drupa 2012
drupa inside – a closer look from outside

by Andrea Köhn, June, 19th 2012

This year I was not able to visit drupa, because I was expecting my second child at the end of April. Nonetheless, I was involved in drupa projects and management like the coordination of the drupa cube program as much as possible. But a few weeks before drupa started, I was only able to follow the developments and news from behind my computer at home.

So I was more than glad, that this year the Messe Düsseldorf team offered a lot of information from drupa via social media channels like Twitter and Facebook! In addition they also produced and published short videos and interviews, for example from the drupa cube-focus days, the red sofa interviews and news from several interesting booth directly from the trade halls.  

I remember very well that I was already in hospital when the first press conferences started on 2nd may, and I was able to follow all tweets from my journalist colleagues. It was amazing to see for example on the fly pictures and short films from the first presentation of the new nanographic machines from Landa Inc.! I was surprised how many of the journalists were using Twitter and their links to LinkedIn to publish what they see. Some even commented already on the news they saw, so for me this was unique and very helpful.  

On 3rd may, the first day of drupa 2012, my son was born, but until then, I followed the #drupa tweets providing me with an overview of the different events. Thanks to the digital media and my iPhone, I was in direct contact with my colleagues in Düsseldorf. I even virtually joined the first focus session in the drupa cube, which was great!

After a couple of days I was watching all the videos which gave me a very complete picture of what was happening in Düsseldorf. Also the social media interaction was a new, helpful and powerful experience. Re-tweets from Twitter accounts and comments on the Facebook profile were interesting and vivid.

This year’s social media drupa visit was strange, but effective. It felt like I had been there personally, only missing the parties and the chats with business people and friends. The lack of sleep was the same though, because of the „drupa”-baby.

People from all over the world benefits from the information via the social media channels. I hope this will be used more and more and extended until drupa 2016.

It’s over but it’s not over: The summer after drupa

by Naresh Khanna, Indian Printer & Publisher

After a pleasant and unexpectedly rainy April and an equally unexpectedly temperate May, June is upon us in New Delhi. Fiercely hot with an occasional dust storm and daytime temperatures touching 44 and 46 degrees centigrade and night time lows above 30, we are now waiting for the rains – the monsoon which hit the Kerala coast on time at the beginning of the month, proceeded up the coast to Mumbai and is expected to reach us by the end of June.

If you were there at drupa, you were there. You made your choice and you saw what you saw and you learnt what you could. You had a good time, met up with printers across town that you haven’t seen for a decade. You saw many others who were totally unfamiliar, a sign of the Indians being the largest foreign contingent at the show. You met up with the sons and daughters of printers – the new breed of highly educated and very polite kids that only printers have. And then you came back to the heat and dust and the grinding work – trying to remember what you saw and trying to digest what it means.

In Delhi this has meant several events by paper manufacturers – itself unusual, but a sign that paper mills and traders are becoming aware of the possibilities of our large market and the necessity of increasing their branding. It’s no longer the sellers’ market that it once was.

Meanwhile we are putting together our drupa experiences for readers in what we hope are meaningful and digestible articles in both our magazines. This itself is a luxury – to have two magazines and one especially for packaging – the most earthy flavour at this drupa notwithstanding the digital raz matazz. There are some review events also, like the drupa impression event in Mumbai on 30 June where I have been invited to give an overview and share my understandings, skepticisms and futurisms on digital print and packaging.

These are generally good events and they reflect the enthusiasm of an industry that is still growing in the traditional ways of print. Often, the leading printers reveal the direction of their thinking and they are generally quite smart – they are part of an industry that is capable of realizing drupa for what it really is – a knowledge event that gets us thinking, debunking, sharing, enacting.

Naresh Khanna

drupa 2012: A Fantastic Opportunity

By Katherine O’Brien, Senior Editor, American Printer Division, OutputLinks Communications Group

This was my fourth drupa. My first show, drupa 2000, was overwhelming, both in terms of the volume of information as well as the precipitation.

