Graeme Richardson
Photo: FESPA

In his new block, Graeme Richardson-Locke, Technical Support Manager at FESPA, informs you about the about the impact of COVID-19 on the industry. He spoke to FESPA’s associations in France, Italy, Greece and Portugal.

Italy: production of face masks

Enrico Barboglio from FESPA Italy explained that COVID-19 cases are not yet declining despite the lockdown and intensified measures to restrict infection. Some market sectors are still busy, packaging for food and pharmaceuticals remain strong however many are working well below capacity and the signs are that in the short term at least trading will become more difficult. He did mention that some printing and binding businesses have managed to reconfigure their lines in the production of face masks which are in high demand. The Point of Purchase and signage communities are supporting the installation of screens in supermarkets to protect staff and graphics to provide a visual reference for social distancing. They are also mobilising members to meet on Zoom and share their experiences and provide some welcome support.

Spain: 3D printers produce respirator parts

Pablo Serrano of FESPA Spain echoed the experience in Italy, in addition to offering a similar situation he expressed that some sectors were already running at under half of their capacity and the situation is worsening. However, he did say that 3D Printers in additive manufacturing are working really hard to produce respirator parts and personal protective equipment to meet a burgeoning need.

Greece & France printers are shut

Apigraf’s Pablo Durado and Fontina Lombardia for FESPA Hellas mirrored the same concerns albeit further exacerbated by the loss of tourism income which is massively important to both economies.
Marrion Ferhat of FESPA France explained that with the exceptions already mentioned many printers are now shut and waiting on furlough payments from the government to support them until the worst of the crisis subsides.

Another six Zoom meetings will be scheduled to check in with the rest of the FESPA communities, to support each other, and to address what common tools can be employed in these straitened times.