Industry Events

After receiving numerous requests from the industry, PrintAction has decided to extend the deadline for this year's Canadian Printing Awards by one week. Entries are now due by 5:00pm on Friday November 2nd.

Whereas the previous deadline required entries to be postmarked by October 26, the new extension requires that entries be received by PrintAction no later than Friday, November 2nd at 5:00pm. This will allow last-minute entries a few days more to be sent by courier.

As a reminder, entries should be mailed to:

Canadian Printing Awards
610 Alden Road, Suite 100
Markham, ON
L3R 9Z1

This year's Canadian Printing Awards will be presented on November 29, 2012 at the Palais Royale in Toronto. Tickets for the event can be purchased from the Canadian Printing Awards website.

For seven reasons why you should enter the Canadian Printing Awards, read Victoria Gaitskell's article on the subject.

Due to popular demand, the Canadian Printing Awards has expanded the program to include the Display Graphics category. Entrants will have until October 26 to be a part of this year's awards.

Submissions to the Display Graphics category will need to provide a print sample and/or alternatively detailed photographs of the installation. Because of its inherent nature, entrants would not be required to produce multiple copies of the project, but instead are encouraged to describe in detail the challenges and difficulty of the production.

The Canadian Printing Awards is presented by PrintAction as an effort to recognize the best of Canadian print production, notable industry members, as well as the industry's environmental achievements. Originally the Environmental Printing Awards, the program was expanded last year to reward a greater range of print's accolades. The awards gala will be held on November 29th at the Palais Royale ballroom in downtown Toronto. Tickets are now available on the Canadian Printing Awards site.

In late September the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum, located in historic Queenston, Ontario held a seminar on letterpress printing.

The one-day event allowed registrants to get acquainted with the letterpress process using hand-set type or cuts. Students were then shown how to print using a proof press and a table-top platen press. The day included a tour of the museum and the printing machinery on display.

The event will be repeated in October and interested parties should contact the museum directly through its website or call 905-262-5676. The cost is $96.00 including a light lunch, $76.00 for members or $60.00 for students.

Yesterday Spicers and Kodak held a seminar at Spicers' offices, just north of Toronto entitled Drupa in a Day. The event featured Jim Hamilton, Group Director of Infotrends, who spoke to attendees about the trends and technologies stemming from drupa this past May. More than 60 people took part in the morning and afternoon sessions. The event also featured demonstrations of Kodak technologies including a preview of Prinergy 6, the latest Sonora process-free plate, and Kodak's ColorFlow Software. Spicers and Kodak also held a similar event in Vancouver on Monday. 

Hamilton presented the outlook of the industry, including developments in the B2 format digital machines, both inkjet and liquid toner to the audience. He maintained that although there will be a shift towards digital cutsheet machines, that it will be gradual and that many of the machines demonstrated at drupa would not be available for several years. 




The CONSAC Imagemakers 2012 show was held last Friday and Saturday at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ontario. Hundreds of industry members gathered to witness the latest in sign and display printing technologies.

The Mackenzie Newspaper and Printery Museum of Niagara Falls, Ontario, held its seventh annual golf tournament last week. More than 50 people showed their support through a best-ball tournament at the Whirlpool Golf Course, under sunny skies and mild temperatures.

The team consisting of Jay Fleming, Chris Petis, Scott Nicholl (all three of Advanced Office Solutions), and Lou Gagnon (of Xerox Canada) was victorious with a score of 11 under par. 

The Mackenzie Newspaper and Printery Museum is an institution located in the restored home of publisher William Lyon Mackenzie and shows off 500 years of printing technology within its period print shop. It is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization aimed at passing along print's history in Canada to a new generation.

North American printers attending Graph Expo 2012, running from October 7 to 10 in Chicago, can take in a myriad of new technologies first introduced five months ago at the massive, quadrennial drupa trade show in Germany.

The effect of this close proximity between two large printing exhibitions is seen in a robust list of Must See ‘Em awards (27 products in total), which Graph Expo organizers, based on a judging panel of consultants and analysts, present every year to exhibitors with interesting new products and who participate in the program.

