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Düsseldorf becomes drupacity: The state capital of North Rhine Westphalia is the venue for drupa, the worldwide largest B2B trade fair for print and cross-media solutions, every four years. About 260,000 trade visitors from 188 countries came to the metropolis on the Rhine from 31 May to 10 June 2016 to experience a highly innovative show of the global printing industry. The organisers focused on the big topics of the future, ranging from Print 4.0, functional printing and 3D printing to industrial digital printing. Malte Tadday, Interprint's Digital Printing Manager, went to see for himself the latest print-media trends and printing technologies presented at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre.
Digital networking with Print 4.0
In a global business environment where the digitalisation of workflows takes top priority, the print-media industry sets the innovation speed. drupa President Claus Bolza-Schünemann, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA), confidently regards the printing industry as a 'pioneer of Industry 4.0'. KBA presses ahead with automation and digital networking of printing processes and services such as digitalised remote maintenance, fault analysis and upgrades of printing machines.
3D for many applications
Anything is possible. That has always been the motto in 3D printing. The playground of possibilities ranges from food printing to the manufacture of medical products. As 3D printers have meanwhile become absolutely affordable, they are also very popular in prototyping.
Digital is a must
Digital printing is omnipresent. Regarded as experimental until a few years ago, digital printing now presents itself as THE printing process of our time – and of the future anyway. Benny Landa, Chairman of Landa Digital Printing, has the same opinion: "drupa 2016 will be remembered as the turning point for the industry's transition from mechanical to digital printing. It appears that the market leaders have recognised that there is no way around digital technology." As a pioneer of industrial digital printing, Interprint has also paved the way for this development. Interprint's 'Epic' oak was a convincing exhibition ambassador for digital Interprint products. The décor produced on a KBA digital printing machine prepared the ground for good discussions on the stand of the Frankenthal-based printing machine manufacturer. The functional branding of the laminate is also trendsetting. As an augmented reality marker, it provides supplementary product information on the web via a mobile terminal device.
And as if those were not enough drupa highlights, there were also many innovation topics in the key segments like functional printing, packaging printing and green printing. Buzzwords like personalisation, versionalisation, smart tags, conductivity and sustainability cannot be ignored in the printing industry if you do not want to miss the boat to the future.
An industry on the upswing
A pleasing message from drupa 2016: The international printing industry has gathered momentum compared to the previous years. According to a drupa visitor survey, more than half of the exhibition visitors had specific investment plans in mind and 30 per cent placed orders during the event. According to the 'Third drupa Global Trends Report' dated March 2016, digital technologies currently have the highest growth rates – namely 28 per cent on average each year. If you want to have our opinion: We don't mind if this trend continues.