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It’s print Jim, but not as we know it!

It’s print Jim, but not as we know it!


As arguably the two people most instrumental in transforming FESPA from a single event into a formidable world-wide brand, Frazer Chesterman and Marcus Timson are now tackling a fresh challenge in the form of InPrint, an exhibition that is designed to highlight industrial print technology. Val Hirst quizzes them to discover how sign and print companies can benefit from the show


VH: When, two years ago, you left FESPA to establish FM Brooks, an offshoot of the international exhibition organiser Mack Brooks, it’s fair to say the industry was agog.  Why did you leave and why did you choose to join a company with no track record in the sign and print arena?

FC:  When I joined FESPA in 2003 the challenge was to build an exhibition portfolio and recruit a team to run the events in order to increase both the Associations’ revenue and its global reach, and we absolutely succeeded in our mission! So the time was right for a fresh and exciting new challenge.

VH:  The first show that you organised under the FM Brooks banner was EcoPrint, which took place in Berlin in the autumn of 2012.  When will it run again?

Frazer_1-(2)FC: EcoPrint succeeded in pulling together the print industry to tackle sustainability and for this we are proud! The feedback we received on the content and the vision was very rewarding – we were the first exhibition organiser to gain ISO 20121 and we were also recognised by the UK Exhibition industry who presented us with the Exhibition News Award for Best New Organiser.

EcoPrint proved that there is a strong interest in sustainability and a clear need for reliable information and guidance. The real success story for EcoPrint however was the high quality conference and the ensuing discussion. I am sure it will run again in some format, when the issue needs tackling again and if the market demands it, but for now, the dynamically growing InPrint Show has our full attention.

VH: There are already an enormous number of print related shows.  What makes you think that there’s room for yet another?

FC:  There are indeed many shows out there, but currently no event that focuses solely on the opportunities offered by the industrial print sector. InPrint is designed to remedy this, by providing a platform for 100 companies from the functional and decorative print sectors to present their latest technologies to manufacturers who are looking for a new way to add value to their offerings.  Thus InPrint will show innovative print technology that can be used to help enhance a wide range of different items made from ceramics, wood, textiles, plastic and glass, which are targeted at a wide variety of different markets and end-users.

Marcus_2-(2)-001MT: I’d like to add that in the 15 years that Frazer and I have been working together, we always like to challenge the markets we work in by creating a new value. And once again, with InPrint we want to provide a unique focus on a market that we feel is growing significantly, but that has no event of its own. Industrial print is valued at $100 billion, whereas the wide format market is valued at around $35 billion and what’s more, industrial print is expected to grow by $20 billion in less than 10 years, so it certainly needs a dedicated show!

Exhibitions that serve transforming markets are really important and InPrint, we believe, is such a market. Industrial print is at a similar stage of development to that of the graphic print or wide format sector back in 2004-5, so we expect a strong level of interest and there is a great opportunity for any print business interested in developing new revenue streams.

VH: You’ve already amassed a very impressive line-up of exhibitors, many of who are names familiar to Sign Directions’ readers.  Do you think that this marks something of a sea change within the industry?

FC: Yes. Our own experience and the extensive research that we carried out with IT Strategies, has revealed that the demand for digital printing technology within the traditional print-related markets, such as the wide format market, has started to level off. In fact any ‘tipping points’ were realised some time ago and it is only innovating incrementally. Many InPrint exhibitors support this view, which is why so many of the leading manufacturers, such Agfa, Canon, Durst and Fujifilm, Mimaki, Ricoh, Xaar and Xennia are taking part – they are all looking for their next area of opportunity.

In addition, the development of inkjet technology continues and with it, the range of applications, with the result that it is now possible to extend its scope into directions that were previously considered untenable.

VH: Why did you choose to Co-locate with the Hannover Messe event in April 2014?

MT: Hannover Messe is the world’s largest event for companies engaged in industrial production and manufacturing, which means that visitors will have direct access to a number of shows, such as Industrial Automation and Digital Factory and conversely, the visitors to all of these other shows – around 200,000 in total – wlll also have access to InPrint, thus providing exhibitors and suppliers of printing equipment and consumables with a vast new audience.

VH: Why do you think the show will appeal to sign and print companies?

FC: Nowadays, manufacturers are developing game-changing technologies that facilitate fast, customised print onto all sorts of items, while also opening up myriad new creative possibilities too.  What’s more digital printing means that both risk and costs are minimised, when compared with the more traditional printing methods previously employed.

We think that many of the most entrepreneurial sign and print companies are very interested in learning how they can use their skills and resources to maximum advantage, with the effect that they are actively looking for new ideas and inspiration, which they will find in spades at InPrint!

VH:  What sort of visitorship do you anticipate that InPrint will attract, both in terms of numbers and categories of company and will these visitors be potential new customers for sign and print companies too?

MT: We are expecting around 4,000 to 5,000 visitors from many different business sectors and our aim is to create a new community and marketplace made up from people and companies involved with both functional and decorative print.  We have spent the last 12 months building a database of around 20,000 names and this will form the nucleus of this new and unique community, which is interested in industrial print in all its manifestations.

We are keen for sign and print companies to become part of this community and to benefit for the many innovative ideas that we are sure will evolve from it and are eager that they should have an early opportunity to engage with companies that aren’t currently on their radar.

VH:  What other show ideas are you considering at the current time?

FC: Actually we’re not! InPrint is our main focus, especially as we believe that industrial print is an area that is moving really quickly and thus deserves our full time and energy commitment  – we are in this for the long term.  We know from our experience that it takes time to successfully build a brand and more importantly, a new community. We feel it could easily take five to 10 years, before we get anything like close to realising the full potential of InPrint and I’m speaking for both of us when I say that we are really relishing it!

InPrint will take place at Hannover Messe on 8th-l0th April 2014.

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