Ipex, the UK’s flagship print and communications event, is being reunited with the nation’s capital when it opens its doors at the custom-built ExCeL International Exhibition & Convention Centre in London’s Docklands from March 24 to 29.
The addition of ExCeL, new rail, road and air transport links, the incursion of both the financial services and media sectors into the Docklands, plus the legacy of the £9-billion investment in London’s 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – all these have transformed this area into London’s commercial heartland. It’s now geared to facilitate Ipex’s smooth transition back to the capital.
Equally in tune with the Ipex community is London’s creative media communications sector – including some of the world’s most respected advertising agencies such as Saatchi & Saatchi, Ogilvy and Leo Burnett – playing a key role in shaping Ipex’s evolution.
Says Ipex event director Trevor Crawford, ‘In our predominantly digital world, print is continuously adapting to compete against an ever-expanding menu of communications technologies. This has been a key strategic factor for including a cross media production focus on multi-channel messaging media as an integral part of Ipex.’
A centre of ExCeLlence
If London is the best UK city for business, then ExCeL has likewise developed as the country’s best venue in which to do it. In the six years since its opening, the venue has almost doubled in size to 100 000m².
ExCeL’s two halls are centrally connected by a boulevard running the entire length of the complex, providing free and reliable Wi-Fi and containing 40 bars, restaurants and eateries. For a major event such as Ipex, the boulevard will be part of the event and part of the Ipex community experience.
An essential part of ExCeL’s appeal is the adjacent commercial and retail network. Ipex visitors will be struck by the marked contrast in exterior ambience with other exhibition centres regularly utilised for similar events. In addition to the profusion of food service and retail outlets grouped around the traffic-free walkways right outside the ExCeL, the £1.6-billion Westfields shopping centre is a ten-minute tube ride away.
ExCeL is also easy to reach. In addition to its direct links with six of the UK’s international airports, the centre is accessible to passengers on long-haul flights, who can transfer into London’s City airport via Frankfurt and Schiphol. ExCeL is barely a five-minute cab ride or a shuttle bus away from London City airport, with easy transport links to and from London Heathrow.
Upgraded rail transport has been one of the most immediate and beneficial legacies accruing from the staging of the Olympic Games increasing the capacity of the Docklands Light Railway network by 50% – within which ExCeL has two dedicated stations.
There are 14 000 hotel rooms within the immediate vicinity of ExCeL, reserved exclusively for Ipex visitors to book, with overall capacity throughout the city now in excess of 120 000 beds.
On the south bank of the river stands the O2 Arena, which will be the hub of ‘Ipex after hours’: one of the world’s busiest and most successful entertainment venues, and accessible from ExCeL via the Emirates airline-sponsored cable-car system. With a crossing every 15 seconds, each cable car traverses the river at a height of 90 metres on a ten-minute journey that affords a stunning view of London’s transformed docklands.
There’s never been a better time to capitalise on what Ipex 2014 and London have to offer.
Open Day underlines return in confidence in print
The Ipex 2014 Open Day – that took place in November at London’s ExCeL – was hailed a resounding success. Over 250 delegates, including prospective and current exhibitors, media and other key industry players, received a comprehensive overview of Ipex 2014 and the role the event can play in boosting business.
Comments Sarah Crumpler, Duplo’s UK marketing manager: ‘The Ipex Open Day provided a great forum for networking and sharing ideas with the Ipex team and other exhibitors. We’re looking forward to the event and contributing to the overall value it presents to visitors.’
Adds Goss International’s director of marketing services, Eric Bell: ‘The Open Day was a great launch pad for Ipex. A number of exhibitors indicated that the event provides them with the opportunity to start looking forward instead of back. ExCeL looks to be a smart move too – a well-structured, modern venue that will serve Ipex well.’
Mark Hinder, market development manager, Konica Minolta, adds: ‘I’m really encouraged. The programme to support commercial printers is well thought through, Cross Media Production will appeal to marketers and print service providers, and I hope the industry can now see how the event is adapting to the changing landscape.’
‘The Ipex team organised an excellent Open Day, which I found very interesting and informative,’ reflects Graham Harris, MD of Tech-ni-Fold. ‘We spoke to co-exhibitors and the mood was extremely upbeat and positive – everyone is looking forward to a successful and fruitful Ipex 2014. We plan to maximise all opportunities on offer to make this event successful.’
Concludes Trevor Crawford, event director, ‘It was a really productive and successful day – the excitement and enthusiasm in the room was palpable! It’s always great to meet customers face-to-face and to share our vision for Ipex – an event that has been developed with their interests at its heart. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive – the event’s features, its content and the move to ExCeL in London. The relationship between Ipex and the print industry is symbiotic, and fortunately for both the tide is turning. We can’t wait to see it all in action.’
