The mood at drupa 2016, the world’s largest and most comprehensive trade show for printing and graphic arts industries, could hardly have been better, according to the accounts from both Messe Düsseldorf, the show’s organizer, as well as many of the exhibitors.
The show exceeded expectations. After 11 days (May 31 to June 10), the 1,837 exhibitors from 54 countries by and large reported excellent business deals, promising contacts and a positive outlook for the global printing industry. The re-positioning of drupa and its focus on future themes with strong growth potential – such as 3D printing, functional printing and packaging printing – proved to be the right decision. Be it publication, commercial, packaging or industrial printing – printing technology offers matching solutions for all of these applications while opening up new lines of business and business models at the same time. “The print industry is constantly re-inventing itself and offers a wealth of high-potential facets. And this is precisely what drupa 2016 has very impressively shown. We were able to experience a highly innovative industry here in the 19 exhibition halls, one that has succeeded in moving out of the ‘valley of tears’ and grasping the future by the neck,” said Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman of the drupa Committee and chairman of the board at Koenig & Bauer AG.
Decision makers on hand
Some 260,000 visitors from 188 countries and about 1,900 journalists from 74 nations traveled to Düsseldorf, Germany to learn about technology innovations, further developments and new business lines. Visitors’ decision-making competence was very high: approximately 75% of all attendees are executives and either make or are involved in purchasing decisions. A visitor survey also underscores that drupa is a pure B2B trade fair and platform for business decisions:
– 54% of visitors came to drupa 2016 with investment intentions
– 29% placed orders during drupa
– 30% are planning to place their orders after drupa
– 60% found new suppliers at drupa
The decline in visitor attendance from 2012 (314,248) reflects the worldwide consolidation occurring in the printing industry. This is why visitors’ high decision-making competence had a particularly positive effect, all the more as every second visitor expected their company’s business to develop very well over the next 12 months. “Customers – with very few exceptions – no longer come with large delegations or as part of a company outing to drupa. It is rather the top managers who travel to Düsseldorf – and from 188 countries to this drupa,” stated Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.
With 76%, international visitor participation at drupa increased by 16% compared to 2012. Attendees from Asia accounted for the largest foreign contingent with 17%, and the majority of the European visitors came from Italy, France, the Netherlands and the UK. “Drupa has enhanced its global market significance and its international rating even further. It is the unrivaled global No. 1 trade fair for the print and media industries,” Dornscheidt said.
Label industry well represented
Compared to other sectors of the printing industry, the labels and packaging space is booming. There was no shortage of label prepress, printing and converting technology on display at drupa. Here are some of the highlights:
Reflecting a dramatic paradigm shift, the largest booth at drupa 2016 belonged to HP Inc. (Historically, the largest exhibitor presence had regularly been from Heidelberg.) And for HP, the show did not disappoint, with the company announcing that drupa 2016 was a landmark success and its best drupa ever, well-exceeding ambitious 2016 worldwide goals and surpassing drupa 2012 results by 25%. In the world’s largest single demonstration of digital printers and presses, HP’s historic showcase in Hall 17, as well as strong customer adoption across all segments and regions, helped establish digital printing as mainstream and solidified HP’s position as the industry’s digital leader.
“HP experienced its best attended drupa ever with sales far exceeding expectations, achieving 150% of our sales goal,” said Francois Martin, worldwide marketing head, HP Graphics Solutions Business, HP Inc. “What’s more, packaging revealed itself as a major trend and I’m proud to say that HP was in front of the curve with a complete packaging lineup and with the unveiling of a new post-print solution and strategic collaboration with packaging giant Smurfit Kappa. HP is committed to keep reinventing our technology so that our customers can reinvent their own possibilities.”
Additionally, the HP Indigo 8000 digital label press surpassed sales expectations just two months after its unveiling, with multiple customers selecting the 262 fpm technology to boost productivity and efficiently manage long, demanding label jobs. The company announced the first six HP Indigo 8000 digital press adopters, including Bowling Green, OH, USA-based Century Label.
“To stay competitive and respond to market challenges, high-volume label converters need the right combination of speed, print quality and production flexibility,” said Alon Bar-Shany, general manager, Indigo division, HP. “With the HP Indigo 8000 digital press, our customers are able to leverage proven HP Indigo print quality, doubled speed and sophisticated automation to meet strict brand standards, optimize supply chains and produce mass customization for sales-boosting campaigns.”