"Above all, we were wet," writes Frank McCourt in the introductory paragraphs of "Angela’s Ashes." The same phrase aptly describes my drupa 2000 recollections. Every morning as I set out to the train station, it was as though an unseen hand was emptying a bottomless Rhine rain barrel on my head.

The rain returned for a day or two at drupa 2012, but this time I was prepared. I also brought a more practiced eye to the proceedings. Drupa 2012 featured some key digital press introductions such as the iGen and NexPress, as well as at least six direct imaging presses and at least 10 platesetters. E-commerce also was a huge topic. Many of the machines announced at drupa 2000 didn’t make it off the drawing boards for one reason or another. And, although web-to-print is commonplace today, it didn’t evolve as some early vendors hoped.

Top trends at drupa 2012 included inkjet (HP, Landa, Kodak, Memjet and others); liquid toner (Miyakoshi/Ryobi, Xeikon and Océ); and B2 format digital presses (Fujifilm, HP, Landa, Komori/Konica Minolta, MGI and Ryobi/Miyakoshi). And seemingly all vendors—digital, sheetfed and even web offset—had something for the packaging sector. Hybrid solutions also proliferated: KBA, manroland and Presstek announced plans to integrate Atlantic Zeiser’s inkjet technology on offset models.

What are the implications for U.S. printers? At the end of the day, it’s all about achieving meaningful competitive differentiation. Machines and/or technology are only one component. Moreover, we must bloom where we are planted: Although some vendors see potential in the packaging arena, very few commercial printers are currently engaged in mainstream packaging activities such as folding carton production.

Longer term, I have to agree with Benny Landa. “There’s nothing more ephemeral than technology,” Landa declared. “Here today, obsolete tomorrow—even printing on paper will eventually give way to digital media. But mankind has been communicating with paper for 5,000 years and printing for 600 years. This isn’t going to happen for many decades. What really counts in the horizon, which for most of us is the next 20 years or so. ‘Eventually’ is so far away…in the interim, the opportunity looks FANTASTIC.”

Katherine O’Brien is the Senior Editor of American Printer, a Division of OutputLinks. Contact her at KOB@americanprinter.com.


drupa 2012 - investing in the future of print

by Ed Boogaard

Even after spending 15 days at drupa, it is hard to decide on what exactly had the most impact on the industry. Actually, it looks like we may even have to wait until (at least) 2013 to find out.

Until recently, the way forward looked pretty much decided on. After toner came inkjet, and that was what the future of print after - or: next to - offset would look like, right? Not so. Drupa 2012 provided new insights. Liquid toner (shown by Xeikon, Myakoshi and Océ) suddenly offered a serious and promising alternative to existing technology. And then came ‘nanography’, invented and introduced by Benny Landa, set to combine offset, liquid toner and inkjet into one.

Visiting many (but certainly not all) press conferences during the first days of the show, there seemed to be so many ‘game-changing’ and ‘quantum leap’ technologies around, that the industry could impossibly be the same ever after this drupa. Still, the year 2013 was mentioned just as many times as well for many technologies to truly deliver.

That did not stop printers - looking for solutions to meet today’s challenges - from investing: press manufacturers as well as providers of digital printing systems were happy to report excellent results in both attendance and sales - despite a 20 percent lower overall turnout for drupa.

I think this is the result of a positive atmosphere surrounding this year’s drupa: it was really all about investing in the future of print. (And let’s hope that the many schoolchildren who visited the show and were amazed by the Cirque De Soleil-performance will think of this industry as being just as colourful and exciting!)

Electronic media were also met with a more positive attitude: no longer seen as merely competing with print, but used to supplement and strengthen the total mediamix in which paper continues to play a strong and crucial role. Technologies like ‘clickable paper’ and ‘touch code’, for example, showed further improvement and sophistication of what QR-codes are all about: connecting paper to the Web. At the same time, the Internet proves to be an excellent sales channel for print. Web-to-print and vice versa solutions were therefore an important part of what drupa had on show - just not as big in square meters as many of the machines and installations that were to be seen.

