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Gulf Print And Pack Round Up

The 2015 edition of Gulf Print and Pack, one of the major events in the Printing and Packaging industry in the MENA region which concluded last month enjoyed its most successful edition till date.  The four day technological extravaganza was inaugurated by H.H. Sheikh Hasher Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Director General of Dubai Information Department.

The event that was held at Dubai World Trade Centre from 13-16 April witnessed people from as many as 110 countries. There was a 26.7% rise in visitor numbers whereas the footfall was around 12000.

With the unprecedented and accelerated growth rate of Middle East’s Printing industry, the event proved to be an excellent platform for companies to showcase their latest technologies and product offerings. 

The event witnessed several product launches, demonstrations and signing of major deals. It also provided a wonderful opportunity for smaller companies to showcase their expertise and prove their worth to the world. ME Printer, the official media partner of the event published “The Daily Printer”, the official newsletter of the event. 

Positive feedback from exhibitors

Companies like AFRA, Bobst, Emirates Trans Graphics, Giffin Graphics, Heidelberg, Kodak, Nilpeter, Omet, Prati, Prestige Graphics Trading and Xerox had a strong presence at the event. There were several product launches at GPP this year. Giffin Graphics launched Ricoh Pro C7100X cutsheet digital press during the event and Eiffel Printing Press LLC from Sharjah bought the first machine in the region. MGI Digital Graphic Technology showcased its award winning JET VARNISH 3D and iFOIL solution.

Express Printing Press became the first buyer at GPP to buy the MGI solution. Heidelberg also finally unveiled the Linoprint C Series machine here at the show. There was a lot of buzz surrounding this launch and it surely kept up to its reputation. Al Khalaf Holding, a well-established group in Saudi Arabia booked the machine for their company Nabak Printing & Packaging Factory.

Kodak had one of the strongest line up of products and demonstrations this year.  The first-ever live demonstration of its flagship KODAK NEXPRESS Digital Production Color Press’ caught the attention of one and all. Kodak’s roster of live demonstrations also included producing KODAK SONORA XP Process Free Plates on the KODAKTRENDSETTER 800 Quantum Platesetter.

Sharjah based Royal Printing Press sealed a deal for Trendsetter 800 Quantum Platesetter during the event. The deal was done through Kodak’s channel partner Gulf Commercial Group. A key client of Kodak in the Gulf and a major player within the UAE & printing industry, Masar Printing Publishing had recently joined the ranks of the worldwide, over 2000-strong customer base that boasts the KODAK SONORA XP Process Free Plates. Lois Lebegue, Managing Director ALMA Region, and Vice President at Kodak presented a recognition & certificate to Masar Printing Publishing during the on-going Gulf Print & Pack event for adopting the environmentally responsible process-free plates.

SCREEN Graphic and Precision Solutions Company Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of SCREEN Holdings which is represented by Emirates Trans Graphics in the Gulf region launched PlateRite HD 8900Z, Thermal Plate Recorder which is their new flagship model Plate Rite series with latest technology. Emirates Printing Press LLC, Dubai became the first customer from the region to own this new model.

Japanese giant Mimaki represented by SignTrade in the region showcased their most successful UV LED flatbed printer JFX200-2513. Mike Horsten, General Manager Marketing EMEA of Mimaki who was present at the event said, “Gulf Print and Pack is a commercial print show for packaging and for the offset. The show will pick in the coming days and we will reap the fruits from it in one or two years time from now. Exhibitions like these are a great place to show your products, network and create more awareness regarding the product and the company.”

“Nobody wants to see machines. People want to see its application and the end result. The only way to survive in the market which is very competitive is to work with the customers. Mimaki is here to educate the customer and create consumer awareness,” said Mike.”

Xerox launched the Xerox Colour 800i/1000i Presses which offer metallic colors like gold and silver in digital just a week prior to the event and showcased the same at the event. Logical Signage managed to become the buyer to acquire Xerox Colour 1000i Press in the MENA region. Arabian Office Automation (AOA), the exclusive Channel Partner of Xerox in Jordon managed to sell 3 machines at the Gulf Print & Pack 2015. Rafidi Print, a well-established print house in Jordan which offers pre-press, press as well as post-press services purchased the newly introduced Versant 80 Press at the event. Al Khayyam Printing Press, a traditional offset printing press from Jordon also added its first digital machine at the event in the form of Xerox Color C60 and will venture into digital printing back home. Dia Issa, the Printing System Business Manager of AOA said, “In Jordon, we provide a wide range of printing machines. We have a market share of 64%. We have already sold 2 Versant 80 Press and an entry level Xerox C60 machines here at the Gulf Print and Pack 2015. We will also be introducing Xerox Colour 800i/1000 presses in the Jordan market. There is a huge demand for metallic prints in Jordon. Only offset printing could provide such prints. With this new offering by Xerox, digital prints in metallic colors are also possible”

Dan Smith, the head of Integrated Marketing for the Middle East and Africa region was very upbeat about the growth opportunities in the Middle East. “Without any doubt, Middle East is still a huge opportunity for Xerox. The appointment of a General Manager specifically dedicated to the Middle East is a clear signal of intent that we find the market place incredibly important. We have a very strong partner base developed over the past 25 years. There are market places that continue to emerge. The people of Iraq continue to surprise me. They are industrious people, always trying to do business in spite of all the challenges in their country.

The UAE has just announced the EXPO 2020. Saudi Arabia is still looking to push its budgets despite the challenges they have on oil prices. Middle East is still fantastically vibrant market and Xerox is committed to this market place.”

JP Teti, Head of Production Technology Business Division at Xerox was also present at the event and interacting with customers. He said, “We had a good mix of visitors from all over.