Avanti Computer Systems, a Canadian company focused on print-management software, is once again amongst the Must See ‘Em products. At Graph Expo, the Toronto firm is showcasing its new Advanced Fulfillment module featured in version 12.4 of its Graphic Arts Management System. Named as a Must See ‘Em product, the Advanced Fulfillment module includes a contract management system, where print providers can manage and track their customers’ finished goods, as well as manage the billing of those goods.

A complete list of Graph Expo 2012 Must See ‘Em products is presented below by category:

Sales and order entry

EFI DSFdesign Studio
EFI M500
XMPie uStore Facebook Connect

Prepress and premedia

EFI Fiery SeeQuence JobMaster
Esko Studio 12
Ricoh Clickable Paper

Analogue presses
Heidelberg Prinect Image Control

Digital presses

Kodak NexPress Gold Dry Ink
HP Indigo 10000
HP Indigo WS6600

Epson SureColor S50670
HP Designjet L26500
Xante Excelagraphix 4200

Small-format postpress 

MGI JETvarnish 3D
Xerox IntegratedPLUS

Wide-format postpress

EFI Layout Option for Fiery
Esko Kongsberg XN

Imprinting, mailing, shipping and fulfillment

Avanti Computer Advanced Fulfillment V12.4
Bowe Systec Fusion Cross
Pitney Bowes Mailstream Wrapper

Management systems
EKodak INSITE Version 6.5
EFI PrintFlow, Employee & Tool Constraints
XMPie Circle

Future print
Kodak FLEXCEL Direct System
PadPublisher and PadCloud
Pageflex Dynamic Media

German press manufacturer Heidelberg has told Ipex show organizers that it does not intend to exhibit at the 2014 event in London.

"We are very disappointed in Heidelberg’s decision to withdraw from Ipex 2014 – one of the industry’s major global events," said Trevor Crawford, Event Director. "Heidelberg has long been synonymous with printing and has a long association with Ipex. As organizers of a range of exhibitions around the world, we will continue to have an ongoing dialogue with them."

A quadrennial show, IPEX 2014 marks the first time in 30 years the show will be held in London. Previous years saw the show held in Birmingham.

Earlier this summer saw HP announce it does not intend to exhibit at the show, despite having the largest presence during IPEX 2010.

The show organizers, Informa Exhibitions, state that of the top 33 key exhibitors for the show 29 have increased their floorspace in relation to 2010. Companies who have already made their commitment to the show include: Canon, CMC, Duplo, EFI, Epson, Fujifilm, Hans Gronhi, Horizon, Hunkeler, Impika, Kern, Kodak, Komori, Konica Minolta, Muller Martini, Pitney Bowes, Presstek, Screen, W&D, Xeikon and Xerox.

The first two stops of Harper Corporation's annual Roadshow featuring two Canadian cities, Montreal, Quebec and Mississauga, Ontario, were declared a major success by the company. The shows were held at the Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications and Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School, respectively.

Held in the middle of June, the shows provided presentations and hosted discussions about developments in the flexographic industry. Attendees learned about the opportunities and challenges facing the industry and had a chance to network with industry professionals.

Christine Roberts, Vice President of Canflexographics Limited, says she has received excellent feedback regarding the resources, content, speakers, and venue of the Mississauga event.

Ian Baitz, Chair of the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University, commented: "Thanks very much for inviting Ryerson to today's Harper Roadshow, and for bringing it back to Toronto. It was a great event with a very positive group of people. These types of education events are great for our industry and a nice chance to get together."

The Harper Roadshow will continue throughout the summer, supplying invaluable information, presentations, and networking opportunities to flexographic professionals across North America. The next stop will be in Minneapolis on August 1, followed by Clemson, South Carolina on August 23, Union City California on October 3, and concluding in Rochester, New York on October 24.

EskoWorld 2012 wraps up tomorrow in New Orleans, where more than 500 people, including 42 Canadians, have come to see the latest developments from one of the world’s most powerful technology companies in the packaging sector.

