Ipex not dead yet

Ipex is making a comeback after its disastrous 2014 edition with a new British-focused show, and on a three-year cycle to avoid conflicts with drupa.

Peter Hall, managing director of organiser Informa Exhibitions, says the new format will better suit the needs of the local industry and revive Ipex after last year’s disappointment.

“We are fully committed to Ipex and are taking a whole new fresh and collaborative approach to designing the Ipex of the future,” he says.

“We recognise that several aspects of Ipex 2014 were not successful, but we have learned from these and will consult closely with the market to ensure that Ipex 2017 is a UK-focused, industry-driven event that appeals strongly to exhibitors and visitors.”

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Many in the international print world had written off Ipex as dead after the last event was dramatically under-attended and marred by pull outs by most previous major exhibitors including Heidelberg, manroland, KBA, Komori, HP, Landa, Canon, Ricoh and Xerox.

Although the Ipex name will remain for 2017 it seems the international element has gone, certainly the head offices of the exhibitors will not be stumping up the cash. Ipex was long a favourite with Australian printers.

Ipex owner Informa will have taken a massive hit on the 2014 show, and is far from keen to give up on the brand, having bought it from Picon for a substantial sum in 2006, it will still be way behind on its ROI figures as the price will have been set on shows into the future, and in 2006 there was no inkling that Ipex would fall away so dramatically. The drupa management then saw the opportunity to kill off any possibility of Ipex returning as an international show by switching its monster show to a triennial cycle, which it did earlier this year.

The new show will going back to the NEC Birmingham, after moving to London in 2014, a move that was widely seen as contributing to its demise . Informa has provisionally booked at 30,000sqm hall at the NEC, which is double the floorspace it sold in 2014, and half that of the 2010 show. The upcoming drupa is five and a half times bigger at 165,000sqm.

It also appears Ipex, like drupa, will pivot away from offset towards future technologies, and will run for four or five days, down from six last year.

“We’re trying to move away from the legacy norms of the past. We were designed to accommodate litho presses, so we needed a month tenancy, which then dictated our pricing level,” Hall says.

“We need to talk to exhibitors and find out what machinery will come to Ipex and work back from there for the duration.”

Organisers had considered turning Ipex into a cut-down annual show but say the three-year cycle will allow it to “feature heavily on machinery, equipment and technology and companies investing in showing working machinery”.

“While I am sure visitors would like to see that every year, at the end of the day it is the manufacturers that make that happen and they are the ones that constrain us to a longer frequency,” Hall says.

Originally planned for spring 2018, Ipex will now be held in autumn 2017 with exhibitor signups stating next May.

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