Charlie Kortens and Michael walker look ahead to what visitors can expect as Fespa returns to Berlin. Recent additions are highlighted in pink.

Fespa Global Print Expo is returning to Messe Berlin from 31 May to 3 June, where it will be co-located with the European Sign Expo. Michael Ryan, the head of Fespa Global Print Expo, explained why the organisers wanted to return to the German capital. ‘Feedback on our Berlin events is always positive and it’s one of the favourite host cities for our community,’ he explained. ‘In addition, Messe Berlin is a familiar venue for exhibitors and visitors as we’ve hosted two previous successful events in 2007 and 2018.’

Mr Ryan added that, at the time of writing, there were 325 exhibitors already signed up for the show, including major names such as Agfa, Brother, Canon, Durst, Epson, Fujifilm, HP, Kornit, Mimaki, Mutoh, Roland and swissQprint.

‘There are 19 companies exhibiting for the first time and 105 exhibitors returning for the first time since 2019,’ Mr Ryan told Digital Printer. ‘Our exhibitor community is already signalling that they plan to use the live event as a launch platform and we’re expecting to see a lot of innovation in wide-format printing, covering the latest technologies.’

What’s new?

Brand new for 2022 are the Sustainability Spotlight and an Associations Pavilion. Mr Ryan outlined, ‘We aim to help printers make more sustainable choices for their operations at a time when environmental credentials are becoming business-critical for PSPs. That’s why we’ve launched the Sustainability Spotlight. The feature comprises presentations from several industry experts, providing useful, informative and actionable advice.’

The Associations Pavilion, meanwhile, will be located in the South Entrance of Messe Berlin and will ‘give visitors the chance to experience a range of diverse printed applications produced and finished by members of 17 of Fespa’s global associations.’

Back to Berlin

The World Wrap Masters is back for 2022

Alongside these new additions, visitors can look forward to the return of some old favourites as well. ‘Printeriors is set to be bigger and better than ever.’ Mr Ryan continued. ‘Also situated in the South Entrance, visitors can immerse themselves in a world of nature as they feast their eyes on a range of exciting print opportunities in interior and exterior décor. World Wrap Masters is back too, with free training workshops, demonstrations and the live-action wrapping competition.’

Hot topics

In terms of the topics that will be taking centre stage, Mr Ryan suggested, ‘Over the past few years, print businesses have sharpened their focus on areas including process efficiency, automation, web-to-print and sustainability. These trends will continue to be front of mind, with a particular focus on our Sustainability Spotlight feature.

‘The other trend we’re seeing is the diversification of the markets we represent as they continue to develop and become more specialised. For example, expansion into interior décor, vehicle wrapping, packaging and textiles. At the show, many suppliers will highlight the latest technologies, media and consumables and applications possibilities in these growth markets.’

Back to Berlin

Printeriors is set to be ‘better than ever.’

The exhibitors

Of course, no preview would be complete without a rundown of what visitors can expect to see on the various stands. So, without further ado…

Adelco will be unveiling its new Digi-Cure Plus allelectric hot air conveyor dryer. An updated version of its pre-existing Digi-Cure textile conveyor dryer, it has been developed to cure all textile ink systems, including digital, screen and transfers.

Managing director Mark Smith commented, ‘Adelco has always concentrated on high airflow and efficient exhaust systems as the best medium for curing digital and screen inks with minimum effect to fabrics. The Digi-Cure Plus provides such curing standards but at a more affordable price.’ The company will also introduce two other dryer innovations, demonstrate its Cyclone Auto Carousel and unveil a new hybrid digital textile option.

Agfa will be showing off several printers, including the flagship Jeti Tauro H3300 HS LED. Able to print at 600sqm/hr in four or six colours on media up to 3.3m in width, it is aimed at the high end of the signage and display market. Alongside will be the Avinci CX3200 dye-sublimation roll-to-roll printer, like the H3300 HS LED introduced in 2021. Capable of printing either directly to textiles or on to transfer paper, Agfa says the 270sqm/hr printer delivers ‘a consistently vibrant print quality’ on a range of polyester-based fabrics. Also on the Agfa stand will be the 3.3m Oberon RTR3300, a roll-to-roll machine available in four-colour plus white or six-colour versions.

Avery Denison will be sharing its stand with its subsidiary Mactac, with both brands set to highlight ‘a broad range of innovative products and materials,’ with a focus on the automotive and architectural sectors. Specific items will include a range of sustainable digital wrapping films, premium quality wrapping films and laminates, innovations in ‘supreme protection’ films, window films and wall films and what the company is calling ‘unique organoid natural surfaces for interior decoration.’

