Posts Tagged ‘drupa’

  • Drupa Snooper-drupa every three years: can we take it?

    Print21’s Drupa Snooper, Andy McCourt, takes a close look at how a three-year drupa cycle could wreak havoc with Europe’s crowded printing trade fair circuit.

    As a card-carrying ‘Drupa Snooper’ it comes as no surprise to me that the quadrennial print media show looks set to become triennial. It has been one of the worst kept secrets in the global trade fair industry that Messe Düsseldorf wants to move to a three-year cycle.

    In more genteel times, an organization called Eumaprint ensured that major international print trade fairs did not clash in the same year. All the major expos were signatories to this, mostly through the trade associations who owned or part-owned the exhibitions. Ipex (UK), Print (USA), drupa (Germany) and Italian, Spanish and French trade fairs would all plan their cycles so no two shows occurred in the same year. In the late 1990s there was even an attempt for Pacprint to join Eumaprint through GAMAA.

    The synchronizing of trade fair cycles was primarily at the behest of exhibiting companies since staging such exhibits is both logistically and financially challenging. Evidence of this is clear with the withdrawal of Heidelberg from next May’s Pacprint, and Heidelberg, HP, Agfa and Kolbus from Ipex 2014.

    Now, it seems all bets are off as drupa owners Messe Düsseldorf know full well that by moving drupa to 2015 and then 2018, Ipex, if it remains on a four-year cycle after 2014, will clash in 2018. As a sideline casualty, the Spanish Graphispag expo due in 2015 will undoubtedly suffer.

    There is no way on God’s Earth that major printing equipment vendors can sustain exhibiting at two global trade fairs in the same year. For Australians and New Zealanders, there is little chance that both shows would be attended – it will be one or the other.

    Bearing in mind that Messe Düsseldorf is also the organizer of All In Print China, Shanghai which is on a three-year cycle and occurs in November 2014; it would come as no surprise if battle lines for access to exhibitors’ budgets have been drawn between the British and German trade fair organizers.

    The unholy mess that is the Eurozone at the moment has enabled Germany to rise to a position of economic dominance on continental Europe. Britain is seen as a pariah state by fervent Euro-centrics (“Britain uses Europe like a supermarket.” – French President), the five-decade long courtship of Britain becoming ‘truly European’ has progressed beyond niceties and dainty gifts of appeasement, and now seems like it will either become a shotgun wedding or return of the engagement ring; thrown somewhere into the middle of La Manche.

    I believe this is the psychology behind drupa’s decision to tackle Ipex head-on. The rule book has been torn up, Eumaprint is now toothless and anyway, Ipex is privately owned by the Informa Group after acquiring it from Picon (formerly the British Federation of Printing Machinery Suppliers). Drupa still has strong ties to the VDMA – the German print and paper technology association. With China now accounting for the majority of non-digital equipment sales by German manufacturers, pressure on budgets even for giants such as HP and the situation in Europe, Messe Düsseldorf sees an opportunity to quite possibly monopolise the international graphic arts trade fair calendar; and to blazes with Ipex.

    There is little question that drupa and for that matter K and Interpack, are very well organized and run. The town of Düsseldorf does a great job of embracing the influx of visitors at every level – from the free public transport to the smiles on the faces of barstaff and waiters delivering Pork Knuckles at Schweine Janes restaurant and other Aldstadt haunts. But Ipex has proved to be a terrific show also since it moved to the NEC, Birmingham and internationalized itself.

    Ipex 2014 will be a test of the decision to move back to London but having seen the Excel Centre used for the London Olympics and the way the Brits in general organized the Games, there is no reason to doubt that Ipex 2014 will deliver a great event with a totally different ambience to drupa. Losing HP, Heidelberg and Agfa are certainly blows but my view is that it’s a two-edged sword.

    The decision by a major digital and a major offset supplier not to exhibit at Ipex 2014 could also turn out to be major marketing disasters – the other edge of the sword. Already competitors are increasing their standspace – Konica Minolta has almost doubled its area, for example. For ANZ visitors in 2014, the familiarity with language and many family ties make the London stage convenient for extra-curricular activities.