Mark Quinlan, President of Esko Americas, points to three primary factors for the strong EskoWorld 2012 attendance, which equates to a 30 percent increase over last year’s record-setting 350 attendees, including: EskoWorld taking place just five weeks after drupa; Esko’s maturing product line; and the increasing need for printers and packagers to drive costs out of their business.

“A lot of the tools we have help them manage their costs better and also, in this business, if you don’t keep up with technology your competitors are going to leave you in the dust,” says Quinlan. “I see convertors being on the squeeze. The people they are selling to want a lower price and then their raw material costs, health care costs, labour costs, everything else is going up.”

Quinlan has a unique understanding of such pressures for a high-level vendor executive, after running the graphics division of NCR, where he oversaw 15 factories, 2,000 employees and $500 million in annual sales. He also spent 10 years as a Product Manager and, therefore, puts a strong emphasis on the EskoWorld user's conference to move the company forward.

“I feel the value that a company creates for its customers comes from the product managers, because they develop the solutions,” says Quinlan. “The rest of us are in deployment, carrying those solutions to customers, installing them, selling them. EskoWorld is very important to us.”

Esko received a boost in mid-2011 when it was purchased by Danaher Corp., a diversified technology company that generated US$1.9 billion in earnings in its most-recent fiscal year. While many technology suppliers in the printing industry have been cutting R&D and staffing, Esko has been growing its presence in both the United States and Canada over the past several months. Danaher's power in the graphic communications industry grew leaps and bounds at the end of May, when the company completed its US$625-million acquisition of X-Rite, which controls Pantone. The partnering technology platforms of X-Rite and Esko are sure to grow the presence of both in the industry.

“We sell more in the U.S. than in any other country,” says Quinlan describing Esko's presence in North America. “A few years ago we served Canada from the U.S., but my opinion is that you need feet on the street in the country, which is why we have hired people like Marc [Raad] and Jean-Francois [Lacombe] in Montreal.”

The Canadians attending EskoWorld 2010 are from some of the country’s largest printing operations when compared to the commercial-printing space. “They are looking at the whole portfolio and how it ties into what they already have or what they want to bolt on, because all of our products are modular,” says Esko Account Manager Marc Raad, when describing the Canadian contingent's interests here at EskoWorld. “They are looking to add more automation into their systems. We see an annual following of the same clients who come back every year to get an education from us. They want to see what the future holds for our products.”

Quinlan is also focusing on adding more service technicians in the Canadian market, largely spurred on by what he describes as a pent-up demand for Esko technology in the country. Esko drew over 100 people at its most-recent roadshow in Toronto, which caught the company’s attention. Such roadshow events typically draw between 30 and 50 people in major U.S. cities. “Canada is very important to us. We really need to keep adding more resources there and we will.”

UPDATE: May 15

drupa organizer Messe D
üsseldorf has released final numbers for the show, which ran from May 3 to 16. In all 314,500 people from 130 countries attended, down 75,500 from 2008's show.

“This decrease does not come as a surprise for us and the sector as a whole. In Germany alone the printing industry lost some 3,900 companies with over 61,000 employees between 2000 and 2011. During the same time, more than 7,700 printing operations closed in the U.S.,” explained Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “Against this backdrop it is not surprising that fewer visitors came to drupa 2012. However – and this is the key point – customers now no longer come to drupa as large delegations or on group corporate trips. It is much more top managers who travel to Düsseldorf. drupa is clearly the decision-makers’ trade fair and the trade fair for business.”

Interim numbers from the organizer of drupa have revealed that attendance figures for the quadrennial show is expected to be roughly 20 percent lower than numbers from 2008. Despite this, the show reports the mood in its halls to be "good" with several vendors locking in concrete orders on the first day.

“drupa 2012 again demonstrated its outstanding function as a sales fair, a source of ideas and platform for the exchange of solutions and successful business models,” says Bernhard Schreier, President of drupa and Board Chairman at Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG.

