PrintEx offers digital solutions to beleaguered print industry

The struggling Australian print industry turned up at PrintEx03 in greater than expected numbers, seeking solutions to an increasingly difficult trading environment. Suppliers did not disappoint, with digital and service the keywords as they sought to renew confidence in the industry and point the way ahead.

Some 10,384 visitors attended the show, which was a full 15 per cent more than the first PrintEx four years ago. The surprising numbers bucked the worldwide trend for print exhibitions, which have seen visitor numbers slump.

Held over three days at the end of May Printex attracted some 186 exhibitors, a remarkable 95 of whom had not been at the show four years ago. Printex was co-produced by the equipment and consumables suppliers association GAMAA and the PIAA, and was held in 10,000 square metres of space at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Opening the show PrintEx chairman Angus Scott said, “This is only the second time that PrintEx has been staged, but the tremendous support given by our previous exhibitors, and more than 90 new to show exhibitors speaks for itself – the industry not only wants but has embraced this major exhibition initiative.”

Setting the trend for the show Heidelberg kicked off with a pre-opening breakfast at its Waterloo showroom, highlighting its digital networking capability, in its case Prinect, Greg Grace said, “CIP3 and its successor CIP4 are the best thing to happen since sliced bread. CIP4 is key and fundamental to success.”

The digital workflow theme was echoed by IPP, CPI, Agfa, Creo, Esko-Graphics, Screen in fact virtually every significant player at the show. Agfa highlighted its Apogee X workflow solution, while Creo focused on its NGP networked graphic production. Digitisation of working methods is seen
as so important not only because of the time and cost benefits it produces, but also for the fact that it will lead printers to move into new areas, essentially becoming multi-media suppliers, and so offering the opportunity to move to new markets outside the shrinking and increasingly commodity-like print sector.

In terms of products the biggest moves were in CTP, where several companies launched B3 metal CTP systems, including Screen, Agfa, Heidelberg and Pisces, while there were plenty of new launches in wide format inkjet printing.

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