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ESMA proud to commemorate 30 years of community

What began as a collective effort of Europe’s major screen printing suppliers, has grown and evolved to become the home of industrial printing in all its facets. Turning thirty in 2020, the European Specialist Printing Manufacturers Association (ESMA) represents the best in both screen and digital inkjet technologies, and looks with optimism into the next decade. Some of the key figures look back at their time with the association and share future outlooks.

ESMA was founded in 1990 in the United Kingdom as a supplier-led initiative to stimulate the growth and potential of screen printing. Derek Down, then the General Secretary of FESPA accepted the additional responsibility of ESMA General Secretary and continued in this role until 2002 when Bryan Collings took over.

The Specialist Printing Worldwide magazine was launched in 2007 and this was also when ESMA moved to Belgium and appointed Peter Buttiens as the new CEO. He brought new enthusiasm and grew the organisation to where it is today.

Among the proudest of ESMA’s achievements are its conferences, valued for highly technical contents and international networking opportunities. Since 2005 ESMA have been organising GlassPrint (in collaboration with Chameleon Business Media); the Advanced Functional and Industrial Printing conference (evolved from the Membrane Switch Symposium) will hold its fourth edition in 2021; The Inkjet Conference (TheIJC; in collaboration with Digital Direct Technologies) is on track for its seventh edition in autumn 2020; and Printed Interior Decoration and Direct Container Print have been around since 2014 and 2015 respectively. Inaugurated in 2017, ESMA Academy remains a successful educational series organised at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation.

“For over thirty years ESMA has successfully adapted and diversified through innovation and partnerships to continue to provide valuable services – not only to its membership – but also to the wider printing community through its ‘Knowledge Hub’ and industry-leading conferences. The fact that ESMA members are working together for the benefit and further growth has not changed since the very beginning in 1990, when we started to create a platform where all suppliers, competitors or not, could meet and discuss. Good luck for the coming 30 years!”

ESMA has postponed its 30th anniversary General Assembly to 2021 when the occasion can be marked with strong member attendance. More details will follow later this year.