    It’s going to be a ding-dong battle and we are still in the ‘phoney war’ stage. Ipex and IIR/Informa are mustering support and have already fired a broadside with the £1 million ‘Hosted VIP visitor’ programme – like high rollers being paid to visit casinos; key print executives will be flown in, accommodated and presumably wined and dined during Ipex. There’s more to come, make no mistake.

    Past chivalry between drupa and Ipex is just that – past. The game is afoot to see who will come out on top and, watching from our shores 16,000 kilometers away, it’s a gladiatorial spectacle but hey; we’ve got Pacprint combined with Visual Impact next May. After six Ipexes and seven drupas, that might just do me fine!

  • Printer’s Perspective briefing to cover drupa 2012

    The Lithographic Institute of Australia (LIA) NSW and Printing Industries will present a non-commercial perspective of drupa through the eyes of printers at an upcoming review night in Sydney.

    The Printer’s Perspective of drupa event on 19 June 2012 will feature presentations by three well known printing industry practitioners: Michael Schulz, General Manager SOS Print and Media; Craig Dunsford, General Manager Offset Alpine Printing and Andy McCourt, industry guru, commentator, writer and drupa veteran.

    LIA organiser Grant Churchill said the focus of the event will cover the drupa experience from a very down-to-earth and practical perspective with each speaker focussing on key areas of interest

    “This will give attendees a great insight into trends and innovations in offset and digital, prepress and in new technology systems as well as a very focussed insight into what what’s hot and perhaps not so hot in what our speakers saw and experienced while at drupa,” he said.

    Printing Industries National Director, Communications and Marketing, Joe Kowalewski, said the review night would be an eye opener for everyone attending.

    “The program has been structured to provide a very informative dinner session that informs and illustrates the drupa experience and also provides some very personal insights into the world’s biggest print exhibition and what goes on in and around it,” he said.

    The event begins at 6pm on Tuesday 19 June at the North Ryde RSL Club, Pittwater Rd, North Ryde. The two-course dinner briefing cost is: Members (LIA, Printing Industries) $49. Non-members $55 (incl GST).

    Bookings can be made by downloading the booking form here or by contacting Mark Tolentino at Printing Industries on (02) 8789 7388. E-mail: mark@printnet.com.au RSVP Friday 15 June.

  • Drupa Snooper – still rocking for a dwindling crowd

    drupa 2012 crowds surely thinned out near the end out but some areas showed no sign of letting up in vitality and buzz. Big orders still flowed on the last days, such as Pitney Bowes first Intellijet 20 press – an HP T 300 clone – to a Mexican customer and a $3.5 million Mailstream line to Switzerland. Heidelberg continued its renaissance with a brace of new Speedmaster 106XLs and Polar kit to Birmingham, UK printer Alltrade. On the topic of the XL106, I vote it one of the slickest press demos of the show; poetry in motion but eclipsed by – you guessed it – Landa Nanographic press demos.

    Take a look at the photograph. It was taken at 12:15pm on the penultimate day of this two-week trade fair, a time when many exhibitors are surreptitiously packing things into boxes, powering down machines ready for a quick exit tomorrow. (In fact several Chinese exhibitors have done just that, but left 3 days early leaving empty shells of stands!). But not on the Landa Nanography stand. The crowd you see are outside the live presentation theatre, watching it on a huge video display screen. There just isn’t enough room to fit everyone in! The interest in the Nanographic process and ink technology is phenomenal. If the indications prove correct in 2013 when presses start to ship, Nanography could potentially make other ‘new’ processes obsolete before they have even had time to roll fully into market. Yes, that’s a big statement but I’m backed by Heidelberg, Komori and manroland who have all signed license agreements to bring their own Nanographic presses to market.

    I was privileged to be granted one of very few one-on-one interviews with founder Benny Landa; that’s the two of us in the picture. Look out for June Print21 magazine where the full interview will be published.

