Canadians rate this year’s drupa

Several Canadian companies, as well as international companies with locations in Canada, made the trip to Düsseldorf. Below are some timely comments from a few Canadian exhibitors and visitors. We also asked them to give the world’s largest printing industry trade show a rating – from ‘One Star’ (poor) to ‘Five Star’ (excellent). We wish we could have included every Canadian who made the trip, but we would need another entire issue for that!

Avanti Systems Inc. *****

“This was my first drupa and I was amazed by the number of people attending the show. We were demonstrating all day, every day in the HP and Xerox booths to what seemed like an endless number of countries from around the world. I was pleasantly surprised by the large number of Canadians and Americans who made the trip, including plenty of our customers. The Canadians, in particular, seemed to enjoy the German beer.” – Stephen McWilliam, Executive V.P.

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Konica Minolta *****

“I remember my first trade show in 1991 in Mississauga. Digital printing was in its infancy. Our primary objective was to find a duplicator – if I recall we opted for an 11″ x 17” AB Dick! The industry was changing – Mac’s, digital printing, colour toner! Wow, sure beat paste-up and photocopies! Fast forward 20 years – Internet, email, powerpoint, multi-channel marketing. Productivity per employee has gone through the roof despite business slowing down. But the wow factor seems to have slipped in Canada, if not the world.

When I arrived in Düsseldorf I could feel a shift in the air. The entire city was prepared and open. The commitment to the industry was wonderful to experience. I was so happy that I made the trip. Entering Hall 8B (Konica Minolta) was like going on a pilgrimage. It seems printers all over the world have a kinship, experiencing the same success, problems and concerns. It was great to see everyone talking and sharing ideas – and awesome to see our equipment married with exceptional finishing systems to produce tangible products. And, of course, the excitement of seeing the future – our KM-1 and the bizhub PRESS C1100. It instilled confidence about the future of printing.

Was it the Inkjet drupa all over again? I don’t know. Living and breathing digital all my life, it’s about what I expected, with overtones of web-fed, high-speed digital coming to the market and glimpses of 20″ x 29″ sheet-fed inkjet coming soon – masses of toner devices with new bells and whistles. And, of course, Landa with something totally different (like the flying car was in the sixties!). If anything, I’d say it was the “New Digital drupa.” The day will come soon when static or variable will not matter. It will all be digital. So what did I take away from this year’s event? The industry may be getting smaller, but it’s much better – and here to stay. Wow!” – Mike Pavia, National Product Manager, Production Print.

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Graphic Whizard Inc. ****

“While attendance was lighter, those who came seemed to be the decision makers with purchasing power. The first two to three days of the show were slow and we were wondering if perhaps we had made a mistake. By Sunday May 6, however, the number of visitors to our booth had increased. There was a steady stream of conversation and product demonstrations. By the last day, visitors from over 58 countries had visited our booth resulting in a great number of leads to pursue, numerous machines sold at the show and a large group of potential new Graphic Whizard dealers/distributors. We had a booth full of equipment: our CreaseMaster series, VividCoater UV Coating line, GW Series of Number/Perf/Score/Slit machines and the FM Perf/Score/Slit machines.

We also debuted new print finishing equipment including the new CreaseMaster prototype and a knife folder. A number of dealers attended and reviewed a new line of creasing/print finishing equipment that we will be distributing in North America. A few of those machines will be at OnDemand in New York this month and will be officially launched at Graph Expo in Chicago. I gave the show four stars but, with anticipated future business from show contacts, I expect it will reach five stars. It usually takes a few months. The beer and schnitzel, were definitely a 5.” – Elizabeth Allen, Graphic Whizard Inc.

