29 May 2012
DIA members get first-hand reports on Drupa
VAUGHAN, ON— A smaller industry, but “alive and well” with plenty of innovations and growth in specific markets—that’s the observation of four print industry veterans based on their visit to the Drupa trade show earlier this month in Dusseldorf, Germany.
 
The four were speaking at the monthly meeting of the Digital Imaging Association held last week at the sprawling Spicers facility. Eighty people turned out to hear their show reports.
 

From left is Chris Peacock, Kempenfelt Group; Filomena Tamburri, Graphic Monthly Canada; Jason Hamilton, Spicers Pre-Media Group; Rob Ens, Konica Minolta.

All agreed that Benny Landa stole the show with his splashy launch of nanography and a new line of presses (still at the development stage) using his new inkjet technology. Landa, who invented the Indigo digital press and later sold the brand to HP, is a master at hype, and his booth, featuring presses with giant iPhone-like screen-based press controls, generated maximum attention.
 
“Benny Landa was the Steve Jobs of print this year,” said Jason Hamilton, general managers of Spicers Pre-Media Group and the current president of the DIA. 
 
The presenters agreed, however, that the Landa technology, which uses super-fine ink particles, has a long way to go before it’s commercially viable. “You couldn’t really sell that,” said panelist Chris Peacock, account executive at Kempenfelt Group in Barrie, Ont. The sample quality was poor, he said, but Landa produced “quite the show, it was impressive to see.”
 
Digital printing—whether toner-based, inkjet or nanography—continues to light up the industry with growth stories and new technology, including related finishing and coating processes such as Scodix’s new “digital glitter” raised printing. Panelist Rob Ens, hired by Konica Minolta as a product specialist just days before his drupa visit, admitted to feeling discouraged by industry trends before heading to his fourth drupa. 
 
“Who’s going to make money in this business? I entered drupa kind of skeptical,” said Ens. But in the end, he left impressed particularly with the growth and continued potential for digital printing. “People are attaching themselves to digital so they have a future,” he said. “Those [offset printers] who don’t marry up with a digial partner may be in trouble down the road.”
 
Graphic Monthly Canada editor-in-chief and associate publisher Filomena Tamburri (also editor-in-chief of PrintCan.com) kicked off the session with her list of the top trends, themes and buzz from the world’s biggest print show, held every four years:
 
1. Benny Landa and nanography
2. The rise of B2-sized (4-up) digital presses (inkjet and toner): “We’ll have to see how the market responds to them.”
3. Liquid toner technology. (“Definitely the quality is there,” noted Chris Peacock.)
4. Packaging: “Every major manufacturer said they were moving into packaging,” said Tamburri.
5. Inkjet
6. Shifting market focus: while North America and Europe are still big markets, the momentum is shifting to Asia and the so-called BRIC countries. “You can really feel that at drupa,” said Tamburri.
7. 3-D printing: It’s the next big print buzz, she said. Quoting Ricoh: “[3-D printing] will experience rapid and limitless growth.”
 
Tamburri reported that drupa attendance was 314,000, about 70,000 fewer than the last show. “I think what we saw was a smaller drupa, a smaller industry, but the energy was really good,” she said.
 
The DIA celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The next event is the annual golf tournament and dinner on June 7 at St. Andrew’s Valley golf club. 
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