FESPA 2019: An Explosion of Possibilities

A burst of wide-format technology, applications, and insight filled the annual tradeshow in Munich.

Over the course of four days, more than 20,000 visitors from 137 countries explored six halls and 700 exhibitor booths at Messe München for FESPA 2019. The Global Print Expo was held in Munich, May 14-17, with a diverse program including a range of interactive components such as Printeriors, Print Make Wear, Colour L*A*B*, and the World Wrap Masters vehicle wrapping championship.Fespa outside


True to the yearly international event, textiles were consistently on attendee and exhibitor minds, from Printeriors to complete booth takeovers. “But what does ‘textiles’ mean?” asked Ron Gilboa, group director, Keypoint Intelligence - InfoTrends. Fast fashion, soft signage, interior décor… the list goes on for the booming market; according to HP, the digitally printed textiles industry will reach a retail value of $307 billion by 2023.

If your shop’s interest falls specifically into interior décor applications, Printeriors was the place to be. The indoor and outdoor sector highlighted the incredible opportunities digitally printing on fabrics brings. From beanbags, folding chairs, and tablecloths to carpets, curtains, and pillows, the interior and exterior application options are boundless. Printeriors

Exhibitors also showcased their investment in the industry. Mimaki Europe is collaborating with interior and fashion designers to digitally print their creative designs onto fabric, textiles, and glass, and highlighted the work of designers Claire Vos and Tessa Koops at their booth.

“Digital printing with Mimaki products allows me to connect with interior décor in a way I couldn’t before, and I’m excited for the future,” said Vos, an interior designer. 

Kornit Digital is planning to focus on the home décor market, as well. “You can order your sofa covers online, in any style you’d like,” said Ronen Samuel, CEO, Kornit Digital Europe.

Even finishing manufacturers are finding increased interest and sales due to the popular application: “We’re finding great demand for wide-format cutters, specifically because of the demand for textile printing,” said Alex White, managing director, Blackman and White.


While recurring press conference themes might have made you feel as though you were in “Groundhog Day,” at least everyone in the world of wide format is on the same page. OEMs consistently shared these top demands for the market today:

● Personalization 
Social media
● E-commerce 

“Social media is driving massive sales. There’s exponential growth online, on-demand production needs are growing, we have high quality product expectations, and there’s the “Amazon effect:” fast and easy delivery,” said Victor Peña, president, OmniPrint. 

“EFI as a company needs to be as flexible and customized as [what’s available] online,” said Frank Mallozzi, CRO, EFI.Fespa


Of course, it wouldn’t be FESPA without a plethora of product launches and updates.

Canon unveiled the Océ Colorado 1650, a 64-inch roll-to-roll digital printer. Want to print on gloss? What about matte? You can do both with this machine.

SwissQprint launched the 126-inch Karibu. The company’s first roll-to-roll printer will be available in September.

Durst introduced its own modular software solutions, Durst Workflow, Durst Analytics, and Durst Smart Shop, to provide customers with an automated production unit “from pixel to output.” The Smart Shop allows printers to not only design images for wide-format output, but also augmented reality.

HP debuted the 126-inch-wide Stitch S1000 dye sublimation printer. “If we can’t disrupt, then there’s no point in entering the market,” said an HP representative.

Adobe shared Textile Designer Plug-in for Adobe Photoshop, a set of tools for fashion and décor artists to help streamline the process of designing prints for fabrics. “You want the print to look the same at meter 1 and meter 1000,” said Mike Scrutton, director, print technology and strategy, Adobe. 

FESPA 2020 will take place in Madrid, March 24-27, co-located with the European Sign Expo. Sportswear Pro 2020, an exhibition dedicated exclusively to sportswear manufacturing, will also make its debut.

For live updates from industry conferences and shows around the world, follow Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer and Big Picture magazine on Twitter.