    Drupa Snooper slideshowThe drupa 2012 highlights

    In other drupa sales news, Scodix, the digital spot UV and embossing innovator from Israel – available in ANZ through Currie Group – has sold several of its S74 machines as has rival MGI with its JetVarnish. This type of kit is pure value-add and literally puts the ‘gloss’ back into print; now spot UV is digital, every digital printer should offer this as an option, especially for short-run packaging. It’s tactile, eye-candy and just beautiful.

    Kudos to manroland web for signing up the largest heatset web press in the world, a 160-page Lithoman to WKS Druckholding in Germany. Even Flexo presses are flying with a second Comexi to India. As mentioned in the last drupa Snooper, KBA has sold everything off their stand and some. Pictured are Dave Lewis and Grahame Harris from KBA Australia and Stefan Segger, managing director for KBA Asia-Pacific, with good reason to smile having booked three orders from Australia.

    Delphax Technologies, the Canadian-US company who blew cut-sheet colour printing speeds away when they announced their Memjet-powered Elan digital press at 500 impressions per minute, have sold their first machine to UK book printer Berforts Group. Vice President Sales & Marketing Kevin Howes said, “We have had interest expressed from Australia and I am looking for a capable partner who knows colour management in particular in that region.” Delphax has also entered an agreement with Colordyne, another Memjet-powered machine but for labels, where Delphax assumes master distribution for outside of North America including Australia. This would offer any potential dealer the fastest cut-sheet colour machine plus the fastest narrow web label machine currently available.

    Fujifilm is pressing ahead with bringing its B2 digital press to market with a special folding carton version, provisionally named the JetPress ‘F’. Samples shown were excellent and there does seem a bias towards packaging work from all of the B2 digital vendors.

    As I prepare for a mad dash to the airport and bid drupa farewell, some observations. The show is probably now 3-4 days too long. The dwindling numbers in the traditional halls, countered by still strong crowds looking into digital, indicate that all could be accomplished in an 8-10 day show in 2016. The influx of exhibitors from China was somewhat disappointing in that, for many their idea of exhibiting was to paste a couple of posters up on the wall and sit around on chairs. Adding to the mixture was the early exit of some, leaving bare walls and boxes behind them. With some notable exceptions such as Shanghai Electric, Purple Magna, Founder and Donghang, our Chinese industry friends need to learn how to exhibit themselves a little better.

    Having said all that, hearty congratulations to the drupa organisers and all exhibitors for staging a surprisingly excellent trade fair so soon after the GFC and right in the middle of a Eurozone crisis!

  • Drupa Snooper – visitors down 20% but business is booming

    Addressing the mid-drupa press gathering, drupa President Bernard Schreier revealed that 170,000 visitors had passed through the turnstiles; an expected drop from the same time in 2008 of 20%. However, there is no doubt that purse strings have loosened and many millions of dollars in sales are being made.

    “drupa once again demonstrates its outstanding function as a sales fair, a source of ideas and a platform for the exchange of soloutions and successful business models,” noted Schreier. He went on to describe the striking increase in numbers of visitors from Latin America, Africa and other emerging markets, which to some degree has compensated the drop in European and North American numbers.

    The number of visitors who tick the ‘Senior Management’ Box on registration is up 4% – an indication of decision-making and perhaps why the order books are filling fast.

    Here are a few indicators of just how post-GFC affected print media is re-equiping.

