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What the Fespa Belgium visit taught us about today’s events and the future of print


by Iris Vanderzeypen - Sales Support Specialist EMEA

After two years without in-person events, many people are excited to be back to meeting face to face.

We are those people. The value of establishing a personal connection between the people who develop printing technology and the people who use it will never change. Great minds think alike. So did Fespa Belgium and Xeikon.

Fespa Belgium has been at the forefront of getting back to meeting in person. The organization has set up several regional events to connect its members with each other, with vendors, and with the future of print. Xeikon was proud to be a part of these events. But we are even more excited about the partnership that developed between our organizations – and the opportunities this partnership creates for the industry.

How it started - Print to the Future 

Early this year, Fespa wanted to bring their Belgian members together for a regional event that would set out a vision for what lies ahead in the printing industry.

It began at Fespa Congress, where Xeikon Market Segment Director Dimitri Van Gaever gave a dynamic presentation on the company culture and product portfolio of Xeikon. And continued well into the Print to the Future event next, held in Bruges earlier this year. The sessions at this event showcased the future of digital and print communications – and how Fespa members can be part of it.

The event also included a thought-provoking session that brought several vendors together for a panel discussion. Representatives from Agfa, Canon, swissQprint, Xeikon, and EFI Vutek debated various topics on the minds of Fespa members, including current trends and future techniques in digital printing, sustainability, the evolution of inks, technology, and energy consumption.

It was a lively and unusual debate – where else have you seen a panel like these debating topics relevant to the future of your business? The outcome of the conversations felt so invigorating it would be a shame to stop there. 

How we kicked the partnership up a notch

At that point, newly appointed Fespa Belgium president, Femke Helon, and Fespa Belgium communication representative Els Vansteenkiste asked if it would be possible to hold their monthly meeting at Xeikon headquarters in Lier. Belgium is one of the printing industry’s headquarters. With so many printing companies located here, Fespa wanted to tap into the richness of that community. Xeikon was a natural choice of host.

The meeting at Xeikon headquarters went very well. It turns out that meeting together in a smaller group creates a rich and informative setting for all who attended – and for Xeikon, too. To keep the learning going, the Fespa Belgium team asked if Xeikon would be willing to host all Fespa members so they could see the office and experience Xeikon’s digital printing capabilities. Would we be up for that?

You bet! But rather than merely pitching our solutions, we wanted to showcase the Belgian ingenuity and resourcefulness. Who is Xeikon, what do we do, how do we do it, and whom are we doing it for?

Bullseye. The Fespa group was surprised to learn that: 

  • not only is Xeikon a Belgian company operating on a global level

  • but it is also located in a beautiful office and location

  • we have a ton of in-house knowledge and share it most generously  

Thanks for indulging me in a special shout-out here to Xeikon’s Lies De Laet and Marthe Anthonis for making this happen; the entire meeting was well organized and went off without any problems. The reviews on the social channels were raving.

“I think in terms of solutions, not printers. A mindset that is shared by the members of Fespa Belgium. And Xeikon. At the Fespa Congress and Print to the Future events, the team shared such a fascinating story, it would be a shame to keep it to ourselves. Thank you Xeikon, for hosting and inspiring us!” 
Femke Helon, President Fespa Belgium

But they’re not the only ones who got more out of this event than they signed up for.

Our team learned about the cross-pollination between markets among Fespa users. For example, Large Format and Sign Makers were interested in labels, specifically in the different finishing options that digital embellishment enables on label presses. While they likely won’t invest in a label press just for this feature, many are looking at the possibilities the Xeikon X800 workflow offers from that perspective. (if you’re into VDP – you need to read this.)

Riveting conversations that trigger more innovation – what’s not to like?

How it ended - a new era for printing industry events

Based on the learning and momentum these events created, it is clear that in-person events are back in a big way. That’s good news; it’s been too long, and people need this collaboration and learning.

The big question now is: do we need to go to a large, international event to learn what lies ahead for the future?

For some people, the answer may be yes. That includes us; we have quite a few big ones on our calendar for the coming months.

But for an increasing number of people, smaller regional events like those organized by Fespa Belgium give people the chance to learn and grow in small, more dynamic ways. We’re up for that too if you are. Drop us a line if you’d like to meet up.

On a final note – congratulations to Femke Helon for her vision and leadership. We are grateful that we could be a part of these events and that we could help shape the future of print alongside Fespa Belgium.