Country recovers from earthquake as print is forced to adapt to change
28 July 2011, Tokyo – In the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in March this year, the IGAS organisers actually had to reevaluate whether they would be able to hold the quadrennial international exhibition in Tokyo this September. The exhibition is going forward and gathering steam although it will have 16% less floor area than the last event in 2007.
I think the event will be an important show not only for the region but for the entire print industry since it is many of the Japanese companies who have learnt to adapt to the changing circumstances that print faces in much of the developed world and are in fact in the forefront of development of the next generation of digital ink jet presses.
At a media preview that took place today, FujiFilm, Screen, Horizon, Ryobi, Duplo, Konica Minolta, and Komori made presentations about what they will show at IGAS. The only non-Japanese company that made a presentation today was HP and it also confirmed the importance of the IGAS show in its overall growth plans in Asia by announcing that its D-Scoop user event will take place in Tokyo alongside the event.
The real question for Asian printers is whether IGAS will be worth visiting and will it have interesting equipment and technology on display to buy and whether it will have equipment and demonstrations that show the future of print? Japan has been amongst the hardest hit economies by the economic crunch of 2008 and its printing industry suffered the steepest decline amongst the developed economies in 2010. And then came the earthquake and the tsunami this March.
I believe that IGAS is well worth a visit for those printers who are growing in Asia and who are interested in finding out what the next steps may be for them. In the heavy metal department both Komori and Ryobi are not simply talking about printing but talking about their special technologies for printing with UV inks. I also think that printers in Asia can learn a lot from the Japan Color Standard which will be shown in its own special stand at the show and from the environmental focus of Japanese manufacturers.
This is also going to be a really good show for digital printing since many of the digital press manufacturers are based here and because the best finishing and binding equipment for digital print is being manufactured in Japan. In a country which is perhaps the biggest per capita user of print and also one of the biggest users and developers of new media and electronic gadgets, it is quite likely that many of the directions of where print can go will be examined and settled here. There will also be a special area where tablets and other futuristic media are shown.
The Tokyo Big Sight location has not been affected by the earthquake and tsunami and there is no problem in terms of installing and running heavy machines or any other safety issue. Although Japan is returning to normalcy each day (yesterday the tuna auction in Tokyo was again opened to the public) the IGAS exhibition will economise on electricity as a part of the on-going daily national discipline.