What’s print got to do with it, got to do with it? The Tina Turner lyric (or something like it) comes flooding back with reports of Australia’s recent PacPrint show.
I missed it for the first time for decades this year… and by the sounds of things, I’m not the only one. Not that they didn’t attend, mind you. It’s just that the “2021-dubbed” 2022 event which has just taken place seems to have borne little resemblance to its predecessors and they missed the “original”.
Present on the news printing front was manrolandGoss – one of the last men standing of the newspaper press majors – and mailroom specialist Ferag, both of which have lives beyond a domestic news industry which has gone beyond “mature” to fractured.
Missing were Koenig & Bauer and Heidelberg, traditionally the biggest exhibitor in the Melbourne show and the one that once told us it would dominate newspaper printing. Remember the year they brought a Mercury single-width press to the show, but then struggled to find a buyer for it?
I was told to expect a show full of wideformat and labels, and if that was to understate the event, it would only be by the margin by which cut-sheet digital print has now embraced and enveloped everything. Margins of downsizing recall the way in which Heidelberg, traditionally a whole hall at industry giant DRUPA, limited its floor space by cosily building an internal wall around it.
The opportunity to talk digital print was offered by Screen – which had a big inkjet web order in France to report – HP representative the Currie Group, and Kodak, which was quoting my recent Sogémedia interview on LinkedIn. With little likelihood of abandoned plans for hyperlocal or short-run newspaper printing being resumed in Australia, they had little to look forward to.
Credit to Curries – whose interests span offset, digital and print finishing, and have done across seven decades – for providing a little pizzazz (pictured) to the proceedings.