – there are a lot of advancements and that was apparent not just in the FESPA Textile halls but throughout the show. I believe that many printers and signmakers will be diversifying into this application in some form or other in the near future.
3) For me, the breadth of innovation just kept coming with the huge number of launches that were being announced while I was on the ground, as well as on the other days of the show. The new hardware options that some of the manufacturers uncovered are very interesting in terms of the efficiencies they will bring to the average signmaker’s business. This is a huge benefit to the whole industry and I can’t wait to see what a difference this will make to our customers with the possibilities that are being opened up for them.
4) One of the most popular areas of the show – or at least every time I walked past it – was the Wrap Masters section, with crowds in the aisles making it difficult to navigate. I managed to stop and watch for a time and it never ceases to amaze me what is possible with the sophisticated films that are available these days. We have teams here at Spandex that advise our customers on a daily basis what substrate is most suitable for the job in hand and also what can be achieved, and vehicle wrapping continues to be one of the most popular applications we discuss with our customers on a daily basis.
5) Finally, I can honestly say to every person who intends to visit an exhibition over the coming months, think about your feet! It’s continually surprising to me that even the oldest, most comfortable pair of shoes you own suddenly becomes extremely uncomfortable when you are at a show. Blister plasters are a must!