Just as promising, I think, is the way offset press manufacturers are now embracing digital printing to complement their portfolio. By acknowledging the qualities and possibilities both toner and inkjet have to offer, they are now better serving their customers by providing the best solution for whatever needs they have. And they are opening up new opportunities and new markets - securing a future for print.

One of the most interesting points Landa made, was the fact that he does not expect printers to immediately change the way they do business. They do not need to find new markets or new customers, or convince existing customers of variable data or runlenghts-of-one: “just keep doing what you are doing, but do it in new and more profitable way” is a message that will convince many printers - and indeed many press manufacturers.

Looking back, I think Landa’s nanography was the most game changing and quantum leap technology presented at drupa: it may provide press manufactures an opportunity to catch up with digital technology (and even give them a lead position), and at the same time it will allow traditional printers to make the transition to digital in a very smooth way. The timeframe of 2013 - or probably 2014 - will give many printers the opportunity to find out what market and which clients they really want and need to be serving, and to decide on the technology they really need to do so.

drupa 2012 - thanks to you all!

As the curtain comes down on drupa 2012, we’re delighted to report that the event was a huge success. As expected, drupa cemented its position as the world’s largest, most important B2B trade fair in its sector. And we want to thank all of you who joined the drupa community for making this drupa a successful edition.

During the last two weeks around 314,500 print professionals from 130 countries descended on Düsseldorf to see the latest cutting-edge print innovations on display by 1,850 exhibitors. Against this backdrop we’ve seen a change in the type of drupa visitor – this year delegates were typically top managers. The proportion of business decision makers has grown to 51%, up from 44% on 2008’s figure. The number of foreign visitors underlined drupa’s international appeal, with the event attracting more than 190,000 foreign delegates. The press box was also a very international affair, with around 2,400 journalists representing 75 countries.

One of the most hearting trends to emerge from drupa 2012 is that capital investment appears to be returning to the print industry, as many sales were made during the show. Clearly, many companies believe the worst of the downturn is behind them, and are more confident in investing in the future. Equally encouraging is exhibitors’ reports of the number of strong leads generated. There’s certainly much optimism that many of these leads will be converted into sales in the coming weeks and months.

When it comes to the major themes, drupa 2012 was dominated by automation, packaging printing, digital printing, hybrid technologies, web-to-print applications and environmentally-sound printing. Interesting trends that were also clearly reflected in the great feedback we received on the drupa Cube program and the drupa Innovation Parc. Make sure to check out our compilation video including the drupa team’s favourite highlights.

And now? Well, we’re taking your feedback with us to the 2016 edition of drupa, so we can further tailor the formula to your needs. So shake off the PdSS (Post drupa Stress Syndrome), recharge those batteries and don’t store away the #drupashoes too far. Before you know it, #drupa will be just behind the corner.

Don’t forget that we’re keeping the official drupa social media channels going – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Xing – so you can continue sharing your experiences of what was and will continue to be an amazing show!

And thanks again - it is you (exhibitor, visitor and press alike) who makes the drupa magic happen!

Guest blog by Mike Horsten - Are textiles greener and better or is it just marketing?

by Mike Horsten, Marketing Manager Mimaki Europe

Why there is so much discussion about sustainability and a more environmental conscientious approach, when most of us are worried about surviving this economic downturn? Politicians say the crisis is over, but the wide-format industry has not yet seen any clear indicators of recovery.

Economic uncertainty does encourage introspection and new ways of working. We do need to adapt and engage in new ideas and innovations. And as sustainability is a topic that comes up so frequently when we talk about innovation the two have become synonymous. In many ways, it is driving research and development. However, it should not be the only consideration, the business and its employees need to be fully supportive and the ethos has to be implemented throughout the whole operation.

Of course there are great innovations that reduce CO2 emissions and create products that are better for the environment, our own health and more. I stand behind these great new technologies that will help make our planet better. But new innovations in our print industry have also given us an economic burden.

Do we really need to buy equipment every time something new hits the street?

