Print’s rebrand gets strengthened at the Pre-Drupa International Media Conference [Part II] - 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. Second report in this two-part series. Read on...

14 Apr 2024 | By Noel D'Cunha

Esko, X-Rite, Pantone and Enfocus to co-exhibit at Drupa 2024

Esko, X-Rite, Pantone, and Enfocus will be present in a single stand. Joel Depernet, president of Esko; Jan De Roeck, marketing director, Esko; and Antoine Preisig, VP & GM regional business, X-Rite, outlined the four companies' presence at Drupa.
Together, these four operating companies are part of Veralto’s product quality and innovation segment, which helps customers safeguard everyday essentials, including protecting the food supply chain, enabling the delivery of pharmaceuticals, and ensuring product quality, freshness, and consistency. 
Esko is introducing sCloud, a new multi-tenant cloud-native platform that connects its existing applications, ArtPro+, ArtiosCAD, and the award-winning Phoenix, to Cape Pack and Automation Engine, providing 24/7 real-time access to live data and resources. 
Esko will also release the CDI Crystal 'Quartz Edition', which is built for flexo print quality. 
Additionally, Esko is introducing the Varnish Inspection Module for Esko AVT Helios, which detects varnish issues simultaneously with print defect detection.
X-Rite will launch Autura Ink, a cloud-based ink formulation software that streamlines all aspects of ink formulation, storage, retrieval, and quality control for various printing inks. Autura Ink includes BestMatch technology and better assortment management.
Additionally, X-Rite is expanding the capabilities of PantoneLive with Private Library Manager, which allows packaging brands to add custom brand colours to the PantoneLive digital colour library suite for better colour uniformity across products and communications. X-Rite's suite of solutions allows for easy and secure sharing of colour data for a connected workflow.
Finally, as partners in Drupa Touchpoint packaging, Esko and X-Rite will be prominently featured at the touchpoint packaging booth in Hall 3. Visitors can expect engaging customer presentations as part of the conference program and a fully functional setup of a virtual store utilizing Esko Store Visualiser. This will offer attendees an immersive experience.

Step into Ricoh’s Henkakuverse at Drupa 2024

The head of commercial print operations EMEA at Ricoh Europe, Eef de Ridder, shared the company's plans for Drupa. Ricoh will introduce a new scalable workflow and production automation software solution that will streamline pre-press processes and reduce labour costs.
Ridder said at Ricoh’s Drupa stand, visitors will be invited to experience the Henkakuverse, a virtual production environment where they can learn how Ricoh’s leading-edge technologies can benefit their print operations.
The event will showcase new printing technologies, including the Dragon - the Ricoh Pro Z75 B2 sheetfed digital inkjet press, the first B2 perfecting sheetfed inkjet platform using aqueous ink. Another technology is the Ricoh Pro Harpy Eagle digital colour high-speed inkjet webfed press (also known as VC80000), which offers consistent high print quality and productivity. The new Jaguars range of digital colour sheetfed presses aims to increase operational efficiency and revenue streams, empowering commercial printers with labour-saving automation. It will be complemented by the five-colour Ricoh Pro C7500 digital colour sheetfed press. 
Ricoh's software area will focus on production automation, offering cloud-based and on-premise solutions to improve efficiency. They offer software solutions that automate workflows, such as Ricoh TotalFlow Producer, Ricoh Supervisor, and FusionPro. Ricoh also offers professional services consultancy, including colour management support. The award-winning Ricoh Auto Color Adjuster ensures high-quality results, providing precise colour management without the need for a specialist.


At the Conference on 26 March 2024, Heidelberg CEO Dr Ludwin Monz shared updates about Heidelberg’s presence at Drupa. 
Dr Monz said the printing industry is facing three major challenges - increasing cost pressures, a shortage of skilled workers, and growing sustainability requirements. “Heidelberg will showcase a range of innovative solutions at Drupa under the theme – Unfold Your Potential.” He added, “The focus will be on helping customers optimise their business potential by leveraging the latest technologies and services.”
Heidelberg's new-generation Speedmaster XL 106, which will be unveiled at Drupa, promises up to 20% higher productivity compared to previous solutions. “The Speedmaster XL 106 can run at speeds of up to 21,000 sheets per hour and improve reliability with consistent output over 10 years,” said Dr Monz.
Markus Leichtle, senior manager of industrial packaging at Heidelberg, joining Dr Monz, said the new press has added features like a new drying system which reduces energy consumption by up to 15% and less powder emissions, reduced powder and waste emissions that are better for sustainability.
The company will also showcase the Boardmaster, a flexographic web printing system that sets new productivity standards in the packaging printing industry. With a maximum printing speed of 600 meters per minute and up to 90% machine availability, the Boardmaster reduces the total cost of ownership in industrial packaging production.
The printing industry is also grappling with a shortage of labour and skilled workers. Heidelberg offers solutions that automate products and processes and training for print shop staff. “For instance, the fully automated Plate-to-unit plate logistics on the Speedmaster XL 106 and the new P-Stacker robotics solutions for post-press operations are two examples of this in commercial printing,” said Dr Monz. The new-generation Speedmaster XL 106 also supports cluster production, where a single operator can control an entire machine park.
At the Heidelberg site in Wiesloch-Walldorf, the focus will be on highlighting the business potential across the company's entire product range. Heidelberg will showcase its full range of presses and software solutions for all market segments, including commercial and packaging to label printing, sheetfed offset, digital and flexo printing, and products for small companies to fully automated production lines.

