Is the exhibitor list for ITMA 2011 enough to attract the wide-format inkjet crowd?

ITMA will attract thousands of people. ITMA is a huge event (for manufacturing fabrics). But will they be primarily textile people: not enough wide-format inkjet people?


If you are a printshop owner or manager, should you attend ITMA 2011 or FESPA 2011 or DRUPA 2012 (or FESPA 2012 for that matter)?

Here is the Fira Barcelona that will be the locus of ITMA 2011

Visitor statistics for ITMA in the past: who will attend ITMA 2011

What is notable about ITMA is how few people from Africa or North America attend. North America has actually the lowest attendence % of any area of the world! I (meaning FLAAR Reports) would like to suggest that more of our over one million readers around the world consider ITMA, but itís a tough sell since FESPA almost offers as much if not more.

Actually VISCOM Milano Italy three years ago offered more for a printshop owner (unfortunately most textile printer companies dropped out during the recession of 2009, and by 2010 exhibitor booths collapsed about 30%, if not more). Whereas VISCOM Italy has wilted, FESPA has stayed strong and even grown a bit.


Here is one of the hotels, a remarkable red tower, across the street from Fira Barcelona where ITMA 2011 will be held. It is already sold out.

The hotel we stayed, Solvasa Barcelona, in was close (four blocks) but had unacceptable Internet (only wireless; no cables, and very weak). Plus the hotel was worn out and had terrible odor wafting around the room, evidently from sewers. Staff was pleasant and were sorry that hotel management did not fix things. Breakfast was mediocre compared with other European hotels (but was better than Holiday Inn Express in USA!

ITMA is primarily for textiles pure and simple: not as much for digital printing

Durst, d-gen, Konica Minolta, La Mecannica (but not CS ?), Zimmer, Reggiani, Robustelli, Macchine, and a few textile inkjet ink companies will exhibit, but by no means all.

D.G.I. will exhibit since the world of solvent printers is coming to an end and they have to move into something new: they chose textiles.

Stork Prints fizzled in USA almost a decade ago and was a non-entity by DRUPA 2004. Stork still exists but in America and elsewhere is not a major player (at least you donít see or hear of them outside the history books). We hope they can make a comeback now that textile printers are becoming more popular.

Roland will exhibit but not Mutoh or Mimaki (unless through distributors whose names I donít recognize).

Epson UK will be there, but I would be surprised if Epson is ready to release their textile printer. We will find out at ITMA.

Dollfus & Muller is one producer of printable textiles that I recognize, but all the other main brands, I donít see them on the exhibitor list. Transmatic and Monti Antonio of course are on the list for dye sublimation heat transfer calendaring machines.

I see two ink companies from Asia that I recognize. And J-Teck from Italy. But this is only a tiny fraction of the textile ink companies that I know. Where are the rest of the textile ink companies? Maybe the exhibitor list will be complete later this summer?

Again: this is primarily an exhibit of machinery to weave and knit and otherwise produce textiles. Regretably this is not a wide-format inkjet textile printing expo. I will attend, and I recommend it for others, but too many printer, media, and ink companies are totally missing.


ITMA is the International Exhibition of Textile Machinery

FLAAR is interested both in textile production machinery (for printable technical textiles), but primarily in digital textile printing. We do not work with silk screen printing or any traditional textile printing systems: only digital, only wide-format, and only inkjet.

Obeikan OTF
Here is FLAAR at Obeikan OTF, taking notes for our publications on technical textiles.

Here is Dr Nicholas at Yeong Jeou, seeing how they manufacture PE, an exciting new non-PVC technical textile with a lot of future. This PE will be available from major brand name distributors later this year.

ITMA is held every four years. I was still working with UV-cured, giclee, and fine art photography workflow in 2007, so did not attend the previous ITMA. But two or possibly three of us will attend ITMA 2011 in Barcelona.

ITMA is to textiles of what DRUPA is to printing

The difference is that DRUPA is so old-fashioned (and out-dated) that DRUPA keeps making their event too long. ITMA 2011 is clever enough to have their fair a reasonable number of days, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, so seven days. One week.

DRUPA 2012 is May 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, which is SEVEN DAYS TOO LONG. Worse, the hotels in Duesseldorf and nearby are like vultures. They raise their prices during DRUPA 2012, or during any other messe there.

Hotel prices in Barcelona are more reasonable. Plus there are four hotels within walking distance of the Fira Barcelona area (though one is worn out inside and has poor Internet connections). There are almost no hotels within walking distance of Duesseldorf Messe. But at least there is good tram, U-Bahn, and bus service to the fairgrounds, including from nearby cities (where you are stuck staying since hotels in Duesseldorf itself are long ago sold out, despire their outrageous prices.

I hope that the ITMA 2015 exhibitor list includes more wide-format inkjet

I will attend ITMA 2011 out of curiosity, and to do research. But frankly FESPA offers 75% of what will be at ITMA plus many key ink, printer, and printable fabric companies who are missing from ITMA.

First posted March 28, 2011