There are some amazing innovations happening in printing right now. The Printing Report is pleased to bring you some of the most exciting news this month, including those innovations celebrated at this year’s FESPA show at the Hamburg Messe.

FESPA 2017 Winners Revealed

The mid-week highlight of the FESPA show was the awards dinner held at the Grand Elysée Hotel in Hamburg on Wednesday May 10. Hundreds of entries from across 37 countries were whittled down to 13 exceptional winners.

Swiss printers Atelier fuer Siebdruck Lorenz Boegli won Best in Show Award for its special effect category entry “Le Monde des Effects” – a newspaper which featured a variety of screen-printing effects. Member of the judging panel, Josep Tobella Soler said: “Conventional screen printing is a special craft that keeps surprising me. The special effects that can be achieved in graphics and posters are breathtaking.”


Fellow judge Graeme Richardson Locke echoed these commendations, saying: “Print service providers are pushing better quality and performance at every stage of design and production. Whilst screen maintains its hold in terms of durability and the use of spot color and special pigments, digital is being selected for shorter runs and higher levels of complexity in image resolution and finishing.

Date for your diary:

FESPA 2018 will take place at Berlin Messe, May 15 – 18, 2018.

FESPA 2017 – “Most International Ever”

Exhibitors have been reporting fantastic attendance and engagement at this year’s Federation of European Screen Printers Associations (FESPA) show in Hamburg, which ran May 8 – 12.

700 exhibitors over nine halls showed off the best and brightest in screen print, digital wide-format, and textile printing. As well as showcasing the best in traditional printing techniques, a number of manufacturers were showcasing new innovations in 3D printing and direct-to-garment (DTG) printers.

“Printbar Uncovered” Partnership for FFEI and Xaar

This challenge to leverage the best of digital and the best of traditional screen printing techniques is the focus of a new partnership between FFEI and Xaar. FFEI has taken on the sale and distribution of Xaar’s Print Bar System, a system FFEI helped to develop, designed to add single-pass digital inkjet UV capability to roll-to-roll or sheet-fed presses.

FFEI Managing Director Andy Cook has said that the sales effort will now be focusing on OEMs rather than end users. He commented: “What’s important is the concept of hybrid printing, digital and traditional. There are a lot of equipment companies that are seeing hybrid printing as a long-term future, so therefore the distribution channel will reflect that.

Printing Innovation at IKEA


Elsewhere, innovation in printing and paper products are enabling Swedish furniture giant IKEA to extend its eco-credentials, by phasing out plastic gift and refund cards. Instead, the retailer will be replacing the plastic in the 12 to 15 million cards it produces each year with a revolutionary crack-resistant paperboard: Invercote by Swedish paper company Iggesund.

Per-Ola Nilsson, technical support for paper and print at IKEA Indirect Materials and Services, said: “We want to reduce the use of petroleum-based plastic in general and particularly where we do not have control over the product’s afterlife. We can’t know what the consumer will do with the gift card, so then an organic material like paperboard is better in this case because it damages nature less if it is not recycled properly.

Read more here.

Don’t Forget the Day-to-Day

With all these exciting innovations afoot in the industry, it can sometimes be tempting to take your eye off the day-to-day. Paul Holohan, Chief Executive of Richmond Capital Partners, the print industry merger and acquisition specialists, has been reminding us about this in an article in Print Week this month.

Running through a health check that looks at the key areas of a business’s health should be done at least annually, he said. This health check should include: financial metrics like cash flow and margin analysis; client due diligence; a review of production bottlenecks and mitigation strategies; legal and accounting checks; and HR indicators such as staff turnover, absence management, and succession planning.
However, Holohan emphasizes cash flow as king: “There are two fundamental problems in manufacturing: one, not enough work; and two, too much work. In both situations, lack of cash is critical and running out is fatal. Get control of cash – sales is vanity, profit is sanity and cash is king.

Room to Innovate

A regular audit of business operations should help to ensure your business is running optimally. This gives you more time to explore some of the latest innovations in our industry, like those we mentioned here. And from revolutionary uses of paperboard, to new breakthroughs in hybrid printing, there are certainly a lot of innovations to explore!