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An Evolution of Print and Packaging Technologies

In an exclusive interview, Barry Killengrey, show director of Gulf Print & Pack 2022, talks to ME Printer about the only dedicated print and packaging trade show in the MENA region, its significance in establishing newer trends, and reasons for global majors in the print and packaging industry to visit the show and exhibit their latest products.

How does the visitor profile at Gulf Print & Pack 2022 resemble previous editions?

Registrations for GPP have been increasing consistently over recent weeks. The show thus far has been tracking well ahead of the previous edition, with visitors from more than 40 countries already confirmed. What has stayed the same is the profile of visitors we are attracting to Gulf Print & Pack 2022. The show continues to bring together PSPs, commercial and packaging printers, designers, and print buyers from across the MENA region, all looking to explore the profitable niches and exciting new applications in tomorrow’s print business.

The event will certainly be more compact, but will remain extremely busy with three days of business interaction. With less than six weeks to go, we expect the trend of registrations to pick up post-Eid holidays.

GPP 2019

Do you think GPP reflects the printing industry in the Gulf region, and if so, do you think GPP 2022 will be a manifestation of the regional printing and packaging industry, trying to rebound with newer trends? 

Yes, GPP represents leading trends in the region’s printing sector. The driving force for new opportunities in both commercial and package print is the increasingly rapid conversion to digital. Major brands, for example, are seeking new and innovative ways to reach customers with special finishing effects, which are also increasingly digitized with interactive technologies such as NFC, augmented reality, QR codes, and on-pack competitions. All of this offers additional opportunities for commercial printers to add value to the printed piece.The primary goal of the printing industry is to convey a customer’s message to its target audience on some form of published material, like branded product packaging.

GPP 2022 will feature the latest technologies in digital and embellishment to offer print service providers the opportunity to diversify and expand into new and profitable business areas.

Other key regional trends GPP will capture and accelerate include new e-commerce packaging formats, intelligent food packaging and monitoring systems, and sustainability in all its aspects.

We are not saying digital print will entirely replace conventional. Visitors to GPP 2022 will know how the latest digital applications and technologies complement conventional print setups to provide short run on-demand value added print with faster turnaround time.

How many exhibitors are taking part in the show?

This year’s show features exhibitors from 20 countries with an array of technologies covering the complete ecosystem from design and pre-press to print finishing and embellishment technologies. We have around 15 first-time exhibitors. We believe that whether you’re a commercial printer or converter, brand owner or designer, there is no better place to be this May.

GPP 2019

 Though GPP was postponed last year, this year’s event has the participation of major brands such as Kodak and Heidelberg. What is your opinion has made them to take part in GPP 2022?

It’s a good question and one that is frequently asked. The simple answer is the legacy behind GPP and its regional significance to move forward. Dubai is a business and logistics hub in the wider MENA region, and suppliers need to deliver their vision to PSPs, commercial printers, and converters on how to transform their businesses to offer a whole new range of value-added services to their end customers. The show is unique, as it attracts both commercial and packaging printers with plenty of crossover interest in both technologies. Finally I would say that there is a real sense of excitement this year, with the Gulf region’s print industry in transition, looking for new solutions and ready to invest in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In summation, why would the world of printing and packaging visit GPP 2022?

This is purely for a single reason! To learn how the print industry is evolving and how to take advantage of the amazing new opportunities offered by tomorrow’s technology. For those in the printing and packaging industry, long-run jobs are getting scarcer with short-run jobs getting popular. Where longer run jobs are required – in the transactional sector, for example – there is an increased demand for digitization and use of variable data. All of these trends open up new niche opportunities for PSPs.

In the packaging sector we see similar trends towards digitization of workflows along with a major focus on sustainability, while the market for both prime and industrial labels continues to grow. A key trend here is hybrid systems which match digital print engines with conventional finishing and converting.

The focus on sustainability extends to consumables, with new generations of water-based inks that minimize damage to the environment without compromising on colour quality.

GPP plays an important role in helping expand the vision, of both, visitors and exhibitors, and in providing education and learning resources. The entire printing and packaging industry is coming together under one roof to witness the evolution of the industry to a more digitalized and sustainable future. There has never been a better time to visit GPP. The show is back and eagerly awaited.

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