18 exhibitors share their Drupa 2024 plan at the Pre-Drupa International Media Conference [Part I] - The Noel DCunha Sunday Column

Messe Dusseldorf hosted a three-day Pre-Drupa International Media Conference in the newly built media hall in Messe Dusseldorf. 72 print journalists from 33 countries participated in the conference where 18 print equipment manufacturers and software companies presented their plans for the 11-day show – Drupa, which opens on 28 May 2024. First report in the two-part series

07 Apr 2024 | By Noel D'Cunha

Messe Dusseldorf hosted a three-day Pre-Drupa International Media Conference in the newly built media hall in Messe Dusseldorf where 72 print journalists from 33 countries participated in the conference where 18 print equipment manufacturers and software companies presented their plans for an 11-day show – Drupa, which opens on 28 May 2024. A report
Opening the three-day Pre-Drupa International Media Conference Erhard Wienkamp, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, welcomed the journalist in a roundtable discussion with Messe Dusseldorf Drupa team members, Dr Andreas Pleßke and Sabine Geldermann.
Wienkamp said, “We started building the current building in 2016, but the pandemic hit us hard in 2020. We had to shut down all activities and rely on caravan trade shows to survive. Luckily, we were able to restart our business in 2022 and organized 23 events worldwide. We're happy to be back in business and excited for the upcoming technology show in May.”
Digitalisation is a topic dominating the industry, and Messe has also started implementing it into its management structure. Wienkamp informed, “We created a division embedded in the management board to do justice to our digital strategy and modernisation. Fortunately, this put us in a good position to immediately transition to remote work when the pandemic forced us to close our offices. For our clients, digital utilisation is crucial in transforming our company and making it more accessible to visitors and exhibitors. We have developed several tools, such as our 3D sensor and construction configurator, to make it easier for clients to access our services. We also have a matchmaking tool and other apps to assist clients.”
Sustainability is a hot topic these days. It's not just about the environment but also about the responsibility that companies have for the impact of their activities. “As a trade show company, we take this responsibility seriously. We act sustainably as an employer towards our employees and our community. We also support sustainable activities in our city. For example, we bring almost 1.2 million people into the city every year for our events. This is a great opportunity to communicate our sustainable message to a wider audience.,” said Wienkamp.
CEO Koenig & Bauer Dr Andreas Pleßke, wearing the hat as a chairman of the Drupa Committee, shared three trends which he thought were impacting the global printing technology industry.
Dr Pleßke said the first trend is sustainability, which is unique in our industry because it does not necessarily result in higher costs. “Unlike other industries, such as the building or car industry, sustainable practices can actually reduce waste, energy, ink, and overall costs. Therefore, we should promote sustainability within our industry, as it is both necessary and financially beneficial.”
He added that sustainability is everywhere. “Sustainability is driven not only by regulations but also by brand owners and young consumers. Promoting sustainability can enhance a company’s brand image and reputation. Additionally, young people, particularly social media users, are more likely to choose sustainable products. Therefore, promoting sustainability is a smart business decision and supports our responsibility as good corporate citizens.”
The second trend is digitisation, said Dr Pleßke, representing an efficient workflow supporting sustainability. “In the future, we hope to have a PDF with parameters that can be printed with the push of a button, just like a home office printer. We are moving towards achieving that vision, and the steps we take at Drupa will be in that direction.”
The third trend is skilled staff. “This is a problem not only in Germany but many other parts of the world. As equipment and requirements become more complex, upskilling our employees and customers becomes essential. The shortage of skilled staff can have a negative impact on growth, so we must focus on training and upskilling to support our industry's progress.”
Sabine Gelderrmann, Director Drupa, Portfolio Print Technologies, Messe Düsseldorf, shared what visitors can expect at Drupa. “We will showcase groundbreaking technologies, innovations, and trends. Our focus is on meeting the requirements of consumers and brand owners and manufacturing more sustainable solutions. We have five dedicated forums with outstanding speakers, experts, and brand owners inside and outside our industry. Touchpoint is one of the major hotspots showcasing the 30 best cases. The portfolio has shifted a lot, reflecting the continuous change in our industry and the potential we're seeing. Touchpoints include Packaging, Textiles, Next-age, and Cube. At the major stage in Hall 6, brand stories, future trends, business boosters, and five keynotes will be highlighted. Drupa reflects trends, and we take them seriously in our conference stages. The exhibitors do the same thing.”

