The great variety of companies and research institutes represented at the Advanced Functional and Industrial Printing conference (AFIP) proved the readiness to embrace functional print solutions across different industries. Held on 2-3 March 2016 in Düsseldorf, the ESMA event delivered an agenda packed with presentations, networking moments and inspiration both for suppliers and end users in the automotive, electronics and healthcare sectors.
Organised for the third time in its current guise, the AFIP conference is already an established brand on the industrial printing market and yet its formula leaves enough room for innovation and keeps on attracting many newcomers. The agenda opened with the real case scenario by Quad Industries which now employs screen printing in the manufacturing process of flexible batteries and smart textiles but also in temperature loggers for medical and pharmaceutical applications. Rated as the best presentation of the conference, Quad was closely followed by other keynotes, Prof. Long Lin from University of Leeds (an overview of functional materials for anti-counterfeit applications and conductive inks for textiles) and Prof. Arben Merkoçi from the Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology. Although it might have appeared distant from the printing domain, Prof. Merkoçi’s speech on bio-sensors for diagnostics was extremely well received and widely commented by the delegates.
Altogether 21 presentations by both screen printing and digital printing oriented speakers filled the conference programme and, in the words of Marvin Waldinger from Rathgeber GmbH, provided “an in-depth view of the progress made in the last years regarding functional printing and those who contribute to it”. Piet Blomme from Clicktouch NV described AFIP as an “all-in-one event” where “new printing products, techniques and challenges were explained within 1.5 days”. More explanation and discussions took place during multiple tabletop and networking sessions and lasted long in the evening during a splendid networking dinner.
From the perfect screen preparation or advancements in inkjet technology, through speciality effects and conductive inks, to printed electronics, automotive and medical applications – AFIP 2016 served every attendee with content useful to their developments in niche markets or with stimulation needed to enter production of industrial volumes. By many considered as the key contribution to their technology roadmap, the conference continues to unite representatives of various market sectors. Gregory Gentile from Apple Inc. summed it up as “an excellent mid-sized venue that focuses on new technology rather than sale of products. A great environment to learn and exchange ideas.”
Enter AFIP 2016 picture gallery here