Kurz’s We create the future at Drupa

Stephane Royere and Markus Hoffmann from Kurz gave an engaging presentation to unveil what Kurz will showcase at the Drupa event.
Kurz's theme for the event is rethinking what's possible. It is divided into five themed areas: creativity and technology, desire and budget, virtuality and reality, security and style, and design and sustainability. Kurz will present these themes under six initiatives.
Hoffmann stated that thinking outside the box and re-evaluating what is feasible is crucial for sustained success. “We cannot afford to remain stagnant and depend on past successful strategies. It is important and necessary to ask ourselves tough questions in every aspect. We take pride in adopting this mentality to elevate the potential of our outcomes."
The Kurz initiative includes the Wow Silverline foil; digital metal, the Beast, which combines digital printing with a coating and metal-transfer process to create metallised surfaces, even for small runs or individual prints; the cost-effective Ecofin foil; a new software called "Dream Composer" for designing embellishment mock-ups; a device to print security features called Single Image Offset; and Kurz's sustainability initiatives such as reducing plastic usage and recycling waste.
Kurz will also be represented at Drupa at the Packaging, Sustainability and Textile Touchpoints in order to pass on its concentrated expert knowledge to customers and interested parties. T
Royere and Hoffmann also invited Drupa visitors to Kurz's stand, especially its beer garden.

Miraclon's Drupa line-up set to ensure modern flexo technology for packaging printers

Chris Payne, CEO of Miraclon (l) and Emma Weston, chief marketing officer, said Miraclon will showcase 12 case studies of packaging printers and brands that have implemented modern flexo processes using Miraclon's flexo plate technology to realise significant financial and sustainability benefits.
Payne said that Miraclon, through the delivery of critical technology and knowledge, is a key enabler of the transformation to modern flexo printing. “This process enables consistent, highly capable, efficient, and sustainable printing.” Visitors to the booth can experience 12 case studies of commercial success and nine new product innovations that build on the strength of core Flexcel NX technology.
Payne emphasised the benefits of modern flexo printing, highlighting that it is a standardised, sustainable manufacturing process that builds on traditional capabilities, practices, and processes. "Printers, under increasing pressure from brands to be more efficient and sustainable, are invited to visit the Miraclon booth. Here, they can see, learn, and experience how Miraclon, in collaboration with our network of valued partners, can help them develop a practical plan for success."
Weston informed that Miraclon will showcase its newest innovations, which build on and strengthen the core Flexcel NX Technology to put printers on a clear path towards modern flexo. These include the Flexcel NX Ultra 42 Processor, which offers a key proof point for achieving a high-volume, low-maintenance plate production environment. The Shine LED lamp kit is a simple and cost-effective path to exposure to UV LED plate, making an even more consistent flexo plate.
Additionally, Miraclon will preview the next-generation Flexcel NX plate and Flexcel NX Ultra plate technologies, which are LED-optimised and offer even cleaner printing for greater efficiency and sustainability benefits.
Miraclon’s technical and commercial experts will be available to guide customers towards business success.

Highcon’s new digital die-cutting solutions line-up for Drupa

Shlomo Nimvodi, CEO of Highcon, and Simon Lewis, vice president of Strategy and Marketing at Highcon, have announced that the company is mainstreaming digital die-cutting to respond to the growing demand for smaller production batch sizes, faster delivery, increased sustainability, and enhanced customer experience. To cater to the global market, Highcon focuses on productivity, efficiency, and quality.
With the optional new Beam Writer for offline writing of Dart foils, the new Highcon Beam 3 can produce around 50% more per shift than the Beam 2 while delivering higher and more consistent quality for folding cartons.
The new Vulcan, a next-generation system with a sheet size of 1.4x1.7 (55-x66-inch"), is still under development for corrugated packaging and display. It will enable the full benefits of digital die-cutting to mainstream corrugated production.
The Highcon Beam 2C, a reliable and efficient solution, has been upgraded to deliver up to 50% enhanced productivity when paired with the optional Beam Writer. This upgrade improves Highcon's product offering and facilitates the expansion of its footprint in the short- and medium-run corrugated market, especially for POS and web-to-pack, thereby increasing its market share.
The new Highcon Beam Writer, which is compatible with all Highcon Beam systems already installed, allows customers to create creasing rules using Highcon's proprietary DART system and 5th Generation Consumables offline. The Beam Writer can free up more than 16 hours of Beam capacity or two full shifts for every 100 jobs per month, improving productivity and increasing capacity.

