Sign up for The Key Point of View, our weekly newsletter of blogs and podcasts!
Hunkeler Innovationdays (which took place February 28-March 2 in Lucerne, Switzerland) was a massive success with 6,600 attendees thronging the compact hall. Tuesday saw 4,300 visitors and was the busiest day, though Wednesday wasn’t far behind with 4,000 visitors. This event stood out from others in two noteworthy ways: focus and solutions.
Hunkeler Innovationdays focused on high-end, narrow-format printing solutions. The vendors primarily focused on the larger, general commercial print, book print, direct mail, and transactional printing markets. This meant that vendor demonstrations and presentations were always in line with attendee needs—making for lively and informative lunchtime discussions. This also meant that every visitor found interest in most of the vendor products on display. This is very different from many contemporary tradeshows that attempt to appeal to a broad audience, resulting in large halls with many vendors that only appeal to small slices of attendees.
The second observation is that Hunkeler Innovationdays focused on end-to-end solutions. Vendors in most tradeshows tend to exhibit individual products with, occasionally, a line. Hunkeler wants to showcase feeding and finishing, which needs to be driven by upstream presses and software. Thus, the entire event and all participating vendors were focused on discussing and demonstrating software and hardware solutions. This allowed people to spend their time talking about the whole solution ecosystem, including business opportunities, software, automation, print production, and finishing. Every modern industry event incorporates these elements, but Hunkeler Innovationdays was built upon them.
Over 100 vendors were onsite, representing associations, equipment, finishing, media, presses, services, software, and substrates. In addition, there were numerous media meetings, analyst meetings, and after-hours get-togethers at the local pubs, where the most informative conversations were held.
Several of the press vendors used this event for significant inkjet product announcements:
But the show is not just an important springboard for the presses attached to unwinders and finishers. Software played a prominent role in the event with numerous announcements, and vendors were keen to relay software workflows connected to their print and/or finishing hardware.
As predicted in our Production Workflow Service 2023 Roadmap, many software vendors are exploring how to use artificial intelligence (AI) in future products. Few have incorporated AI into their existing products, but the discussions about what is in development were exciting. Watch some of the short 1- to 3-minute videos in our official playlist to hear more on this.
There were 15 software vendors, and most of the 15 press vendors also displayed software solutions. Some of the key software announcements and demonstrations include:
Hunkler Innovationdays boasts global attendance and is held every other year (it was skipped in 2021 due to the pandemic). The pent-up energy and enthusiasm expressed at this year’s event were exciting and motivating; I can’t wait until the next show in 2025.
Log in to the InfoCenter to view additional research on print automation solutions as well as other technologies displayed at Hunkler in our various production advisory services. If you’re not a subscriber, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.