Hybrid Software

(l-r) Mike Rottenborn, CEO and Christopher Graf, CMO

Hybrid Software,  developer of products and technology for both print providers and OEMs to power digital and conventional print production,  provided journalists an overview of its plans for Drupa 2024.
New at Drupa will be MyCloudFlow and MyPackz upgrades to its flagship Cloudflow and Packz software; a new 3D rendering software, Capture 3D; and ColorSpace, which combines the workflow expertise of Hybrid with the colour management technology to make colour management accessible to non-experts.
CloudFlow is Hybrid’s popular enterprise production workflow. The production workflow system provides fast and effective automation of prepress tasks for more than 1,000 customers worldwide.
All demos at Drupa will be run using MyCloudFlow, a 100% cloud-based SaaS solution running in a dedicated Amazon Web Services (AWS) cluster. The No-IT solution offers quick access to CloudFlow through a private and secure environment for each customer with strong data protection and immutable backups. “Like any SaaS solution, there is no hardware purchase and easy scalability without requiring local IT support.  The installed base of My CloudFlow users grew steadily through 2023 as print providers accepted the power of SaaS and the advantages it can bring to their businesses,” said Christopher Graf, CMO at Hybrid.
Packz, with over 5,000 copies sold, provides a full set of packaging prepress tools from preflight to step, repeat, and trapping. The new MyPackz offers the same functionality in a hosted SaaS business model for increased production efficiency, quality improvements and reduced error rates.  “It’s the ideal editing solution for CloudFlow customers since it allows their files to remain in the cloud at all times, even when editing is required,” said Graf.
Mike Rottenborn, CEO at Hybrid, introduced Hybrid’s ColorSpace premium colour management solution for labels and packaging. “ColorSpace is a prime example of a Hybrid Software’s 100% ownership of digital and conventional printing technology. Built on technology from its ColorLogic business, ColorSpace offers optimized colour matching for digital and conventional print to all users of Packz and CloudFlow.”
ColorSpace supports different colour spaces, including CMYK, extended gamut CMYKOGV and specific brand colour inks.
The other highlight at Hybrid’s stand will be the SmartDFE, a turnkey digital front end (DFE) for digital presses. SmartDFE directly RIPs digital jobs to the printhead drive electronics, eliminating the need for expensive disk arrays. “SmartDFE transforms the role of the inkjet printer. It not only helps OEMs build wider and faster digital presses, but also adds an outstanding print subsystem to a manufacturing operation or smart factory to produce mass-personalised products,” said Rottenborn.
The other product that will be featured at the Hybrid stand is the Xitron IntelliTrap workflow solution. In pre-press, trapping compensates for misregistration on the press by creating overlaps of ink where different colours touch in printed designs. To resolve this, pre-press operators typically rely on in-RIP trapping solutions that can result in insufficient control (especially with print jobs containing transparent layers) or manipulate the artwork manually. “Neither process is efficient,” said Rottenborn.  
Xitron’s next-generation trapping solution was co-developed with Hybrid Software to provide an extensive base of offset printing customers.” Increases in job throughput by as much as 70% have been seen—especially with complex artwork. IntelliTrap is the perfect platform for effectively applying trap settings in prepress and is fully configurable for all offset printing conditions,” informed Rottenborn.

 Fujifilm, AB Graphic International, Weigant and Koenig & Bauer are Hybrid's key partners at the Drupa show.