New Landa S11 and S11P presses at Drupa

Benny Landa, the founder of Landa, shared the history, including founding Indigo, selling to HP, starting Landa Labs to develop nanotechnology, discovering applications for printing, and returning to printing with demographic process during the Conference.
Gil Oron, CEO of Landa, Sharon Cohen, chief business officer, and Nir Zarmi, SVP growth and strategy at Landa, revealed their latest B1 digital print technology, the Landa S11 and S11P nanographic printing Presses. 

Oron said that these new models offer a print speed of 11,200sph, resulting in superior economics for customers looking to increase productivity while reducing job turnaround times.
The new Landa presses will be commercially available at Drupa 2024, and will feature artificial intelligence technology. They will also come equipped with a new PrintAI module, which enhances print quality and is suitable for even the most demanding folding cartons, commercial print applications, micro text, and other brand protection features. “With PrintAI, businesses can explore additional profit-generating opportunities,” emphasised Oron.
Landa has 55 installations of the Landa S10 and S10P, 25 of which were sold in 2023.
Oron said, “As a mature and proven technology platform, we’re proud that 55 Landa presses are now at the heart of many businessesin14 countries around the world - with more than 20% of our customers having placed a repeat order for a second or third press. Considered a critical growth engine for folding carton converters, commercial printers, and point-of-purchase specialists, we’ve entered a new era of print production with nanography.  A time when previous technology limitations have been removed, and print buyers can finally have what they want when they want it–beautiful print with unlimited design potential produced economically, at market-leading turnaround times, and with the environment always in mind.”
Oron, Cohen and Zarmi also shared that a new Landa W11 is a work-in-progress press for flexible packaging and will be previewed at Drupa.

HP Indigo aims to bridge analogue-to-digital printing at Drupa

On the third day of the conference, Markus Weiss, general manager at HP EMEA, discussed market trends and HP’s Drupa plan.
Weiss began by sharing some market trends. The printing industry is facing challenges due to increasing job volumes and rising energy and material costs. Shortages in labour quality and availability are also becoming a challenge. He also mentioned that industry consolidation is happening in segments like labels and packaging. Customers, consumers, and governments are pressuring for sustainable practices. The future model for the industry is seen as hybrid digital and analogue production to balance costs and capabilities.
Only about 10% of printing is digital, representing significant growth opportunities. HP has identified flexible packaging as a fast-growing segment at 27% annually. Due to rising costs, there is a shift towards more regional sourcing and integrated supply chains.
Weiss then shared HP’s Drupa plan. HP is set to showcase some exciting improvements at Drupa, including enhancements to its HP Indigo 120k press, which will offer increased reliability, output, and ease of use through tools such as the new PQ Maestro AI quality calibration tool.
HP will also unveil its versatile new HP Indigo 18K press, which can print on a wide range of substrates. Additionally, HP will focus on core technologies, such as PageWide, ADP, and the upcoming LPX printing technologies.
HP will also demonstrate its future vision through automation, integration, and sustainability using solutions like its Intelligent Automation platform and autonomous mobile robot system.

Manroland Goss to combine technology and passion for future printing at Drupa

Manroland Goss, a provider of printing and finishing solutions, will showcase innovative and sustainable solutions at Drupa under the theme – We are print. We are web offset. We are more.
Manroland Goss' Wolfgang Hiesinger (in pic) and Frans Kriechbaum shared the company's details, including press installations. The company has been in business for over 175 years, has Euro 250-mn in revenue, and has over 3,000 printing presses worldwide.
Hiesinger said we would show the Varioman press to demonstrate why it is a "game changer" for the packaging industry. Visitors can see the media in action and learn more about its technical details and benefits. “He said, “The Varioman press is designed to address market trends such as the demand for more sustainable packaging solutions, flexibility in printing shorter runs, and technologies that reduce costs and improve efficiency so that customers can remain competitive.” He emphasised that the Varioman press can offset printing and produce high-quality packaging solutions on demand while keeping production costs low.
Kriechbaum emphasised that the Varioman press has an advantage over flexo presses because it has quick and easy plate changes, which reduces setup time to minutes instead of hours. “One customer is already using three Varioman presses for printing folded carton boards, and another is using three Varioman presses for the same purpose.” He also mentioned an example of a new Varioman press that produces paper-based envelopes in France.
Manroland Goss will also unveil a new variable-format pin folder for book printing. This cutting-edge technology offers efficient processing of different formats, even for short runs.
Additionally, Maintellisense, a predictive maintenance platform that uses smart data analytics, will be showcased. This new technology uses AI-based anomaly detection to optimise machine maintenance, detect impending downtimes early, and help solve problems.
Furthermore, Manroland Goss has partnered with Hubergroup, a global specialist for printing inks, to develop a sustainable solution for the flexible paper packaging industry. The result of this partnership will be presented at Drupa, and the future of packaging printing will be discussed in a panel discussion at Touchpoint Packaging.