Digital drupa II (or too) —Polischuk

drupa, the printing industry’s premier event (so big, it can only be fit in every four years), is here. A lot can happen in four years; as a matter of fact, a lot did happen these past four years. When drupa 2008 opened its doors to the world, Lehman Brothers was still in business and the economic tsunami of the Great Recession was still a deep-water wave picking up speed for its explosion on the world economic shoreline.

In the printing arena, a technology wave that continues to pick up speed is digital printing. To many, drupa 2008 was called “digital drupa” and it certainly earned that moniker. Out in time (maybe a decade or two), drupa 2008 might go down as a technology pivot-point when digital printing started its mainstream march into industry dominance.

drupa 2012 promises even more digital technology developments than “digital drupa.” Both toner-based and inkjet technologies are relative newcomers in package printing, so the upside potential for developments that move these technologies forward is tremendous.

A sampling of three pre-drupa announcements from well-known industry participants provides a taste of what’s to come. HP Indigo, which has a strong foothold in label printing, has been actively promoting its technology for use in flexible packaging and folding cartons—segments that are the realm of wider web formats. So at drupa 2012, HP Indigo is unveiling its 30˝ web-fed HP Indigo 20000 Digital Press for flexible packaging and its 29.5˝ sheetfed HP Indigo 30000 Digital Press for folding carton production. Both of these new press lines are scheduled for commercial availability in late 2013.

Xeikon will be providing a sneak preview of “Quantum,’ a new technology that it says combines the best of electrophotography and inkjet technologies. A toner-based, waterless non-VOC system, Xeikon says Quantum will close the gap between the high speed and low cost of inkjet and the high quality of electrophotography.

The third announcement comes from Landa Corp., a relative newcomer (2002) founded by Benny Landa, a digital technology stalwart and founder of Indigo some 35 years ago. Landa Corp. will be unveiling Nanography™, claimed to be a “new digital printing category.” Its line up six Nanographic sheetfed and web presses is built around Landa NanoInk™, an ink system using nanotechnology-based pigments that the company says are “are extremely powerful absorbers of light.”

Even without hype-words like unprecedented, game-changing, and revolutionary, I think you can see that digital printing technology will be providing a lot of excitement at drupa 2012 and most likely, for many drupas to come.

Tom Polischuk, Editor-in-Chief

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