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PACPRINT - Andy McCourt's wrap-up & gallery

I go big on vibes. 'Good Vibrations' as the Beach Boys once sang, if you are young enough to remember them! PacPrint, with Visual Impact and Labels & Packaging was full of them - and the data backs this up. Apart from returning to Sydney with Covid, it was all good and there was not enough time to see everyone I wanted to see. Here's my wrap-up from isolation and a little opinion from the heart.

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 A wrap of another kind from Spicers - a great example of how 'Printing Industry' means different things in 2022

The shrinking but growing show

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An early vehicle wrap?

Anyone who witnessed the 1996 move of PacPrint (then PackPrint) from the Royal Exhibition buildings to the MCEC ('Jeff's Shed') will acknowledge the down-sizing of the expo's size. It's not rocket-science why this has happened - we have seen seismic shifts in the global printing and packaging industry and other international shows have been affected - or ceased operation completely, such as the UK's Ipex. Where once the 'big 5' offset-

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Recruiters Chris Gander(L) and James Cryer:

"Industry is crying out for candidates to fill positions"

oriented manufacturers drove floorspace and even airspace with double-decker stands; Heidelberg, Komori, Koenig & Bauer, Ryobi/Mitsubishi and Man Roland sheetfed were unrepresented at PacPrint this year. Along with these goes the prepress and finishing exhibitors, ink, chemistry and plate suppliers.

Of the 'old guard' that once filled the 30,000 square metres of the exhibition centre, only Böttcher Rollers, Ferag, Screen (CtP), Currie Group (CtP & plates), Fujifilm (plates & CtP), Kodak (CtP & plates) and, to its credit, a small information stand for manroland/goss; represented offset. Paper suppliers such as Ball and Doggett and Spicers were there for consumables and some of the workflow and colour management specialists such as printIQ, Hybrid, Colour Graphic Services, Soltect and G2 Systems transcend offset and digital - apologies if I have missed anyone.

Finishing systems, such as Horizon from Currie Group, PHE and ACCO were well represented insofaras they handled SRA3 page output from either offset or digital origin. Similarly, packaging finishing on Graph-Pak, Trimatt, Able Cutting Formes and Graffica would be digital/offset agnostic.

Only one stand showed a complete offset-to-digital universe and that was of course the biggest one of Currie Group. For over 70 years, this Australian company has kept faith with the industry no matter in which direction it has turned. Still supplying plates and chemistry but leading the market in both sheet and reel-fed digital with its HP Indigo portfolio, Currie Group is perhaps the sole survivor of the 'old' PacPrint vanguard.

However, any impartial visitor to PacPrint could be forgiven for viewing it as a wide-format and digital label & cut-sheet trade show. Market forces are hard to buck and digital is where the growth is. Big offset presses cost a lot to exhibit and, in 2022, it is unlikely that any manufacturer would make a sale to someone they didn't already know as a prospect - at least in the AN-Z region. Global budgets dictate that any likely prospects are best met and served at drupa, China Print, Printing United or maybe IGAS.

So that's the reason for the shrinking of PacPrint - along with Covid and the stampede-rise of printing in China; what about growth? The growth in all forms of digital were demonstrably apparent and a marvel to behold. From roll and flatbed printers to CNC table cutters, laminators, software, diverse consumables - one stand was even constructed of reinforced cardboard - to working digital label presses from Screen, Xeikon, Epson and Gulmen; it was all there to be seen, touched and appreciated.

Perhaps the greatest growth is in knowledge-sharing, seeing windows to the future, fellowship as demonstrated by excellent support for the HP ASGA Awards night and National Print Awards and inspiration upon seeing the endless creative opportunities that print media in all of its forms, represents.

Yes, there is plenty of room for more growth but it is likely all-digital. By the time of the next PacPrint, it will be visible in all its glory and we may also see the notable absentees from this one back in the tent. Well done to all exhibitors, organisers and visitors who have battled unprecedented challenges to bring the industry a terrific shot-in-the-arm. Speaking of which my quad-vax has meant relatively mild Covid, but I still have to isolate. Keep your jabs up to date!

Enjoy the gallery below.

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ASGA's Forums were very informative - this one on changes to the construction codes

 

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Who can forget the giant Leprechaun from ASGA award-winner

Specialbuild? Orafol MD Alex McClelland looks quite bemused

 

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Screen's Peter Scott (L) & Jet Tech's Jack Malki with

yet another sold L350UV inkjet label press

 

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The Colour Doctor goes far beyond CMYK

 

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PrintIQ launched a new corporate identity

 

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Epson's Terry Crawford with the new SurePress

L-4733AW resin-ink label press

 

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HP's Jeremy Brew with R2 Latex flatbed

 

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Canon sold a Colorado to Sydney Print Media

 

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 Celmac's Johnny Rumney & visitor from Caldera Software

France, Valery de March, Regional Manager Asia-Pacific

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Starleaton's Ben Eaton (R) and new recruit Chulan with

another sold Zund cutter

 

 

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Fujifilm showed its mammoth new Acuity Ultra

5 metre roll printer & new Prime flatbeds

 

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Mimaki's Brad Creighton: "We've had an excellent show,

a lot of interest in the new JV330XY with inbuilt slitter"

 

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Velflex knows all there is to know about

direct-to-garment Heat Transfer

 

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Clark Murphy Print Sydney bought the latest

SwissQprint Karibu S from Pozitive

 

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Vivad's Ewen Donaldson: "A really great show for us

with over 75 new customers signed up"

 

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Abe Weisberger & Tyson Buechler with the sensational

Dimense wall decor printer, a star at the show

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Brenton King (L) and visitor from Belgium,

Jaques Staelens, Hybrid Software

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Mutoh MD Russell Cavenagh was delighted:

"Sold everything on the stand and some"