IPEX 2014 In The Halfway Of Stage
Live from London | Rod Hayes Reports
Ipex has just past its halfway stage and everything points to the naysayers having been put to the sword. Each day the visitor numbers exceeded expectations by some margin; exhibitors were without exception pleased with both the turnout and the depth of interest shown. Eric Bell, director of marketing services for Press Giant Goss caught the mood perfectly: “We came to Ipex for totally selfish reasons. We knew many visitors would come from the Middle East and Africa in part because of the ease of communications the English language presents, but the numbers from Egypt and the Emirates was especially encouraging and we have very strong leads to follow up.”
Perhaps visitor expectations were low, given the atmosphere created by no showers such as the likes of Heidelberg KBA and Xerox, but this seemed to have had genuinely positive effect. A not untypical comment from one visitor went along the lines: “I didn’t know what to expect and I am genuinely impressed; particularly with wide range of digital equipment capable of putting value added to a printed sheet.”
Konica Minolta had the biggest and most diverse stand, compartmentalized in to task categories and this was proving a strong draw and digital printing systems figured strongly, a standout feature perhaps was the strength of applications in which UV curing applications featured.
Ipex in the past has featured many new ground breaking developments; it could be that this year’s event may in the years to come be remembered for a significant industry development.
Getting on for more than a decade print produced digitally has always promised to match offset for speed but in addition offer the added benefit of variable data or ultra-short run profitability, but all digital offerings have remained in specialist niches; drawbacks either based on capital cost, speed or specialist media requirements have blunted market penetration.
Benny Landa was given a forum to promote his nano ink based technology, but his presentation was subdued and any prototypes will be working with packaging board. There are some strong reasons why it will be sometime yet before we see his ideas breakout out at a commercial level.
The goal of snatching Litho’s lunch box using digitally generated imaging with performance parameters similar to offset, particularly the free choice of media substrates and speed could fall to Xeikon with its Trillium technology. Back in 2012 Xeikon promised to have a customer based field test machine in place by 2014. Danny Mertens Xeikon spokesman announced at Ipex 2014: “A trillium based machine is now up and running at a facility in France near Lyon running at 60 metres a minute.” He then told me in a separate interview that he was confident that within 18 months Xeikon will have this machine running at 120 metres a minute, along with customer Beta sites in the US and Europe.