• Print Innovation Asia

drupa diaries

This is becoming an emotional Friday, thanks to Brexit. Checking in with the market now is an exhausting roller-coaster mix of nausea and excitement – much like the latest episode of Game of Thrones: Battle of the Bastards (SO EPIC #TeamStark).

Anyway, I need a distraction. Entertain me while I ramble on about my personal experience at my first drupa.

Basically, this was me at drupa:


Firstly, mad props to the drupa people for organising this massive event. Secondly, do companies really just come out with all these new stuff just for drupa? Thirdly, finding out how much some companies invested in drupa. Looking at you, KBA and your €400,000-just-installation costs of the Rapida 145.

Also was it just me, or did it seem like everyone else had train/plane delay problems?

There were many highlights (some might say too many…) but I have to say, one of the most awe-inspiring was a first-view of the HP PageWide Press Web T1100S. For this, I’ve had to travel out of Dusseldorf to Wurzburg, where the KBA facility is. It’s a huge machine, and is expected to change the preprint game and do great things for the high volume corrugated packaging industry. A lot of big packaging brands (including a couple from Asia, which I’m not allowed to reveal… yet) were on-site, hinting at the importance of this machine. And of course, its price tag. Think seven figures on the higher end.

You can’t talk about drupa without mentioning Benny Landa. His presentation in one word: MAGIC. Mr Landa sure does not disappoint with the theatrics. No complaints here. When you’ve gone through 230128302 presentations throwing tech specs and hardware thingamajicas and buzzwords in your face, you learn to appreciate marketing wizardy. I do have slight bitterness over the limited number of samples you’re allowed to take home: One. Really guys? No nano-metallography samples were on hand either in my visits there. I heard China registered plenty of interest in Landa machines, particularly for packaging.

photo by Messe Dusseldorf

Points for entertainment

True magic however, is Datalase’s technology for inline digital orienting for product coding, marking and labelling. They do this with inkless laser printing, which uses laser reactive colour change pigment technology. “Big science words! Brain! Hurts!” Same. Hence, this video:

Basically there is a colour change reaction on the substrate when the laser hits it. It eliminates consumables, because there’s no ink, no mess, no hazardous waste disposal. These new kids on the block recently secured a partner in Japan to signify entrance to Asian market, so they’re one to look out for.

If I could award most fun-looking booth, it would have to be Kodak, splashed in the company’s signature canary yellow. One of the fun things they did was hide a bunch of tiny little gnomes for visitors to hunt for. My not-eagle eye spotted a grand total of… Zero.

Speaking of all things yellow, I chanced upon some vermillion-clad monks hanging out at Kodak too. Earlier on, I've heard they've been wandering about the HP halls. Pity that I had to run off to other ends of drupa to catch the next meeting; I would have loved to chat with them. High probability that they’re here to check out how to best print the next generation of religious scriptures, and how absolutely delightful is that?

As a self-entitled coffee fiend, I have to comment on the general lack of decent coffee at drupa… Until I stumbled upon the CGS booth. FAVOURITE COFFEE EVER. They had a real barista on stand, and he was fantastic. I was told he does not come cheap. If it’s any consolation, their coffee had me make many return visits. Try coming up with different excuses to visit when you’re not a customer.

While I was there I did check out winning entries of CGS’ first ORIS Flex Pack Awards, all created by the Flex Pack // Web system. I recently wrote a piece on the competition. CGS is one of those companies that becomes more interesting simply because we don’t hear enough about the things that they do. While companies were touting extended colour gamut at the left-right-centre of drupa, CGS has always been at the forefront of that.

If this impressive prototype on display was any indication:

Landa had some fancy looking coffee too:

Though taste-wise, CGS keeps the trophy for substance. Did I just make an analogy...

I do have a regret: not giving myself more time to aimlessly roam the halls. The EFI booth, for one, especially since they embarked on the Imaging of Things campaign shortly before. I did pay a visit before official drupa day 1, and setup was looking great - they were printing out this huge world map. Now that was cool.

Why, yes, those are official drupa models. What a glamourous industry.

All in all, this was a fun drupa experience. A little bummed out that drupa is sticking to its four-year cycle, but hey, builds up on the anticipation. Also, gives me more time to hunt for my next pair of drupa shoes.

Till next drupa I suppose!

Final shout-out to the unsung hero: my drupa shoes! Thanks buddy <3

Disclaimer: thoughts, views and erratic long-windedness are solely mine.


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