Do we work better just because of innovation? I don’t think so. Yes, we have been printing for many years, but can we or are we willing to change our views of dirty printing?

We all recognize becoming 100% green is something that is not going to happen overnight -even 10% would be a great start. But as long as we only focus on the smaller elements such as eco-inks, emission free substrates or one printer using less energy than another, no-one will become 100% sustainable – only a bit more environmentally conscientious. It really does not add up and you are not changing the world. You are simply responding to the market. You are not thinking or believing in the green movement as whole. The result is green washing because you believe that you became environmentally sound after buying a printer with improved energy consumption. While a step in the right direction there is a still a long way to go and not really much to shout about to customers even if this printer is the latest Mimaki Latex system.

Sustainability is an important consideration in our world today. Large corporate buyers are starting to demand certification involving yearly audits in respect to ecological commitment. Unfortunately most certifications are not geared for the wide format industry – yet. We could set up our companies to achieve them but they built on different business models. So until one is devised then we should do as much as we can to reduce our impact.

That’s where textiles come in. The current generation of dye sublimation are more sustainable than most of their fellow UV or (Eco)solvent printers. Using Dye Sub or Latex inks on polyester substrates results in relatively green products. Coupled with energy conservation and waste disposal efforts you are well on your way to big gains – a step at a time. Let’s take this production example and compare a traditional vinyl print with a textile print.

The logistics of producing and installing a 2 x 3 meter vinyl wall in a retail area would require it to be printed, protected in a sturdy carton roll and transported by lorry due to its size. Two people would then be needed to mount the image taking them out of the production area for at least half a day each. Also to be considered is the liner and the previous vinyl image that needs to be recycled at extra cost and time that should be passed on. On top of this the image can glare and smell.

Using textiles can skip many of these steps and the savings can be easier to achieve. Customers would need to buy or lease an aluminum profile frame to be mounted in-store locations binding them into your logistic cycle.

Then the steps are: print the image and attach a silicon strip to hold the fabric in place on the customer’s frame. This means the shop staff can install the new images themselves. And as fabric can wrinkle, using a stretchable fabric eliminates this problem. What’s more, 2 x 3 meter image can be folded and shipped in a small box overnight. The same box could be used to send the old graphic back to the printer for recycling. No expensive transportation costs, no extra staff and no complicated recycling systems. Additional benefits include the customer knowing old images will be properly recycled.

So by changing some ways printers can save themselves and their customers money, transportation, recycling and staff time.

All we have to do is rethink our ways!

Mimaki’s strategy is to innovate new technologies that combine high print volumes and sustainable performance. To that end, Mimaki has decided to become a founding exhibitor at EcoPrint, taking place in Berlin, Germany, September 26-27, 2012. The EcoPrint concept recognises that sustainability doesn’t exist without commercial viability, yet to be commercially viable you must be a sustainable and creative business. Adopting a sustainable business strategy makes good business sense and EcoPrint will afford visitors a significant head start in this respect.

You can also read this blog on the drupa website.

Guest blog by Jan De Roeck (Esko) - Packaging is all around us…

When dwelling the halls at drupa in Düsseldorf, it’s easy to see that many suppliers aim at inspiring commercial printers in their quest for added value products and services. Two of such added value initiatives seem to be developing into mega-trends. First of all there are many suppliers focusing on the marriage between printed matter and interactive online media. Cross-media publishing has been around for a while, but with many announcements at the show, managing the process of parallel print and web publishing has just gotten a lot easier. The term “Marketing Automation” pops up left and right which is truly a “customer centric” approach to the end-user challenges and requirements. Print buyers no longer separate printed matter from online content in their communication campaigns. It’s no longer a far-away dream to implement an all-encompassing and web-enabled workflow that brings together formerly disparate players. And this means true value for the end-user.

A second added-value market segment that features on the signage of many drupa booths is Packaging. The concept is rather straightforward: you have an offset press to print on paper stock, so why wouldn’t you use it to also print on cardboard stock and produce packaging? As shortsighted as this may seem at first glance, there is definitely value in this concept as long as one covers all aspects of packaging production: design (including structural design), prepress, specific finishing and, not to forget, more shop-floor logistics and more critical customers.

