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Event Spotlight

Drupa 2016 Preview

Germany’s biggest print exhibition is about to roll back into town after a four year hiatus. On the back of great anticipation, Sophie Jones finds out what Drupa 2016 has in store for visitors

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Drupa’s theme for 2016 is ‘touch the future’ and will focus on providing a platform for future technologies

Back to the future

Over the course of eleven days, over 1,650 exhibitors from more than 50 countries will descend upon the German city of Düsseldorf to take part in one of the most anticipated events in the international print industry calendar. From May 31st to June 10th, the International Print and Paper Fair (Internationale Messe Druck und Papier)—these days known simply as Drupa —will return from its four years fallow to bring together the world’s leading manufacturers and innovators with printers from the world over; and what a wait it has been.

Preceded by the ever growing hopefulness in Drupa’s yearly Global Trends reports, this year’s theme, ‘touch the future’, shows a newly rejuvenated spirit has blossomed in the struggling print market and is reflected in the ‘bigger than ever’ anticipation spreading throughout the media. The fact that Drupa has also announced that it will be switching from a four to a three-year cycle only goes to prove that the exhibition is putting its money where its mouth is in terms of the bright future of print.

(Above & below) Werner M. Dornscheidt and the Drupa team have worked towards scheduling an exhibition that gives a full 360 degree view of the industry

Werner M. Dornscheidt, president and chief executive officer at Messe Düsseldorf, is the first to say that this feeling is exactly what Drupa has been building to over the past four years. He explains: “With this strategic reorientation and its focus on future and highlight themes, we are obviously on the right track. The response of international upstream suppliers to the industry has been very good—which was not a given in view of the difficult market environment.


“International global players and market leaders will present themselves alongside aspiring newcomers and innovative outfits from throughout the world. The complete spectrum of print and crossmedia exhibits and topics will be represented. Such a comprehensive 360 degree view of the entire industry is provided by nobody but Drupa.”

Such a comprehensive 360 degree view of the entire industry is provided by nobody but Drupa

Down on the show floors of Messe Düsseldorf’s 19 exhibition halls, this sight towards the future is reflected in Drupa’s scheduling, which has put great emphasis on the markets that are seen to be the most likely to develop in the coming years, namely: packaging production, multi-channel, 3D printing, functional printing, and environmentally-friendly printing. These markets are being catered to with a programme of technical events to accompany the exhibitor’s own stands. These include the Drupa innovation park (hall 07), the Drupa cube (hall 06, stand D03), Touchpoint package printing, and Touch-point 3D fab+print (hall 12, stand B53, and hall 7A, stand C41 respectively), ESMA (hall 3, stand A70 and hall 6, stand C02) and fmp@drupa (hall 12, stand B63). All of these offer visitors and exhibitors the chance to witness some of the most ground-breaking innovations led by the industry’s top thinkers and makers.

The ‘Drupa innovation park’ presented by digi:media (dip) will be showcasing the latest innovative, trendsetting solutions, and applications for the entire media industry in hall 07

Then there are the exhibitors themselves, who are really pulling out all the stops to fill Drupa 2016 with new launches, demonstrations, and spectacles to give even the most downhearted of printers a look into a brighter future. So without further ado, with an impossibly large array of technology to choose from, here are a just a few choice picks from the biggest exhibitors at the show.

O Factoid: The name Drupa comes from the combination of the German words for print (druck) and paper (papier), and was adopted in 1950. O

Landa goes large

Let us be honest: the most important reveal at this year’s Drupa is something we have all been waiting for since its initial launch in 2012. Having been let down time and time again, it has been so long since he promised to show us his working Landa S10, S10P, and W10 Nanographic printing presses that Benny Landa’s ‘revolutionary’ Nanographic technology feels as unlikely to surface as an actual revolution.

(Above & below) Benny Landa's Nanographic printing presses are gathering much attention and anticipation, following their initial unveiling at Drupa 2012

However, the 2,900sq m of floor space in hall 9, stand A73, and five-a-day theatre presentations are sure signs that finally this ground-breaking (and hopefully perfected) technology will be put to the test before the eyes of thousands of print professionals.


Good things come to those who wait, they say, and Landa’s Nanographic printing presses have certainly been worth waiting for. Promising litho quality printing with all the versatility of plate-free digital printing, it is no wonder people are so keen to see these machines in action. Landa’s nanographic technology harnesses the powerful colourant qualities of nano-sized pigments in order to print extremely high quality output on almost any surface extremely quickly, with low cost and zero emissions—it almost sounds too good to be true.