    • GOSS – Every press on the stand carries a Sold sticker – naming the customer
    • HP – As many as ten of the new B2 digital presses could be headed our way.
    • KBA – A delighted Dave Lewis said he had signed or was about to sign 3 major sheetfed orders. Most of KBA’s show equipment carried Sold stickers
    • LANDA – Nanographic presses won’t ship until early 2013 but the cash register is ringing with orders, letters of intent and deposits. The 200-seat presentation theatre runs 5 shows daily and all are booked out, so Landa has had to relay the show (and what a show!) to a giant screen outside where another 800 people stand riveted to the launch.
    • HEIDELBERG must be singing Hei-Dee-Hi with all the orders, some from European and USA customers who can no longer delay re-equiping
    • MANROLAND – is back stongly for both sheetfed and web – and digital! Orders galore with a major Australian one to be revealed soon
    • MGI – A mind bogglingly busy stand with every staff member rushed off their feet. All show equipment is sold except for the prototype AlphaJet B2 machine. Every time an order is signed, a bell is rung and it has clanged regularly whenever I have been near.
    • CRUSE – A high-end 3D scanner for texture scanning, artworks etc. There is one only in Australia at CIE Elle Imaging. Cruse‘s show machine had 3 sold stickers – all to China.
    • DURST – Has sold several of its new Tau narrow web inkjet UV presses
    • SCREEN – Their fastest high volume inkjet, the TruePress Jet520ZZ sold to Italy and the first order for the super-fast flatbed UV Truepress Jet 1632UV is going to the UK.
    • SERENDIPITY SOFTWARE – Our very own Bob Murphy and Peter Skarpesis are delighted with the response to their latest Black Magic Rip version and especially Veripress press-side soft proofing that even simulates show-through on lighter stocks.

    Pictured: Peter Skarpesis and Bob Murphy of Serendipity Software –going great at drupa

    I could go on but you get the message. Although the Asians, Russians and South Americans are spending big, orders are flowing again to major European countries – and Australia/New Zealand.

    Its only halfway at drupa 2012 but the visitors are not doing anything by halves – this is a re-investment show and the mood is very positive all over.

  • Drupa Snooper – A tale of two drupas

    “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us…” Andy McCourt feels that Charles Dickens´ opening words from A Tale of Two Cities might well apply to drupa 2012.

    Greetings from Dusseldorf, Germany where I am attending two trade shows. Two? Well they are both called drupa and co-located, in fact it is drupa but there are two distinct themes running through the 17 fairground halls; a dichotomy of ideas, culture and approach to our industry. Analogue and digital? No, not quite. Old technology and new technology? No. Electronic and paper-based communications? Not even that – if archaeologists unearth a tablet computer in 1,000 years time, it won’t work and will remain a mystery of Rosetta Stone proportions. “We believe that early 21st century humans used this item in religious ceremonies where the high priests ate sacred Apples and were in constant conflict with a rival deity named Mike Rosoft.” If they unearth a book, they will simply open it and read it.

    My call on the “two drupas” is that one is ‘push’ manufacturing-driven and the other is ‘pull’ service-driven. Naturally, this ‘push-pull’ division pits digital methodologies against analogue and trade craft skills against IT savvy but it is not absolute. It is, however, something that exhibits an observable force on where the crowds are flocking, and flocking they are.

    I walk around the print-manufacturing aisles and, while some have respectable numbers of visitors, I see many where stand staff are talking amongst themselves and looking up and down the aisles hoping for a customer visit. I walk onto Xerox, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Screen, Canon, Xeikon, MGI, HP, Heidelberg, Epson, EFI, Mimamki Memjet OEMs and Landa –especially Landa and I’m shoulder-to-shoulder with enthused delegates from all over the world eager to paw and ogle the equipment.

    Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that manufacturing-centric print and finishing is dying, far from it. Ryobi, for example, have attracted huge crowds to working demonstrations of a single-unit B1 press! It’s a 1050-1 with a UV casting and holographic foiling for security and decorative packaging work. If a sparkling holographic perfume carton adds 25 cents to the cost of a product that sells for $50 – who cares?

     

    WHICH TALE TO FOLLOW?

    The tale of two drupas is about your printing business model and how you see your future – craft based manufacturing bidding for large print runs together with many other printers, with reducing profit margins as the runs get longer; or a service-based business model where print runs can be ‘diced and sliced,’ produced on-demand, versioned and personalized, use fewer staff, have lower capex, respond to market ‘pull’ and the value that is added is your most excellent service and being able to say ‘yes’ to almost every customer request.

