Attendance figures reveal an 11% boost in international numbers, with the top five countries (other than South Africa) being Botswana, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Some 67% of visitors were business owners or senior management, and over half had final purchasing authority, which translated into quality leads and on-the-spot sales.
‘Exhibitor feedback on the new venue and overall feel of the event has been overwhelmingly positive!’ declares event organiser, Dyelan Copeland. ‘And the support received from the rest of the continent gives us confidence that FESPA Africa is satisfying a real business need.’
Positive results for Antalis
Once again, Antalis pulled out all the stops, presenting an interactive and tactile stand designed to promote value-added, environmentally-friendly printing platforms and paper ranges.
Crowd stoppers this year included the Kodak NexPress SX 3300 with dimensional ink (demonstrated for the first time at a South African exhibition), EFI’s VUTEk GS3250LX Pro, featuring the latest LED technology, the versatile Epson SureColor SC-S30610 and the Esko Kongsberg XN 24 cutting table.
‘Our focus is on providing equipment and software that meets rapidly-changing market needs,’ declared MD, Raymond Waldeck. ‘In the last 18 months, the digital print market has continued its swift growth, attracting both established traditional printing business owners and a new breed of young entrepreneurs. Despite caution in a tough economy, there’s a fresh appetite for advanced technology, which is great,’ he continues. ‘FESPA Africa certainly provided the perfect platform to showcase our multifaceted business and introduce our international partners in a stimulating environment. I’m happy that the right decision makers came and as a result we concluded sales of two Kongsberg Tables and received forward orders from existing and new customers.
He commented, too, on the encouraging number of African visitors to the stand. ‘We received solid business enquiries; and indicators are that finance houses are beginning to assist small- and medium-sized businesses to purchase equipment required for growth.’
Expansion into neighbouring African countries is already underway for Antalis, and Raymond’s confident that equipment sales will flourish. ‘With local sales growth slowing down, we’re definitely focusing on expanding our export activities in the commercial and print-for-packaging arena. Importantly, Antalis is 100% committed to providing expert advice and support to deliver the right printing systems and consumables to meet individual business requirements. In short, we’ll continue doing what we do best!’
Impressive Roland line-up
This is the seventh year that Roland has supported the event as a platinum sponsor, signalling the company’s commitment to a long-term association with the leading sign, display and digital graphics expo in Africa.
‘The new-look FESPA Africa continues to provide us with the ideal platform to display our innovative wide-format inkjet printers, vinyl cutters, thermal transfer printer/cutters, 3D scanners and milling devices,’ remarked Alexandra Radziejowska, designer and marketer for Roland DG Africa. ‘We take pride in showcasing Roland’s versatility and innovation and we’ve received numerous enquiries from visitors during the three-days.
Among the advanced print platforms presented, and making its international début, was the VersaEXPRESS RF-640 large-format inkjet printer, equipped with the latest printhead technology and Greenguard Gold-certified Eco-Sol MAX 2 inks, that delivers vibrant prints at up to 48m2/hour.
Other highlights included the SOLJET XF-640 high-speed inkjet printer, equipped with advanced dual mirrored printheads, reinforced chassis, redesigned take-up and pinch roller systems; the hybrid LEJ-640 that accepts both roll and flat media from films to foam, rendering it suitable for applications such as packaging prototypes and POP, wide-format signage and décor; and the cost-effective BN-20, a powerful, yet compact desktop printer capable of printing and cutting high-quality durable graphics.
Also on display was the new VersaUV LEF series of bench-top UV flatbed printers that print directly on flat substrates and three-dimensional objects ranging from pens and smart phone covers to signs, personalised awards, promotional items, laptop covers and even guitar bodies.
Epson creates a lasting impression
Epson, a global leader in large-format and commercial printing, presented an impressive equipment line-up, including the Epson SureLab D-700, a novel six-colour compact photo production printer with multiple media and format options; the Epson SureColor SC-T series roll-fed, high-speed, four-colour large-format press (available in nine models), designed for a variety of graphics, CAD and GIS applications; and the Epson L1800 A3 ITS (Ink Tank System) printer.
Also creating interest in the label printing arena was the Epson LabelWorks Pro100. Thanks to its thermal transfer and direct thermal printing technology, this compact table-top system is Epson’s first label maker that allows printing of durable plastic signage – from hazard signs to identification labels or pre-cut paper address labels, and temporary maintenance and security stickers.
‘Our decision to display a variety of technologies has certainly paid off,’ remarks Vernon Mellors, Epson business account manager. ‘By providing systems that meet the needs of every market sector, we’re displaying Epson’s overall versatility and ongoing commitment to printing excellence!’
Kemtek’s complete ‘toolkit’
Strategically situated in the centre of Hall 2, Kemtek’s interactive site – voted Best Mega Stand – boasted an unparalleled selection of prepress, printing and finishing technologies from leading global principals such as HP Indigo, Durst, Aristo, EngView, Screen, Sibress and Duplo.
