For the first time in its 30-year history, the yearly General Assembly of ESMA, the European Specialist Printing Manufacturers Association, took place online. On the 19th of March 2021 members elected the new Board of Directors, chaired by Samuel Wagner from Sefar. Ralf Roschlau, ex-Marabu and ex-Saati, has been voted Honourable Ambassador.
“Exactly one year ago I returned from a business trip. Until today it was my last business trip. We all are facing new challenges. No exhibitions, no trainings and no networking events has meant a tremendous change to the work of ESMA,” said Samuel Wagner in his inaugural speech as the new Chair of the association, and continued, “We need a high level of knowledge in the companies, so that the best decisions can be made for the digitalisation of industrial production. This requires a network of specialists, trainings and various platforms for professional and social exchange. I want to ensure that ESMA aligns its activities with this objective and further strengthens the organisation’s excellent image.”
For the next two years Samuel Wagner (Sefar) will preside over the Board of Directors consisting of Robin McMillan (Vice-Chair, Sun Chemical), Manuel Zuckerman (Treasurer, Fimor), Dominiek Arnout (Ricoh), Tracey Brown (Meteor Inkjet), Jon Bultemeyer (Marabu), Ibtissem Djaballah (VFP), Pietro Giuliani (Saati), Frens Peters (Lotus Holland), Debbie Thorp (Global Inkjet Systems), Jan van Schaik (SPS Technoscreen) and Steve Wakefield (Fujifilm).
The General Assembly honoured Jerry Avis (ex-Sericol and ex-Fujifilm) as ESMA Honourable Ambassador for 2020, and this year members awarded the title to Ralf Roschlau. For almost 30 years Roschlau was involved with Marabu and wrote the last chapters of his professional career at SPT Sales + Marketing and Saati. He is currently an author and an active member of environmental organisations. “What a transition. From an emergency solution some 30 years ago into a powerful group of key industry players in screen, pad and digital printing industry. Today, ESMA is as strong as its members, the leading companies of the European screen and digital world. Its committees and its outstanding event structure not only permanently enlarge members’ vision, but guarantee all the industrial, graphic and textile printing processes a bright future. The award means a lot to me. It is the final prize for my hard work for the benefit of my employers and for the benefit of all ESMA members,” commented Ralf Roschlau.
Aware of the limitations and opportunities of the ongoing pandemic, ESMA is currently rolling out a number of online activities. Association’s increasing involvement with textile printing will be reflected i.a. during the “touchpoint textile” sessions at drupa virtual on 20-23 April 2021. ESMA Academy, both in German and English, will offer online theory courses on industrial inkjet printing. The Advanced Functional and Industrial Printing conference, scheduled for November 2021, will return with a new, expanded programme.
“The pandemic has brought more challenges than expected – to the industry, to our association but also to many people in their private lives. At many levels we all had to adapt and learn how to cope with Covid-19. We remain hopeful but also ready to embrace the change, and propose new ideas for membership and events,” said Peter Buttiens, CEO of ESMA, “Meanwhile, screen and inkjet industrial printing are becoming more important than ever before. To name a few examples from last year, the sales of photovoltaic panels boosted in Asia, and fast coronavirus diagnostic kits rely on printed parts.”
While already accustomed to the virtual format, all participants expressed hope and need for a prompt physical meeting with the traditional site visits and a networking dinner. These are definitely planned for the next ESMA General Assembly in March 2022 in Paris.