By Jeanne Connerney
When I heard that professional print buyer Jeanne Connerney was headed to DRUPA this year, I asked her to share her impression of this mega-show, which won’t take place again until 2016 (rather like the seasonal Olympic games, no?). Jeanne graciously agreed. I’m delighted to present her post today.
Jeanne has worked in global supply management for over 20 years, specializing in advertising, print, packaging, and paper. She has helped companies strategize and align their marketing, cross-media, printing, and mailing efforts, leading to increased efficiencies and significant cost savings. Currently, she works as a procurement specialist in the internal advertising agency of a major corporation.
DRUPA is the world’s largest print media show and occurs every four years in Dusseldorf, Germany. This year it took place from May 3 – 16. I was in attendance for two days, and I cannot claim to have covered even a fraction of the offerings. What follows is a brief and subjective overview of my personal highlights.
The star of the 2012 show was Benny Landa, who sold Indigo to Hewlett-Packard in 2002, and now runs his own company. His latest innovation is Landa Nanographic Printing™, a unique process that distributes extremely tiny pigment particles uniformly, and boasts “the broadest colour gamut of any four-colour printing process,” as well as being environmentally friendly. The Landa booth contains its own auditorium, where visitors are invited to a demonstration five times per day. The show begins and is interspersed with an avant-garde dance and percussion performance (I was told Landa’s daughter was one of the dancers), followed by an explanation of the technology through video, demonstration using the large touchscreen on the press, and Benny Landa himself. The press comes in both sheetfed and web, and will be released
in 2014. The ease and speed of set-up make it ideal for variable data printing or short runs. Afterwards, sales reps outside the auditorium repeated that they guarantee the print quality will be as good, or better than offset.
I visited several booths offering new digital technology, among them Indigo. HP showcased 10 new presses at DRUPA, among them the Indigo 10,000 press, offering an image size of two and a half times larger than any of the existing Indigo sizes, as well as greater paper-feeding capacity and an in-line spectrometer for improved quality control and an automatic photo imagine and blanket change system.
Xerox and Kodak also highlighted their digital presses. I visited Fuji for an overview of their latest large format press. Besides digital presses, all press manufacturers had a large presence at DRUPA (Heidelberg, Komori, Fuji, Pitney-Bowes, Oce, etc.). With 1,850 exhibitors, almost every aspect of printing is represented, including digital software, ink, and paper companies.
Although attendance was visibly lower than four years ago, when I could barely move through the aisles, the visitors, representing 130 countries, seemed very engaged. The lower attendance made it easier to see presses up close and to find a sales representative for discussion. Each major booth offers representatives who speak one or multiple languages, often indicating which ones with flags upon their badges. Since the weather was cold during my visit, the outdoor booths serving beer and pina coladas were not busy. Each building at Messe has a food court and at least one sit-down restaurant.
DRUPA is the global meeting place of the industry, so much of my limited time was taken in meeting with global print suppliers and discussing their capabilities and the future of print.
Dusseldorf is a modern industrial German city, most of which was destroyed by the Allies after World War II, and then rebuilt. A dinner by the Rhine River is worth the taxi ride, and one can view the famous Gehry architecture. Unfortunately, I didn’t get time for sightseeing, although we ate dinner Saturday night in AltStadt (Old Town), wandering through outdoor beer gardens, full of revelers. Although many waitstaff and taxi drivers speak some English, many do not. My 10 or 15 basic German phrases came in extremely handy.
DRUPA remains the premiere print show to attend, and demonstrates that innovation continues within the realm of print media.
© 2012 Jeanne Connerney. All rights reserved. You’re free to forward this email. However, no part of this column may be reprinted without permission from the author.