After receiving over 300K visitors and housing more than 1.800 exhibitors in its 2012 edition, drupa comes back this year and opens its doors to the most important date for printing and cross-media professionals worldwide. Celebrated for the first time 4 years ago in Düsseldorf, Germany, the “Touch the Future” motto will gather representatives from over 50 countries together and will fill up the 19 halls reserved for the sector’s most important trade fair between May 31st and June 10th. Xerox has even drafted a brochure on how to make the most of your time at the event.
Despite welcoming an endless range of products, drupa 2016 has focused its organizational efforts upon cutting-edge technologies. As explained by Claus Bolza-Schüneman, Chairman of the drupa Committee, the Mega Trend of this year’s edition will be Print 4.0: “Print 4.0 enables individualisation and personalisation in digital printing (…) this digital networking of machines and systems offers the solution and guarantee for efficiency and competitiveness.” Moreover, one the added benefits of this year’s edition is the programme of accompanying technical events, comprised of drupa innovation park, drupa cube, PEPSO (Printed Electronics Products and Solutions), 3D fab + print and touchpoint packaging, so as to provide a more immediate contact with stakeholders and target groups.
No doubt, drupa is a must-attend event; a strategical space where 79% of the visitors are decision-makers. It is no surprise that drupa is the preferred place this year for introducing products as different as the IBS-100 all-in-one bar sensor developed by Q.I. Press Controls; Ricoh’s Pro 9100, Pro C7100, Pro 8100 printers and integrated solutions such as TotalFlow; the HBS 8.000 saddle stitcher by Hohner Maschinenbau; or automated gluing technologies (Melt-on-Demand) by Robatech, among others. Applied Artificial Intelligence companies, such as Sterling Print House, and especially MGI Digital Technology – which has created some overwhelming expectations – have decided to introduce more than one product throughout this essential trade fair.
Also, the 2016 drupa edition is being held in a singular industry situation. According to the Second drupa Global Trends Report, while “last’s years (industry revenues for 2014) expectations were not fully met across the globe (…) there was nevertheless a positive trend to invest more.” The Third drupa Global Trends Report released earlier this year claims that this year’s overview is patchier. However, forecasts for Africa, Austria/Oceania, Middle East and Asia are particularly promising, a fact that reaffirms the need of the industry for a global scope and viewpoint of its professionals, for which attending no.1 global touch points such as drupa is a key success factor. Anecdotally, drupa is switching to a 3 year-cycle from now on so as to respond to the industry’s changing landscape.
In terms of investment opportunities, drupa has a compelling call-to-action for it: “Let’s go phygital”. What they mean by it is that “physical and digital technologies as well as offline and online worlds are growing closer and closer together.” Physical means such as 3D printing equipment and supplies, and intangible, digitally-driven assets such as print management, or automated supply systems for pressroom consumables are some of the most powerful, and secure investment and partnership opportunities that will be widely available at drupa 2016, alongside more consumer goods-focused niches like green printing and packaging finishes.