Just like the TV series 24, I had just 24 hours in Germany last week to visit a key customer and an exhibition and both reminded me that you don't need to look for long to see and hear of the exciting Innovation that continues to come from Germany in the world of Industrial Print.
I have heard it said by some nationalities that the Germans can be quite conservative to truly innovate, but I was both amazed and overwhelmed with what I saw and heard from my visits to see Marcus Borghoff Managing Director of ESC in Bad Salzuflen and then onto to Hannover and the hugely successful LIGNA show, which is the main trade show for the wood industry.
ESC Europa Siebdruckmaschinen Centrum suggests a true heritage in Screen printing. These days 70% of their business is Screen and around 30% is Digital. But their core focus both now and in the past is their focus on industrial Print applications. ESC specialises in developing machines for customers who have very specific Industrial requirement. Marcus says, "Our business model is to look to Industrial companies to work out solutions and then help them optimise production of their manufactured products. We are not printer driven but manufacturing focused."
This itself means that the business serves many different types of manufacturing. Marcus used the example of a Chocolate producer who wanted to Print Chocolate logos re-enforces his thinking. ESC where able to build 6 screen print lines to enable the chocolate producer to achieve the output they required.
But it could equally be printing for Harley Davidson, depositing a carbon paste around the cylinders with the distinct logo on the side.
Walking around his family owned factory you will see the different possibilities with Screen Print, for customers such as Miele, Airbus as well as Harley Davidson who all have examples of parts Screen Printed for production within product lines.
But there are also some really interesting developments with in Digital. I was shown an example of ‘Glass Printing’ with really superb quality print both sides. And the advantage is the drying time, no superhot baking involved just a short burst of UV and the glass is cured!
So from Bad Salzuflen I drove onto Hannover to see the Ligna show, the worlds largest event for the wood industry. Here I met with a couple of new clients who are planning on exhibiting at InPrint in Munich.
Surface decoration is a key area for Industrial print and you can really see some exciting digital print machines and creative inks for wood laminates sector. Companies like Hymmen, Wemhoener, Kuei, Baumer were all showing their products and taking the industry by storm.
Joachim Voight from Wemhoener reiterated the revolution that is taking place in Décor. He explains, "Digitally printed flooring that looks and feels so good, can give you some amazing advantages in the production process that industry has not had before."
Giorgio Macor from Kuei, InPrint Ambassador, confirmed that there is undoubtedly a lot of interest in the special Inks that create a ‘Haptic’ effect just like the sensation of touching real wood. Giorgio explains, "With single pass technology and our unique 3D Printing effect onto wood decoration we are giving designers new possibilities. The new options they have are liberating as it enables a designer to take more risks by designing finishes that are truly individual. It is a very exciting time."
Personally, I love to see, feel and hear about new innovation and I can confirm that there are some truly exciting things happening in the world of Industrial print.
InPrint continues to grow in importance for a number of different industries and a number of different companies. What unites them all is the need for innovation in technology to help them to provide new opportunities for their production.