Team Fujilm briefly introduced Fujifilm and its graphic communication business. In April 2023, Fujifilm Group integrated its graphic communications business division with Fujifilm Business Innovation Corporation. This enabled the company to become a one-stop shop for solutions vendors from analogue offset printing to digital with the use of both inkjet and dry toner and towards DX solutions using workflow software.
The Fujifilm team also made a few key announcements.
Visitors to the Fujifilm stand can explore the Jet Press 750S and Revoria Press GC12500, which offer incomparable print quality and impressive paper versatility. Besides, two new mid-range production printers will be modelled on the hugely successful Revoria Press PC1120.
A new processless plates for offset printing and DX solutions for automation and streamlining with workflow software will be unveiled. The recently released Jet Press FP790, which brings innovation to the flexible packaging printing process, will also be seen in action.
Fujifilm will introduce the Aquafuze technology, a new water-based ink that prioritises safety and environmental considerations, and the addition of RxD Series, a pigment dispersion with high stability in the face of diversifying ink formulations spurred by digitalisation will be added to the Fujifilm portfolio. To round off, new products for printheads that enable versatility across a wide range of applications will showcase Fujifilm's commitment to sustainable production and its efforts to reduce its environmental impact.
Overall, Fujifilm will reiterate its commitment to innovation and business transformation while celebrating its 90th anniversary at Drupa 2024 with a global purpose theme: Giving our world more smiles.

Konica Minolta will be pushing boundaries with Drupa presence

During the Pre-Drupa International Media Conference, Konica Minolta unveiled more details of its Drupa presence. There, it plans to showcase 20 European premieres, digital transformation, and live running of the biggest machines it has ever shown.
According to Olaf Lorenz, general manager of international marketing at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, there are two main types of printing: traditional professional printing that uses toner-based technology and industrial printing that caters to all market segments and customer groups. “The industry is experiencing commercial consolidation, where larger companies are taking over smaller ones, leading to reduced profits for commercial printing businesses.”
He added, “Label printing is flourishing, and packaging has become crucial to product branding. Automation is becoming more personalised, with AI enabling deeper analysis of customer behaviour. The focus is on print equipment and the entire process from brand planning to logistics.”
At Drupa, Konica Minolta will showcase AI-driven automated production lines, a state-of-the-art webshop, the never-before-seen use of robotics and software solutions, and major advances in remote service engineering. The company will demonstrate various business scopes, from commercial printing to label printing, packaging, and industrial printing.
Konica Minolta has announced details of its next-generation AccurioJet 60000 inkjet press, which offers both-side printing capabilities at speeds of up to 6,000 sheets per hour.
“In our efforts to reach our key segments, we are focusing on AccuroPress C14000,” said Lorenz. Currently, KM has 2,100 units installed globally. Label printing, too, has become the core of KM’s print process, and 1,400 AccurioLabel presses are installed worldwide. “We are striving to reach 1500 machines globally by the time of Drupa.”
Konica Minolta and partner MGI (MGI Digital Printing Systems) will show how separate processes such as foiling, varnishing, printing, folding, and drying can be combined into just one fully integrated production run where MGI’s AlphaJet will be centre stage and show the benefits of a complete single-pass factory. “For customers, this will mean major savings in space requirements, power consumption and staff costs. Manual set-ups from different production engines will be combined into one completely automated system, including the use of software up to B1+ format size,” said Lorenz.
Various products will be showcased for the first time, including the Konica Minolta AccurioPress C84hc. This printer uses high-chroma toner, which produces consistently bright and vivid colors. It is the only platform in the world that uses this new toner, free of the restrictions imposed by the colour gamut of ordinary toners. Other new products include the Cobot-robotics arm, new options for the MGI JetVarnish 3DWeb 400, such as a JetSeal and inline die-cutter, and an updated version of the AccurioPro Colour Manager suite of software solutions.
“As a major player in digital production printing across so many markets, we will be demonstrating the advances that are the culmination of years of expertise and a relentless pursuit of excellence,” said Lorenz. “For commercial printers, we help them see the potential with growth and business expansion opportunities aligned with current dynamics.”

