drupa 2012 : Something for Everyone
Exciting Stuff: You've got to wonder about acquisitions and market consolidations. We've certainly heard enough about the troubles of manroland and Kodak leading up to this show. I wonder if components of Kodak will be sold off in that time frame. There may be stories that come out about companies leaving certain businesses.
Don't Forget: Workflow. The impact of mobile technology is very clear here; you're detaching operators from having to stand next to the machine, so their user interface becomes their mobile device. That's interesting. Everything around workflow automation is central to the success of any kind of print service provider. When I think of what digital printing brings to the table, a lot of it is being able to have one operator perform multiple functions, to have as many tasks automated as doable and to come as close as possible to lights out (production).
Those are themes that have applied previously to transactional printing types of environments, but they've now expanded to commercial printing environments.
PrintCom Consulting Group
What to Expect: There was a lot more than inkjet at the last drupa, and there's going to be even more at this drupa. I'm debating whether 2012 should be called the "multipurpose" or "multifunction" drupa. This is an international show, and the entire world is not enthralled with inkjet or toner as is the United States.
There's lots of offset, lots of gravure; there will be a whole flood of (new) products there. Inkjet might snare the journalists' headlines but, for the serious printer, there's a lot more to think about. It all depends on where you're coming from.
The Skinny On: From the digital side, Benny Landa's nano particles and Memjet should be looked at by everyone who's going to the show. Even printers that don't have any digital equipment currently still need to understand where that technology is headed. Right now, the only place that you're going to get that is at drupa. A better understanding of what can be accomplished in the finishing end of the business can offer those printers who know how to harness it some distinctive products and separate them from the rest of the crowd.