IPEX 2006 — BIG SHOWING IN BRITAIN
Because our country is so large and self-sufficient, Americans are generally loathe to travel internationally. So Americans are not expected at IPEX, the once-every-four-years trade show held in Birmingham, UK. But, in many respects, it is our loss. Those who made the trip for the eight-day show saw the latest in printing technology across a wide spectrum of processes and business applications.
Although the number of Americans was small (many U.S. exhibitors, of course, were there), the exhibition attracted 52,432 visitors—shy of the 62,000 claimed by the PRINT show last year in Chicago, but well ahead of the 40,000 expected at Graph Expo & Converting Expo this fall. Many had expected that IPEX 2006 would not be well attended, following general declines in many trade exhibitions. But, aside from a very slow first day, crowds were excellent and steady throughout the show. What these visitors saw was a complete spectrum of equipment, software and consumables for those interested in digital, lithographic, ink-jet, flexographic, gravure and screen printing.
Attendance at IPEX 2006 was especially strong from Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia, with more than 2,000 visitors from each area. As these developing regions gain economic strength, printing is one of the first manufacturing capabilities that their entrepreneurs seek. Manufacturers reported especially strong sales in these markets.
Among the announcements were a 15-unit KBA Rapida 105 triple coater press for Graf Poz in Poland, and a four-color Rapida 130 VLF press for Gopsons Paper in New Delhi, India. Komori announced the sale of the first new heatset web press to be installed in Latvia, by Printing Group Mukusala. American printers should take note that unlike the situation just a few years ago—when developing countries were the dumping grounds for obsolete equipment from the United States—today these foreign printers are purchasing modern, labor-saving equipment.