VisitorSpeak: Faheem Agboatwala's Drupa 2024 impression

Faheem Agboatwala, managing director of Hi-Tech Printing Services, Mumbai, shares his experience of visiting Drupa 2024 with PrintWeek

05 Jun 2024 | By PrintWeek Team

Agboatwala: I look forward to the industry's ongoing developments and the evolving dynamics of global trade and technology

I just returned from Drupa this morning after spending four days at the event. As I reflect on my experience, a couple of important observations are important to note. Firstly, I was surprised by the significant amount of space, around 20-25%, at the venue. I had anticipated a bustling event with every stall occupied, but this was not the case.

Additionally, I couldn't help but notice the absence of representation from India and China, with only a few attendees from these regions. The lack of presence from innovative small businesses, particularly those offering unique products and software, was more striking. High costs may have deterred many from participating, as I heard numerous complaints about the expenses involved in attending the event.

From the analogue perspective, I found no groundbreaking announcements at Drupa. Despite this, I was impressed by the serious demeanour of the attendees present. Clearly, those in attendance were genuinely invested in the industry and not just there for leisure.

One intriguing aspect I noticed was the growing dominance of China and India in the post-print sector. This observation sparked my curiosity about the future of European manufacturers in this space and how they might adapt to the changing landscape.

A particularly optimistic highlight for me was the democratisation of robotic technology, especially the cost-effective use of robotic arms for pick-and-place operations by companies like Pratham Technologies. This showcased that advancements in automation were not limited to Western companies, with Chinese and Indian firms embracing this technology at a more affordable price point.

Reflecting on my experience at Drupa, I couldn't help but feel a sense of concern. The event left me with a cold and somewhat underwhelming atmosphere. Looking ahead, I predict a further shift towards India and China in terms of technology and machinery and the landscape of future industry exhibitions. If Drupa fails to adapt and expand its presence in the East, I fear, it may face a decline similar to that of Ipex.

As I wrap up this reflection on my time at Drupa, I look forward to the industry's ongoing developments and the evolving dynamics of global trade and technology.

Wishing you pleasant days ahead.