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Ultimate Technographics ****

“Inkjet is one of the most important emerging technologies in our industry and we were showing our advanced imposition at the HP booth in its inkjet area. The crowds picked up after a few days and though the overall attendance was lower than in 2008, we still made excellent contacts and closed several sales. We expect more orders to come in the next few months. We met a lot of book printers from around the world as well as some of our key customers including Webcom from Toronto, Courier USA, and Rotolito Lombarda, Italy. I also noticed that visitors were interested in our proven technology not just to solve current problems, but were relying on us to suggest solutions that would shape the future of their companies. So, this was also an opportunity for us to learn from them – and see how we could move forward together. I want to mention the integration of our imposition and finishing solution with Avanti and Mediaclip, two Canadian companies that were also participating at drupa. Finally, one of the hottest innovation topics was our new solution for finishing automation. We made some waves with our open JDF server – called Ultimate Bindery – for the automation of in-line and near-line finishing at both the HP and Xerox booths. Finishing automation is now seen as a major trend for the future and we’re determined to keep ahead of the technology curve, as we have been doing for the past 23 years with all our products.” – Joanne David, President & CEO.

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Printer’s Parts & Equipment ****

“We were exhibiting at drupa for the third consecutive time showcasing our used printing machinery (sheet-fed and web offset, pre-press and finishing). From our perspective, the show started off a bit slow, but quickly gained momentum during the first weekend. Compared to the larger volume of people at the last drupa, this year’s event had better quality visitors from around the world. Clients we met seemed more involved and more knowledgeable about the printing industry. You have to remember that the number of printers in the western world has declined since last drupa in 2008, at least in terms of the offset market. As a used equipment dealer and parts/consumables provider, the people that stopped by our stands had specific requests for machinery and items, so it was a very good experience for us. We definitely made more connections worldwide and felt the event was very worthwhile.” – Hasnain Kara, Printer’s Parts & Equipment.

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Global Vision Inc. ****

“Drupa 2012 was a great show for the first public viewing of QCanywhere. This revolutionary technology to perform Quality Control on the cloud for text, artwork, spelling, barcode, Braille and colour attracted many visitors from around the world, from design to pre-press to print. We also had meetings with existing customers who were interested in learning more about the latest release of ScanTVS, our print inspection solution that allows companies to compare text, graphics, Braille and barcodes in any print job. Esko Artwork also took the opportunity at drupa to showcase a demo of Global Vision’s Braille technology integrated into Esko WebCenter. – Reuben Malz, President.

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Some visitor comments

MET Fine Printers *****

“The Landa Presentation Theatre was likely the story of the show as well as the great use of printing plates to welcome visitors to the Heidelberg booth. Some of the hot technology that really stood out were the value-added digital offerings of unique inkjet finishing such as MGI and Scodix and the “digital die cutting” of Highcon Systems. Workflows are getting very sophisticated, merging shop-floor data to MIS to web-to-print engines. Combining with our lithographic experience, they’re playing a huge part in print’s future. The big splashy news was Landa’s Nano Print technology – exciting technology merging inkjet and sheetfed. In conversation with some of the major players – Heidelberg, KBA, manroland, Kodak, HP – they all said this was the best show since 2000 and really seemed to show a confidence in the printing industry. My only disappointment was the lack of emphasis on environmental print technology. It seems that we are ahead of the bell curve in Western Canada. MET came home with some new tricks up our sleeve and some great new partners which bodes very well for our clients who like to push the boundaries.” – Scott Gray, V.P., Branding.

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SNZ Trading Inc. *****

“As a major paper supplier, we were able to achieve what we wanted at drupa. We met key paper suppliers and printing equipment suppliers from around the world, including Heidelberg and Bobst. We were able to meet the chairman of both companies and were quite appreciative. I understand that the crowds were down from 2008, but I can tell you that most of the people we did meet were the upper executives and key decision-makers. There were many new products at the show, but the one presentation that stood out for us was a completely new packaging technology from Gallus. Its ICS 670 gravure folding carton processing machine was equipped with 11 printing mechanisms, reverse-side printing, cold and hot foiling technology, screen printing, multiple embossing and a panel separation unit. It was quite impressive.” – Siraj Kazani, President.

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ATS-Tanner Banding Systems Inc. ****

“The number of Canadian visitors to the ATS booth compared with other drupa years. Most contacts were very project-oriented and targeted to specific solutions. Canadian printers do recognize that in the current challenging market environment, many of the current process optimizations provide them with much-desired cost savings and greater efficiency. ATS banding equipment plays an important role here, since only banded products or stacks enable consecutive automation and less labour-intensive handling. Banded products display the professional finish the market expects.” – Martin Reist, National Sales Manager.

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Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.