The highlight of the year for the global printing industry was Drupa, the industry’s ‘Olympic Games’ and a massive showcase of all the latest in technology and solutions. Held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 31 May to 10 June, this year’s fair attracted more than 1,800 exhibitors from 54 countries, and 260,000 visitors from 188 countries.
Under the banner ‘Touch the Future’, Drupa has introduced diverse technologies and services into the show mix, including 3D, functional, packaging and green printing, as well as their industrial applications.
To find out more on how the industry is meeting the challenges of the present and future, Asia One Managing Director Peter Lau led a group of eight staff members to explore Drupa. The team focused most of their attention on digital printing, post-press binding and finishing, and 3D printing.
Observations at Drupa
Advances in automation, smart workflow systems, large sheet size capacity, and substrate thickness were on show among digital printer suppliers at the fair. Hybrid machines were distinctly popular among exhibitors, given the growing trend toward integration between digital and offset printing.
On the other hand, 3D printing technologies were also a growing presence at Drupa. As Sabine Geldermann, Director of Drupa puts it, “The potential of 3D printing in many vertical markets shouldn’t be underestimated. In particular, spare parts for mechanical engineering or packaging design offer huge opportunities for machine builders, users and also print providers.”
The overall conclusion from all the exhibitions and symposiums at Drupa 2016? It’s that the printing industry is on the verge of a new era, and the internet and digital technologies will become a significant influence on the industry’s business strategies and models.