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Initial Thoughts on drupa 2012

By David Savastano, Ink World Editor | 05.17.12

drupa 2012 closed its doors yesterday, completing its quadrennial two-week printing showcase. I had the opportunity to spend three-plus days at the show near the end of the two weeks.

I saw quite a few things of interest to the ink industry, which I will report on in depth online next week, and in the July-August 2012 issue of Ink World. However, I thought I might touch on a few things of note today.

• Landa Labs: Without a doubt, Landa Labs stole the show. Benny Landa, the founder of the Indigo Press and a major proponent of digital printing technologies, announced during drupa that he has come up with what he calls Nanography, the latest in printing technologies. In short, his Nanographic presses use a blanket technology and proprietary water-based nano inks fore a wide range of products.

Mr. Landa had a number of his presses on display in Hall 9. The first thing one notices is that that he has created huge iPhone-like control panels for his presses. It’s a very good idea, and somehow, I think that will become the industry norm. While the presses are running, there was no output, as the copy went into sealed boxes.

What was particularly eye-catching about Landa Labs was the intricate live show hosted by Mr. Landa himself, replete with five dancers and some really clever graphics showing how inkjet ink soaks through paper fibers. These free shows were “sold out,” or filled to capacity, but were streamed live to the Landa Labs booth, where it seemed like thousands of attendees watched in interest.

There is no timetable yet for delivery of these presses, nor were there any samples. My guess is that drupa 2012 served as an introduction to Nanography, and we can expect these presses to reach the market in the next few years, perhaps with Landa Labs supplying the inks.

• Digital Technologies: Digital technologies filled drupa 2012. HP, Fujifilm, EFI, Xeikon, Xerox and many others had huge booths filled with interested attendees. In some cases, there were new presses showcased that aren’t for sale yet, while other products are on the market. These technologies are becoming faster and more cost efficient than before.

• Conventional Presses: However, quite a few of the conventional press manufacturers attracted interest as well. While Heidelberg shrank its traditionally enormous drupa presence from two halls down to just Hall 1, the company was very active, and had sizable areas devoted to digital and new technologies, including printed electronics. Gallus showcased its ICS670 folding carton press, which can switch from flexo to gravure. KBA emphasized packaging, and its booth did very well, and Comexi’s new C18 press, which combines offset and flexo technology with EB for use in flexible packaging, drew much interest.

• Ink Manufacturers: While a few of the multi-national ink companies – Sun Chemical, Flint Group and hubergroup – did not have their own stands, and Siegwerk had a booth for setting up customer tours, a number of ink manufacturers were on hand with sizable exhibits. In terms of multi-national industry leaders, Toyo Ink and Sakata INX/INX International/INX Digital were among those who had prominent booths, and numerous European, Asia-Pacific and digital ink specialists, inclduing Fujifilm and EFI, also showed their new products. I will discuss this in much greater length next week.

• Printed Electronics: drupa always tries to shine a light on new technologies, and printed electronics (PE) was featured, with a section of Hall 7.0 set aside for PE companies, as well as a session of talks on the subject. I will cover this at length next week at our website,, but the comments I received from PE companies is that there is significant interest in the possibilities that PE can bring.

• Attendance: Messe Düsseldorf announced that the overall attendance, not counting exhibitors, was 314,500. There are two ways to look at this: Attendance was down 75, 500 from 2008 (no surprise there), or that 300,000 plus attendees is still a large number of people. Exhibitors said that they saw the people they needed to meet with, and generally said they were satisfied with the show.