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.

2023 promises an interesting ride for print in India

Indian Printer and Publisher founded in 1979 is the oldest B2B trade publication in the multi-platform and multi-channel IPPGroup. While the print and packaging industries have been resilient in the past 33 months since the pandemic lockdown of 25 March 2020, the commercial printing and newspaper industries have yet to recover their pre-Covid trajectory.

The fragmented commercial printing industry faces substantial challenges as does the newspaper industry. While digital short-run printing and the signage industry seem to be recovering a bit faster, ultimately their growth will also be moderated by the progress of the overall economy. On the other hand book printing exports are doing well but they too face several supply-chain and logistics challenges.

The price of publication papers including newsprint has been high in the past year while availability is diminished by several mills shutting down their publication paper and newsprint machines in the past four years. Indian paper mills are also exporting many types of paper and have raised prices for Indian printers. To some extent, this has helped in the recovery of the digital printing industry with its on-demand short-run and low-wastage paradigm.

Ultimately digital print and other digital channels 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. For instance, there is no alternative to a rise in textbook consumption but this segment will only reach normality in the next financial year beginning on 1 April 2023.

Thus while the new normal is a moving target and many commercial printers look to diversification, we believe that our target audiences may shift and change. Like them, we will also have to adapt with agility to keep up with their business and technical information needs.

Our 2023 media kit is ready, and it is the right time to take stock and reconnect with your potential markets and customers. Print is the glue for the growth of liberal education, new industry, and an emerging economy. We seek your participation in what promises to be an interesting ride.

– Naresh Khanna

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