Though famously dogged by complete redesigns of the machines and re-engineering of the technology, with horror stories of poor quality print and billions of dollars sunk, it is with bated breath we wait to see what Landa has in store. In any case it is impressive that the technology still seems revolutionary four years down the line in an ever-progressing industry.

Heidelberg’s on fire

Usually taking up the largest square footage of what is now commonly referred to as the ‘Heidelberg Hall’, this industry giant will not be holding out on us for big launches at Drupa this year. The German press manufacturer, featuring in hall 1, stand B01 and B19, will be demonstrating its new extended digital portfolio, with a world premiere of the Heidelberg Primefire 106. The new B1 format industrial machine spells a new era in Heidelberg's digital ambitions, which have developed in tandem with new ink technology from its partner Fujifilm and seeks to quieten criticisms that Heidelberg is not providing for the future of the industry.

(Above & below)  Heidelberg is to launch the B1 digital Primefire 106 systems as well as its new series of Stahlfolders

The new system was created as a solution for the highly demanding marketing requirements made on printers nowadays, particularly in the consumer goods industry, offering fast, flexible, personalised, demand-oriented, and economic production of products in short to medium runs, but with the expected offset-standard quality Heidelberg is famous for.


During an advanced presentation of the new system, Stephan Plenz, member of the management board and responsible for Heidelberg equipment, says: “With the world premiere of the Heidelberg Primefire 106 we have reached another milestone in our digital strategy: achieving success in working with partners to bring systems to the market within the shortest time. This will help our customers to address the increased market challenges in a digitised world in the future also. Now we are the first provider to enable the industrial and integrated production of digital printed products in the Smart Print Shop. At the same time, in doing so we are also opening up opportunities for the future growth of Heidelberg.”

Heidelberg will also be demonstrating the new models of the industry favourite Stahlfolder folding machines—the TH/KH 82-P. The new series is aimed at industrialised commercial printers using peak performance machines, such as the Speedmaster XL series, with an annual production of over 40m sheets.

HP horizons

Not to be outdone by its heavyweight competitor, global player HP has announced that it will exhibit the industry’s broadest portfolio of digital printing solutions at Drupa 2016 in hall 17 and stand A01. Hall 17 will play host to HP’s latest technology for the commercial printing segment, including new hardware and solutions for labels and packaging, large-format, and sign and display applications.

(Above & below) HP are launching the new PrintOS, an operating system designed specifically with the commercial printer in mind.

This follows the unveiling of HP’s PrintOS—a new and innovative cloud-based operating system that claims to reinvent how customers manage their print production—which will make its debut at Drupa 2016. Featuring a suite of web-based and mobile applications, the new operating system simplifies and automates print production, says HP, enabling customers to start printing jobs faster and more efficiently.


Rob Le Bras-Brown, global head of print marketing at HP, says: “HP is bringing the full power of our vast portfolio of digital printing solutions to Drupa 2016, featuring breakthrough innovations. With the introduction of HP PrintOS and more ground-breaking pre-Drupa announcements to come, HP is following through on our promise to ‘keep reinventing’ with advancements across application segments that truly enable our customers to reinvent their possibilities.”

Rob Le Bras-Brown promises HP will ‘keep reinventing’ to stay at the head of the game

Applications included in PrintOS include Box, a tool to simplify job onboarding through channels such as email and file transfer services, and Site Flow, which combines automated order submission, pre-press, and shop floor management to allow print-service-providers to offer more competitive costs and higher levels of service to attract more B2B customers.

Kodak crack on

Though still in recovery from a few shaky years (see p8), Kodak is one to watch at this year’s Drupa with a host of new products on show. Building on its reputation for unveiling new innovations at the event, in hall 5 and stand F09 this year will see Kodak launch its ‘next generation’ inkjet technology platform, Ultrastream Inkjet Technology. Built on the company’s continuous inkjet Stream technology, Kodak promises that Ultra-stream will move production inkjet into the mainstream of commercial printing and packaging.

“Kodak is at the forefront of the print, packaging and publishing industries,” says Kodak chief executive, Jeff Clarke, adding: “Our products deliver what printers want today and need tomorrow with new technologies and enhancements to help printers strengthen their businesses and streamline their printing processes. Drupa provides a global platform to share our expertise with industry leaders and printers, and we look forward to meeting many of them at this year’s show.”

Drupa provides a global platform to share our expertise with industry leaders and printers, and we look forward to meeting many of them at this year’s show

Also being launched at the show is Kodak’s new process free plate. Following in the wake of its Sonora Plates’ success (with 3,000 customers and counting), Kodak promises the newest plates are designed to meet the most rigorous demands of UV print applications.