    Take a look at the photo of a Landa S10 press here. Yes, I’m writing about Landa again and why not? The more the Snooper discovers, the more fascinating it becomes. This press is a B1 8-colour perfector capable of 13,000 sheets per hour and yet it looks like something out of Doctor Who! Like the Tardis, you get a lot, lot more inside than the physical dimensions would suggest. It’s digital of course but it is also a ‘green’ press using no plates, water-based inks, totally recyclable and de-inkable output and a footprint on-third of a comparable offset 8 colour perfector.

    It’s not operated from the feed or delivery end, it is operated from a ‘side-on’ giant touch-screen. The story behind this is fascinating in itself. During the R&D, Landa involved school-age children in a project something like “if you could design your own operating interface for a nice big colour printing machine to print your own books – what would it look like?” The result was the sublime giant touch-screen that you see in the picture. In true Generation Y fashion, the smart kids came up with an Xbox/iPad solution. Forget trade school to learn this kind of printing – just read the manual.

    With a claimed break-even crossover to offset at around 8,000 B1 sheets, the Landa S10 commercial and its packaging single-sided incarnation, is a short-to medium run dream machine when it becomes available in 2013. This is not a print-manufacturing machine, it is a print service providing facilitator. It is likely that the Heidelberg, manroland and Komori Nanography-licensed versions when they come out, will also reflect this trend.

     

    KONICA MINOLTA AND B2 SERVICE

    Konica-Minolta is also showing a prototype digital B2 press, the KM-1 using Konica’s own printheads and ink. Manager of Production Print Marketing and Inkjet, Kazuyoshi Tanaka and Australian Sales Chief David Procter admit it represents a new game for them. “We recognize that the B2 commercial market might not want the ‘click’ business model that is almost universal in the B3 digital sector, so we will be flexible in offering both a click-based pricing model and a consumables-with-service one,” said Procter. The print quality on the samples I saw were very sharp and exhibited great colour.

    With Konica-Minolta’s existing BizHub range decidedly in the ‘Service Print’ sector; the KM-1 will no doubt appeal to both PSPs wanting to upsize and commercial offset printers wanting digital production that can utilize existing finishing plant.

    Pictured: McCourt with KM’s Kazuyoshi Tanaka in front of the Km-1 prototype

    Speaking of B2 digital, I now count 12 current or future suppliers: HP Indigo, Landa, Konica-Minolta, Komori, Jadason (a Chinese manufacturer), Screen, Fujifilm, MGI, Ryobi, Miyakoshi, manroland and Heidelberg. It’ll be a market space as crowded as sheetfed offset was in the 1980s and one can expect Darwinian influences will cause some casualties; but it is a happening thing and can’t be ignored.

     

    MEMJET DRIVES SERVICE PRINTING

    Following the swift and very wise settling of the patent dispute with Silverbrook Research, Memjet has lost no time in announcing three new OEM licensees – Canon/Oce, Toshiba and today Fujixerox. Toshiba is for an office MFP but both Canon/Oce and Fujixerox are for high-output 42” wide format machines with particular appeal to the CAD/GIS market.

    Visiting Memjet’s VP Marketing Jeff Bean (pictured left) and Wide-Format President Mike Puyot (pictured right), it is obvious that Memjet companies (Wide Format, Labels and Office, they decided to pull out of a Photo market specific strategy), will embark on a licensing spree where Memjet printheads, chips and ink crop up in zillions of printing and marking products made by third parties. Signing up Fujixerox is indeed a jewel of a deal since FX is so strong in the engineering drawing and production graphics sector. Bean and Puyot are pictured proudly holding one of the Memjet ‘Waterfall’ Mems-engineered printheads.

    All of Memjet’s OEMs offer service-centric incarnations of the technology – short run high speed documents (e.g. Delphax); fast convenient office printers (e.g. Lomond) and very fast wide format machines (e.g. Xante).