Highlights during the three-day event included live demonstrations of the HP Indigo 7600 digital production press, the all-new Durst P10/320R industrial roll-to-roll wide-format UV digital printer, an Aristo TL1625 cutting table, Duplo’s perfect binders and PUR binders, EngView’s advanced prepress software and the SibressFlexoControl analyser. ‘We created a welcoming environment where visitors could view our technologies in action and meet our brand specialists, who could discuss machine specifications and tailor-made options if required,’ remarks Kemtek group MD, Gavin van Rensburg. ‘As a result, we introduced first-time digital customers to our world-class systems and met with experienced digital users looking to upgrade or expand their current operations. Everyone seemed genuinely impressed by the quality attained on the machines and notable achievements were the sale of a Durst P10/320R industrial press, and sales of Duplo PUR binders and creasing and cutting units.’
Versatile Midcomp showcase
The eye-catching multi-station Midcomp stand featured an imposing line-up encompassing flatbed and roll-to-roll wide-format printing, digital cutting, software solutions and substrates.
Spotlight in the wide-format arena was on the recently launched HP Latex 300 printer series. Powered by third-generation, water-based HP Latex ink technology and available in three sizes (310, 330 and 360), these machines are designed to assist signage companies and small- to medium-size enterprises to expand large-format printing capabilities by improving durability and image quality and providing a healthier production environment compared to traditional solvent or eco-solvent ink devices. Also featured were the versatile HP Scitex FB700 printer that handles rigid and flexible media, including corrugated plastic, and the heavy duty Zünd G3 profile cutter, demonstrated by product manager, Lars Bendixen. The nifty small-format Direct Jet UV LED flatbed inkjet printer from Direct Color Systems created interest with its versatile, easy-to-use platform for full-colour textured three-dimensional printing on virtually any flat substrate.
‘FESPA Africa is a huge success, and the perfect venue to showcase our world-leading printing and converting systems and to demonstrate our expertise in the digital field,’ remarked Sean Greer, Midcomp marketing manager. ‘We’ve received hundreds of enquiries and concluded several sales with new and existing customers.’
Expanding on excellence
Konica Minolta South Africa promoted its award-winning bizhub PRO & PRESS C1060L and C1070 (replacing the highly-popular C6000 and C7000). Perfect for print providers in a light- to medium-level production environment, each provides an easy transition into the digital print field by delivering entry-level finishing and an optional modular concept for precise colour consistency, superb image quality and media flexibility.
Other featured systems included the flagship C1100, ideal for high-volume A4 and A3 print jobs, and the bizhub PRESS 1250 and bizhub PRO B951.
‘Today’s commercial printers are looking for versatile printing platforms that deliver the lowest cost per copy. A tall order perhaps, but our equipment certainly meets these requirements,’ said Leon Minnie, product manager: production systems at Konica Minolta South Africa. ‘Despite a tough economy, our experienced technicians, sales representatives and dealers continue to grow the Konica Minolta brand in southern Africa and exhibitions such as FESPA Africa allow us to communicate fresh features and technologies to a broad audience.’
Oki supports in-house private labelling
Introducing its new full-colour digital desktop label printing machine was OKI South Africa
Ideal for producing high volumes of labels, the Anytron digital label press produces high resolution output at up to 9m/min. According to product manager, Emile Pitout, the device is ideal for store branding, food labelling and much more. ‘Private label is a major trend and brand owners, co-packers and supermarkets require a device that can deliver purpose-printed labels at high speed and low cost,’ he remarked.
According to Emile, printing at a resolution of 1 200dpi, the Anytron’s reliability and speed result from OKI’s single-pass technology and a sophisticated take-up and feed unit.
‘Its output speed leads the industry in desktop label printing,’ he claimed. ‘With the introduction of this printer to the South African market, manufacturers can bring label production in-house. For consumer goods manufacturers in particular, this represents a massive opportunity: it’s no longer necessary to outsource label printing that takes time and complicates the process of packaging and delivering goods to market.’
The Anytron digital label press measures 1.6m long and 580mm wide. Capable of handling a variety of self-adhesive label stocks, it produces high-definition, full-colour labels that are waterproof and scratch resistant.
It’s also possible to instantly change or update labels on the fly; and integration with Microsoft Excel files means no special software is required for its operation.
Accurate registration of 0.5mm is assured, supporting post-processing rotary cutting. In addition to the printer, the Anytron line-up includes a digital laser die-cutter that’s combined with the digital label press. ‘It’s the world’s first desktop, roll-fed digital laser die contour cutter. It supports vector files, roll and sheet media and has an inline laminating unit,’ Emile asserted.
Effortless estimating from Optimus
The Optimus team picked a prime position at the entrance to Hall 2 and were handsomely rewarded with a multitude of enquiries, particularly about the all-new Dash job ganging software, launched earlier this year at Ipex in London.
‘Building on the successful, award-winning Dash MIS platform, this new-generation software’s automatic estimating and job bag creation modules, along with its integrated approach to stock control, purchasing, e-commerce and accounts, can help printing companies to generate substantial production efficiencies and savings,’ explained Optimus MD, Nicola Bissett.
