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Commentary & Analysis

Frank's drupa Notebook: Important themes of drupa

Frank covers 12 important themes of drupa 2016 that he thought worth sharing, including new inks, corrugated digital presses, digital approaching offset speeds, and more!

By Frank Romano
Published: June 3, 2016

What are the important themes of Drupa?

1. 4-up and 8-up digital-based sheetfed presses.
2. New inks that do not require coated or treated paper, or pre-coating.
3. 5- to 7-color presses that claim to get 95% of the Pantone colors.
4. Folding carton and corrugated digital presses.
5. Over 20 digital label presses.
6. Inkjet printing of flexible film.
7. Many roll-fed digital presses.
8. Digital presses approaching offset press speeds.
9. Quality is no longer an issue in digital versus offset.
10. Many systems for embellishing paper with laser diecutting, foil printing, embossing, and coating.
11. Cloud-based workflows and systems for machine monitoring and service.
12. 3-D printing in many shapes and sizes.

Just getting around Drupa is not for the faint of heart. Nothing is close and the 19 halls are gigantic. There is one moving sidewalk. There are still seven days to go.

So far, I have been to 21 press conferences, 9 boardroom meetings, and 8 one-on-one interviews. I sat through 12 demonstrations and attended 6 parties. There are still seven days to go.

I have met over 100 Americans and lots of folks from all over the world.  I have been stopped everywhere, including the trams and train stations, for impromptu “seminars.” I must start wearing a disguise.

I do enjoy meeting up with RIT graduates who are working in the industry. I have met with former students from India, Italy, Germany, Oman, Thailand, Equador, and, of course, the US.

The exhibits are generally good. Demo’ing software is not easy and I object to standing while someone moves a mouse around a screen at high speed. 

Samples abound. Digital quality is now mainstream and the suppliers are proud to show it.

Too many visitors only come for two days. You need at least four to take it all in. Almost everything on this planet for the printing business is in one place at one time. Seize that opportunity.

Digital printing suppliers outnumber analog printing suppliers.

I am now a veteran journalist. There are five of us, from US, UK, India, Italy, Germany, who have covered 9 Drupas or more. Number 1 had 14 Drupas, I had 11, and the others had 9. 

Frank Romano has spent over 50 years in the printing and publishing industries. Many know him best as the editor of the International Paper Pocket Pal or from the hundreds of articles he has written for publications from North America and Europe to the Middle East to Asia and Australia. Romano lectures extensively, having addressed virtually every club, association, group, and professional organization at one time or another. He is one of the industry's foremost keynote speakers. He continues to teach courses at RIT and other universities and works with students on unique research projects.



By Pete Basiliere on Jun 04, 2016

Just returned from three days at drupa. I tracked one of those days and it turns out I walked ten miles.

I can't hold a candle to you, Frank, since my first drupa was in 1990. I did notice two "non-print" changes over the years.

Back then, everyone scooped up samples to bring home, often in multiple Heidelberg or MAN Roland "condoms" (as the big plastic sling bags were euphemistically referred to) but not now. Maybe because they won't fit in airline overhead storage?

People pulling their roll-aboard bags behind them. When walking in a throng of thousands these are unseen trip hazards.

You are absolutely correct - printers must seize the drupa opportunity to see everything print-related in one place. And once every four years is enough.

drupa is like visiting a book store - yes, the obvious books like Harry Potter are available but unknown titles abound. The big vendors are at drupa but if you wander the halls with inquisitive eyes then you will find small, previously unknown vendors that could meet your needs.


By Stan Najmr on Jun 05, 2016

Future of corrugated boxes is in reusable delivery containers. Online stores will control delivery and neatly printed box originally intended for brick stores will no longer has it's place. Manufacturers will look for any possible way to cut the cost while new distribution channels will be gladly offering savings. Customers do not want additional waste to recycle. Products will be delivered, assembled (if required) and protective packaging will be recycled.


By Bob Raus on Jun 08, 2016

Great to see you Frank and thanks for taking time to learn about HP PrintOS!


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