Koenig & Bauer to showcase its latest at Drupa

CEO Koenig & Bauer Dr Andreas Pleßke's presentation during the Pre-Drupa Conference said that the printing business is global and big. Quoting some statistics, Pleßke said, “The print industry employs more than 40-lakh employees worldwide, generates 9.50-lakh USD revenues in USD million, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4%. Relevance of the manufacturing industry will remain unchanged, and paper and printed products will continue to be of high value to society in the future.”
According to Pleßke, although there are many trends and uncertainties in the industry, such as the move away from plastic and towards more sustainable packaging materials, the general trend is towards growth in the packaging industry. “To capitalize on this growth, we have identified five key areas for expansion where we believe we can offer a superior solution to our competitors. These areas include post-press, where we invest heavily to stay ahead of the curve, and digital printing, where we see ourselves as a forerunner. We have digital printing machines on every substrate, including paper, cardboard, corrugated, foil, thin film, and metal, which sets us apart from our competitors. In short, we believe that our strategy is aligned with the market's direction and will help us continue to grow and succeed in the future.”
Ralf Sammeck, CDO at K&B, said the company will show new solutions for packaging conversion – rotary die-cutter, flatbed die-cutter, and folder-gluer. He added, “The industry really needs a good alternative, hence K&B developed these brand new machines.”
Some other key products and technologies that will be seen at Drupa include a Print Fusion workflow solution developed with partner Hybrid, digital printing solutions focused on performance tracking and optimisation, a digital printing machine for folding cartons from their joint venture with Durst, and software solutions for digitalisation, performance monitoring, and optimisation.
There will be live demonstrations of their end-to-end production capabilities.

KJet hybrid label press will take centre stage at Durst stand

Thomas Macina, sales director for label and packaging at Durst shared Durst's Drupa highlights. It includes a P5 SMP wide-format press with enhanced productivity of up to five-million-sqm per year; and a new water-based wide system for corrugated printing.
Durst also announced the next stage of the relationship with Omet – the 𝐊𝐉𝐞𝐭, which will be launched at Drupa. The launch of the 𝐊𝐉𝐞𝐭 follows an announcement at Labelexpo in Brussels extending the hybrid development partnership between the two organisations beyond the 𝐊𝐉𝐞𝐭 platform.

“The combination of digital with flexo offers an innovative hybrid solution that maximises productivity and flexibility, enabling printers to select between flexo or digital printing, thereby optimising efficiency and reducing costs while meeting evolving market demands such as personalisation and just-in-time deliveries in a single-pass,” Macina said.

“We have been leading the inkjet label printing market for many years and provide solutions for all label converters around the world, starting with entry-level solutions and moving up to industrial needs with 100 metres per minute and 510 millimetres wide,” Macina said. 

Epson will bring a slew of inkjet solutions

During a presentation titled 'Changing the model for localised production,' Epson's representative, Duncan Ferguson. vice president of commercial and industrial, Epson Europe and managing director of Epson UK & Ireland, explained how the company is working to deliver more compact and efficient printing solutions, with a focus on personalisation and technology to provide production at the point of demand. The presentation covered several areas:
Epson's latest industrial robust printhead, the D3000, is designed for aqueous and UV ink applications. It features a high-speed, single-pass, 1200 dpi resolution with nozzle-level recirculation and is tailored to a range of applications, such as flexible and corrugated packaging, folding cartons, labels, textiles, and decor.
Epson's new product design concept spans multiple platforms, including the space-saving design in Epson's 64-inch print format. The new platform includes replaceable printheads, improved environmental standards with more use of recycled plastic, reduced packaging, and easier-to-use features such as a large 4.3-inch user interface display, low profile and flat top design, media cleaner, and a media lifter allowing for single-person set-up.
Epson's new industrial SurePress labelling concept is aimed at both aqueous and UV ink-based label presses. “The new machine delivers even greater productivity and image quality with real-time nozzle detection, compensation, additional enhancement fluids, and optimisers,” said Furguson.
Epson's new direct-to-fabric printer, Monna Lisa 13000, integrates pre- and post-processes and is an affordable single-step printer with a smaller footprint. The printer uses sustainable pigment inks, deploys three pre- / post-treatment fluids for enhanced print durability, and offers a wider colour gamut, ensuring even higher print quality.
At Drupa, Epson will show its latest advanced dye-sublimation printer, SureColor F10000. This printer delivers productivity up to 255m2/h, 10L hot-swap inks (LcLm/FyFp), and self-replaceable parts for easy maintenance. The new printer comes with an optional 300kg jumbo roll (previously 60kg), ensuring continuous production and minimal machine downtime.
All running will be Epson's printers designed for personalisation and micro-production market, including the hybrid DTG/DTFilm SureColor F100, the A4 UV flatbed SureColor V1000, the A3 UV flatbed SureColor V2000, and the new micro-production SureColor F2200. The range of mini-lab (D1000, D500) and smaller dye-sublimation printers (SureColor F500 and F100) delivers multiple technologies that can be used on a wide variety of substrates for the personalisation market and can easily be accommodated in small back offices and tight retail spaces.
Epson's reconditioning program aims to repair, repurpose, and upgrade products on its customers' premises, establish a central facility for technical refurbishment work, collect and return customer products, reuse cartridges and printer parts, and collect cartridges that can be refilled with genuine Epson ink.
Furguson also revealed future developments, including support for more sustainable fashion using Epson's unique Dry Fiber Technology (DFT), which produces highly durable printable fabric from used garments without water. The renowned Japanese fashion designer Yuima Nakazato is using DFT to experiment with batches of cotton, polyester, and silk and plans to commercialise his range in 2024. Some examples of fashion items made from dry fibre fabric were on display during the presentation.

