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This year's Ipex has been dubbed the most important in the show's history by several key figures.

"In many ways, this is the most exciting time to be in print, purely because of all the changes that are taking place," said Brian Filler, chairman of printing equipment manufacturers and suppliers trade body Picon and managing director of Screen UK.

"There's no doubt that both suppliers and printers have been through a difficult time, but R&D still goes forward and the face of the industry is changing dramatically as a result."

Filler highlighted that, with many printers looking and needing to diversify their businesses, Ipex represents their best chance to identify new areas of opportunity.

"I'm not saying printers have to come to the show with their chequebooks ready, but it's no good just standing still and licking your wounds.

"You need to be prepared and see where the industry is headed and I think this year's show is the most important Ipex in its history," he said.

Ipex 2010 event director Trevor Crawford agreed that, due to the economic climate, the rapid development of technologies and the structural change that the industry is facing, this year's Ipex was the most important in its history.