drupa 2012 : Something for Everyone
Don't Forget: Digital finishing. I'm sure there will be many types of varnishing and lamination units. While inkjet is starting to offer better printing, offset is more durable in most cases. Even electrophotographic has a lot more print contrast, and a lot more shine than most production inkjet output, so coating solutions will help bridge that gap. I'm looking to see more (varnishing and lamination)—both in-line and off-line.
What to Expect: There's enough excitement with Benny Landa being back at the show in a different operation. Given that it's inkjet, it ties into the overall theme. Higher resolution, faster speeds, the idea of more offset replacement happening because of the new capabilities of inkjet. There are questions about the economy and the whole move toward electronic delivery. Also mobile and social media, which don't have a huge place at drupa, but do have the potential to impact it pretty seriously.
The Skinny On: Inkjet vs. offset. I'm not going to say inkjet will take it all over, not by a long shot. But, the writing is on the wall. Not all of (offset's) competition is from inkjet; it's from electronic delivery of information, which cuts out so much more of the longer run, nonpersonalized type of work that is the bread-and-butter of offset.
The offset press manufacturers will be talking about automation and everything they're doing to make offset presses able to do shorter runs, quicker turnarounds, drying, etc. I don't think that's the big story. The question is: What are the document needs of end users? So much of that is through electronic delivery. All of print is under fire; that's a theme that overlays the show. If we come back from drupa and say it was the social media drupa, then it will be the last drupa.