Presses Remain the Key Attraction at drupa and in 2008 Printers will not be Disappointed
By Gareth Ward
For more than 50 years printers have been coming to drupa to see the latest developments in presses. It will be no different at next spring when the world’s printers will head for Düsseldorf to see what technical developments Heidelberg, MAN Roland, KBA, Komori or Mitsubishi, as the big five providers of sheetfed presses, have to show. While the demonstrations will certainly impress, there will be a change in emphasis. At previous drupa’s manufacturers have come up with advances in technology to impress visitors, this time the technologies are going to be about offering solutions to the problems that today’s printers face.
This will mean a stress on efficiency through improved networking and reducing make ready times; on improving the versatility of the printing press through offering the possibility for adding coatings and other in line processes and on productivity through printing at higher speeds and on larger format sheets. Throughout there will be an increased use of automation in order to reduce the manning levels required to operate a press.
All this is necessary because the nature of printing is changing. Print has to justify its place against other media and printers have to deal with highly professional buyers looking to plan purchasing on a world scale. Talking about drupa, Heidelberg ceo Bernhard Schreier has pointed out that competition for non-time sensitive products is now global, meaning that in order to compete printers in the developed world have to change. He describes it thus: “Print service providers will only remain competitive and profitable over the long term if they systematically progress from predominantly manual processes to industrialised technologies. Print shops must be equipped with the latest generation of presses and systematically integrate and network the full range of processes.”
drupa president and KBA CEO Albrecht Bolza-Schünemann agrees. Looking forward to drupa 08, he says: “What you can count on is even higher performance from digital printing systems and complete workflow solutions covering the entire print production process as well as developments in terms of automation and integrated processes (inline finishing, inline quality control, etc.) from the secret stars of the event – conventional sheet-fed and web printing systems.”