The Trend of Hybrid Printing and Converting Systems Will Continue

Barry Killengrey, the Event Director of Gulf Print & Pack, says the key trend in the MENA market is the transition to digital

Tell us about the theme of Gulf Print and Pack 2024.
This year’s Gulf Print & Pack will focus on the transition to digital in terms of print and post-print equipment. Automation will be a key theme at this year’s show, with demonstrations of automated workflows and production equipment, including end-to-end automated book production. Sustainability is another key focus area, for example, new linerless label technologies for consumer product packaging.

What’s new this year at GPP 2024?
Gulf Print & Pack 2024 will feature an array of the latest developments in wide format printing and converting, and new technologies that are reshaping the label and package printing industry, particularly across flexo, digital and hybrid printing. As mentioned previously, the key trend in the MENA market is the transition to digital, not only in terms of print and post-print equipment, but also workflow, and visitors can expect to see this transition come to life on the show floor at Gulf Print and Pack 2024.

What sort of innovations can visitors expect at the event?
New innovations will be demonstrated for key market sectors in the industry including printed educational and children’s books, photo books, labels, packaging, direct mail, posters, banners, digitally printed textiles, and display graphics, all of which offer opportunities for growth for PSPs, commercial and package printers.

For the commercial printing market, new equipment on show includes the Ricoh Pro C9500 and Pro C7500 digital presses and the Auto Color Adjuster inline quality control system. Heidelberg showcases its new Versafire product range capable of printing banners up to 1,260mm and printing on paper media from 40 to 470g/m2 duplex. Heidelberg offers the fifth colour as well for online finishing with a multitude of possible substrates.

On the labelling side, new equipment on show includes Konica Minolta’s AccurioLabel 400 toner-based digital label press, printing at speeds up to 39.9 m/min CMYK and now with the option to add white. The press incorporates Konica Minolta’s Intelligent Quality Optimizer (IQ-520) colour management functionality for real-time colour stability and registration control.

Visitors can also expect to see new wide-format printing systems – sheet, roll and hybrid – alongside new cutting table technology which will allow PSPs to participate in a new value-added market including display graphics. For both commercial and package printing markets, the latest digital embellishment technology will be displayed. Automation will be the name of the game on the finishing and converting side, with demonstrations of automated book production, for example.

This summary just touches the surface of the new technology on show. For example, workflow and supply chain automation systems will be a prominent part of the show.

How can various informative tracks at GPP 2024 help in knowledge sharing?
Taking part in this edition of Gulf Print & Pack provides you with an unrivalled opportunity to do business with the complete ecosystem of commercial and package print suppliers. The event provides an unrivalled opportunity to network with a broader audience covering a wide range of industry areas from label printing, digital textiles and wall coverings to on-demand book printing and more.

How important do you believe is an event such as GPP for the regional printing and packaging industry?
Gulf Print & Pack 2024 will be the only place in the MENA region and beyond to see live demonstrations from some of the world’s leading industry suppliers showcasing the latest machinery, technology and materials being deployed by the print and packaging industry.

What printing and packaging trends do you foresee for 2024?
This year, I see a continuing trend to ‘hybrid’ printing and converting systems which mix and match digital with highly efficient and automated analogue printing and converting technology. At the same time, digital embellishment will augment the value-added possibilities open to both commercial and packaging printers by allowing decorative elements to appear cost-effectively on promotional print and short-run packaging products, including variable tactile and metallic imaging.

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