2006 holds great promise

22 December 2005

Ipex is just around the corner. I'd be the first to agree with many readers that the last two stagings of the international print event held at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, haven't been all for which we associated with the converting and packaging production industries could wish. Considering the size of the global business and its steady growth of around 4.5 per cent Ipex organizers would be the first to admit that an understanding of that had not been reflected in its past positioning and marketing of the exhibition.

However, I can honestly report that this time things look very different. The understanding of converting as being far more than cutting and creasing, and slitting and rewinding; its inclusion of specialist flexo, gravure, offset and digital print processes and an increasing interest being shown by the globe's largest printing suppliers are most certainly in place. So much so that the converting area has been moved to be adjacent to the hub of the exhibition; a special flexible packaging space has been created and a centre of excellence will feature keynote speakers. On the marketing front a special day has been set aside to specifically welcome packaging converters. It's all looking very good both for visitors and exhibitors.

Exhibitors too are announcing a much firmer commitment to packaging print. Naturally they see a market that is impossible to replicate virtually – unlike others in the graphic arts. PrintCity, for example, will have a huge packaging input – hardly surprising now that Bobst is a full member. And I recently learnt that Heidelberg has designed a large packaging area into its stand – a first for the company at Ipex.

We'll be doing our bit too. Converting Today's first preview will run next month, followed by a second in the March issue. April features our show report. So if you have anything exciting you intend to exhibit, please email us as soon as you can (send to: mtaylor@wilmington.co.uk).

A Happy New Year to all Converting Today's readers!

Pauline Covell

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