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Buyer's Guide on Sheetfed Offset Presses

04 January 2012

Despite the gloomy news about Manroland, big manufacturers will gear up to showcase a raft of offerings at Drupa 2012, forecasts Sachin Shardul

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With Drupa, the industry’s suppliers have started to announce, and possibly deliver, many new or upgraded products that will give an insight into the direction that print will take in the future.

Visitors to Heidelberg’s stand at Drupa 2012 will walk through an ‘innovation gallery’ showing a glimpse of potential future developments.

Stephan Plenz, board member, hailed the market success of the 16,500sph Speedmaster CX102, first shown at Ipex 2010. Heidelberg will deliver its 1,000th unit by the end of this year. “Lots of printshops want the technology of the XL but don’t have the full need for that peak performance.”

He hinted that rumours that a B2-version CX75 would be among Heidelberg’s Drupa launches could prove accurate. “This concept is so successful that some even try to copy it. So why should we stop doing it?”

Plenz added: Lots of customers were interested in the Anicolor technology in formats other than B3.

Heidelberg is also on track to complete the worldwide market launch of its digital printing partnership with Ricoh with the show.

I suspect, we will also see the start of the B2-format digital sheetfed market that was first previewed by Fujifilm and Screen at the last Drupa. I expect to see operational versions of their presses at Drupa, but don’t be surprised if there are other B2 presses using toner technology from at least one major player.

A major area in which we are seeing traction in India is packaging, which is still a growth area worldwide for the printing industry.

We will see many new developments in printing and finishing, but also in workflow, using the internet to allow tight integration right back into the creative departments of the brand owners to fully integrate the planning and management of new packaged products from early concept to delivery to the final customer.

Manroland will dominate Drupa. The insolvency filing was sad and indicated a massive reduction in its core market from 2008. This included a 54% drop in sales, together with a 48% drop in incoming orders.

We spoke to a member of BMPA’s Share to Benefit, who said: “If one of the big players like Manroland can go under, it shows that the industry is in a very serious situation. However, I am confident that if they do go, it will not happen overnight and I also believe that Manroland’s aftercare service would continue as a separate division. Personally, I think someone – like one of the big manufacturers – will step in.”

The conclusion that one has to come to is that Drupa will be the show that defines the future structure of print in how it changes from being an industry that puts marks on paper, to an industry that is a critical part of a total design, information, manufacturing and delivery process for a range of products.

Besides the new XL 105-P, which will be Heidelberg’s Drupa exhibit, I expect KBA, Komori, Ryobi, Mitsubishi among others to launch a raft of offerings next year.

 


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