Top 10 Memorable Moments from drupa 2016
The packagePRINTING team has returned home to Philadelphia after spending a week in Düsseldorf, Germany, soaking in the sights and sounds of drupa 2016. By most accounts, this drupa featured far more packaging news and equipment than ever before, and there is so much I will remember about my first experience at this behemoth of a trade show. But, off the top of my head, here are my top 10 memorable moments from drupa 2016.
10. Making an Entrance
When I first stepped off the train at the Messe Nord station, I really had no idea what to expect when I entered the fairgrounds. But it quickly became apparent that drupa lives up to its reputation. From the massive paper display Highcon provided to hang from the ceiling, to the sight of thousands of print industry professionals from around the world together in one place, my first glimpse of the drupa fairgrounds is something I won't soon forget.
9. Packed Halls, Wall-to-Wall
Calling the structures at Messe Düsseldorf "halls" is a little misleading. These buildings are more like airplane hangars. And they're all packed to the brim! It's humbling to realize just how expansive the printing industry is and how many players are involved. Suppliers from around the world make quite an effort to get their latest and greatest gear to drupa, which to me, showed just how strong the printing industry still is.
8. Digital Takes Its Next Steps
The last two drupas are often considered to be milestones in the arrival of digital printing. Now that the technology is pretty well established, it's interesting to see the next steps suppliers are taking to bring digital to the next level. Everything from single-pass corrugated presses, to hybrid solutions to finishing systems were on display, demonstrating just how far digital technology has come.
7. Partner Up
Speaking of digital printing, it's interesting to note how the general industry mindset is considering digital to be a complimentary technology to conventional, rather than a replacement. It's encouraging then, to see how digital and conventional suppliers are joining forces to leverage their core competencies and provide converters with solutions that offer the best of both worlds. Products like the Gallus Labelfire 340, which features Fujifilm print heads, and the KBA VariJET 106 Powered by Xerox, are just two examples of this exciting new trend.
6. The Food
OK, so maybe all my top memories won't be printing related. But if you haven't been to Düsseldorf, it's pretty much a culinary paradise. Bratwurst, white asparagus and yes, the city's famous altbier, made for a week of good eating.
5. The Spectacle
Throughout the week, it became clear that drupa really puts the "show" in trade show. This event goes way beyond press conferences and product demonstrations. At the Landa booth, daily presentations featured music, dancers and incredible special effects. The Xerox booth occasionally transformed into a concert venue, featuring performances by DJ Lovra, a Ministry of Sound artist. Highcon's booth demonstrated the power of paper, featuring paper chairs, paper bookcases, paper sculptures and even paper clothes.
4. Sharing Stories
One of the things I loved about my first drupa was hearing stories about past drupas from industry veterans. Almost everyone had a funny story to share about their previous trips to Düsseldorf, or could shed light on how their previous drupa experiences serve as a snapshot of the industry's development. It makes me very excited to add more drupas to my resume.
3. The City
The days at drupa can be long and tiring, but since this was my first time in Düsseldorf, I made sure to take the time to explore the city as much as possible. The combination of classic and modern architecture, the views along the Rhine and walking through the bustling Altstadt already has me looking forward to returning for drupa 2020.
2. The Optimism
The printing industry may not be quite as robust as it once was. But throughout my time at drupa, it was encouraging to hear just how excited the industry is for the future. Maybe it's the technological advancements. Maybe it's the rise of new applications. Maybe it's the creative thinking that is pushing print into new markets. Maybe it's a combination of several things. But printing will clearly be viable and lucrative for years to come.
1. The People
What's an industry without its people? And from my experience, the print industry has some of the best people to work with and spend time with. As a relative newcomer, I'm always amazed at how willing people in the industry are to share information with me and with each other. The best way to evolve is to share information and experiences. And bringing the entire industry together for an event like drupa is the perfect way to make that happen.