Drupa Dialogue with Hans Werner Reinhard: "Drupa is at the heart of global printing"

Deputy managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, Hans Werner Reinhard tells Samir Lukka about the technology presentations at Drupa as well as the focus on print buyer requirements and end-user solutions

01 Feb 2012 | By Samir Lukka

Messe Düsseldorf claims Drupa 2012 to be the biggest ever? Please elaborate.
This is not quite accurate. Drupa 2012, will be the first event to be on a smaller scale than its previous events. However, – and this is the decisive factor – Drupa 2012 reflects the complete global market supply for the print and media industry. With over 1,800 exhibitors and an occupied area measuring around 1,70,000 sq/mts, once again Drupa 2012 will be a packed event. All 19 halls on the exhibition grounds are fully-booked. Both, global players and small innovative companies or operators from emerging countries will be represented at Drupa 2012.

Is this Drupa’s decisive unique selling proposition?
Where else - other than at the Drupa trade fair - can you gain such a detailed overview of what the industry has to offer. Drupa is not only a source of stimulus and a growth motor in the industry. Drupa is right at the heart of the global print and media industry.

Who are the key exhibitors?
Allow me to arrange the name dropping into the overall concept. In this way, the suppliers of digital solutions play an even more important role than at Drupa 2008. Correspondingly, another hall has been added for this segment. Without doubt, the prominent names here are: Agfa, Canon, Kodak, Epson, Fujifilm, Hewlett-Packard, Konica Minolta, Ricoh, Screen and Xerox. Also in the area of processing, there is a clear trend for more space. The exhibitors have increased their space by 100%. Especially noteworthy here are Horizon, Muller Martini and Kolbus. Additional flagships of Drupa 2012 are: Bobst, Cerrutti, Ferag, Heidelberg, KBA Mitsubishi, Print City and Windmoller & Holscher.

Apart from the display of machinery and demos what else is Drupa 2012 offering?
With its specialist supporting programme including the Drupa Innovation Park, Drupa Cube presented by digi:media, Highlights Tours and Media Mundo, Drupa 2012 boasts of having a special advantage for its visitors. Whilst technology takes the centre stage in hall 7 of the Drupa Innovation Park, in the neighbouring hall (7A) of the Drupa Cube, attention turns to the topic of application, new business areas and business models. The main target group is print buyers from the marketing, publishing, production and creative sectors. However, even print service providers are sure to find at least one topic day that is of interest to them.

The programme in the Drupa Cube is divided into individual topic days. The symposia before lunch present the most widely varying topics: Each day has its own designated motto. For example, magazine day, book day, day of dialogue marketing, packaging day or corporate communication day. Alternatively, visitors can learn about relevant technology in the Drupa Innovation Park. Similarly, the Highlights Tours provide very practical information regarding exhibitors’ offers. The tours deal with ten current topic areas and take the visitors to relevant exhibitors during the guided tour.

What is the Media Mundo show?
The special show Media Mundo, makes use of around 200 sq/mts of exhibition space, exploring the topic of sustainable media production and offering live discussions and interesting presentations given by experts and industry giants. This is all part of an alternating thematic exhibition, during which countless partners from the Media Mundo initiative, as well as companies and organisations can inform and inspire their listeners.

How much print business will or can Drupa 2012 generate for Indian printers?
Even if this cannot be put into figures, I am certain that Drupa 2012 will have a great influence on the Indian printing and media industry. At the last Drupa alone, more than 13,000 visitors came from India and used the business and technology platform Drupa to get information and make investment decisions. This will not be any different in 2012. We expect a similarly great – if not greater – interest from India. In addition: Many visitors also take the opportunity to travel throughout Europe as a tourist either before or directly after their visit to Drupa.

How have you made it easy for an Indian visitor to visit Drupa 2012?
The biggest advantage for the Indian visitors is our foreign agency on location in India. In Delhi and Mumbai, our subsidiary takes care of all of the concerns that Indian business people may have when they want to travel to Düsseldorf as an exhibitor or as a visitor.

Which technologies should the Indian printers look to invest in?
Each print service provider must decide for themselves in what business areas they would like to expand their business or in what areas they would like to re-invest. However, the basic principle applies: The more information provided and the more detailed the overview of available technology, the better a print service provider is positioned to set up its business successfully.

How different is Drupa 2012 to previous years?
Even more so than four years ago, the topics of workflow and automation have become focal points. Not only can a further development in technology be seen, but also the demands on the side of the print service providers have increased. In addition: Apart from technology-based presentations, Drupa 2012 exhibitors will elaborate on the requirements of print buyers and highlight the uses and solutions in greater detail than in previous years.

Is the revenue from trade shows increasing or decreasing?
Messe Düsseldorf, with its cyclical trade fair programme that is orientated towards the innovation cycles of the respective industries, is subjected to very substantial fluctuations in turnover. On a five-year-average, the Messe Düsseldorf Group achieves a positive development in turnover, not least due to our foreign trade fairs.

Do you see the India print industry showing growth? How do you rate it in comparison to the world market?
Both, China and India are growth engines for the printing industry. The publishing industry, boosted by the high demand for regional newspapers, continues to boom - despite the slight slowdown or stagnation recorded over the past two years. However, experts expect to see dramatic growth in the  need for investment, both in the area of sheetfed printing, digital printing and software solutions for print shop management, print machine management and the overall workflow.

How can the use of the internet improve the manner in which print is ordered and managed?
The print industry can benefit from using the internet. For example, by means of web-to-print applications, individual print orders may be requested and initiated online. Complex print projects, such as a centralised brochure production, can be carried out online with ease. In this way, a central advertising department, for instance, can deposit brochure templates on the server of the printing company so that individual branches are able to customise and produce the requested advertising material over the internet, ensuring that production is in compliance with the relevant design guidelines. Here, creativity knows no bounds. At the same time, web-to-print applications lead to a growing customer base. This includes customers who may not have even considered professional print production before. Standard products, which range from business cards to advertising flyers are available online at attractive transnational prices.

In India and worldwide, there are so many trade shows. In that sense, you’re competing with a lot of event companies throughout the world. How do you make your trade show stand out and create a bit of quality?
Yes, you are right. In fact, many trade fairs are organised for the print and media industry. They are all, however, very different in nature. Whilst the majority are of national, regional or perhaps continental significance, there really is only one truly global trade fair for the print and media industry - Drupa. No other trade fair attracts so many international visitors and exhibitors. For the last Drupa alone, 2,30,000 visitors from approximately 140 countries came to Düsseldorf – not to even mention the 1,60,000 visitors from Germany.

So what you are suggesting is, in regard to the exhibitors, the internationality of the range on offer is a clear indicator of the leading position Drupa holds.
That is the decisive factor. The national and regional trade fairs are key for these markets and they will always remain vitally important. The complete global market supply and the international megatrends of the future can only be presented by the top trade fairs for their respective industries.

Is 2012 the last Drupa?
Should the Mexican Maya calendar be right, the world will come to an end this year. Then – and only then – there would be no more Drupa in the future. As you can see: A completely speculative scenario.