Ecological products abound at the Geneva-based show.
Whether "green" manufacturing will be a flavor-of-the-month or a prerequisite-to-be for print service providers remains to be seen, and may ultimately depend on whether vendors can find a way to cost-effectively deliver solutions with meaningful environmental advantages. They are certainly going to give it a spirited try, based on the ubiquity of third-party consumables touting various ecological benefits at April’s Fespa Digital Europe 2008 exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland.
We counted nearly 50 exhibitors from Asia and Europe showing consumables we haven’t previously reported on in The Big Picture, most pitching some type of environmental spin-PVC free, recyclable, "pure and safe," natural, "eco-friendly," "friendly free radicals" and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of similar claims. Fespa saluted the movement with its first "Green Trail," a guide for attendees pointing them to booths with products touting environmental advantages.
Clearly, as these and many similarly minded products make their way into the US market over the next year or so, sustainability is going to dominate the conversation (and the marketing copy) in this industry. Look for more information about these new products in the Update section in this issue and in July.
Fespa Digital Europe 2008 was quite well-attended, with a reported 8000 visitors. It also boasted an increase in exhibition space of about 40 percent over the inaugural Fespa Digital show held in Amsterdam (where the show returns next May) in 2006. But it wasn’t targeted by many printer OEMs as the show to debut new machines, most likely because it was sandwiched between the ISA show in Orlando in March and Drupa, the German event that concludes in mid June and is by far the world’s largest printing exhibition. Still, we noticed a handful of printers that were not shown at ISA or private OEM events earlier this year, including a few from well-established brands.