Canon will demonstrate the theme – The Power to Move

Canon’s senior director of European planning, marketing, and innovation, Jennifer Kolloczek, along with her colleagues Hans Schmidbauer, director of marketing for Canon EMEA, and Roland Stasiczek, director of product line management digital label printing, outlined Canon’s Drupa plan.
Kolloczek said, “Canon will be presenting its latest technologies at Drupa 2024, with the theme – The Power to Move. These technologies, coupled with Canon's expert teams, exceptional support services, and dynamic collaboration, will help print service providers (PSPs) transform their businesses. Canon will showcase its complete production print technologies portfolio, including sheetfed inkjet and toner presses, high-speed continuous inkjet production lines, flatbed and roll-to-roll wide format printers, and digital label printers.”
Drupa visitors will be the first to witness a range of significant innovations from Canon for Production Print, such as the first live preview outside Japan of the new LabelStream LS2000 water-based digital label press expected to be available in 2025. They will also witness the European debut of the new VarioPrint iX1700 sheetfed inkjet press, which will become available in 2025. Additionally, they will be able to explore the latest additions to the Canon ProStream and ColorStream ranges of high-speed, web-fed inkjet printers, i.e., the ProStream 2000 series and the ColorStream 8200. Visitors can also check out the new Arizona 2300 FLXflow flatbed wide format printer with PrismaElevate XL, the new ImagePrograf PRO series for photo and fine art printing, the new ImagePrograf GP series for impactful poster production, and more.
The exhibits on the stand will include the Canon ImagePress V series colour printers, the VarioPrint Titan and Quartz series monochrome printers, the Colorado M series and UVgel Print Factory, and Canon large-format technical documentation systems—all driven by the comprehensive Prisma suite of production workflow solutions.
Kolloczek concluded, “In the eight years since the last drupa exhibition, Canon has had the opportunity to work with a vast array of print service providers successfully and has established itself as the leader in overall production inkjet, attaining leading positions in the web-fed, sheetfed and wide format segments we serve. At Drupa 2024, we’re excited to share the fruits of our continuous investment in technology and business innovation with a global audience, and to present our most extensive portfolio yet of powerful digital production print, label and packaging technologies – ready to support our customers’ growth and diversification ambitions. We’ll also highlight the many collaborative partnerships that help us innovate, grow digital print adoption, and inspire meaningful changes towards a more sustainable future.”