According to the organizer, at the half-way mark of the show, some 170,000 people from 115 countries visited the show's 19 halls. The show saw increases from the Central American and African regions (up 1.1 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively). “These figures show we reflect the situation in the sector. In view of the far-reaching structural change in the European and North American print and media sector we had to assume this drop in visitor numbers,” said Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, CEO at Messe Düsseldorf.

The show, in which 1,850 exhibitors from 52 nations participated, concludes tomorrow.

drupa, the largest printing trade show, kicked off last week and more than 350,000 printers, vendors and journalists are expected to pass through its halls within its 14 day duration.

PrintAction was there to cover the latest initiatives of the industry's vendors.

Look forward to more detailed coverage within the upcoming months. In the meantime, get a taste of the atmosphere of the show through the photos below.

Mississauga’s Mayor, Hazel McCallion, was on hand to help 4over Inc. CEO, Zarik Megerdichian, officially open his new 50,000-square-foot plant in the city, which has quietly become Canada’s sixth largest metropolis.

“We have the potential to meet any expansion plans,” Mayor McCallion joked, while welcoming 4over Inc., a California-based trade printer, to Mississauga. The city is now home to 63 Fortune 500 headquarters, while holding 80 total locations of Fortune 500 companies, along with over 55,000 businesses – and a population of around 730,000.  

McCallion has been building Mississauga for 34 years as its Mayor, while 4over Inc. has been on its own rapid trajectory for the past decade, after Megerdichian and his wife, Tina Hartounian, President of 4over, founded the company in 2001. Today, 4over runs seven production plants across North America, including the new Mississauga location that began producing work in December 2011 under the leadership of printing veteran Tom Hogan.

Hogan played a key role in the printing of The Globe and Mail newspaper with outsourcing production to Interweb Ontario. He was also involved with the start-up and development of Transcontinental Metropolitain, which produces La Presse newspaper in Montreal. During the 4over Canada grand opening, McCallion spoke about closely working with Hogan, years ago, when he was involved with the Mississauga Booster community newspaper.

While Mayor McCallion was open to welcoming another 4over site in the city, Megerdichian is currently in the process of opening up a ninth facility in Seattle to boost his trade-only, hub-and-spoke business model in the Northwest region of North America. 4over claims to have served over 53,788 trade customers across its entire operation, experiencing annual triple-digit growth.

“We are very happy to be here and we will do our best to serve you,” Megerdichian told a sizable crowd of printers and suppliers gathered in 4over’s Mississauga plant. In addition to an existing 29-inch Komori, he spoke about plans to bring in a 40-inch press, as well as a press for plastic applications, while noting the close proximately of 4over plants in Ohio and New Jersey. “There is an organization that stands behind the [Mississauga location] for this plant to be successful.”

4over Inc. has a unique business model in North American printing, as a multi-facility trade-only printer, driving most of its business through a members-only online entity called The company is also a chosen printer for B2C online print retailer

Along with the 29-inch Komori sheetfed, which, as with all 4over plants, promises to run at 500-line screen, 4over’s Canadian plant also includes a sizable bindery area and a large-format inkjet department, which Megerdichian began to introduce into his facilities, under the name of Grand4mat, back in 2009.

C.J. Graphics, led by President Jay Mandarino, received a combined total of 71 Gold Awards in the International and Canadian Gallery of Superb Printing competitions, held annually by the IAPHC – known locally as the Craftsmen Club.

Six Toronto-area printing companies split a total of 197 awards – amid Gold, Silver, Bronze and Honourable Mention levels – within the IAPHC’s Canadian and International competitions, with C.J. Graphics taking home 153.

In the Canadian gallery competition, C.J. Graphics won the Best of Show award, sponsored by Heidelberg Canada, while Colour Innovations took home the Best Use of Ink award, sponsored by Taniguchi Ink. The remaining Gold Award winners from the Craftsmen competition included Colour Innovations, Metro Label, Polytainers, The AIIM Group, and The Lowe-Martin Group.

During the award celebrations, held last night at the Duncan House of Fine Dining, the Toronto Craftsmen chapter of the IAPHC organization also displayed its continued support of students pursuing post-secondary education in the graphic communications industry.

