Graphic, paper and converting machinery revenue increases through exports - New technology and the web can spur growth
There’s no denying that the print industry suffered many casualties following the downturn in the global economy. In Italy print service providers are still working very hard to weather what remains a very challenging economic climate.
There is good news to report, however. At the end of 2012 the graphic, paper and converting machinery industry saw revenue rise to in excess €2 billion. Exports were the main catalyst for this growth, with more than 80% of revenue generated from outside Italy.
It’s also heartening to see strong attendance at the Grafitalia and Converflex trade shows. Of the 411 exhibitors that took part, 37% were from outside Italy. In total, 22 countries were represented, with visitors arriving from as far afield as Algeria, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Mexico, Turkey and the USA. The international success of the shows can in part be attributed to a successful partnership between the Ministry of Economic Development and ICE (the Italian Trade Commission).
Looking toward growth markets
To overcome the financial crisis, Italian companies are increasingly exploring commercial opportunities in countries such as China, Russia and Brazil, and in Africa in general. And when it comes to finished print products, Italian exporters are targeting East European markets.
The exhibitions also provided the stage for a debate on the potential synergy between the internet and paper. The discussion made it clear that there’s certainly scope to develop opportunities in this area, but there is a prerequisite for such synergy to happen – technological evolution.
Vincenzo Boccia, president of Grafitalia and chairman of Piccola Industria di Confindustria, had this to say: “We have to turn limits into opportunities. Today the traditional factors influencing production also include expertise, which comprises knowledge and information. For companies operating in the printing industry, it is imperative to pay great attention to innovation. As a result, trade exhibitions remain the only place where professionals can gain knowledge and information and breathe in the wind of innovation.”
Meanwhile Converflex president Simona Michelotti underlines some issues in the converting industry: “What we are faced with today is an extremely competitive scenario, particularly in the food sector, where best practices are required to ensure companies operate according to stringent quality, safety and ethical standards. The contribution of technology can create crucial opportunities for companies.”
The new communication frontier
Also present at the show was Alberto Cairo (www.thefunctionalart.com), one of the world’s leading infographics experts and professor at the University of Miami School of Communication. He discussed his latest book, Functional Art, which is all about infographics and how best to visualize information.
In his presentation Alberto focused on infographics in connection to the use of the technology on display at Grafitalia and Converflex, and on cross media and interactive digital display. He identified five key ideas that define and characterize infographics:
1. The information display is not dependent on software, but on mental elaboration from the planning stage.
2. Infographics is not only art, but a form of communication that should follow strict quality and accuracy standards.
3. Infographics are ‘tools of understanding’ that can reveal hidden truths.
4. Infographics are connected primarily with structure and the message to be conveyed.
5. There’s a whole world of opportunities to explore.
It was great to see so many exhibitors involved in the shows, with all their new technologies on display. It was also heartening to hear that exhibitors were impressed with the many highly qualified visitors and buyers stopping by their stands.
An impressive 18,000 visitors attended Grafitalia and Converflex. International attendees included delegations of industry players from 9 different countries.
So here’s to the future success of the shows – and to the growth of the Italian print market.
Check out the pictures below of some duomedia clients at the show.