At drupa, the aforementioned Heidelberg introduced a standardized portfolio name for its entire digital printing offering, the “Fire” product line. With this rename, Heidelberg is increasing both the clarity of the entire offering and the recognition value of the brand for customers.
“The name ‘Fire’ for our digital printing portfolio stands for performance, dynamism and growth – and also for digitally ‘transmitting’ data and ink onto different surfaces. We want to send a clear message to our customers that we have one of the highest performance digital printing offerings in our industry,” said Jason Oliver, head of the Digital
Division at Heidelberg.
The Gallus Labelfire 340, previously called the Gallus DCS 340, was a highlight at drupa. “The strengths of Heidelberg, Fujifilm and Gallus make our new Gallus Labelfire 340 work,” said Michael Ring, VP, Digital Solutions at Gallus Inc. “These three companies working together enable us to bring quality not seen before. The Labelfire 340 sets a new standard for what digital label printing is meant to be. You can go from file to finished label all inline. We have a great relationship with Fujifilm. We are using Fujifilm Samba printheads combined with Heidelberg’s digital knowledge, workflow and color management.
“Labelfire is right on track,” Ring added. “We have had two field tests, and are installing five presses in Europe now, as well as presses in the US in October and Australia in February. From there, we will go South American and Asian markets.”
To match drupa’s broadening appeal, the Martin Automatic stand was designed as an interactive microcosm of the company’s knowledge and skill in automatic roll change, tension control, web handling and the principles and dynamics of web transport, and as such facilitated wide ranging discussions with visitors whose requirements were many and varied. Gavin Rittmeyer, VP sales and marketing for Martin Automatic, said,“Our stand embodied what drupa wants to become – an expo that attracts printers who use all kinds of substrates for different purposes.”
Highlights on the Martin stand included a hands-on roller display, where visitors were able to experience the weight differences of three idler shells, each 3m long. The Airnertia and MDR roller demo allowed visitors to see the practical effects of roller mass on rotational inertia. “Airnertia” is Martin’s patented roller technology that uses a near frictionless air bearing system to minimize roller inertia. Magnetic Driven Roller (MDR) technology actively accelerates or decelerates idler rollers as the process dictates, to greatly reduce or even eliminate the impact of idler roller inertia and bearing friction.
Sakata INX, together with INX International Ink Co., featured all-digital print technologies powered by the JetINX print head drive electronics and reticulation system, including direct-to-object printing solutions. Rick Clendenning, president and CEO of INX International Ink Co., said, “Our digital division offers a full palette of solutions for OEMs/private label, industrial and specialty customers, as well as alternative inks, advanced technologies and integrated services. With ink, component development and manufacturing capabilities worldwide, INX Digital redefines the term ‘value-added’ in so many ways.” The NW210-E narrow web UV digital press marketed by INX is a small footprint integrated printer that offers best-in-class image quality performance with UV LED advanced technology to produce labels. “Incredibly fast, it combines full color single pass inkjet output with an integrated laser diecutter,” Clendenning said.
Industrial inkjet specialist Durst unveiled its new corrugated packaging and display printing segment at drupa, highlighted by the new Rho 130 SPC which is based on the latest generation of single-pass printing systems which Durst is already using in the label printing segment, for instance, with the Tau 330. The single-pass UV inkjet label printing system alone has been installed for 60 clients within the space of a year. Its success is based not just on its performance, but also on the configuration and automation options that allow end-to-end production and, with low-migration UV inks, also support its use on primary packaging. At drupa, Durst presented the Tau 330 in combination with a laser finishing system (LFS) and provided information about the new Tau 330E standalone model which, with a pigment ink system, offers a cost-effective gateway to digital production. “The Tau 330E is an introductory-level machine,” said Richard Thomas, business development manager, Durst Americas. “It is designed for providing better laydown of ink and higher color strength, and allows our customers to be very fierce competitors in the market. It cuts ink costs by 25%.”
The Bobst range of equipment and services resonated extraordinarily well with visitors to drupa, resulting in sales at the show exceeding both expectations and the total recorded at Bobst’s record breaking drupa four years ago. Buyers were attracted to all aspects of the Bobst portfolio, and showed particularly strong interest in the new M6 Digital Flexo press, as well as in mid- and high-range converting for sheetfed carton manufacturing and in services such as online troubleshooting.
