Live day-4 report from the drupa show floor: Finishing and spot varnishing for the 21st century

Diana Varma.
Diana Varma.

Diana Varma, Columnist for Graphic Arts Magazine, Instructor at the School of Graphic Communications Management at Ryerson University in Toronto, and owner of ON-SITE First Aid & CPR Training Group (a health & safety company that provides training to the graphic arts industry), is on the drupa tradeshow floor and has be sending us first-hand reports. This is her fourth and final article.

Today was my last day at drupa and I didn’t even make it to half of the halls! The scale of this show is still mind-boggling.

A few final companies that caught my eye are also garnering the attention of drupa attendees. It’s clear that digital printing has a significant presence at the show, however the other big success story is digital finishing. The increased demand for digital printing requires finishing equipment that can remain profitable for short-runs. Furthermore, emphasis is often placed on printing, but finishing is an unglamorous afterthought. Two companies serving this important digital finishing market with sleek equipment and stunning final products are Scodix and Highcon.

The Scodix Foil System.
The Scodix Foil System.

Scodix is a relatively small company that manufactures digital finishing equipment for short-to-medium run lengths. Its digital finishing technologies enable lamination, metallic printing that mimics foil stamping, embossing, variable high-gloss spot varnishes, and the ability to incorporate glitter (its equipment boasts the first digital inkjet glittering station on the market). Varnishing or laminating and embossing can be done in a single pass, without the need for dies. Additionally, the Scodix Sense process enables an unlimited number of metallic colours to be applied in a single pass, opening up design possibilities like few machines have offered before. At the show, Scodix premiered their E106 machine for the folding carton market, which has been very well received by that industry. The Scodix team grew their customer base from 12 to 200 customers between drupa in 2012 and this show. This success has continued and the team has a highly-sought-after problem here at drupa: they’re running out of champagne! The company has sold almost 40 machines during the first week of drupa!

Highcon's booth featured daily fashion shows featuring models draped in intricately finished paper dresses.
Highcon’s booth featured daily fashion shows featuring models draped in intricately finished paper dresses.

Highcon is another company making waves in the digital finishing arena and “unleashing the power of paper.” Its portfolio of equipment consists of four machines that digitally laser cut, crease and perforate paper on a range of substrates of varying thicknesses. The company showcased its unique technology in attention-grabbing ways at drupa, including a massive paper art installation hanging in an entrance hall, as well as daily fashion shows featuring models draped in intricate paper dresses. Packaging, point-of-sale displays, and good old-fashioned invitations and greeting cards are some of the many product categories that can benefit from Highcon’s capabilities. Canadian printer CJ Graphics of Etobicoke, Ontario, already has a Highcon digital finishing machine installed in its facility, and a variety of their work is featured in the Highcon booth.

Beautiful, high-end finishing was well received at drupa by these two companies and a variety of others. This is an exciting new arena that’s just starting to gain the attention it definitely deserves.

Thanks for the insights, drupa

It’s been a fascinating experience for me to see the packed halls, new technologies and the continued excitement for print. On a macro level, there’s no sign of it slowing down any time soon. (Editor’s note: We’d like to thank our globetrotting columnist for her first-hand insights and reports from drupa. Be sure to follow Diana’s fascinating columns in Graphic Arts Magazine).


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.