High energy… High efficiency… High visibility… High return on investment—These four characteristics, long associated with INFOFLEX, will hold firm in 2020. The trade event, seen by most package printers as “first out-of-the gate,” enjoys the reputation of “a must-attend exhibition!”
As FLEXO Magazine Flash Polls have found, the title will not be relinquished any time soon.
- Suppliers trumpet the benefits INFOFLEX brings
- Printers laude its potential impact on their bottom line
These traditions have held steadfast for 38 years! INFOFLEX 2020 will stand as the platform for package printing and converting’s continued success in a new decade, just as it will serve to set the stage for what follows—drupa, Labelexpo, SuperCorrExpo, PACK EXPO International. This year’s theme: “Pushing the Limits of Innovation.”
- Strength comes from numbers
- Drawing power is strong!
- A full 56 percent of US-based printers and converters are located within a few hours’ drive of FTA’s chosen host city—Columbus, OH
Two days, eight aisles, 230 companies, 11 hours’ time, 14 Innovation Central presentations, hundreds and hundreds—make that thousands—of engaged, introspective printers and converters with investment options on their minds and concrete plans of action in hand, or being formulated on the trade floor—talk about collective inspiration for seizing broad-based opportunities. Given all that will be happening, continuous improvement on print production lines is a guarantee.
Suppliers have communicated clearly with their customers. They’ve pledged, INFOFLEX will show them how to drive better decisions, control makeready and waste, align print output to standards and get results; namely, “consistency like you’ve never seen before.”
- Printers intend to hold them to their word
- Discussion on those and other points will no doubt be prevalent in the exhibit hall
- INFOFLEX is where promise breeds potential
Optics = Optimization
Talk will be highly targeted, focusing on flexible packaging, labels, folding carton, corrugated board, preprinted liner, envelopes, digital complements, finishing options, inline converting and premedia priorities—namely harnessing the power of automation, be it workflows or new screening avenues.
Optimization is an industry-wide effort, starting in prepress and pertaining to everything from the press to the production line and on to distribution points. “No bottlenecks!” “Always adaptable!” “Streamline smartly!” “First-time right!” “Tighten controls!” “Seamless operations!” And, of course: “Faster. Better. Cheaper!” Flexographers have their marching orders.
At INFOFLEX, victory after victory will come quickly into their sights. Their mission: “Put forth a complete printing and converting workflow to meet any brand owner’s needs—all inline, all in a single pass. Unlock the potential of flexo in ways that were previously not possible.”
- Printers/converters simply have no choice but to allow obsolete technologies to give way to highly efficient solutions
- Engagement of an ever-younger workforce—prone to embrace clean-hand techniques and single-touch points within the purview of augmented reality and artificial intelligence—stands in the balance
Given brand owner expectations, changing market needs, the ever-present calls for operational efficiencies and productivity enhancements, as well as product differentiation and competitive positioning—all subjects assigned strong credence in recent Flash Polls by printers; tools devised to ease those pains will be among items garnering peak interest on the trade floor.
Already at press time, FLEXO can report that:
- Better than 26 percent of the floor will showcase flexo, digital and hybrid presses, along with press accessories
- In excess of 20 percent will focus on plates, sleeves, plate making and plate cleaning/handling
- Approximately 21 percent will speak to inline converting capabilities
- Upward of 12 percent are dedicated to inks, coatings and associated issues
- Similarly, 9 percent make and service anilox rolls
- A full 8 percent manufacture doctor blades
- Some 8 percent are premedia service providers
- 6 percent are distributors
- 6 percent author management software
- 6 percent market some form of substrate
- Across that populace, far more than 25 percent work to encourage and reduce carbon footprints in the industry
Significant portions of exhibiting companies will be promoting wares developed to target printers’ 10 top challenges, as spelled out in FLEXO’s continuing series of Flash Polls—the most recent of which appeared in the January 2020 issue. Specific breakouts of the concern and cadre of suppliers addressing each one follow.
One can make the argument that 100 percent of exhibitors support these causes listed on printers’ target points: waste reduction, quality control, quick turns, sustainability, standards and specifications, training and education, and even automated workflows. That, however, does not imply that all make devices that directly address the concern.
Looking at the trouble spots individually, better than 75 percent of exhibitors can speak to waste reduction initiatives, as they relate to and are embraced by their products. That factors in machinery, software, process control and inspection systems, premedia firm attention, plate making, ink manufacturing, environmental supplies and more.
When it comes to quality control, depending on the interpretation, up to 91 percent of firms manning booths can, and will, claim their products contribute to the cause. The list includes software authors, premedia service providers, machinery manufacturers, consumables—ink, anilox roller, substrate, tape, doctor blade and inline converting component manufacturers.
Color management is more the purview of premedia service providers, software authors, ink manufacturers, control instrument and inspection system developers and the like. All told, one-third of INFOFLEX 2020 exhibitors fit the bill. Also, on the software front, a near identical one-third of those showcasing wares, prioritize automating in-plant workflows and offer solutions to do just that.
Short runs, quick turns and hybridization are best addressed by press manufacturers and converting equipment makers. A glance at the preliminary floor plan reveals some 45 percent of space contracted for meets the criteria. If hybrid/digital presses are the specific concern, 18 percent of exhibitors talk the talk.
Sustainability stretches from those machinery makers, through substrate and plate suppliers, and into the realm of environmental supply marketers and premedia service providers. In terms of INFOFLEX at this early date—that is up to 55 percent of participating firms.
Excitement is building. Anticipation centers on all the likely activity. There is no better place than INFOFLEX 2020 to sort through technologies offered. It’s less than 90 days away! Sell-out will soon be secured.
- Better in-plant productivity is ever-present on every printer’s list of strategic objectives
- It serves as both backbone and launchpad for INFOFLEX
- Columbus is calling!
- INFOFLEX 2020 takes place April 20-21
- It’s all about Innovation, Introspection and Investment
Come. Push the limits! Network with fellow FTA members. Identify solutions just right for you. Bring out your best! Expand what our world has to offer! Deliver value never seen before!