When analyzing the packaging opportunity, one of the main drivers is digital print. The packaging signage basically says commercial printers can also print packaging digitally, in short runs and even personalized. The trend of ever shortening run-lengths in packaging has been prominently around for some time now. The many announcements in the Digital Print battlefield are only enforcing this: larger sheet sizes and web widths (not less than 9 digital press manufacturers announce B2 size capabilities at the show) improve the overall productivity of digital print and will move the break-even point for digital printed packaging upwards.

All good news, but again, let’s not forget that behind added value for the end-user hides an entire workflow to provide specialist services to the packaging buyer all the way from box design over sample making to production (including finishing and shipping). The biggest error a printer could make is to ignore the fact that a printed package is not the end-result of the production process. In commercial print, the cut and folded brochure or leaflet is the end-product all right. In packaging though, the diecut pack goes through many more production and logistical steps to reach its final destination: the shop shelves. This is a fundamental difference between commercial print and packaging workflows. And it requires dedicated solutions from a partner that understands the challenges of the business. Such suppliers are also present in Düsseldorf, Esko in Hall 8b being the leader of the pack.

As a final consideration in this blog, let me ask you the following question: with all the solutions ready to deal with (very) short run package printing, will the end-user applications be able to follow? The breakthrough of digitally produced short run folding carton boxes is not limited by production technology. There is abundant proof of this by many exhibits at this year’s drupa. A breakthrough may well be inhibited by a lack of economically feasible end-user applications. Are you waiting for a cornflakes box with your name on at your breakfast table?

Jan De Roeck

Esko’s Director Solutions Management

You can also find this blog on the drupa website.

More wide format by Infotrends

Submitted By: Barney Cox on May 10, 2012

The following is a short list of wide format ink developments at drupa.

I covered the other key wide-format themes to emerge from drupa 2012 around application flexibility, quality and productivity in a separate blog. There it was notable that most hardware launches incorporated technologies that enabled a single device to produce at both high quality and high speed, albeit not necessarily at the same time.

Bordeaux Digital Printink after-market latex. Well-timed to coincide with the increased interest in latex, this drupa Bordeaux showed a latex ink for eco-sol piezo printers, which it claims cures at a low enough temperature to not require additional heaters to be retrofitted. This should make it a more attractive option for upgrading the numerous existing chassis out there, or to develop own-brand systems.

Bordeaux also showed a dye-sub and direct-to-textile ink for the burgeoning fabric printing markets, after-markets flexible UV and UV-LED inks and an ink set for the Epson GS6000 eco-solvent machine, which like the OEM ink is claimed to be Nickel-free. Lastly from Bordeaux was a range of aqueous and UV coatings for wide- and small-format applications, including after-market jettable clear varnishes.

Read the full blog on the Infotrends website.

Guest blog by James Matthews-Paul - How not to tweet

Tweeting is a mysterious world, and companies of all sizes are right to be cautious as they decide their strategy. Who’s the right person to tweet? What can or can’t they say? How does one deal with negative @ mentions and when should the conversation be taken offline? These are all things to be decided internally, perhaps bringing in a specialist to help demystify, and in many cases there is no right or wrong: we are all still feeling our way with this exciting and powerful new technology area.

It has been great to see broader social media adoption at drupa. YouTube has been particularly strong, with many companies engaging with film-makers to capture the sense of what they’ve tried to communicate at the show to the outside world. And Twitter has been a thoroughly jovial place these past days, enabling people to connect in a totally different way, providing a wholly new (and often very amusing) experience of the show’s incredible zeitgeist.

But there are still some mistakes being made: no names, no pack drill, but I hope that some blunt pointers will help companies make their feeds richer for the tweeters in their ecosystems – and also easier for their employees. I’ll also try and link them to some examples in the real world that would frustrate you equally.

