246 companies and 20,922 operators: these are the numbers that concluded the second edition of Print4All, from 3 to 6 May at Fiera Milano, and that confirmed it as a reference point in Europe for print and converting professionals.
“If I wanted to define this edition with a noun, it would surely be ‘energy’.This is what was felt in the pavilions and at the stands of the companies during all four days of the event,” explained Paolo Pizzocaro of Fiera Milano, Exhibition Director of Print4All. “Evidently, the desire to meet again in person, to be able to confront life, to touch all the innovations that the sector offers, has moved a large number of professionals to visit Print4All to update, but also to do business, because this year, more than ever, the fair was not only a moment of relationship but also an opportunity to sign sales contracts. We partly imagined it, but the results exceeded expectations.”
The profile of visiting operators was high: 44% were owners, CEOs and managers - therefore decision-makers with spending capacity - while 32% were represented by technical figures, fundamental for the selection and evaluation of the technologies to be included in their companies. On the interesting side, 42% were looking for innovations related to printing solutions, but there was no lack of attention to raw materials, components and equipment in the press room, a primary objective of 24%.
Interesting as well are the data linked to foreign operators, coming from 66 countries, as evidence of the resumption of international mobility. A strong presence of European professionals (71%) and North Africa (12%), areas particularly interested in the purchase of technologies Made in Italy in these sectors. In particular, the ten most-represented countries were Spain, Germany, Switzerland, France, Slovenia, Algeria, Romania, Albania, Poland and Egypt.
The market between innovation and new scenarios
Print4All showed the best of converting, labelling and printing machines, the result of the constant research and development work of the companies present and expression of a market that looks with increasing interest in circular economy models and industry 4.0, but also at servitisation and digitalisation, which makes it possible to speed up processes and makes customisations possible even at short runs.
The sector is now worth 3.1 billion in turnover in Italy, and continues to perform well, even if the long-term effects of the pandemic and the world political situation are a variant to keep an eye on. The increase in the prices of raw materials, materials and energy is slowing down the supply chain and is impacting, therefore, not so much on machinery orders - which remain good - as on delivery times. A trend that, according to experts, can be unlocked starting next year. But the desire to react is high: Print4All was an important showcase of the varied and colourful printing world, from machines for the large industry to proposals suitable even for small print runs.
“The event fully represented a world in which the press becomes a tool to dialogue with the public, transfer messages and values and also exciting: from solutions capable of enhancing and making unique packaging and labels, customisations, metallic inks, tactile or sandy effects, glitter, reliefs, new colours and varied textures capable of ennobling and make every product valuable.But also prints on materials other than paper, such as fabrics for clothing or interior design, which become a tool for experiencing environments in a new way. Above all, today there is the need to amaze with 'special effects', capable of bringing the most creative ideas to life,” says Antonio Maiorano, President of ARGI.
“Fil-rouge of this edition,” added Daniele Barbui, President of ACIMGA, “was innovation is certainly the driving force needed to guide the choices towards increasingly sustainable solutions, both in terms of materials and processes. Today, in order to be competitive, we need an approach that combines maximum energy savings and minimum environmental impact: the market and consumers reward virtuous behaviours, aware and prefer sustainable and recyclable products and companies that have embraced a culture of circular economy.”
An award for excellence
Significant examples of the excellence present at the fair were highlighted by the first edition of the Best in Show Award, which he told, through particularly innovative, machines and technologies capable of producing high-level printed communication products. Four finalists: sustainable and recyclable packaging that guarantees the same correct food preservation as a plastic film, presented by Bobst; a precious label made with elaborate techniques, presented by Cartes; a customisation project, through printed wallpapers, of hospital environments, an example of interior excellence design presented by Fuji Film; a brick that is unique in shape and entirely recyclable because it comes from sugar cane, presented by IMS Technology. The final prize was awarded to the Cartes valance for the Bacca Nera label, valuable and avant-garde, the result of the use of new materials and glueing techniques, gold and relief ennobles that can enhance and make the product unique.
Training and new recruits
Results of this kind require the latest generation technologies, highly sophisticated machines, but also adequately trained personnel who are always up to date on the latest innovations. For this reason, this year, Print4All has dedicated a great space to training and information through its rich and articulated program of meetings and seminars. The public appreciated the opportunities for professional updating offered by the Intensive Seminars, designed with a formula lean but effective and articulated with proposals declined in the different printing markets: from communication to sustainability, from the digitalisation of processes to big data. While exploring new ideas, gathering creative stimuli and understanding the evolutions that will change the way we do business, the audience met at the meetings of The Future Of.
There was no lack of particular attention to the professionals of the future: in the four days of the fair, there was a high presence of young people from art and design schools and specialised institutes who prepare tomorrow's technicians. An opportunity to presents the sector to young talent, telling the virtuous interaction between innovation, technical expertise and creativity that give rise to results increasingly sought-after.
A system proposal
Print4All was also included for this edition in the innovative format of The Innovation Alliance, the event dedicated to instrumental mechanics, which saw takes place in four contemporary events from a supply chain perspective. A concept that continues to work as witnessed by the more than 90,000 global visitors and that represents a unique moment to discover the best of the technologies intended for the manufacturing industry.
The Innovation Alliance - which includes Ipack-Ima, Greenplast and Intralogistica Italia and Print4All - will return with the same composition from 27 to 30 May 2025, always at Fiera Milano.