The four-yearly ITMA textile and garment technology expo is the world’s leading event for the international textile industry, showcasing the latest in materials technology and technical innovation – including in textile printing. As such, it is a great opportunity for businesses like us to engage with suppliers, customers and friends in one place – and also to keep up to date with the changes transforming the industry.
The week-long ITMA 2019 event in Barcelona was – in our opinion – one of the best and most productive we’ve had the pleasure of attending. From the perspective of our Focus Label team, we were delighted with the response to our DTex concept launch. For the industry as a whole, we noted some very interesting developments in digital wide web printing and a marked increase in speed with the latest generation of presses.
Here are our thoughts on the event:
Our Focus Label ITMA 2019 Exhibition Showcase
ITMA is a major show for textile printing machines, so we chose this year’s event to showcase our new range of products for 2020.
At the centre of our exhibit was our DTex concept. This is a new press designed for printing care labels onto textiles – currently the only machine specifically designed for this application. The press isn’t currently in general production, but we are taking customer enquiries – if you’re interested, please get in touch and one of our technical sales team will explain the benefits.
We have also upgraded our popular LX (LetterFlex) range of label printing presses and had an operational LX2 on our stand. In terms of performance and quality, the improved LX series outperforms most competing presses currently on the market, especially considering many new machines are low-budget copies of British and European models produced by Asian manufacturers.
The latest generation of our TagTrans heat transfer range was also on display and elicited some positive feedback. In the TagTrans 250 we’ve perfected our signature method of heat transfer printing for textiles, cutting costs and improving throughput for direct branding of garments.
The images below were taken at our stand during the event, showing our demo-model presses and our team hard at work!
Our Impressions Of The Event
Many tradeshows are suffering from lower visitor numbers, so it is good to see ITMA bucking this trend and going from strength to strength. ITMA 2019 was a massive and very well attended event, and stayed busy throughout the full seven days.
The venue was the Fira de Barcelona in Barcelona, Spain; a superb, 220,000 m² exhibition centre with 19 exhibit sectors playing host to more than 1,700 exhibitors from 45 countries. An estimated 120,000 visitors attended from all over the world.
Barcelona is, of course, a stunning place to hold an international trade show, offering plenty of culture in addition to business opportunities. The picture below was taken by one of our team during some well-earned down-time after the event closed.
With such a wealth of innovation and industry expertise on display (and being very busy ourselves), we didn’t have time to explore the whole show. However, sustainability and new technology were the leading themes of this year’s event. This is something we are very much involved with at Focus Label. With our partners, we were able to demonstrate some exciting new ribbon textiles and transfer applications along these lines.
New Trends In Print Technology
The biggest surprise for us was the massive growth in digital printing since the last ITMA show in 2015, especially in wide web printing. The newest machines are faster than ever before, with single-pass inkjet presses taking on traditional silk screen printing machines. We were the only manufacturer at the show to bring this technology to narrow ribbon printing applications for labelling.
Alongside new innovations in colourants and sustainable inks, there were many other interesting developments in sustainable textiles - something we’ll see more of over the coming four years as global consumer demand for eco-textiles grows. As substrates change to incorporate a greater range of materials, so too do the demands of textile printing businesses. It is our role to provide the responsive technology that fits in with these market changes.
A Successful Event For A Thriving Industry
All in all, ITMA 2019 was a very successful event – definitely for us, as we have already closed a number of deals initiated at the show – but also for the industry in general. It is an exciting time to be involved in textile and garment printing, and there is an optimism among the people we spoke to about the capacity for innovative technologies to decrease environmental impact, lower costs and increase the scope for new business opportunities.
We were extremely pleased with the response we received on all three of our presses. The event has given us renewed confidence in our team and our approach to quality and innovation. We have a bold plan of new innovations in the pipeline for the next few years, which will see Focus and our partners very much leading the pack. We look forward to the journey.
The next ITMA will take place in Milan in 2023, which gives us plenty of time to plan our next exhibit. We will without a doubt be attending again and will start making preparations within the next 12 months, so watch this space – and see you in Milan!
Closer in time is LabelExpo Europe 2019 in Brussels this coming September. We will be exhibiting again this year and hope to see some of you there, especially if we missed you in Barcelona. Details will appear on this blog soon but if you’re attending please give us a call on +44 (0) 1949 836223.