‘During the last few years we’ve seen encouraging growth in the South African digital arena and, as a regular exhibitor, we’re delighted to present the new-generation Dash software that provides huge flexibility in terms of managing any substrate and process.’
Dash users can identify jobs suitable for ganging using a comprehensive search facility, then input the information required to create a ‘master’ job – this can be elements of a job or the whole process. The master job, which clearly identifies the customer’s order that has been ganged, will then collect all costs including materials, labour and outwork. These are automatically sent back, in real time, to the original production jobs based on the percentage of costs originally recorded. This ensures that maximum production efficiencies are gained from ganging and that costs are recorded against the individual campaign.
‘We’re already establishing a firm presence in the market and local MD, Colin Garde, and his team are involved in a number of software upgrades and new system installations,’ Nicola added. ‘I’m confident that several new business opportunities will emerge as a result of the many promising leads received at this exhibition.’
Printech packs a punch
Printech Engineering’s stand was overflowing with visitors looking for premium-quality printing presses, bindery, cutting and finishing machinery. A recent addition to the Printech stable is German brand, Stago, with a robust range of GE- and CE-certified stapling, drilling, pressing and paper jogging equipment. Demonstrated on the stand, Stago products are ideal for small- to medium-sized printing shops looking for a durable, reliable and simple converting option.
‘There’s no question that digital printing continues to grow and we’re ensuring that we’re playing our part,’ commented MD, Graham Townsend. ‘The small digital shop owners want to be self-sufficient and Stago produces top-class finishing equipment that allows job completion in-house, minimising outwork requirements,’ he continued. ‘Visitors are genuinely interested in the units shown and, importantly, pleased that we’re representing Stago and offering the service support we’re renowned for. This new expo venue certainly helped to attract a wide audience and this is reflected in the number of excellent leads gathered from local and African print shop owners. Now we just need to convert the interest into sales!’ Graham declared.
Foiling made easy
For the first time in South Africa, the Ronnie Cox team presented US-based Flesher’s best-selling Premere, a computer-controlled hot-foil lettering system that’s equally suited for one-off personalisation, on-demand printing and short-run production (even debossing), or longer runs of thousands of copies.
Designed for manually-loaded products, its large table and flexible work-holders accommodate almost any size product, allowing hot foil stamping in one pass – multiple lines, multiple groups of text, even horizontal and vertical text at once. A precision digital controller accurately maintains print-wheel temperature, and its Dynamic Depth Control feature manages embossing depth for each character. Different profiles can be created and stored, for products such as natural leather or PVC-coated binding covers, and recalled as required, eliminating set-up when changing from one product to another.
Flesher’s iStamp software handles all settings with ease, so the machine runs with the click of a mouse. Templates can be created and saved, then instantly retrieved. Type-style, lettering location, and variable data are all loaded automatically.
Further options include a barcode reader for quick retrieval of job data, a laser positioning system and array stamping for producing multiple items in one pass.
There are hundreds of standard typefaces to choose from and, depending on the model, the Premere can accommodate a print-wheel with up to 200 characters. Maximum character size is 12.7mm tall and accented characters are also available.
E Meteor makes its mark
Ferrostaal Equipment Solutions was promoting the ever-popular and versatile MGI DP8700 XL Meteor toner-based, four-colour digital press, offering high-quality output up to 3 600dpi. Incorporating true multisubstrate capabilities for paper, plastics and envelopes, laser-safe prints, offset comparable output and no click charge, the Meteor DP8700 XL is designed to maximise production and ease of operation. Applications include tri-fold brochures, book covers with flaps, POS, banners, signs and panoramic photos, plastics, photo books, stickers and labels and textiles. A touchscreen with built-in substrate library automatically adjusts print settings to optimise printability.
‘We’ve made great strides in the local market with our MGI Meteor products and this year we’ve attracted a good mix of traditional and new print business owners looking to purchase a world-class digital press,’ comments Ferrostaal MD, Eric Duggan. ‘We’ve got a couple of MGI installations underway, and I’m sure several quality leads will soon be converted into sales.’
Comprehensive GSW line-up
As always, GSW’s interactive, eye-catching modular stands appealed to visitors looking for new and exciting digital print technologies and consumables.
This year’s event saw the launch of the Mimaki JV300-130/160, the latest addition to the award-winning JV300 family of eco-solvent inkjet wide-format printers. It offers unparalleled speed, print quality and flexibility, and its compact design and affordable price make it an attractive option for any fast-growing print business.
Other highlights included the Mimaki JFX 200-2513 eco-friendly LED curing printer, Esko’s Kongsberg C and V-series cutting, creasing and plotting tables, plus new ink and coating technologies from Bordeaux and Fujifilm respectively.
[Ed’s note: The next FESPA Africa/Africa Print Expo takes place from July 22 to 24, 2015, at Gallagher Convention Centre. ]