When sustainability at DRUPA is keeping going

May 28, 2024 at 03:02 pm by admin

The shortest DRUPA for years – after the longest break – has opened in Düsseldorf to a much-changed print industry… and a newspaper industry almost beyond recognition.

The machinery survivors of newspaper printing made the switch after what was called the “global financial crisis” – from trucking in heavy machinery to lesser investments in tables, chairs and hospitality.

Revenue now comes from broader areas of logistics and engineering than mailroom and print, as witness recent partnerships and announcements, especially for those in Australia, which I’ve long been told – usually as an excuse for not advertising – is a “mature” market.

That said, Messe Düsseldorf this week hosts 1,642 exhibitors from 52 nations, who are expecting that 200,000 visitors will walk the aisles of its 18 halls… and no doubt, many of them the pavements of the Altstadt. It’s still the world’s biggest trade fair for print technologies, and one of the world’s biggest of any kind.

Breaking news is low key and, for “heavy metal” manufacturers, often packaging-focussed. manrolandGoss, for example, showcases its Varioman packaging press with a format-variable pin folder, plus the AI-based Maintellisense maintenance platform.

At Koenig & Bauer, the main focus is on digital decor printing and high-volume inkjet packaging production. The stand includes an end-to-end packaging workflow through a 22,000cph sheetfed Rapida to die-cutting and gluing of the folding cartons. Koenig & Bauer chief executive Andreas Pleske follows a company tradition as chairman of the DRUPA committee.

Ferag’s emphasis is on retrofits and “sustainable extension” of the service life of production systems; perhaps you’d like to replace control and drive components on your Multidisc stations, or to upgrade thermal bundle label printers with laser ones, while a “repair table” shows how electronic components can be repaired and overhauled. Müller Martini also emphasises customer service and the flexibility of its systems, and has four workflow-integrated systems – perfect binder, saddle-stitcher, thread sewer and compact SigmaLine – to interest visitors to its stand.

Still the sheetfed leader, Heidelberg no longer has a hall to itself, but has attempted to steal the show with the announcement of a link with Canon, whose inkjet sheetfed kit it has started to sell.

Ah, inkjet, did I hear you say? Perhaps there’s still an opportunity for newspapers, at least if the objections to “irrelevant” cost-per-copy could be overcome. Briefly, I even wondered whether it might be a solution to NewsCorp’s “tyranny of distance” dilemma in Australia?

In an irresistible sizzle for the show, HP – which was 2016’s biggest exhibitor – boldly calls itself “the world’s number one printing company”, and promises “innovations that push the boundaries of what has been possible until now”. Screen is here with new products, while Kodak for its part, says it will demonstrate its commitment to innovation across both traditional and digital solutions. If only they were thinking about publication printing!

DRUPA continues until June 7.

Peter Coleman

Pictured, from top: The irresistible Altstadt at night; press-free zone at Wisprint (Goss Graphic Systems China); Koenig & Bauer’s stand; and an extract from HP’s DRUPA “sizzle”

Sections: Print business


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