Printing Expo has seen more than 10,000 visitors step onto to its online show floor, with attendees from countries worldwide since the virtual event went live.

The event, which opened its doors on the morning of Monday, 30 November, has been launched as a fully virtual print industry exhibition, including photorealistic 3D renders of machinery. This is exampled by the HP Digital Pouch Factory, where those entering can see the HP Indigo 25K digital press alongside complementary technology to manufacture and convert digitally printed flexible packaging. This includes laminating and pouch making systems from Nordmeccanica and Karlville.

Other early exhibitors at Printing Expo include Global Graphics Group companies, Global Graphics Software, Meteor Inkjet and Xitron, alongside asset finance specialist Close Brothers and finishing equipment manufacturer Muller Martini, which has opened a two-storey showroom at Printing Expo.

Printing Expo permits 24/7/365 access, and will be open for a full year on the V-Ex Virtual Exhibition platform. Zone 1 of Printing Expo has been opened as a preview, with Zone 2 scheduled to open early in 2021 with, according to Mr Beckett, ‘some big names, new stands and features.’ A further major digital OEM is to be confirmed shortly as a new exhibitor. The importance and relevance of such an event has been brought back to the fore following the news today (Thursday, 3 December, 2020) that the in-person drupa and interpack events planned for 2021 have been cancelled. drupa is also adding a four-day virtual event in place of the physical show. 

Printing Expo event director Wayne Beckett said, ‘When we launched on Monday (30 November, 2020 at 09.30 GMT), you could see visitors from Europe and the UK coming in, along with others from further away locations, such as in Russia. This led on to visitors from the East Coast of the US, which then tracked across the country as time zones further west came online, before attendees from Australia and then Japan logged on.’

On 3 December 2020, Printing Expo was averaging 1000 hits a day, and welcoming visitors around the clock from around world. Attendees from 128 countries had been recorded at that point. As of 8 December, 2021, and just over a week after going live, Mr Beckett was quoting ‘over 10,000 visitors from all over the world’ through the doors of Printing Expo.

By attendee location, the top visiting countries have been the UK, US and India. Other countries in the Top 10 include Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, Australia and Belgium. Attendees have also come from countries as diverse as Zambia, Kosovo, Vietnam, Uganda, Morocco and Libya, as well as the likes of Finland, Russia, South Africa, Spain, France and Turkey.

Mr Beckett continued, ‘The great thing about the Printing Expo platform is that the show is always open in a country somewhere in the world. 365,000 visitors across the year would be quite nice.’

The always-open, online nature of Printing Expo also means the show is able to attract a broader visitor profile.

‘Given the recent state of the print industry, you tended to only get senior management visiting exhibitions in recent years,’ noted Mr Beckett. ‘What we are seeing is that Printing Expo allows more people to ‘attend’ and see the latest technologies, such as press operators, machine minders and shop floor staff. Anyone can attend, at any time, which they might not have been able to ordinarily. They get to see and learn about the new technologies that are out there. They can use this for background information, as an education tool, and to help in the buying process.’

To this end, HP is using Printing Expo to demonstrate the capability and reality of investing in digital flexible package printing, with the lifelike and to-scale representation of the machinery and staff needed to operate a digital pouch factory demonstrated, albeit virtually.

Further, Mr Beckett added that brand owners are visiting Printing Expo, particularly from the food industry.

‘They might ordinarily not attend a print show, as they are more interested in the ROI than the hardware. By visiting Printing Expo, they have the opportunity to see and learn about the latest technologies relevant to them and that will benefit their businesses.’

Referencing HP again, it is worth noting that the toner digital printing expert had an extensive presence at interpack 2017, which it used to target the marketing and branding benefits of digital package printing at brand owners, with the hardware downgraded to complementing daily and frequent presentations of how digital print can be used to capture the consumer’s attention and win at the ‘Moment of Truth’.

Printing Expo also contains its own fully interactive auditorium that has been designed to show live and pre-recorded seminars and conferences. Dscoop is currently using the auditorium to present its activities as a representative body of HP graphic arts digital press users. Whitmar Publications, the parent of Digital Labels & Packaging, will bring its recent Digital Re-Set event to Printing Expo on Monday and Tuesday next week (7-8 December). This will be a replay of the live online event that took place on 26 November, and saw various commercial printers discuss how they have used digital to turn a year of challenges into one of opportunity.

Digital Labels & Packaging is a media partner of Printing Expo, alongside sister publications FlexoTech and Digital Printer. Visit Printing Expo, 24/7/365 via The event is free to attend, with registration required.