Bobst unveils innovations on the road to Drupa 2024

On the second day of the Conference, Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of Bobst Group, unveiled his company's latest advancements across all industry segments – flexible packaging, labels, folding cartons, corrugated boards, and services. "These advancements aim to help customers thrive in the current and future packaging environment," Bobst said.
At Drupa 2024, visitors can experience a live show demonstration on a "concept machine" to see how Bobst is bringing its vision to reality by providing key solutions along the end-to-end production process. BOBST's industry storylines will also be featured.
Bobst launched two new features for Bobst Connect, its cloud-based digital platform, Workflow with Job and Recipe Management and Energy Monitoring. The former allows customers to integrate Bobst machines in their production workflows, while the latter helps measure energy consumption and costs in real time. Bobst has also announced the development of Bobst Application Management, a consulting service focusing on workflow automation, colour and process optimisation, end-to-end converting improvements, and regulatory compliance.
Bobst said, the company is committed to sustainability and aims to reduce waste, substrate, and energy usage by 10-20% in all new machines purchased in 2024.
Bobst shared segment-wise information about Bobst's Drupa plan.
In the flexible segment, SmartGravure and BOBST's intelligent Metallising Assistant are two new innovations that automate and digitalise the gravure printing and vacuum metallising processes, respectively. They increase productivity and output consistency, reduce complexity and downtime, and improve sustainability. ExpertLam 900 is a highly flexible coater and laminator that can be configured in different forms and is ideal for various applications.
In labels, Bobst will introduce new solutions that support a closed-loop workflow ecosystem from PDF to twin PDF, enabling faster job preparation and completion and a more connected production floor. They have also optimized their workflow with oneECG technology for the highest colour consistency between digital and flexo. Bobst has also introduced OneBarrier for UV-based inline flexo machines, which are dedicated to the production of high-barrier and recyclable applications on narrow-mid-web solutions.
In folding cartons, Bobst will introduce Expertcut 106, a new-gen die-cutter that enhances performance by up to 20% and has a positive impact on sustainability. It comes equipped with breakthrough functions such as Accuplaten, which reduces the patching effort during setting and increases the running speed.
TooLink is a digital platform that streamlines production flexibility, job turnaround times, and productivity by connecting machines and tooling. Soon available on folder-gluers, TooLink automates recipe management, improves tool quality, and ensures production quality.
Bobst offers solutions to improve end-to-end efficiency in the corrugated board industry. The company has introduced a wide range of robotic loading and palletising solutions, enabling seamless production lines. Bobst has also extended its FFG portfolio with machines that are ideal for converting RSC. Additionally, it has launched the Jumbo, a machine that ranges from a simple "printer-slotter" to a full line. The Masterflex HD+ is the new generation of reference flexo printer, which offers an 8% increase in productivity.

Kongsberg to enhance cutting tool standards

David Preskett, VP of EMEA and AP at Kongsberg, with his colleague Frank Adegeest, VP for product strategy and business processes, shared Kongberg’s Drupa presence.
Kongsberg Ultimate will be shown on its stand, highlighting its high acceleration, top speed, user-friendly interface, and other features. With its new drive technology, the Kongsberg Ultimate offers an acceleration rate of up to 2.74G and a cutting speed of 168 meters per minute. The platform promises to redefine standards, providing a fast ROI for corrugated board converters. “Engineered with our deep understanding of corrugated and display converters’ needs for precision, the Kongsberg Ultimate promises to redefine standards and usher in a new era of productivity and innovation, delivering a fast return on investment for convertors of corrugated board,” said Preskett.
Adegeest shared news about the new digital drawing and cutting machine, the Kongsberg C68 Exact. “It offers unparalleled precision and is designed for industries requiring high accuracy,” he said. The machine can precisely cut paper, plastics, and flexible materials with a surface measuring 3210 x 6400mm. “It is primarily built for the aviation industry and can be used for large format production of materials like PVC films, polyester sheets, masking films, drafting paper, and flexible foils,” Adegeest said.
Kongsberg will also have Multicam CNC routers and Kongsberg C tables to demonstrate their portfolio. Live demonstrations are planned with software partners to showcase various workflow applications. The aim is to inspire customers to maximise their return on investment from Kongsberg machines.
Kongsberg has an installation base of 15,000, 22% of which are in the APAC region, 43% in EMEA and 35% in the Americas. As far as sectors where these machines are installed, 43% are in the signage/display sector, 51% in packaging, 3% in Auto/Air, 2% in shipping and 1% in others.