May 19-23 in Milan Rho will see an event dedicated to the packaging printing and converting industries, which completes a chain of excellence. New developments, good news and reflections on the “Expo factor”.

PIn the packed calendar of fair events, Converflex coordinated with Ipack-Ima and its vertical correlates, Intralogistica and Fruit Innovation, is sure to be a major draw, for a wide array of reasons. First of all, on show, there will be a wide range of products and services for packaging printing and converting, including the dynamic sector of digital printing.
Secondly, the coordination of the event alongside other packaging/processing and logistics events multiplies the interest for operators, who in such a way will have a view of the industry as a whole.
From the point of view of exhibitors, then, this edition of Converflex represents a valuable opportunity for promoting one’s business, and for Italian industry in this sector, before an audience that is expected to be very much international.
Last but not least… the event’s running parallel to that EXPO of which there is so much talk, a strategy not all agree with. Guido Corbella, however, managing director of Centrexpo, explains why this is a strength, and emphasizes from his perspective as organizer the many potentials of this event.

The large May fair event, of which Converflex is also a part, is coming up. What is the general sentiment of the sector?
Converflex 2015 started with a strategic decision that has led to its separation from Grafitalia and repositioning in the context of events dedicated to packaging, processing and logistics. And both decisions were welcomed by our stakeholders. In fact, while book and commercial publishing are going through a difficult period, packaging, continues to grow, a sign of that the evolution of markets and technologies in these two sectors are diverging more and more. This dynamic has helped us to value the meaning of the printing and packaging industry, offering visitors to the fair the widest possible vantage.
It’s no coincidence that Converflex occupies most of pavilion 2, forming a sort of continuum with the complementary solutions and those for labeling at Ipack-Ima. Worth emphasizing is the participation of suppliers of digital printing systems – they usually appear at Grafitalia – and this in spite of their commitments to other events: doubtless a sign of confidence and interest in our event.

The proliferation of fairs forces industry to make choices that aren’t always easy. At the same time, the transformation of technologies and markets requires rethinking concepts and periodicity (as drupa has taught us). How does Converflex fit into all this?
Notwithstanding the crowded fray of international events, the “new” Converflex fears no competitors, precisely because of what it offers in terms of showcasing the industry. Furthermore, in terms of timeframes, the dates work well with the large printing fairs, enabling concerns to make sustainable planning of exhibition operations: the new triennial drupa, for example, will be held in 2016 and 2019, while the upcoming Converflex fairs will be in 2018 and 2021, always alongside Ipack-Ima.

How have concerns responded in terms of participation? And what news as far as exhibiting?
By square meters and number of exhibitors we expect to maintain the levels of the last edition. Of course, if we also considered the product types in common between Converflex and Ipack-Ima, the numbers would come out differently. What matters is the presence of Italian industry and the most dynamic and active foreign ones.
Converflex nonetheless remains a showcase of technological innovation, where experts in preprinting and printing, finishing and converting of packaging can meet and monitor the most up to date solutions… But, most importantly, this year the machines will come back to the stands. The chance to see them “live” and functioning is a particularly important attraction for visitors.

What actions have you taken in order to get more foreign buyers to visit?
We have promoted the complex of our fairs in 50 events around the world and created an extensive network of events to support business communities, including during the period between one edition and the next of a show.
Moreover, the guest buyer delegations were defined with the direct help of exhibitors and active cooperation of Acimga (the machine builder association is promoter of the event), who indicated the geographic areas of  greatest interest as well the most dynamic companies. We report in this regard the valuable support offered by Ice-agency  in coordinating the participation of the foreign delegations. The financial support received from the Ministry for Economic Development, thanks to the recognition of Ipack-Ima as one of the 15 leading fairs of Made in Italy, has also enabled us to host a greater number of delegations, in addition to prolonging their stay in Milan, enabling participants to also visit the Expo.

So the Universal Exposition represents a positive factor?
The coincidence of Converflex and the Expo can be evaluated in different ways. Those against are afraid of crowding and the resulting logistical drawbacks (the entrance to Converflex is 400 m away from that of the Expo), hotel prices and the problem of security.  Those for – and I’m one of them – while not hasty to underestimate the negative aspects, take as given the positive effects on business at the fair. The format of the universal exposition appeals for many reasons, as a spectacle, media, communication… and for visitors to Converflex, the timing and vicinity to the Expo is a significant incentive to attend in Milan this May.