All the show is in the UAE, we are not only seeing customers from UAE but from all over the region and even some parts of Africa which is good. That’s the reason we love to participate in shows like these. It is regional. It attracts interest not only from one country but also other countries in the GCC. It is a very good opportunity to engage with these customers. That’s why we made the investment to be here.”

Collaborations and partnerships

Apart from product launches, GPP witnessed collaborations between several companies for the first time. Alwan Color Expertise participated in the event through its channel partner International Distribution Network (IDN). Eli Khoury, the President of Alwan, who was present at the event, shared his views on color management, color standardization the importance of implementing color management systems with the visitors. Tower Products Inc., an American leader in the manufacturing of environmentally sensitive pressroom chemistry for the offset and flexographic printing industry including fountain solutions, roller and blanket washes and specialty products for commercial printing which forayed into the Middle Eastern market through their channel partner AGE Graphics Equipments also participated at the event. 

Another company which participated at Gulf Print and Pack for the very first time was the UK based Tech-ni-Fold Ltd. The company was overwhelmed with the response they received over four incredible days. The UK based creasing specialists sold all three of their digital creasing & micro-perforating machines after only two days and by the end of the show had received 151 serious leads as well as 18 distributorship requests.  Graham Harris, the Managing Director of Tech-ni-Fold said that Gulf Print & Pack Show was one of the very best exhibitions his company had attended in their 15 year history, and how he was disappointed to hear that he would need to wait another two years to return to the venue.

Tuqnia, the sister company of Alpha Data formed a partnership alliance with Xerox Emirates to provide MPS solution to VPS Healthcare which is an integrated Healthcare provider with network of hospitals, chain of medical centers, pharmaceutical manufacturing and pharmacy retail across the MENA region. Tuqnia provides a complete range of servers, storage solutions, printing solutions, security solutions and services to a variety of sectors across the UAE. VPS Healthcare is the first in the region to have signed an MPS contract and buying Versant with Tuqnia in January 2015. Versant will be the complete in-house printing press and 25 units of work centres will be managed by Tuqnia. Healthcare is a price conscious industry. This deal comes in line with the vision of the company where the company wants create a big mark in UAE and the Middle East. With Versant 2100, they can create booklets, customized forms and manuals. It will be based on click charge. The total worth of the deal is dhs 2.4 million. 

First time exhibitors like Ease Print Solutions grabbed lot of attention with their unique offering. This Delhi based Company from India introduced an interesting and innovative software solution for the offset printing industry at the Gulf Print & Pack 2015. Sanjay Handa COO, a printing technologist with over three decades of experience in the print industry who has developed this unique estimation software for offset printing said, “As far as Gulf Print and Pack is concerned, it has been an excellent platform for us to reach clients from different parts of the world. We are really very happy with the response.”

Perhaps one of the most interesting important aspects of Gulf Print is the participation of small time suppliers who have very smart and useful products including parts blankets, rollers, press chemicals and other necessary stuff. Westland Gummiwerke GmbH & Co., a leading manufacturer of Graphic rollers and IMC, a marketing company for the graphic industry from Germany participated at the Gulf Print and Pack 2015 through their channel partner Universal Graphic Trading in UAE. Universal Graphic Trading LLC is one of the leading suppliers of best known brands in Offset printing Rollers, Blankets, Numbering Machines, cutting machine knifes, Offset Printing Brushes, Plate Speed Clamp, Wash-up blades, Printing Sundries and Anti-Marking film etc. Another Company from Germany which was represented by Universal Graphic Trading LLC was IMC.  Joachim Landgraf, Managing Director, IMC said, “The market here has been very good and positive for us. Lot of growth opportunities is awaiting us in this region.”

Ute Horvath from Metrograph shares why such exhibitions are important. She states, “Gulf market is important for us and to participate in such an event gives us an excellent platform to interact with our customers, acquire new clients, understand the market, get well versed with the new trends and gain valuable feedback from the customers regarding the products.

This event is extremely good and important from our perspective. Metrograph will also be participating at DRUPA 2016 and IPEX 2018.”

Another interesting highlight of the show was the special focus on China and Iran. The Chinese and the Iranian Pavilion demonstrated their technological advancements in the field of print and graphics and impressed one and all.

The exhibitors are seriously upbeat about the show as they were able to  reach out to a wide range of audience through Gulf Print and Pack and acquire new customers. There was a good mix of products showcased at the event that caught the attention of potential clients. Though the focus was more on the digital, the state of the art technology and solutions for conventional printers were also displayed. Equipment dedicated to added value and special effects printing also proved to be very popular. This is a clear trend in graphic arts today. Gulf Print and Pack provided a wonderful platform for small players in the industry to display their products and expertise and gain valuable feedback from the customers. Middle East is a promising market and the print and packaging industry to set to grow by leaps and bounds in the years to come.

Mike Simmonds, Event Manager at Gulf Print & Pack commented: “We are delighted with the amount of business conducted at Gulf Print & Pack 2015.

The show has been gaining momentum every year and this edition has been the biggest and best ever till date. This year’s show was unquestionably upbeat and was a real buying show with many exhibitors selling everything on their stands! The exceptional level of business being done on the exhibition floor firmly positions Gulf Print & Pack as the region’s largest and most effective exhibition for commercial and packaging printers, brand owners and industry suppliers.”

The Tarsus Group which organized the Gulf Print and Pack 2015 worked tirelessly to put together an extra-ordinary show and impressed the exhibitors and the visitors alike. Bookings are already in full swing for the next edition which will take place from 27-30 March 2017. We hope that Gulf Print and Pack 2017 will be back bigger and better.

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