PrintPromotion GmbH, a joint company of the German Machinery Manufacturers Association, held its Print Media Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 12 March 2014. The conference with nine member companies of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association presented innovations and long-term strategy for growth.

The Print Promotion GmbH continued its series of world-wide specialist conferences holding one in Johannesburg, South Africa and one in Nairobi, Kenya. The two Print Media Management Conferences offered professionals from the local printing and packing industry the opportunity to get first-hand information about the innovative printing and paper technology of German manufacturers free of charge.

Over 100 delegates from the Southern African printing industry attended the conference profiling the latest German printing technology, hosted by 7 speakers representing premium German printing machine manufactures.

In an interview, Print Promotion Managing Director Dr. Markus Heering explained the aims pursued by Print Promotion GmbH with these free specialist conferences and which future chances his industry sees in the markets of Africa.

The representatives of nine member companies of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association gave lectures on innovations in different printing and paper converting techniques. Moreover, we consciously strive not to stage promotional events but to explain modern technologies and their potentials.

When asked about also short-term effects of the conferences, Heering said. ‘Our expectations are aimed at the long-term chances. However, our companies can make many interesting contacts at the conferences. As a rule, they don`t have a local representative. Partly they use the opportunity to maintain existing contacts with regional partners. And they can, of course, get first impressions of the respective markets, the focus points of the local printing and packaging industry or the competitive situation’

Heering commented on assessing the market chances on the African continent, ‘Forecasts are difficult considering the fact that there are 54 states with very different economic levels and often tense security situation. For that, the continent is far too heterogeneous. For our industry, South Africa is by far the most important market in Africa. Kenya is comparatively stable, but the market level is moderate, as on the total continent. However, a trend has become apparent. The efforts in the field of education are growing which increases the demand for school books, exercise books and specialist publications. The print media, too, see a growing number of readers due to the spread of literacy. Besides that, the packaging market is getting started.

‘In many places, what originally began with hygienic packaging for food has resulted in solid growth for packaging machines. Now the suppliers to this market increasingly see the advantages of printed packaging. Since, in addition, more and more international food giants are discovering the African continent as a sales market, we expect that they, too, will contribute to an increasing demand for high-quality printing and paper converting technology.’

Heering responded to how fast this development will get started by stating that this cannot be predicted with certainty. ‘We observe tendencies which indicate an economic upswing in parts of Africa. In the past, printing and paper converting machines were often among the first machines for which there was a demand in emerging markets. Here we are seeing a change. Now it`s the packaging machines that open up the markets and are then followed by our member companies.’

Heering on the competitive situation in Africa, ‘Again, it’s difficult to give a generally applicable answer. Of course, printing and paper technology manufacturers from countries like China also try to win customers there. And there will be a market for second-hand machines. We, however, address other customers. We try to raise awareness for quality, as well as for the need for qualification. We want to show that investments in modern technology will pay off. It’s all about keeping up with the international competition and being attractive to local customers by offering high-quality print products.’

Speakers representing German printing machinery manufacturers presented current developments and new printing applications during this informative conference. All the speakers did not only present their topics creatively but very detailed and in depth yet brief.

Patrick Lacy from Printing SA, briefly discussed the challenges together with the strategies that can be used in the world of print. Roland Gebauer from Koenig and Bauer AG, Radebeul spoke about KBA, the trendsetter in Printing-Technology. Peder Rejmers from Polar Mohr GmbH and Co.KG, Hofheim who focused on cutting and networking.

Achim Kurreck of H.C. Moog GmbH, Rüdesheim am Rhein discussed Gravure: the decisive plus of sheet-fed printing. Ronald Lein from KAMA GmbH, Dresden talked about ‘Wow finishing for all kinds of prints, solutions for the perfect finishing work flow’. 

Edward Beddy of Heidelberg presented: Efficiently integrated workflows result in optimal end profits. Jörg Philip Zimmermann from Kugler-Womako GmbH, Nürtingen discussed: Machine solutions for the bookbinding and stationery industry and Manuel from IST Metz GmbH presented Holger Kühn’s: Nürtingen Status UV technology and trends as Kühn’s couldn’t make it to the conference.
Delegates had the opportunity to engage with speakers and a Q&A session was facilitated during the conference.