drupa 2012: Overwhelming but Worth It

After my sojourn to Dusseldorf for drupa 2012 there is so much to tell you—the dilemma is knowing where to start. The theme of this year’s show was “One World. One drupa.” The international nature of the show is a large part of its appeal. I encountered people from Europe, Asia, South America, the Middle East, and Africa. Most printers in the US don’t make the trek to Germany every four years, so if you have never gone, I highly recommend that you start making plans now to be there in June 2016.

drupa reminded me that, while the US may have the largest printing market in the world, from the global viewpoint, it is just a big region. It will change your perspective to hear the CEO of an international company talk about plans to increase market share in emerging countries, the effect of the European financial crisis, and the fact that the US economy is beginning to show signs of improvement—all on the same PowerPoint slide.

And then there are the innovations and product introductions. Everyone was all a-buzz about Benny Landa’s Nanoprint technology. I believe every offset manufacturer now has a digital partner and most have inkjet components to augment their presses. Ricoh debuted its Clickable Paper technology, which could well displace those butt-ugly QR codes. Whatever your areas of interest, you can find all the news at www.MyPrintResource.com. Search for “drupa 2012” and you’ll still be reading this time next month.

Oh, and absolutely everyone is jumping on the bandwagon for packaging. According to some studies, packaging is the only growth area in the US offset market, and all of the manufacturers have taken note—some, perhaps, to their detriment.

I hope that most of you will resist following the example of the vendors. Yes, there is room for more printers to take on packaging work. However, if everyone jumps into the market, packaging will quickly cease to be a growth area and will end up being commoditized in much the same way traditional print has been. Just saying...

The perspective you gain from attending drupa offers long lasting value. You’ll get more out of it than simply goggling at the latest product innovations. It lends a different viewpoint and a better grasp of what’s going on in the industry at large. So give some serious thought to drupa 2016. The intangible benefits you’ll bring away from the show will last longer than any souvenir. It is well worth the effort of making the trip.