As I write this, I am in the skies high above Ireland, returning home from Düsseldorf, Germany, after three intense days of press conferences. My time in Germany’s seventh largest city was not spent sightseeing or snacking on bratwurst, but rather listening to 15 graphic arts vendors talk about the new technologies they plan to unveil at drupa 2016, the massive trade show that comes to this city on the Rhine River every four years — oops, every three years now; it just changed.
About 100 trade journalists from all over the world attended the pre-drupa 2016 International Media Conference — from China, South Africa, Turkey, Australia, Brazil and every part of Europe. It was nice to hang out and share stories with fellow editors, some of whom I’ve been friends with for many years.
I asked a few of my colleagues about in-plants in their countries. They seemed to feel that the government and higher-ed sectors are the only ones that use in-plants, though they admitted they didn’t cover in-plants very much. (No one does, sadly. No one else, I mean.)
We heard a lot about drupa in those three days: how 1,650 exhibitors from 50 countries will fill all 19 halls with their wares; how the event’s duration was shortened from 14 to 11 days this year (in part to improve exhibitor sanity); and how the mega trend this year will be the concept of “Print 4.0,” the end-to-end digital workflow enabled by the networking of machines and systems.
Shortly after the press event started, we were given a rather bizarre treat: a live performance of the new drupa theme song. You’re thinking, “There’s a drupa theme song?” Well actually, every drupa since 2000 has had a theme song. (I’m not sure this musical concept would fly with Graph Expo, but I’m all for it.) The new song is bouncy and jazzy, but essentially just repeats the words “drupa is in town again” over and over. No doubt printers will be dancing in the aisles, though, when it plays during drupa. (I had to restrain myself.)
When that frivolity had wound down, the vendors took center stage and began the tricky task of both whetting our appetites with product announcements, and holding some news back for drupa itself. I’ll detail the technologies and news they announced in our April issue, but a few that stand out:
- Xerox will debut a cut-sheet production inkjet press, the Brenva HD, printing 194 A4 images per minute;
- Canon will greatly increase the number of substrates its own cutsheet inkjet press can handle with the new ColorGrip inline paper conditioning option;
- Epson got everyone’s attention with an office paper recycling machine that uses no water and can produce 14 sheets per minute.
Watch for more drupa previews next month — and find a link to the drupa theme song below. (But be warned: it will stay in your head and never leave.)
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.