Screen’s Truepress portfolio on show
Screen Europe is demonstrating a host of products from its Truepress Jet continuous digital inkjet printing series at Ipex. The company’s support of Ipex reiterates the London-based exhibition’s broad appeal to all facets of the print industry and the opportunity it provides for manufacturers to reach out to the international market.
‘Ipex is the only major print event in 2014. It promises to be an important show for Screen and our Truepress Jet high-speed, continuous inkjet printing solutions and applications,’ comments Brian Filler, president, Screen Europe.
‘The event always attracts premier print companies from around the globe and we have already had considerable interest from the Middle East, Africa and Australia. The timing in March is perfect. Ipex in London kicks off the financial year nicely as industry confidence returns and the global economy shows signs of recovery. Ipex will be perfect place for companies planning their print-on-demand investments in 2014.’
Key event for Goss
Web offset press manufacturer Goss International has also confirmed its presence at Ipex. The latest sign-up reaffirms the exhibition’s appeal as an influential sales platform for international print manufacturers and suppliers to do business directly with their customers.
Highlighting offset printing and finishing technologies, Goss International’s stand will attract visitors exploring new opportunities in magazine, newspaper, catalogue and direct mail printing, as well as flexible and non-flexible packaging applications.
Jean Segura, Goss International’s VP (sales, EMEA), remarks: ‘Goss has taken a selective approach to exhibiting in trade shows over the last year or two, so this is a clear message of commitment to the markets served by the show. It underlines strong sales in the UK as well as presenting a useful opportunity for face-to-face discussions with customers from further afield.’
Xeikon confirms attendance
Xeikon, innovator in digital colour printing technology, has reconfirmed attendance at Ipex as part of its ongoing commitment to the global print industry.
Comments Patrick van Baelen, Xeikon’s VP (marketing), comments: ‘Xeikon is committed to the print industry for the labels and packaging market and for the document and commercial market. We’re convinced printing will remain important in the multi-channel marketing communications mix. Ipex is the ideal platform for us to showcase our customer-driven innovations to an international audience.’
Komori sponsors Eco Zone
Komori is participating in in Ipex 2014 as the sponsor of the Eco Zone. Part of the event’s rich educational content and features programme, the Eco Zone will educate visitors on the ecological and business-related advantages of reducing their environmental impact.
In addition to demonstrating the economic benefits and eco-friendly performance of its H-UV System on a five-colour 40” press with coater and dryer, Komori is hosting presentations on legislation that compels blue-chip businesses to report their carbon footprints.
Neil Sutton, MD of Komori UK, comments: ‘Sponsoring this Eco Zone feature is an excellent platform for Komori to build on its market leading position for the supply of low-emission, eco-friendly and innovative H-UV printing.’
ThermoFlexX teams up with Hybrid Software
Following a worldwide agreement with fellow Belgians at Hybrid Software, ThermoFlexX is offering a total prepress solution to the flexographic industry.
The agreement involves Cloudflow, Hybrid’s ground-breaking ‘workspace’ concept for the web-enabled production environment.
‘ThermoFlexX imagers, with their ability to expose any leading flexo or letterpress plate, have become a popular option among printers and repro houses, no longer wishing to be locked into one consumable supplier,’ explains Christophe Lievens, director sales and marketing for basysPrint and ThermoFlexX.
To complete the range, ThermoFlexX needed to add software that would enable editing and processing of digital files prior to imaging the plate and chose to partner with Hybrid Software, renowned for creating pioneering software.
Cloudflow, having its official launch at Ipex, is certainly set to raise a few eyebrows. ‘Combining this with ThermoFlexX imagers enables printers to handle their prepress requirements with a level of quality, flexibility and throughput that is unrivalled,’ Christophe adds.
Both companies are at Ipex, where a ThermoFlexX 30 imager is being shown on the Xeikon stand interfaced with products from Hybrid Software.
The six imagers in the ThermoFlexX series allow efficient CTP plate production for applications ranging from labels and tags to flexible/corrugated packaging and folding cartons. Users can tailor plate output precisely to the work being produced by selecting the most suitable resolution and ThermoFlexX offers a wide choice of resolutions, from 2 400dpi to 5 080dpi. The user-friendly design ensures ease of plate handling and this helps to keep plate wastage to a minimum. ThermoFlexX imagers accept 1-bit TIFF files from any workflow or front-end, which can be as simple or as complex as required.
The deal also includes the recently released PACKZ, a revolutionary application that makes high quality editing of packaging and labels accessible to small, medium and high production volume professionals.
ThermoFlexX is represented locally by DecoFlex.
[Ed’s note: I gratefully acknowledge the expert input of freelance journalist Des King concerning the ExCel Centre and rejuvenated London Docklands (page 26).]