Student awards were handed out to seven people, including: Elina Shafigullina of Gordon Graydon Secondary, who will attend Ryerson’s Graphic Communications Management (GCM) program next year; Daria Shepelenko of George Brown College; Nasereen Ahmad of Humber College; Katherine Pires of Ryerson GCM; Christopher Barry of Phoneix Print Shop; and Olesya Milosevic of Centennial College.

Milosevic was also the runner up in the Craftsmen’s inaugural Graphic Design Challenge, in which students from across Canada submit a single print project (poster, brochure, banner, stationery, etc.) to win funding for their graphic arts studies. The competition’s top award went to Lakia Won from George Brown’s School of Design program.

The evening also featured a presentation from Ryerson GCM students Brian Bako and Mark Brejnik, who shared their experiences from the recent Technical Association of the Graphic Arts (TAGA) conference in Florida. As part of the RyeTAGA team, Bako and Brejnik described the process of creating RyeTAGA’s student journal, which included a thermochromic-ink cover and won three top awards at the TAGA conference, including: Best in Publication Design, Best in Production Quality, and Best in Overall Quality.

Bako and Brejnik took time to thank the Toronto Craftsmen Club for its continued support of the RyeTAGA initiative.

drupa Spotlight: In the third article of PrintAction’s online feature series, Barney Cox, a veteran industry consultant with InfoTrends Europe, discusses which technology trend will dominant the world’s largest printing exhibition this May.

By Barney Cox

Previous drupa's have been defined by a dominant technology trend, last time in 2008 it was the inkjet drupa and prior to that the show has been defined as the JDF drupa, the digital drupa, the CTP drupa and others further back in the mists of time. So what will the theme be for 2012? The clearest theme to emerge is that there will be multiple key trends rather than one over-riding theme in 2012. 

“It will be the & drupa,” says Kodak EAMER managing director Philip Cullimore. “The media is an & world – print & apps, print & online, print & tablets, print & mobile. And, it’s not just print & other media. There’s also the combination of different print processes, where the sum equals more than the parts. It’s digital and offset.”

Transformation and transition are also emerging as themes for drupa 2012, and how vendors can help with that change through business development tools. 

"At Ricoh we believe that drupa 2012 will be about transformation,” says Ricoh Europe Director of Production Printing Business Group, Graham Moore. “Technology will continue to progress but the challenge for the print service provider is bringing it all together and getting the real business development support to manage change. Examples of that transformation are from offset or digital to offset and digital, from supplying just print to supplying cross media services – and the related transition from print service provider to marketing services provider."

Maps and guides to the new business landscape
“For printers to become marketers, they need a lot of help, which is where the business development tools of the vendors become important,” says industry analyst Andy Tribute. 

“Historically drupa has been a technology show but it’s also about business processes and innovation,” says Canon Europe Professional Print Director David Preskett. “We will show how our clients have innovated in business processes; visitors can get a taster that may we hope will inspire them and lead to further things.”

There is recognition that for print to play its part in the cross-media world it has to prove that it is effective against, and with, other media. One of the phrases that will be everywhere at the show is ROMI – return on marketing investment.

Francois Martin, HP’s GSB Worldwide Marketing Director, believes that the perception of print by brand owners is already starting to change: “It is moving from being seen as slow moving medium in competition with online that also creates waste to one that adds value with desired documents that create positive feeling and emotion when properly used.”

Alongside the increased focus on the purpose and the business of print there will, of course, be lots of the latest technology on display, as whatever application you print and whomever you produce it for, better tools are an essential way of meeting the latest challenges.

Offset stands its ground
Digital, and inkjet in particular, may have been in the limelight at the last drupa, and will be this time, but it’s important to remember despite the inroads digital print has made just how much printing is still produced using analogue processes, and isn’t ready to go digital yet either. We’re nowhere near the turning point where digital print volumes overtake offset argues Agfa Graphics Head of Product Marketing, Ralph Hilsdon, who says, “The change is coming but you will see offset standing its ground.”

