Traditional print technologies are alive and well, while the industry’s major players continue to invest in the – still relatively small – digital market, industry representatives heard at the LIA-Printing Industries ‘drupa in review’ dinner.
The event featured four keynote speakers who provided attendees with their insight and impressions from the show floor in Germany. Presenters included Craig Dunsford, general manager Offset Alpine Printing; Michael Schulz, general manager SOS Print and Media; industry identity Andy McCourt, and LIA NSW Graduate of the Year winner, Scott Mohammed.
Kicking off the night, Mohammed told guests after perusing the halls of drupa, it was clear offset and sheet fed printing was far from extinct. He says, “Over the past few years I have heard a lot about sheetfed and offset being dead. But after seeing this enormous show, I think both technologies have a place in the market.”
Next up was Craig Dunsford, who noted the uptake of hybrid presses at the show, which are beginning to effectively bridge the gap between inkjet and offset. He says, “The technology continues to improve, however whi8le the presses have new capabilities, keeping them running to their full capacity was still an important consideration for many visitors at the show.”
Michael Schulz made a humorous observation on show organisers Messe Dusseldorf's uptake of technology. He says, “One of the things I really noticed was the amount of iPads at the show, but the drupa App didn’t work very well so I just went back to the printed catalogue.
“The number of visitors was down but the quality of the visitors was higher than ever.”
Commenting on the increase of digital technology, Schulz adds, “The uptake of digital at the show wasn’t as big as I would have thought five years ago. This is likely because printing ink on paper is still more complex than people think, and paper treatment is still an issue.
“However digital printing for packaging has seen a lot of growth. The machines for these applications are perhaps not as fast as printers and manufacturers would like, but the quality coming out was exceptional.”
Rounding out the evening was industry identity Andy McCourt who acknowledged Benny Landa’s new nanographic technology, cloud technology, and competition among liquid toner press manufacturers as overarching themes in the industry.
He says, “On day 13 people were still clambering about to see what was happening on the Landa stand.”
McCourt who had some face-to-face time with Landa himself says the Indigo founder knows there are some limitations to the speed digital can reach. He says, “Benny is a believer in offset, the digital market only accounts for two per cent of the world’s print industry currently, so he is confident about the growth to be made in digital, without threatening the existence of offset.”
In his wrap up, McCourt says, “It was a quiet drupa, but the business was still done. I really don’t think we are going to recognise our industry at the next drupe, there is likely to be some good surprises and some bad ones.
“The industry must prepare for some major changes.”