By Chloe Mahendra-Fuji, Print Diva
Hi! I’m Chloe! I just finished a run of tradeshows that made my head spin! And there are a few more to go this season. Let me share some of the cool stuff I saw.
One of my all time favorite trade shows is Hunkeler InnovationDays in Luzern Switzerland. It happens every two years hosted by the folks at Hunkeler. They make finishing equipment for all of our needs, from sheeter/stacker machines, to coaters, to book block and newspaper finishing lines. Along with their partners from a host of companies they host the most amazing event for printers and print buyers of all types. Where else can you see all of the cool printing equipment from all of the major hardware vendors sitting on a show floor attached to finishing equipment so you can see how it all works together? There is almost no other show like it.
This year’s edition of InnovationDays was the last week of February and met every promise made in the marketing brochures. Everyone I met was there for a combination of shopping and learning. The venue made that easy. Co-located with the four days of the Hunkeler event were DOXNET, a German user association that covers a lot of the same ground as Xplor, and the Interquest Digital Printing Forum, covering transaction, direct mail, newspapers and publishing. Plus, just about every hardware vendor had their own private sessions and seminars going on. It was enough to make your brain tired at the end of every day.
What did I learn at Hunkeler? That I had it all wrong when it comes to commercial printing. I saw some amazing high coverage posters, printed on both sides! The big 36 x 28 inch size, printed on inkjet presses, and then coated, cut and stacked on a Hunkeler finishing line so that the end product was ready for light box sign applications, store windows or any other place a sign makes sense. I asked why they printed on both sides, and the answer was cool. That way on light boxes they glow, and when they are in store windows you don’t see the ugly white back. They print the reverse side with a reverse of the image that is at a much lighter density, so it looks like you are looking through them. They were just cool.
I also learned that newspapers aren’t just for news! Who knew? There are companies all over Europe using newspaper formats for the direct marketing and customer care requirements. From shops selling jeans to travel brokers and car dealers, digitally printed newspapers that are segmented and even personalized are making their way in the standard offerings of printers all over Europe.
I also saw some marketing collateral that made me smile! There were dozens of applications that had intricate finishing to make them truly unique. I thought it had to be difficult, but I learned that if you have a vision and work with a printer that has good finishing connections you can make anything! I was a bit surprised to see so much that had Augmented Reality components built in, but I shouldn’t have been. Some of the biggest AR companies are based in Europe!
My take away for InnovationDays is that it is a darned expensive show to attend. Switzerland is an expensive place, and because it’s not part of the European Union you get to juggle one more currency in your wallet (Swiss Francs). But life in Luzern for a week was amazing. The Hunkeler team had chocolate flowing throughout the show floor and the Luzern train station sells some of the best pretzels I’ve ever had.
The nice thing about Hunkeler InnovationDays is that you don’t have to be a Hunkeler customer to attend. The registration is open to anyone who wants to come! So when 2017 approaches, keep an eye on innovationdays.ch for more information and save up for one of the best print shows on earth!
Watch this space for more from the life of a Print Diva.
Chloe Mahendra-Fuji practices the fine arts of design critique, content creation and editing, and communication consulting. She has decades of experience working in online content delivery, print delivery, and content development. Chloe is also a gossip maven. Send your rumors and back channel notes to [email protected]. She says, “Have you guessed? CMF is my AKA! You’re safe with me!”
Connect with Chloe on Twitter: @ChloePrintDiva