Also on the stand will be Kodak’s Aqua Image Pressroom Chemical range, helping printers to reduce variability and improve performance in the pressroom, and the Kodak Electra Max Thermal Plates and Libra VP Digital Plates for commercial and newspaper printers. These will all be demonstrated in the Ultra NX Experience room, where environmentally-conscious plate technology is at the top of the bill.

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta invites visitors to its stand to witness what they describe as ‘an awe-inspiring spectacle’ in hall 8B, stand A65. They may well deserve this boast, as its enormous 2,400sq m stand—one of the largest in the whole exhibition—will be housing a host of new products and live demonstrations.

The stand covers several ‘business zones’, including industrial inkjet, label printing, and marketing automation, and will demonstrate its new press series, the Bizhub Press 1250e. It will also roll out the red carpet for the first commercial launch of its KM-1, a UV sheet-fed digital press, which Konica Minolta is hoping will pull in the crowds.

Olaf Lorenz, general manager of the international marketing division of Konica Minolta’s business solutions Europe, says: “Our fundamental goal is to anticipate our customers’ needs and turn their ideas into reality, by delivering innovative and meaningful solutions that drive their business. At Drupa, we will be demonstrating thought leadership by presenting innovative business concepts. We will be illustrating how we enable our customers to grow their business and to generate more profit.”

He adds: “We look forward to welcoming visitors to our stand, which is one of the largest at Drupa. They won’t be disappointed.”

We look forward to welcoming visitors to our stand, which is one of the largest at Drupa. They won’t be disappointed

Konica Minolta has already started the ball rolling by naming German firm, PLS Print Logistic Services, as its first European beta site customer for the KM-1. According to PLS, the new machine offers them enhanced paper handling and workflow technologies, the benefits of using UV inks in a fast-turnaround environment, and a superior production capability because of the Konica Minolta inkjet head design and inline controls, which monitor quality.

Electric EFI

Further big launch news comes from EFI, which on hall 9, stand A40 will be demonstrating one of the show’s main themes, by introducing a single pass press for corrugated packaging. As well as offering a significantly lower purchase price than rival systems, EFI claims that, thanks to the fact that the company recently acquired colourant specialist Rialco, the machine features a new superior aqueous UK ink technology.

EFI chief executive Guy Gecht says the new system is somewhat a hybrid of all EFI’s expertise, saying: “The new machine combines some of our great concepts; it uses our experience of single pass printing in a tough industrial environment from CretaPrint, the inline digital finishing capabilities of the Jetrion and the image quality of the Vutek. And we will make it a lot more affordable than anyone else attempting to go into the digital packaging market.”

Not only that, EFI promises that the new launch is to be the first of a brand new range of machines, which will in time expand to addressing the ever lucrative markets of signage, labels, and textiles.

So, I hope that if you take one thing away from this snapshot of Drupa it is this, if you are looking down the line and wondering what shape the print industry will be and how your business could fit within it, then it is a must-see. Look out for the next edition of Print Monthly, where we will be exploring what else Drupa has to offer and its place in the economy of the global print industry.

The Song

You either love it or hate it: let's face it, the Drupa song tradition is the print industry's Marmite. Ever since 2000, each Drupa has had a theme song and it has always been a controversial one. The idea first started in 1986 with a song featuring a country western singer, which was consequently voted one of the worst corporate anthems ever by The Register. Oh dear.

Bonita Niessen sings this year’s Drupa song

Broadcast live on streaming Periscope, Drupa is in Town Again was launched to the world in February, with serious thumbs up from some print fans, and some sneering boos from less enthusiastic print scrooges.

In the end, you can try and ignore it, and roll your eyes every time those cheesy midi trumpets blast a disco chord in your face, but I can guarantee at some point during the exhibition you will find yourself inadvertently boogying down to the sounds of South African soul singer Bonita Nissen and Düsseldorf chart topper Dieter Falk, as they champion the print industry in an entirely unique way.

Here’s a taste of the reaction on Twitter:
Mark Stephenson @sparkystep
The new drupa song is here and it's
Ed Boogaard schrijftt @edboogaard
#POTF16 @monikakissing updating the countdown to #drupa but NOT singing the #drupasong
James Matthews-Paul @TheMohawkMan
First impressions: definitely cheese-laden.
All the printy bits now in parlando. But
belt-worthy, reminiscent of 2000 #drupa #drupasong


Drupa 2012 saw:

•    1,844 exhibitors
•    52 different countries
•    314,248 visitors
•    165,988sq m exhibition space
•    60 percent of visitors came from outside Germany



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