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With just two months until drupa opens its doors, the mother of all trade shows has been telling the world’s trade media that attendees will have an unparalleled insight into the future of print.

Insight into the future: Sabine Geldermann, drupa director

Hosting 70 trade press editors from around the world in Dusseldorf this week, including Print21, drupa, and its leading exhibitors, have been outlining how sustainability, connection, AI and the platform economy will define print in the coming years.

Sabine Geldermann, director drupa said, “Print is always evolving, and as print touches all industries, this drupa will reflect the global trends. Printers coming to drupa can expect a preview of the industry that print will become, an industry that will be impacted by the global mega trends, and an industry that offers real opportunity.

“There will be amazing exhibits, as print technology pivots to meet the needs of consumers and brand owners. There will also be a host of unmissable forums where experts, brand owners and speakers from outside the industry will share their insights.”

It is clear that packaging will play its biggest ever role at drupa, in fact more than half of the stands will have packaging developments on them. Speaking to the assembled journalists, drupa president Dr Andreas Pleßke, CEO at Koenig & Bauer, said, “The growth in populations, and in the developing world the rapid growth of the middle classes, will for certain drive packaging growth in both developed and developing countries, particularly in food, beverage, pharma and cosmetics.”

Pleßke said that three key trends will be addressed at the show; sustainability, digitisation, and skill and labour shortages. He said sustainability was being driven by brand owners, young people and regulation.

Canon into packaging: Jennifer Kolloczek
Canon into packaging: Jennifer Kolloczek

The upcoming drupa will have digitisation as one of its core components, as it offers print businesses the opportunity to diversify, and to capture new short-run on-demand market opportunities. There will for instance be an entire textile digital print microfactory running throughout the show. Digitisation of workflow will be a key component.

According to Pleßke, the skills and labour shortage would be addressed by automation, digitisation, AI and robots, all of which would be on display at this drupa.

This will be the first drupa since 2016, although the expo did run a short online show in 2021 when the world was in Covid lockdown. The managing director of Messe Centre, Erhard Weinkamp, said, The return of person-to-person drupa is necessary. The show is also about connection, and we have had no interest from exhibitors in running further online events, they want face-to-face.”

On the relevance for giant trade shows like drupa into the future, Pleßke said, “In a word it is efficiency. A print business owner or manager cannot be more efficient than spending several days talking to all the equipment vendors, hearing from a raft of expert and experienced professionals in the forums, and networking with printers from around the world.”

Weinkamp said that the Messe Centre was back in business after two years of “producing only losses” while Covid raged around the world, and that it had restarted its modernisation programme. He said that the Messe now had a 40 per cent lower carbon footprint than in 2016, thanks to a raft of initiatives.

Day one of the media conference saw Hybrid Software announce it will take its solutions to the cloud under a SaaS model, while Fujifilm is to launch the world’s first B2 dry toner press, a new flexibles packaging press, and a new continuous feed inkjet press. Konica Minolta will have a new 6000sph version of its B2 UV inkjet press, and Koenig & Bauer will have new die cutters, flatbed and rotary, and a raft of new software. Epson has a new printhead, a new design for its 64 inch SureColors, the launch of microproducts in DTG, DTF and UV flatbed. Canon will have a new B3 inkjet printer, a new 160 metres a minute continuous feed printer and a new 200 metres a minute machine. There will be a new flatbed Arizona. Canon's marketing manager Jennifer Kolloczek also outlined the company's major plans to enter packaging with digital print solutions, specifically for folding carton, corrugated and labels.

100 million sheets a year: Heidelberg CEO Dr Ludwin Monz 

Day two began with Bobst saying it would have a new all-in-one folding carton press at drupa, and a digital corrugated press, although it would not reveal further details. Kongsberg will launch a new Ultimate cutting table, while former owner Esko is taking its software into the cloud. Ricoh will have its new B2 Z75 sheetfed inkjet press on the stand, and is one of several companies releasing new colour automation software.

Heidelberg outlined the new version of the XL106 Speedmaster, with its 21,000sph speed and Push To Stop technology, and said the new benchmark will be 100 million sheets a year. Kurz is launching what it calls the beast, the DM Maxliner 3D for inline embellishing on B1 sheets. Miraclon will have nine new innovations from its flexo platemaking range and Highcon said it will have its new Beam 3 digital diecutting line on show.

The day ended with Landa reveaing it would launch new higher speed duplex commercial and folding carton presses at the show, capable of running at 11,200sph. Landa, which claimed to have invested €1bn in the deveopment of its nanographic presses, was vague on when it would start selling them into ANZ, only saying it would be sometime between the end of the year and the next drupa in 2028.

Day three, today, will see HP, which will have the biggest stand, present its new print solutions, including the HP Indigo 120K and 18K for commercial printers, and the V12 for label printers. The event will be rounded off by manrolandGoss outlining why it is seeing a future in packaging for web presses, with the Varioman in particular, which will be on its stand.

The first day of drupa is Tuesday 28 May, with the show running for 11 days until Friday 7 June. Some 1437 exhibitors have taken space for the expo, which will fill all 18 halls of the giant Messe Centre in Dusseldorf.

drupa ready to show future (l-r) Wolfram Diener, CEO, Messe Centre; Sabine Geldermann, director, drupa; and Dr Andreas Plesske, president, drupa; with the moderator Chris Brown
drupa ready to show future (l-r) Erhard Weinkamp, managing director, Messe Centre; Sabine Geldermann, director, drupa; and Dr Andreas Pleßke, president, drupa; with the moderator Chris Brown










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