Todd Blumsack, VP, Business Unit Web Fed at Bobst North America Inc., noted that Bobst’s acquisition of Gidue added new flexo solutions to Bobst’s narrow web portfolio, and Bobst is introducing more products to the market. “At the end of last year, Bobst acquired Gidue, adding their narrow web flexo solutions to our portfolio,” said Blumsack. “Our new M6 is designed for folding carton and flexible packaging. The CL750D narrow web coder was launched here this year. The MW85F is our new CI press designed for narrow web. It is designed for short runs, and offers Smart GPS, which is patented by Bobst and helps with quick turnarounds. It is now adapted to the MW85F. The RS 6002 and RZS 6003 are two gravure stations with drive-in ink rollers. “The reaction has been incredible for the M6 in North America, with an amazing number of machines sold before and during the show,” Blumsack added. “The CL750D and MW85F have gone over exceptionally well. With Digital Flexo and Revo, we are exceptionally well positioned for the label and narrow web market.”
AVT introduced a set of next-generation solutions and technologies, including new digital press inspection and control solutions such as the new Helios D inspection system, designed specifically for digital label presses; new inline color management solutions; a new cloud-based quality standards and automation platform; inspection solutions for label and corrugated boards, driven by AVT’s alliance with Erhardt + Leimer (E+L); and web inspection platforms such as the new Turbo HD line for label and packaging applications.
At drupa, AVT premiered the Helios D digital press inspection, an automatic, 100% print inspection solution designed to meet the specific needs of digital printing in the labels and narrow web markets. Based on AVT’s proven, well-established Helios product line, Helios D supports all stages of digital production workflow, including the identification of specific defects like missing nozzles, ink dripping spots, and color changes as soon as they occur. The result is reduced waste, enhanced production and comprehensive process monitoring.
EFI presented its largest drupa tradeshow exhibit to date, featuring the worldwide launch of several new platforms and products. EFI’s drupa exhibit addressed customers’ key opportunities for future growth with accelerated, streamlined production workflows and valuable “Imaging of Things” opportunities. The focused was on delivering greater customization and appeal in everything from signage and packaging to décor, apparel and industrial manufacturing.
“The focus EFI has placed in R&D to improve every part of the digital production chain results in a unique breakthrough and innovative offering that we are very excited to present at the world’s largest printing tradeshow,” said Guy Gecht, EFI’s CEO. “The breakthrough new platforms we are showing for the first time could be game changers for customers as the world moves from long runs to customized, on-demand manufacturing.”
In addition to its own drupa presence, Esko supported many partner exhibits, events and seminars, underscoring its position as a market leader and innovator in packaging management, design, prepress and production. “Working with such an extensive partner network provides us with a diverse and unparalleled view of industry trends, challenges and opportunities,” said Philippe Adam, vice president of global marketing at Esko. “It’s a reality today that the packaging production workflow gets more and more complex. Esko solutions alone will not solve all industry challenges, but as the preferred open platform at the heart of a multi-faceted production workflow, the integrated ecosystem of partner solutions is the foundation on which our common customers build future-proof businesses.” he added. “That way, we assure our solutions perform to the best of their ability and address the biggest market-driven opportunity: to simplify the packaging production process - Packaging Simplified. Together with our partners, we create the best possible end user experience and support growth and profitability.”
Landa experienced a successful drupa by taking in over €450 million in orders for its Nanographic Printing presses, the company reported. An estimated 200,000 visitors ventured to the Landa booth to catch a glimpse of its 20 daily live press demonstrations. Landa reported numerous multiple-press deals, demonstrating global market confidence in Landa and its presses. “Drupa 2016 will be remembered as the inflection point in the industry’s transition from mechanical printing to digital. In the past, digital printing vendors had to try to convince the market that digital is the way to go. Previously it was a ‘push’ selling motion,” declared Benny Landa, chairman. “Now, for the first time, the situation has reversed. There is a very strong ‘pull’ from the market, driven by both customers and brand-owners, who are now demanding digital printing. It seems that the market leaders – in packaging, commercial printing and in publishing – have come to the realization that they simply must go digital.”
Italian press maker Omet reported at least seven contracts signed for press purchases, including some for new Varyflex V2 Offset unit, a press designed for small and medium package printing runs. This Omet press allows for printing on all types of substrates: from thin, 8-micron film to paper to 450 micron card. Among the features that garnered attention was the food-compliance ebeam drying system that allows for printing at speeds of 400 m/m. Another attraction at the Omet stand was the iFLEX, a flexo label press equipped with iVision control and the first laser application for a narrow-belt printing press (iLight). Demonstrations showed how iFlex is easy set up and operate with minimum waste and immediate perfect print register.