     

    DIE CUTTING GOES DIGITAL

    Even finishing is going service-based. One of the great press conferences I attended was for Highcon, an Israeli company started in 2009 to digitalise die-cutting and creasing. Highcon’s Euclid technology is currently in Beta – they even had the Beta customer addressing the media – and machines will begin shipping in late 2012. Euclid uses lasers to die cut folding cartons and a clever UV-cured polymer-like material that is squirted into the creasing cylinder and hardened with UV energy.

    Euclid is a natural companion to B2 digital presses and again brings service-related packaging print into the equation for small runs, test marketing, versioned packs, serial numbering and so forth. It costs around $1,600 to set up a die knife and cutting press for a folding carton print run and takes days. Euclid claims it can do the same for $375 in 15 minutes. Imagine the demand for that!

    So what is best? Manufacturing print or Service print? Well, I don’t subscribe to a ‘best/second best’ simplification. If you are happy manufacturing print in long runs and competing fiercely on price; why not? But for growth and better profitability I am in no doubt that Service-based printing and an administrative back office to support it is the way to go.

    Pictured: That’s not a drupa snooper… this is a drupa snooper

    It’s your future and your choice but whichever direction or combination you choose – which tale of the two drupas you believe – don’t be like Dickens’ Sydney Carton in A Tale of Two Cities and lose your head!

    Another drupa Snooper next week at the end of the show and more news-as-it comes from our Publisher Patrick Howard who has worked twice as hard.

    Everything is before us.

  • Drupa kick-off – automatic for the printing press from manroland websystems

    Hannanprint opts for autoprint, the radically new operating system for its new 96-page web press for Sydney, manroland autoprint; PMP may also bite the bullet for ´no touch´ printing on its Perth press.

    From the first press conference of drupa comes news likely to transform how printing is done in Australia. Reaffirming manroland web system´s technology leadership, Peter Kuisle, director of the resurgent web press manufacturer, confirmed that at least one of the two huge web presses destined for Australia will be fitted with the latest in automated control, the autoprint system.

    Describing it as fully automated press control, he said the technology means the press actually controls itself, leaving the operator to act as a supervisor of the production. It is the culmination of manroland´s ´one touch´philosophy, which is still a work in progress although sufficiently developed to change how presses operate.

    A new autoprint operating panel has not a single button, rather relying on an iPad-style touch bar. The system comes in different forms with an expert mode that allows the operator more control for those really tricky jobs.

    Kuisle confirmed the Hannanprint press will have the complete autoperint and said PMP is considering whether to pay the extra money.

    It was just one of the fascinating highlights that emerged from the first press conference on the day before the show opens. manroland is a much smaller company than the behemoth that was here four years ago. It shares the pre-booked stand with manroland sheetfed copmpany, as it cooperates with the UK-based buyout in markets around then world.

    The market for its products, newspaper and commercial web presses, is less than a third of what it was four years ago. It is operating on a business plan that calls for a turnover of €300 milion per year. Half of that will necessarily come from service while the rest, €180 million this year, is from new machinery. It´s tough going and it comes as no surprise that manroloand websystems will not hit its revenue targets in this first year of its new life.

    Kuisle said they were continuing with all the press brands and formats while adding a focus on working with Oce on a digital intergration partnership. manroland supplies the paperhandling and finishing systems while Oce sells its high-speed inkjet engines into the newspaper market, where its partner has traditional market leadership. The first sophisticated joint development was announced as going into a French newspaper and magazine company, Rivet Presse Edition.

    Sounding upbeat and positive, Kuisle projected a confidence that the company is now stronger than ever, with access to more capital from its new owner, Possehl. The glory days of the first half of the decade when manroland sold €2billion presses every year is not likley to ever return, but courtesy of manroland web systems this drupa starts off with a determined and optimistic svision for the future of printing.