The focus in offset press development has been to improve the automation, which can reduce operating costs. Much of that focus is on reducing make-ready and changeover times to support shorter runs and quicker turnaround times. It isn’t the only benefit though. Every step towards automation helps to reduce the unit cost of the printed piece, an important factor when fighting to maintain a margin and print itself needs to prove its cost-effectiveness as a marketing medium.

“We will see improvements in sheetfed offset, to the point where you can almost eliminate the operator,” predicts Andy Tribute. He believes features such as on-press measurement, will evolve to measure and control colour faster, and to be able to read the whole sheet to identify print quality defects such as hickeys. These developments will help to continue to reduce the run length at which offset is viable to a couple of hundred sheets, firmly in the territory occupied by digital today.

Reducing makeready and changeover times through automation is crucial for getting work through the press hall quicker, but is only of limited use if the sheets then need to sit around for an age before they are dry enough to be handled for the next stage of production. Look out at drupa for several different approaches to eliminate that dead drying time. One approach is through UV-cured ink. The latest generation of lamps and associated inks are designed to run cool and long, promising low power consumption, longer lamp life, wider stock choice and no need for expensive cooling and ozone extraction. UV is just one option and may only be practical if you are investing in a new press.

Those not in the market for a new press should check out the latest development from ink suppliers, which promise rapid setting of conventional inks in some of their latest formulas. You can bet that even if they cost more than a bog standard offset ink, in comparison to toner or inkjet their price pales into insignificance. Another example of how offset suppliers are making the process more viable for shorter and shorter runs and quicker and quicker turnarounds to fight against the encroachment of digital.

The web-offset press sector will also see developments. “The focus is on reducing waste labour and ultimately the cost needed to produce a given volume of pages, whether that is through bigger presses or through automation,” says Goss International Marketing Manager, Greg Norris, who believes the next step may eliminate some changeovers and make-readies altogether.

This more agile form of web-offset may mean it can win some work that used to be the preserve of sheet fed presses too, proving that it’s not just analogue vs. digital but it’s also important to consider the type of paper transport employed and whether it makes sense to use sheetfed/cut-sheet or web-fed/continuous feed.

The inkjet drupa (again)
If 2008 was The Inkjet drupe then what will 2012’s predominant digital theme be? It will be the inkjet drupa, again. “2008 was the inkjet concept drupa, 2012 will be the inkjet delivered drupa,” predicts Fujifilm Europe Graphic Systems Marketing Communications Manager, Graham Leeson. “On show will be more inkjet machines for many more applications.” In the past four years, inkjet has made significant inroads into the digital printing market and is set to continue.

“In 2008, high-speed production inkjet printers only accounted for about 10 percent of the global digital colour print volume,” says InfoTrends Group Director Jim Hamilton. “That figure is rising rapidly and by drupa 2012 will be a quarter of the total volume and by 2014 will be more than a third.”

Developments in continuous feed inkjet have been rapid with most suppliers such as HP moving from a single machine to a range of widths, speeds and capabilities. Tribute believes that the next category of inkjet presses to emerge will be for more affordable continuous feed products with a speed of 50mpm with a price tag of $500,000, extending the range of printers who will buy the devices, the applications they are used for and the volumes of print produced using this technology.  But what of the cut sheet B2 inkjet machines? Leeson explains: “Continuous feed got off to a quicker start after the last show because the quality requirements and therefore technology employed is less cutting-edge than for sheetfed.”

The question is, will Fujifilm’s and Screen’s machines be joined by other B2 sheetfed inkjet machines? At the time of writing it was too early to call, although there will be developments. The picture that is emerging is that the next generation of digital (inkjet) presses, which we may see at drupa 2012, will be aimed at the applications that are currently the mainstay of the market, and as such are produced on B2 sheetfed offset presses. However, just because that is the form factor of the leading litho technology, doesn’t mean that it necessarily follows that whatever replaces the B2 offset press as the printing industry’s workhorse needs to be the same in all respects except the imaging method.

