Preview of technology trends and concepts for drupa 2020

drupa 2020 world tour ends in Southeast Asia

Photo - PrintPromotion GmbH/Lisa Raphaela Grübl
Photo - PrintPromotion GmbH/Lisa Raphaela Grübl

Drupa starts on 16 June 2020. For eleven days, the printing, media and packaging industry will gather in Düsseldorf for its world’s leading trade fair and take a joint look at their technological future.

The drupa world tour 2019/2020 was organized to highlight competitive technology trends for players from the printing, media and packaging industries, to present the extensive drupa program – and also, to arouse joyful anticipation. After stops in North and South America, the tour advanced to Hanoi and Saigon. Specialist conferences were held in Vietnam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and the Thai metropolis of Bangkok.

Technology trends that may make a difference

At all conferences, drupa director Sabine Geldermann presented the current status of preparations as well as current exhibitor figures. She also provided the concept of three drupa touchpoints as special exhibition areas, the drupa cube’s conference program and the new meeting zone between start-ups and established exhibitors – drupa dna.

Claus Bolza-Schünemann, drupa president and chief executive officer of Koenig & Bauer AG, and Markus Heering, managing director of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association and PrintPromotion, explained key technology trends at drupa 2020 and their impact on the printing and packaging industry.

Four megatrends with partially disruptive potential

In the spring of 2019, leading drupa exhibitors met for future-workshops – and in this context identified four megatrends, which might potentially disrupt today’s routines in the printing and packaging industry – artificial intelligence, connected customer, platform economy and circular economy. “These trends will profoundly change process flows in both the printing and packaging industries,” stressed Heering. Especially in the increasingly globalized market environment, it is going to be vital for suppliers of printing and finishing services to keep a close eye on the technological future and to maintain their competitiveness through appropriate investments.

“In order to remain competitive despite increasing customer demands for quality as well as for delivery times and increasing cost pressure, enterprises will have to establish more efficient, highly automated processes. Otherwise, connected customers will switch with a click of the mouse to those competitors who can offer them up-to-date services,” Heering warned. At the same time, the industry has to deal with society’s demand for environmentally friendly, sustainable products. The aim is to transfer those recycling solutions that are already highly developed in many areas and regions into a global circular economy.

drupa exhibitors explain future technology

At the conferences in Vietnam, Malaysia and Thailand, eight leading suppliers of printing and finishing technology or packaging solutions presented concrete Print 4.0 approaches – taking up the named megatrends.

Press manufacturers such as Heidelberg, Koenig & Bauer, Windmöller & Hölscher, and H.C. Moog presented digitally networked, highly automated technology for the press hall. In addition, suppliers of post-press and finishing solutions, such as Mueller Martini, Leonhard Kurz Stiftung, and POLAR-Mohr, as well as the specialist for light-based drying and curing technology – IST-Metz – gave an outlook to the future in their respective specialist areas. Be it fully networked digital cutting systems, fully automated Finishing 4.0 for cutting, stitching and binding brochures and books of variable formats, or be it ‘digital foiling’ for metalizing and seamless finishing of printed products – whether in commercial printing, industrial printing or packaging. Panel discussions rounded off all the four specialist conferences.

“We have put together an exciting program that provides participants on-site with concrete insights into drupa planning and the technological future of our industry. We would like to show them why a visit to drupa 2020 will be worthwhile,” said Heering. To reach as many experts from the industry as possible on site, PrintPromotion, the organizer of the conference, cooperated closely with the respective national printing associations.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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