“We’re taking a slightly different approach to trade events,” says FESPA managing director Frazer Chesterman. “We’re gathering the world’s greatest printers... as well as some other weird, wacky creative printers.”

They’ll be gathering next month at the inaugural FESPA Americas 2011, which will be held in conjunction (or “colocation”) with the annual Graphics of the Americas, February 24–26, 2011, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This is the first U.S. show for the nearly-50-year-old FESPA, a worldwide non-profit federation of digital wide-format and screen printing trade associations.

“We’re gathering the world’s greatest printers...as well as some other weird, wacky creative printers,” says FESPA managing director Frazer Chesterman.

Previous articles in this series (here and here) have introduced FESPA to the U.S. commercial printing market, and provided some top-level highlights of what attendees can expect to see at the show. That is, a broad mix of business tips and strategies (via the Global Business Summit), technology and production workshops (the Wide Format Print Shop Live and Screen Masters Workshop “boot camp” for aspiring screen printers), trend and technology overviews from industry leaders (the show floor’s Innovation Theater offering a rotating schedule of presentations), and even some unusual competitions, such as the Wrap Cup Masters, a daily competition in which contestants compete to wrap a variety of vehicles and see who is the Wrap Cup Master of the Americas.

Digital Textile Conference

FESPA Americas 2011 will also include, on February 25th, the U.S. debut of the Digital Textile Conference, FESPA’s successful international textile printing event. The Digital Textile Conference includes such sessions as “Digital Technology Printing: Revolution or Evolution?” by John Provost, industry consultant and technical editor of  Digital Textile magazine; “Market Trends in Digital Printing” by Tim Greene of Infotrends; “Growing Your Business with Fabric Printing” by Deborah Hutcheson of Agfa; “Sustainability, Mass Customization and the Digital Supply Chain” by Dr. Mike Fralix, President and CEO of TC2, and the afternoon keynote session, “The Future ‘Considered’...A Sustainable Product Journey” delivered by Martin Wragg, Global Materials Quality Manager for Nike.

There will also be several panel discussions featuring the day’s speakers discussing business models for textile printing, as well as new technology developments.

FESPA Americas 2011 will feature the Wrap Cup Masters as contestants vie to wrap a variety of vehicles. 2010’s competition drew 30 competitors.

Wrap Cup Masters

Wrap Cup Masters

Wrap Cup Masters

The FESPA Americas event which naturally catches the eye is the Wrap Cup Masters. In this “second lap” of the competition, 48 contestants will vie with top vehicle wrappers to wrap a Ford Mustang. There will be five rounds in three days and, in addition to crowning a “Wrap Cup Master of the Americas,” the top four finalists will be invited compete in the series finale at FESPA 2013 in London. Last year’s FESPA 2010 Wrap Cup drew 30 competitors, with the winner being the Netherlands’ Sander Peerdemann of Squeezy International, who defeated Harry Schenker of HS-Design Schenker (Germany), Mingo Richter of Blackbox-Richter (Austria), and Dagny Brunne of Brunne Werbetechnik (Germany).

The entry fee for the Wrap Cup Masters is $250, and all entrants receive wrap tools, software, consumables, vinyl vouchers, and discounts worth in excess of $1,500. Winners share a prize purse worth $250,000, and the top three winners will receive “big hardware prizes.” More information about the competition, and a downloadable entry form, can be found here.

Screen Masters Workshop

Another popular hands-on event at FESPA events is the Screen Masters Workshop, offering technical advice and technology demonstrations from recognized screen printing luminaries Michel Caza and Scott Fresener. The workshop also features such pros as Charlie Taublieb, Bhargav Mistry, and Ad Versteeg.

Michel Caza has more than 50 years’ experience in the industry, and is the 2010 recipient of SGIA’s Howard A. Parmele Award, which is the greatest honor the industry can bestow.

Screen Masters Workshop host Scott Fresener has been in the industry since 1970, and is the founder, with his wife Pat, of the U.S. Screen Printing Institute, which, since 1979, has trained more than 14,000 students. He has written more than 350 magazine articles, several books, and produced a number of training DVDs. Fresener is a recipient of the SGIA’s Magnus and Parmele awards.

Screen Masters Workshop attendees can look on, or participate directly in the workshop as a student. For a fee of $50, students can get practical hands-on screen printing, experience, hone their skills, and learn the latest techniques. Students participating in the workshop will receive a certificate of completion. More information about the event and to register can be found here.

Bringing It All Together

FESPA Americas 2011 offers broad mix of business tips and strategies, technology and production workshops and a “boot camp” for aspiring screen printers, trend and technology overviews from industry leaders, and even some unusual competitions.

FESPA Americas 2011 is “an event with lots of rich content, positioned alongside a trade print show,” says FESPA’s Chesterman of the event’s colocation with Graphics of the Americas. “We’re big believers in collaboration and we see markets converging.” (FESPA Americas 2011 and Graphics of the Americas are colocated with a third show, Imprinted Sportswear Shows’ The Solutions Event, highlighting textile printing and other decorated apparel.)

“2011 is looking to be a year of growth in developed markets,” says Marcus Timson, FESPA sales and marketing director. Both Chesterman and Timson point to Infotrends studies, as well as other polls and surveys, that point to renewed optimism and investment in the print industry.

Armed with that optimism, FESPA Americas 2011 organizers are looking to offer “something different, something new, and the other options that are available to printers,” as Timson says, “Influencing movers and shakers in connection with content not available in the U.S.”

Attendees can pre-register for the event for free until February 16th at http://www.fespa.com/americas/en/register.

WhatTheyThink will be reporting live from the show.