20,756 visitors from 113 countries attended ExpoDetergo International 2018, in Milan, Italy, with 45% from abroad, increasing by 15% overall. Even the number of countries represented grew – 113 compared with 102 last edition (+11%) – with a significant increase of visitors from Africa and Asia, while European countries representing the highest number of visitors (71%) with Germany ranking first, followed by France, Spain, Russia and Belgium.

“ExpoDetergo International has the strength to group operators from five continents and the European and American buyers' acute interest, combined with the new profiles from Asia and Africa, are a clear demonstration of how the expo is the chance to create real business opportunities even in those developing countries whose growth margins can prove interesting,” said Livio Bassan, president of ExpoDetergo International.

“I also would like to stress the educational role this edition played: focus on saving resources, whether water, energy, detergents or fabric, represented a central theme that characterised most of the presented proposals. Overall, during these days filled with lively trading and professional discussions, we fully expressed the claim ‘Less is Better’ we used to launch the event: in fact, competitiveness is now based on money-saving and time-saving strategies and the market is in line with these key aspects.”

ExpoDetergo, which finished on 22 October at Fiera Milana, attracted 277 exhibitors, 36% of which were foreign, from 24 countries covering a 17.654 square metre exhibition floor. A complete range of the sector's most innovative offerings was presented from drycleaning, (an industry that represents Italian excellence, said the organiser), to water, with the leading international specialists' ranges. Ironing products, professional detergents – which are increasingly high-performing and environmentally friendly – and complete and automated lines, including packaging were also showcased. The supply chain was completed by the offering of fabric (bedding and table linen), with luxury fabrics and linens for hotels, spas and restaurants, management systems and Industry 4.0 solutions.

In fact, laundry technologies are not only more efficient but the new goal is to be smart. Digitalisation, Internet of Things and remote management are now a reality that is revolutionising industry professions.

While electronic garment tracking systems are increasingly more popular – from smaller and thinner RFID labels to bar codes on water repellent paper that can monitor garments or linens in every processing phase – management systems have become software platforms that companies can view on their PCs, tablets or phones or even smart Apps that allow laundries to monitor the entire laboratory remotely. Laundry managers, both tradition and self-service, have now become system managers able to manage their businesses directly from their tablets or smartphones, wherever they are.

Professional training, in-depth knowledge of the market and its mechanisms, and being up-to-date with the latest products are essential elements for a serious professional. But they are also the best tools for seizing opportunities that ensure business continuity and growth.

ExpoDetergo also included international events organised by gtrade associations including CINET and ETSA to encounters addressed to Italian operators offered by Assosecco and CNA/Confartigianato.

Exhibitors and visitors were also invited to attend the presentation of two new studies commissioned by Expodetergo to Cerved that took stock of the industrial laundry and drycleaning markets in Italy, providing a privileged look to help encourage new business strategies for operators, businessmen, dealers and all industry players.

A market map was revealed to help understand the state of the art of the two most important areas in the sector, stimulating new ideas among all the industry players, and helping entrepreneurs, professionals, sales people and operators in the laundry industry identify new, promising paths for their own businesses.