Drupa's pre-show buzz has reached fever pitch over the past few days as announcements have come thick and fast from some of the major exhibitors speaking at the Messe Dusseldorf's International Media Conference.
The official pre-Drupa media event has featured announcements from 14 companies exhibiting at the 3-16 May show, including a folding carton version of Fujifilm's B2 sheetfed inkjet press.
Messe chief executive Werner Dornscheidt described Drupa as "a growth engine for the sector", and said that despite the radical structural change in the industry since the last Drupa in 2008, at least 350,000 visitors were expected to attend from all over the world. In 2008 the visitor figure was just over 390,000.
The showground’s 166,000sqm of net space is now all sold out, although the total area has been reduced by some 9,000sqm compared with the last Drupa in 2009 because the upper floors of hall 7 are not being used.
Companies from 56 countries – the most ever – are set to exhibit, with additional exhibitors from Columbia, Bahrain and Estonia this time around.
As well as building upon established attractions such as the Drupa Innovation Park, which enables start-up companies to showcase their innovations, fresh show features for 2012 include Media Mundo, a 240sqm space in hall 9 devoted to sustainable media production.
Heidelberg chairman and chief executive Bernhard Schreier, who is also chairman of the Drupa 2012 exhibitors advisory board said: "Drupa is an important source of inspiration. It provides – and this is very important for me – possible answers to the changing demands of the market.
"This will be the Drupa of successful ideas and business models, as well as the Drupa of integrated technologies," he added. "There is a big shift of markets underway and we must clearly differentiate between saturated and growth markets.
"When it’s time to go to Drupa your heart is running a bit faster and you are excited about it."
The growing prominence of digital printing manufacturers was in evidence, with Ricoh, Canon and Fujifilm all announcing that they will have their largest-yet stand spaces at the show.
Fujifilm An adaptation of its Jet Press 720 B2 sheetfed inkjet press for the folding cartons market. It can print on materials up to 0.5mm thick and will be commercially available in 2013. Also a new flexo CTP system, Flenex DLE, which marks Fujifilm’s first move into the flexo market. A new cloud-based colour management system, XMF ColorPath, promises "to make colour management a process not a skill" and will also work with third-party workflows.
Heidelberg Plans to show 60 equipment and service innovations at the show, including a world premiere for its new Speedmaster SX press platform, which will sit in between the SM and XL ranges. The SX version will be available in all press formats, and builds upon the launch of the Speedmaster CX102 at Ipex. Heidelberg is also rolling out is Linoprint brand for all its digital print products, so the Ricoh range sold by Heidelberg will be rebranded as Linoprint C models. Prinect Digital Print Manager will include support for variable data print and hybrid finishing. Anicolor presses will now be supplied as carbon neutral, as standard. No news on a larger version of the Anicolor press, but it is widely expected to be launched at Drupa.
Kolbus/Timsons A digital book printing system aimed at "mass manufacturing using digital printing" and with the widest print width yet available for this market – 1,350mm – will be the centrepiece of the Kolbus stand at Drupa. It harnesses Timsons’ know-how in paper handling and signature creation with Kolbus sequential feeder and binding system. Timsons declined to reveal the manufacturer of the inkjet heads being used, but it is understood to use Kodak technology. A further announcement is expected next week.
Ricoh Entering wide-format market with a new four-colour device aimed at CAD and construction markets, but also quickprinters. Also launched a Carbon Balanced Printing programme that has already been accredited by BSI. At Drupa look out for interactive documents using Ricoh’s Visual Search technology, described as "a next-generation QR code".
Pitney Bowes Will show new paper wrapping system using Sitma technology that removes the need for envelopes. The biggest development in terms of new technology, the company said, will be the new Volly secure digital mailbox system, designed for efficient and simple to use digital bill and statement management. Print service providers can offer the system as an alternative to paper-based mailings. Volley will succeed where other digital mailboxes have not, said Pitney Bowes, because it will offer consumers a one stop shop for all of their bills and statements without needing multiple passwords.
Canon Drupa will be a platform for introducing its new Essential Business Builder Mentoring Program, a scheme designed to introduce customers to industry experts who can help troubleshoot the most pressing concerns for their business. The recently-announced Oce Colorstream 3700 high-speed inkjet and Arizona 318 GL UV flatbed will be among new products on show. The stand will also provide details on Canon’s latest industry research. Its fourth Insight Report has been based on the responses of 420 print buyers and reveals, among other findings, that 87% of those questioned said professionally printed products remained important to their brand with 15% saying critical, but around a third of print buyers were unaware of digital printing’s personalisation and print-on-demand capabilities, and just one in four measured print ROI.
EFI A raft of new products will be launched at Drupa, but details are under wraps until 3 April. CEO Guy Gecht said that all new launches were centered around EFI’s key ethos: to stay ahead of the action rather than concentrating on current trends. Just as 10 years ago EFI looked to the future rather than focusing on the key markets at the time of newspapers and book printing he said, the company are currently looking to invest in emerging trends, of which software plays a key part. "People say people don’t like to spend on software because they like to buy tangible printing equipment," Gecht said. "But people’s attitudes are changing. People to have software to make sure they are not doing things twice and they know exactly how much money they are spending and generating."
Domino Has enhanced N600 digital label press in response to market feedback. N600i includes StitchLink image stitching technology. So-called "intelligent technology" also added to K600i and L100i products.
Epson Will show SurePress X single-pass digital label press, its first UV ink product. It has a white ink option and small footprint almost half the size of the current SurePess, and uses Epson's thin film micro piezo inkjet technology. Epson has also entered digital dry lab sector with SureLab SL-D3000 for on-demand photo and card printing.Tweet