Li Wen, senior director and general manager, Graphics EMENA, commented, ‘Nobody can stand still in this industry. Events like Fespa give us a chance to share new ideas, and we also love hearing from our customers to make sure that our R&D programme meets their needs.’

ColorGate will feature a new release of its Rip, Productionserver 22, plus the Rapid Spectro Cube and its Custom Create web-to-production offering. Productionserver 22 is designed to support automated production in textiles, surface decoration, ceramics and large format printing via an API. It also introduces a new ‘2.5D’ printing capability that can be used to print textures for wood, embroidery, Braille and art reproductions on suitably-equipped printers with clear/varnish and multi-pass capabilities. A subscription pricing model is now available and a wide range of printers and print-and-cut devices, including direct-to-film (DtF) for textile use is supported.

Durst will present its P5 range of printers and supporting software and this year’s show will host the first European showing of the flatbed and roll-fed printers from US-manufacturer Vanguard in which Durst acquired a majority stake in October 2020. Vanguard opened a European headquarters adjacent to Durst’s own in Brixen, Italy in September 2021. Durst is also teasing a new product announcement at Fespa, which will be reported in Digital Printer in due course.

EFI will be bringing three of its printers to Berlin, the Reggiani Terra Silver textile printer, the Pro30h hybrid LED machine and the Vutek Q3r roll-to-roll LED printer.

Unveiled in 2021, the Reggiani Terra Silver is a 1.8m printer which runs EFI Reggiani’s Terra pigment ink for ‘high-quality, highly sustainable,’ direct-to-textile printing without steaming or washing. The 3.2m Pro 30h is a hybrid flatbed/roll-to-roll entry-level production machine which can print onto a variety of substrates for a wide variety of applications. It is powered by the EFI Fiery ProServer Core digital front end. The Vutek Q3r is a 3m roll-to-roll option which EFI says ‘goes beyond printing by providing a complete print to finished graphic workflow—from RIP to finished product—on the same platform.’

Fuijfilm will exhibit a total of six machines from its Acuity wide-format range. This will include the Acuity Prime and Acuity Ultra R2 as well as previously unseen models. The Acuity Ultra R2 is a roll-fed machine available in 5m or 3.2m versions, with both set to be showcased on the company’s stand. It is available in various colour configurations up to eight channels and with conventional UV curing as standard, or with an LED UV curing system for six colour and white configurations.

The Acuity Prime is the first new Fujifilm flatbed since the company ended its long-standing agreement with Canon (formerly Océ) for the latter’s Arizona line of UV-curing printers. It’s a 2.54 x 1.7m model able to handle media up to 51mm thick.

Inktec will display its Jetrix LXi8 UV and Jetrix LXiR320. The former is a 3.2 x 2.0m flatbed which can print at 206sqm/ hr. It makes use of InkTec’s latest-generation LED-UV ink and is powered by a dedicated Jetrix Graphical User Interface, designed to simplify and automate as many steps as of the printing process possible.

The Jetrix LXiR320, also 3.2m, is a roll-to-roll digital LEDUV printer with Konica Minolta print heads. It can print at speeds up to 110sqm/hr, resolutions up to 2160dpi, and is marketed as ‘perfect for large scale production of PVC, fabric banners and backlit banners for indoor and outdoor signage.’

The printers will be complemented by a dedicated inks and media area featuring a range of specially formulated alternative inks and ‘an extensive media range including solvent, aqueous and latex varieties.’

Kongsberg Precision Cutting Systems will showcase its flagship Kongsberg C Series digital cutting solution, its modular Kongsberg X24 table and the MultiCam Apex 3R CNC router on a ‘huge’ display area. The C24 combines a steel tabletop with an aluminium honeycomb core, a rack and pinion drive system and dynamic table mapping for accuracy and consistency in cutting at up to 100m/min. A range of tools will complement this.

Add-on tools will also illustrate the flexibility of the X24 table, including the Kongsberg PowerHead for cutting and creasing heavy duty materials, able to exert up to 50kg of force, and a FoamHead which uses a reciprocating knife to cut foam materials. The Apex 3R router can cut a variety of materials including plastic, aluminium, wood, high-density foam, and composite materials.

