Hi! I’m Chloe! I’m just back from that fun fair called drupa – where companies that sell to printers pitch their wares and print buyers and print equipment buyers of all types come to kick the tires, ask questions, and compare technologies. Since that is what the show is for, that’s what I did!
I’ve been thinking about what the coolest thing I saw was, and it’s a hard question to answer. I have to tell you, with all of the hype I thought it might be the Landa Nanotechnology demonstration, but while the show was good it didn’t look any better to me than what I saw on machines from Canon, HP, Ricoh and others showing inkjet. It might get there, but for me, I wouldn’t put a job on it. The Canon Voyager has some possibilities, but I couldn’t tell if Canon wanted to sell it or not – hiding it in a corner was a hint that maybe they weren’t sure? If it comes to market and can hit the advertised speeds, it could be a keeper. Xerox and Ricoh were hard to figure out. I never got by their booths when machines were running. Even at the demo times. HP did a nice job of showing a real print shop configuration on the inkjet, and an astonishing array of Indigo and Scitex machines. Nice samples, nice talk track – but why they buried the Inkjet behind the theater is a mystery.
In the end, there was something worthy to consider in all of the hardware vendor booths. Heidelberg, Komori, KBA – they all had great stories, great vision, and optimism for the offset space, with a keen plan to play in digital. It was a good chance to listen to their plans and get a sense of where they see the digital/offset balance settling.
For me, as much fun as the printing is, the finishing is where I can make or break a project, and there were a good number of finishing providers showing some very nice solutions. By now you’ve all read the reports from all of the usual suspects, but if you want to get a sense of how many different types of finishing were on offer, go to the drupa website (drupa.com) and look at exhibitors – then search for finishing. Whether you want to fold it, perf it, bend it, self-seal it, sew it, glue it, bind it as a book, stitch it like a magazine, or mount it like a poster, someone was showing it live at the show!
The show stealer, though, was the drupa cube – where I shouldn’t have been hanging out but like a moth to a flame I kept tagging in there. I know the drupa Innovation Park was where the organizers wanted me to spend time, but in the cube there were 11 days of presentations by the some really cool people! I think 3D is in my future, based on what I heard, and I’m watching out for cool new inks, interesting workflow updates, and the rise of digital packaging.
So if you know about drupa and you think it is only a hardware show and worth a couple days of your time… rethink your approach for 2020. It’s not just hardware, it can be your Master’s Degree in Printing!
For me, I’m still absorbing everything I heard and reading up on links to things I know I will use. And I’m counting the days to the next show.
Until next time… Watch this space for more from the life of a Print Diva.
Chloe Mahendra-Fuji practices the fine arts of design critique, content creation and editing, and communication consulting. She has decades of experience working in online content delivery, print delivery, and content development.