Domino Printing Systems showed its new K630i digital book press as well as its K610i 7-color inkjet digital label press during drupa. “Our K600i can run water-based or UV, and is integrated into Mark Andy and other presses. The K610i has two white print bars, and our opacity is second to none,” said David Ellen, president, Digital Printing Solutions, North America, for Domino Printing Systems. “In addition to white, it prints six colors, including orange and purple. We are emphasizing ease of use. It has Kyocera printheads and a GEW UV system, and the printheads move over the paper then go back to get wiped for automatic cleaning. It runs at 165 fpm with all colors and 246 fpm if you don’t run white. The K630i book press is a full variable press that runs at 3,000 pages per minute.”
GEW launched at drupa the new multi-point inline UV monitor, which was fitted to a NUVA2 UV lamphead at its display. The UV monitor consists of a calibrated sensor that continuously reads and records the UV intensity in a UV curing system. There is also a compressed air purge at the tip of the sensor to prevent dirt and dust ingress. “This is vital to avoid the risks and consequences of undercured product reaching the customer,” said Martin Kugler, corporate communications for GEW. “Media printed with UV inks and intended for use in food packaging have to be guaranteed 100% cured. GEW’s UV monitor is a highly reliable and cost effective for continuous production monitoring of UV intensity and dose at multiple positions across the web, thus eliminating the possibility of inadequate UV dose,” Kugler added.
Katie Shingel, VP Eastern Europe sales for ETI Converting Equipment, said the company’s new Pellicut diecutting station was a highlight at ETI’s drupa booth. “We demonstrated the Pellicut diecutting station, which is able to diecut on very thin recyclable liner,” said Shingel. “This allows for more labels per roll so there are fewer roll changes and less transportation. It is very interesting. We have seen particularly strong interest in the US and Europe. We have had presentations every hour and they have been very successful.”
Flint Group showcased a wide range of inks and services at drupa 2016. “Sheetfed LED is a most exciting development for us,” said Michael Kellen, VP sales, sheetfed, North America. “LED continues to grow in inks and coatings, and it is a transformational opportunity for printers. We have developed our XCURA inks for LED. And LED is becoming increasingly critical for the future of commercial and package printers. Our LED coatings are another frontier, and it is a market that is developing very quickly.”
Deanna Klemesrud, global marketing director – Brand & Promo, Flint Group Packaging & Narrow Web, discussed the new XtraMile global packaging program and Vivo Color Solutions launched at drupa. “XtraMile is our services solution program for our customers who want to increase their bottom line through increased productivity, reduced waste, training and environmental concerns,” explained Klemesrud. “Our teams do a pressroom audit, including prepress. It is a real partnership with our customers, who can make these improvements that will benefit their bottom line. Vivo Color Solutions is our new color management system.”
Filip Weymans, director segment marketing, Labels & Packaging at Xeikon, said the combination of Xeikon and Flint Group is proving to be powerful. “Many printers want broader diversification in the market, and we bring a new offering to Flint Group’s customers,” Weymans said. “Digital is now a mainstream technology in self-adhesive labels, where Flint Group Narrow Web is number one in the market. We focus on document printing, labels and packaging and also folding cartons.”
Among the highlights for Xeikon was its new Fusion technology. “Fusion is a new technology within our toolbox. If you think about the world of digital, there is a need for one platform that offers all embellishments, which is what our Fusion technology offers,” Weymans added. “ We did a technology demonstration and we already announced our first pilot site. We have our workflow, color and software tools. Xeikon is creating a solution for the broader segment of the label market.” Xeikon also celebrated during the show the sale of a Xeikon 3300 to Benelux label printing leader Label Products.
Matthieu Carni, business development manager at Siegwerk, talked about Siegwerk’s entry into the world of digital inks for the label and narrow web market with its SicuraJet series of inks. “Siegwerk is entering the digital market, beginning with UV inkjet for narrow web and labels and directly on packaging,” Carli reported. “We have been working on inkjet inks for three years, and we are already commercial. It is a fragmented market, but it will grow. We have partnerships with some OEMs, and we have a lab and pilot production unit in France near our UV and energy curing lab. We can formulate our ink, test it and run it on a production line.”
Drupa will continue its four-year cycle and the next staging is scheduled from June 23 – July 3, 2020 in Düsseldorf, Germany.