Kornit Digital will be highlighting its direct-to-garment solutions, including the new Atlas Max Poly. The Israeli company says that it is an ‘industry first’ solution ‘delivering superior quality digital decoration for vibrant, colourful design on polyester and poly-blended apparel.’ Kornit hopes that the Atlas Max Poly will help to open up the professional and recreational sports apparel and teamwear markets, which have previously been limited by the difficulties involved in personalising polyester garments.

Also on the Kornit stand will be the Presto Max, marketed as the first to offer the ability to print white onto coloured fabrics whilst also allowing for neon colours and, via Kornit’s XDi technology, 3D decorative applications.

Mutoh will present several of its XpertJet Pro printers. Models to be found on stand will include the XpertJet 1641SRP and 1341SRP, which feature new print head technology, a new weaving algorithm for improved image quality in subtle gradations, and Mutoh’s VerteLith RIP software. They will be joined by the 1.6m XpertJet 1682SR, which will be in eight-colour configuration with orange ink which the company says allow for the printing of a new range of reds, oranges and yellows.

Also on the Mutoh stand will be the XpertJet 1642WR dual-head dye sublimation printer. Capable of printing at ‘sellable high quality production speeds’ up to 61sqm/hr, the 1642WR incorporates two new generation extra-wide 1600 nozzle AccuFine print heads, installed in a staggered setup. There will also be the XpertJet 461UF and 661UF, Mutoh’s second-generation UV desktop printers intended for personalised one-off prints and small lot production.

Workflow automation will be the focus of the OneVision Software stand, where demonstrations in partnership with Canon and Kongsberg (see above) and others will show end-to-end automation. In one live showcase, visitors will see automation from order entry in a web store, through file preparation with OneVision’s Wide Format Automation Suite, to printing and finishing. Canon Arizona or Colorado models will be used for printing and finishing with cutting systems from Zünd and Fotoba.

A ‘smart finishing’ process that demonstrates the integration of OneVision’s software with its nesting and cutting capabilities and hardware from Kongsberg will also be shown live, with a Kongsberg X22 cutting system on OneVision’s stand, to show how best substrate usage can be achieved.

Pigment.inc will be exhibiting a range of hybrid direct to garment (DtG) / direct to film (DtF) printers and ancillary equipment, plus an industrial grade roll-to-roll DtF system for mass production of transfers for apparel and product decoration. The Q1 and Q2 Hybrid Series are able to operate in both DtG and DtF modes, producing up to 100 dark or 150 light garments per hour, while the Q1-T model features inline powder glue application and curing to produce film ready for heat transfer onto a wide range of natural synthetic fabrics. The company also offers DtF adapter kits for Epson, Brother and other printers.

Sappi will be focusing on its portfolio of coated and uncoated dye sublimation papers for thermal transfer printing, containerboard and silicone base papers. The company has invested significantly in expanding its centre of excellence at Carmignano in northern Italy to increase production capacity to further support its dye-sub business, which includes the uncoated Sappi Basejet and Transjet product family. These address a variety of machine types and speeds for applications in fashion, home textiles, sportswear and sports equipment, in addition to soft signage and hard substrate print.

SwissQprint says that visitors to its stand will be able to experience new developments in its UV flatbed and rollto-roll options, providing users with ‘a competitive edge.’ On the stand will be the company’s fourth generation of flatbed printers, which the company says come with the latest print head technology and mechanical enhancements.

Alongside that will be the Karibu roll-to-roll printer, a 3.4m LED-curing UV printer launched in 2019 in response to requests from customers for a dedicated roll-fed device. A faster (330sqm/hr) model, capable of printing with neon inks, was added in 2021. The company’s neon inks will also be on display, with pink, yellow, green and orange variants all set to be demonstrated.

Last but not least, Zünd will be introducing visitors to PrimeCenter, its control centre for generating print-and-cut files. The company will use live demonstrations to show how the Pick&Place interface option controls robotic devices and fully automates the removal of cut parts and their placement at pre-defined locations.

Zünd will also display the Visualizing Option, a component of the Zünd Cut Center user interface and workflow software. Besides assisting the user during parts removal through projection, this option offers capabilities for labelling cut parts. The company will also showcase the web-based monitoring and analytics software Zünd Connect, which captures performance and availability KPIs from cutters integrated in the Zünd production workflow and uses this data to calculate overall equipment efficiency.

Other big names exhibiting in Berlin but who, at the time of writing, weren’t yet in a position to share specifics, include Canon, Durst, HP, Mimaki and Roland DG.