We are ready to capture the print zeitgeist at Drupa. Are you?

After eight years of waiting, Drupa 2024 has finally arrived. Noel D'Cunha and Rahul Kumar offer a glimpse into the event.

27 May 2024 | By Rahul Kumar & Noel D'Cunha

Drupa 2024 begins on 28 May

Drupa 2024 is here. And PrintWeek is all set to provide you with comprehensive coverage. Some of us will be heading to Dusseldorf, Germany, to cover the event from May 28 to June 7. We hope to see you there.

For those who are not able to attend, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. We will send out updates via email bulletins, and our next issue will have bumper Drupa coverage featuring everything from hot new launches to special deals.

There are 61 Indian companies at Drupa this year, making a big impression on the global stage. Among them are recognised international brands and up-and-coming companies. It’s a great mix, with machine manufacturers like Acme, Alpna, Bindwel, Manugraph, NBG Printographic Machinery and TPH, packaging giants like Uflex, speciality film leaders like Cosmo, and rotogravure press manufacturers Pelican, CI flexo press manufacturer Echaar Equipments, and paper supplier Zalani Papers. We can’t wait to see what they have in store.

PrintWeek and Drupa

On the occasion of our 16th anniversary, we must acknowledge our special connection to Drupa. Our very first issue of PrintWeek was published in May 2008, during a Drupa year. As expected, the cover story was about Drupa.

Team PrintWeek was present at Drupa in 2012 and 2016, covering the events extensively.

In 2012, the focus was on embracing the brave new world of digital technology. On these very pages in June 2012, Ramu Ramanathan, editor of PrintWeek, wrote: “In the past four years, the world of print has evolved; at times, it has been revolutionised. One of the mantras I kept hearing during the four years is to develop new revenue streams because it is important and vital. The evolution of digital print opened up new markets in India. The first time I detected this was at a photo fair trade show. The number of vendors plus photo album print firms – big and small – and the sheer number of visitors at the stalls was astounding. It was clear that processing photos, which was the domain of the photo lab, had shifted to digital print. The digital camera was a catalyst to the change, as well as internet connectivity and broadband availability, which radicalised front-end operations in print-land.”

Drupa 2016 had a strong focus on inkjet, 3D printing, hybrid presses, functional printing, and industrial printing. The event explored the possibility of print connecting to the internet of things. Benny Landa, the chairman of Landa, stated that “Drupa 2016 will be remembered as the inflexion point in the industry’s transition from mechanical printing to digital.”

The outbreak of Covid-19 had a significant impact on many events, leading to changes in their schedules. One such event was the 2020 edition of Drupa, which was disrupted just a few months before it was due to open. The period spanning from 2020 to 2024 was marked by challenges, including economic recovery, as well as personal struggles for many due to the pandemic. We have been sharing this unfolding story with you and will continue to keep you informed. Additionally, we have been reporting on new technology advancements and investments.

Drupa 2024 – tapping the future

Drupa 2024 will mark the 13th edition of Drupa. The first Drupa was held more than 50 years ago, in 1951. Experts suggest that this event is comparable to the Olympic games, as it showcases the world’s leading suppliers of machines, materials, software, and services for the industry. However, unlike the Olympics, Drupa is always held in the same venue. For those who have never attended Drupa, it is held in 17 halls, each slightly larger than a football field.

Drupa 2004 is expected to attract around 3,70,000 visitors. Visitors from Asia, particularly China and India, are expected to outnumber those from Germany and Central Europe.

It’s difficult to pinpoint one specific theme that can define Drupa 2024, says Geldermann in an interview with PrintWeek. She adds that the excitement and anticipation for the global community will be higher than ever before, as it has been eight years since the last event. “The industry expects groundbreaking technologies and product premieres, making Drupa 2024 the most significant trade fair of the year for the global print and packaging industry. The conference and exhibitor stages will focus on global megatrends such as sustainability, circular economy, digitalisation, automation, AI, and robotics. Additionally, digital printing technologies, digital packaging, finishing solutions, and new materials will be highlighted.”

During the International Media Pre-Drupa Conference in Dusseldorf, 19 company representatives presented various themes affecting the printing industry. These companies explained how the new releases have been designed to address these issues, focusing mainly on sustainability, digitisation, and the shortage of skilled operators. The CEO of Koenig & Bauer, Dr Andreas Pleßke, and the Drupa committee chairman, shared his thoughts on the trends impacting the global printing technology industry. During the opening roundtable discussion, he emphasised sustainability, which he believed was unique in the printing industry. “Unlike other industries, sustainable practices can help reduce waste, energy, ink, and overall costs.

Therefore, promoting sustainability within the industry is both necessary and financially beneficial.”

And there are products for everybody. Every supplier will be riding on the bandwagon of connectivity, connectivity, cloud computing, APIs, IoT, and automation through the use of data to improve printshop operations and increase competitiveness.

There are numerous options available, including flexo, offset, digital, software, robots, binding, substrates, and consumables. You will also have the opportunity to see samples, applications, and promises of sustainability, productivity, and user-friendly machines and software.

We think there are many good reasons to go to Drupa: to find inspiration and learn.

(PrintWeek is a cooperating media partner at the show. The team comprising Noel D’cunha and Rahul Kumar will be present on all eleven days of the show)

Tags : Drupa 2024;