Automation and integration
Regardless of the printing processes employed joining up – that is integrating – the ordering, managing, producing and distributing a job are crucial to meet demands for lower cost, more effective and faster to market printed products. Once those processes are integrated, it also makes it easier to automate them. “One key aspect of digital print that is often overlooked is its ability to be used in automated workflows,” says Jim Hamilton. “Reducing operator intervention and expanding the tasks that a single operator can handle holds critical importance in today’s production environments.”

But it’s not just in production where the benefits can come from automation and integration. As run lengths reduce and the number of jobs swell administration and customer service become increasingly significant costs of each job, putting the emphasis onto upstream systems and how you deal with clients. “We will continue to see further automation in the workflow, and more integration of systems, especially beyond the walls of the business to customers and between content systems and business processes,” says Agfa’s Hilsdon.

Hybrid printing, more than the sum of the parts
There is undoubtedly competition between digital and analogue print processes. The wise visitor to drupa will investigate thoroughly the latest developments – whether it is offset’s shift to shorter runs, or digital’s migration to higher volume – which may mean that they need to reconsider their own production capabilities. At the same time, it is becoming clear that it isn’t just an either or situation but as Kodak’s Cullimore said it’s the & drupa. There are benefits of using the two technologies together. That may be in hybrid printing systems that use digital to overprint variable data onto offset, or by running both analogue and digital presses and routing the work to the most appropriate for that job.

“The transformation of printed pages to digital is not a jump from analogue, it includes blending and merging,” argues Cullimore. “For some printers it’s just not possible to move their applications totally digital, hybrid systems that use digital to customise higher-volume products, can add something to litho. 

Goss’ Greg Norris adds: “We see an opportunity to integrate web offset with digital print in hybrid systems.” While there may still be a battle between the two processes in certain sectors, there is also agreement that they each have strengths, and the best approach is to combine them.

 “We describe the job splitting between offset and digital printing as follows: printers can use their offset press for long-run jobs,” says manroland VP of Corporate Marketing and Communications, Thomas Hauser. “Consequently, when they also have a digital printing press, their offset operations are more profitable. The workflow is the central point in a mixed production environment. We want our customers to use existing workflows with a joint metadata workflow that controls the digital printing press and finishing equipment. Thus offset users can remain in their familiar environment with the digital printing press seamlessly integrated in the offset dataflow.” 

manroland isn’t alone in that. While it’s partnership with Oce may have been the first to be announced between an offset and a digital vendor it was followed by Heidelberg teaming up with Ricoh, and KBA with RR Donnelley, the former to resell Ricoh digital printers to complement offset and the latter to develop new digital printing platforms that combine KBA’s prowess for building presses with RR Donnelley’s digital and hybrid printing experience and intellectual property. There may yet be more alliances where firms that were thought of as adversaries become partners.

“To benefit from a trade show, one needs to  get away from the day-to-day pressures of business and  take the chance to meet people and exchange ideas,” says Canon’s David Preskett. “You can see applications, you can network allowing you to share information.  Big exhibitions are one of the few opportunities to get away from your business and gain a clear insight to future business ideas and innovation.”

Canon’s Preskett adds: “I think it’s difficult to call a theme. It only really becomes apparent a few days into the show when it becomes clear what it is that the visitors have come to see.“ 

Whether it’s automation drupa, the & drupa, the cross-media drupa, the inkjet drupa, the litho strikes back drupa, the transformation drupa, or any other drupa, the show is what you make it. To make the most of it you have to be there to experience first-hand, to form your own opinions and to take away what is relevant to your business. It’s your drupa, see you in Dusseldorf.

Frank Romano’s drupa through the ages:

1972 - The small commercial press drupa
1977 - The colour electronic prepress drupa
1982 - The phototypesetting drupa
1986 - The fully-composed-film drupa
1990 - The digital drupa
1995 - The improved productivity drupa (CTP, DI, digital colour printing)
2000 - The press and workflow automation drupa
2004 - The JDF drupa
2008 - The inkjet drupa
2012 - The inkjet on steroids and inline finishing drupa

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