  • Drupa snooper – The change will do you good

    Welcome to drupa Snooper number eight. Only one more to go before the show itself – when your ‘Snoops’ will come directly from the Messe aisles and laneways of Düsseldorf itself. By the way, now that drupa Snooper has gone viral it has been adopted by two of the most innovative exhibitors at the show, Memjet and Landa Nanoprint 

    Now the build-up has commenced; the stand-builders are erecting their ephemeral gin-palace citadels; the electricians are wiring up what will be the world’s largest printing factory for two weeks and the hotels are jacking up their rates five-fold (it’s true even for mediocre places where the normal €60 nightly fare has become €260 – one German booking website has even disabled the ‘under €200’ option from its search engine!); what’s it all about?

    Friends, it is about change. Never before in drupa’s sixty-year history, has the event portended so much change. It is not just incremental or evolutionary change. To our industry, this drupa may represent the equivalent of the asteroid that hit planet Earth 65 million years ago and killed all of the dinosaurs.

    Imagine you were a scribe in 1450. After a busy day scrivening, you hear news of a new device that will reproduce beautiful text faithfully from hand-cut type letters. As you quaff your cup of Malmsey-wine with colleagues down at the Scrivener’s Arms, you reflect on how this might affect your livelihood; a noble craft that has endured since ancient times. A few cups later and a chat with your pal Desiderus Erasmus, you bid farewell saying “It’ll never catch on you know – this printing thing from Gutenberg. People want their books hand-written by us and beautifully illuminated.”

    “Too right,” replies Erasmus, who went on to account for about 20 percent of all the world’s book sales by the early 1500s – printed of course. But Scribes still exist of course; the Reformation and education saw to it that we all learnt how to write for ourselves and DTP made us all printers too. Nevertheless, in a marvelous example of enduring respect for craftsmanship, there still exists in London, the Worshipful Company of Scriveners, established in 1373 and, in its own unique way, still going strong.

    Ring in the changes

    Change is the only constant and I see at this drupa, evidence of so much change in the way we as an industry will be doing business, the kind of careers we will be offering our youth, the geopolitical shifts in influence. To get your mind around change, I have selected a few quotes about the subject:

    “He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery.”
    This came from Harold Wilson, Prime Minister of Britain twice in the 60s and 70s. His challenge was to try and make post-imperial Britain relevant in an uncertain world.

    “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
    I like this one from psychiatrist and contemporary of Freud, Viktor Frankl since it drives straight to the heart of what afflicts our industry. Evidence abounds that the Printing Industry can no longer change the world’s communication dynamics, so it is time to look inwards for re-invention.

    Even 400 years BC, Greek tragedian Euripedes observed: “What can we take on trust in this uncertain life? Happiness, greatness, pride – nothing is secure, nothing keeps.”
    And finally from Robert C Gallagher: “Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.” The only reason this is here is because I think it is funny. However, it could equally apply to drupa hotel rates and a €500 note.
    So what are the change dynamics of this drupa that so affect our immediate futures?

    Change deals:

    When exciting new technology comes along, those who have funded it like early returns. This encourages OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) deals to be done, accelerating the adoption of the tech and also allowing companies who have resisted change for years to catch-up quickly. Remember Nokia made gumboots before it made mobile phones. Here are the digital deals known to date, including one you are reading here first:

    • Memjet – Océ: an industry source says expect to see a wide format iteration using Memjet printheads. Note Océ, not Canon at this stage. Oce is known to have been working with Memjet but the company can not confirm nor deny if an Oce-Memjet product will be ready for drupa.
    • Memjet with others – Delphax, LG, Lenovo, Lomond, Astro Machine Corp, Colordyne Technologies, Xanté, Japan Electronics Inc, Imaging Systems Group, Own-X, Rapid Labels
    • Heidelberg – Ricoh
    • Komori-Konica Minolta (including another B2 digital sheetfed press)
    • Ryobi-Miyakoshi
    • Manroland (web) – Océ
    • KBA – RR Donnelly
    • Timsons – Kodak
    • Screen – Ricoh Infoprint
    • Hunkeler – with anyone who makes a digital web press
    • Fujixerox – Miyakoshi and Impika
    • Esko/Videojet – X-Rite/Pantone

    What can be seen from the above is that offset manufacturers are turning to established digital vendors for their digital products. One exception is KBA who, through their development partnership with RR Donnelly, claims that the RotaJET 76 is ’the only German-manufactured digital press.’ The printheads, however, will almost certainly not come from Germany, and my understanding is that the Océ ColorStream 3500 is made near Munich which last time I looked, is in Germany. Standout non-digital players include Mitsubishi, Sakurai, Hans Grohni and Akiyama/Goss, with Presstek doggedly sticking to the DI type of fixed-data ‘digital’ press, with a loyal following.