Don’t tweet the same message from multiple accounts. I know TweetDeck and HootSuite are handy tools, great for visualising Twitter and incredibly useful when you take your first steps. But in Twitter terms it’s just amateurish. Analogy: having four sales people trying to get you to buy the same product, all talking at the same time. It’s deafening.

Don’t retweet your own messages without good reason. There are perfectly legitimate reasons to run multiple Twitter accounts – different product lines or business groups, for example – but RTing each other all the time means you lose the distinction between them. Analogy: having someone tell you the same thing over and over again when you heard it the first time.

Don’t love yourself. “OMG! I’m from company X – I just love our Y range so much, plus all its Z products! Yay! #IloveX” Nay. Analogy: when was the last time you met someone who could only talk about themselves and how great they are? I bet you made an excuse to leave as quickly as possible. Find other interesting things to say that aren’t just about you, your products and services, and your company. You would be more subtle in your other marketing activities, so don’t take the hammer approach on Twitter either.

Don’t create unnecessary hashtags. This one is a greyer area. If you are going for concept marketing then yes, there may be a value in creating a new hashtag. But look carefully at who you want to use it and what its purpose is. If you are hoping to track who within your company or customer base is tweeting around an event, that’s great, and it could help you afterwards with your metrics. But trying to force a pointless hashtag on people around you makes you look a bit desperate – plus it takes up unnecessary room in your tweet. Stick to common ground (for example, #drupa) and you will also enjoy greater visibility. Analogy: someone trying to stick a label on your suit when you’re not sold on the brand and it doesn’t fit your image.

Those are the cardinal sins, in my humble opinion. If you can eliminate them, you will appeal to a broader user base, reach more prospects outside your current customer reach, have a cleaner feed that more people will subscribe to, and earn the respect of your followers. You’ll also get more retweets and your message will carry further. And yes, you can get your corporate messaging in there too – but that, I’m afraid, you’re going to have to work out for yourself.

James Matthews-Paul is publisher of Output, http://www.outputmagazine.com/, which offers news, technical features, blogs, videos and product profiles on the graphic arts and visual communications sector. You can find him tweeting at @signanddisplay, or you can email him at james@outputmagazine.com.

Guest Blog – Joel Basa - #drupa Tweetjam

The big event is happening – drupa 2012! After months of preparation, graphic communications professionals from around the world have gathered in Düsseldorf, Germany to check out the latest technologies and applications on display. On April 24, Xerox partnered with Cary Sherburne of Sherburne & Associates and WhatTheyThink.com for an industry-focused #futureprint Tweetjam to discuss expectations for this year’s show.

Almost 30 Twitter users participated in the hour-long conversation – including graphic arts professionals, commercial printers, paper manufacturers and print industry publications. Participants generated more than 130 tweets using the #futureprint hashtag and answered questions like:

·         What’s your favorite thing about drupa? – Surprise announcements, new technologies, face-to-face interactions with customers, seeing old friends and making new ones, and unlimited networking opportunities.

·         Do you have any tips to navigate the show? – Wear comfortable shoes, plan out each day ahead of time, and take advantage of drupa online tools like the mobile and iPad apps.

·         What are the must see technologies at drupa? – Finishing, packaging, applications, digital print, inkjet offerings, print engines and workflows.

It was a  productive conversation and resulted in plenty of chatter including users asking each other questions and some even making plans to meet up at the show.

As drupa attendees continue their conversations about the trends and themes at drupa on Twitter, Xerox’s visualizer will be tracking the top trends being discussed real time, at both the drupa fairgrounds and outside the halls of the messe. Just as predicted in the Tweetjam, we’ve seen inkjet, packaging and digital all trending in the first few days. If you’re onsite at drupa, be sure to check out the visualizer in person at the Xerox stand (Hall 8B, Stands #A62-1, #A62-5) or watch it update in real time online.

Looking to talk about all things drupa after the show ends? Join Cary Sherburne for another tweetjam on May 22 at 2 p.m. EDT for an hour-long drupa wrap-up conversation. Follow @CSherburne and @XeroxProduction on Twitter for more information and use #futureprint in your tweets to join!