    Whether the Landa Nanographic process will be licensed to others or OEM’d; or sold solely as a Landa product remains to be seen after drupa. Speaking of Landa, CEO Benny Landa is delivering a keynote address on the opening day in the drupa Cube area entitled:

    “Print in the Digital Era: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the iPad” – not to be missed, which brings me to change force number two:

    Change from mass market to mass customization

    This is the big one and probably why so many all-analogue printers ‘don’t get it.’ The mass market started in 1940s and 50s as the post-war economy and baby boomers surged ahead. Print experienced massive growth and, when colour came along for magazines and catalogues, the advertising world seized upon the opportunity to pump billions of dollars into promoting mass-market products. Newspaper circulations boomed, great and even not-so-great literature sold by the millions.

    Today, in all aspects of social behaviour, we are moving away from mass markets and closer to targeted, zoned and personal markets. This demands that printed products must follow their customers’ lead and, to quote Mike Ferrari – a 30-year veteran from doyen of mass marketing Procter & Gamble – “The analogue supply chain can no longer cope with this.” Ferrari is speaking in the drupa Cube on day two, 4th May. Remember, he is a guy who has purchased billions of dollars in mass packaging over time and yet he says: “Several brand name companies are already relying on a digital supply chain. They are already profiting from faster turn-around times. I therefore recommend that all companies that produce products for end consumers to consider digital processes – and quickly!”

    I’ve heard printers express despair at the shortening of orders and the IT demands of changing content for both small batches and, worst of all, single products or pages. Take heart – the market is still ‘Mass’ – it’s just ‘Massively Customised’ now and all you have to do is change the way to think.

    Change print-web-mobile

    So you still think drupa is all about hawking heavy metal, mashed up trees and oil by-products? Change that thought right now! It’s about trends and new processes. If the good people organizing drupa, (and bear in mind the drupa President is also CEO of the world’s largest heavy-metal print manufacturer, Heidelberg), have seen fit to incorporate online, mobile, iPad and other electronic media in its main message, why not you?

    Print in almost all of its forms is part of a Galaxy of media and communications that reflects the contemporary state of the human condition. This means, as Benny Landa has so eloquently put it, we must “stop worrying and learn to love the iPad.” To that could be added the SmartPhone, Facebook, Twitter, the X-Box and anything else that your ten-year old child likes to interact with. In return we can teach them to learn to love books, magazines, newspapers, great graphic design, personalized wall art, photobooks, smart packaging and snazzy signs.

    Change the world

    Finally, a word of change for this spangled orb, this sapphire and emerald jewel of a planet on which we live. Print has to continue the already-begun good work, to become a totally sustainable industry that takes no more from the Earth than it puts back. Aqueous inks, no chemistry plates or no plates, zero waste and emissions, power-efficiency, managed forests for pulp, zero tolerance of environmental vandalism to produce paper and clean, safe, harmonious workplaces – these are just a few of the steps underway that will help us to thrive in perpetuity.

    Drupa is the world’s largest trade fair dedicated to the printing and allied graphic media industries. Held every 4 years, it opens on May 3rd at the Messe Düsseldorf, Germany and closes on May 16th. The Printing Industries Association of Australia, in conjunction with Eastern Suburbs Travel, is organizing tours including a pre-drupa ANZAC-themed tour of Gallipoli and beyond. For details please contact Marty, Vicki or Sonia on
    02 9388 0666 or estcolovelly@optusnet.com.au