In 2012, more than ever, Drupa has proven to be an occasion for verifying on a global scale the attitude of users in the face of the economic crisis and the structural changes to the sector. One thing, then, worth noting is the relief of those who, during and after the event, were able to attest to the dynamicity of the real economy – and not just in the areas with higher growth rates – in such a way reviving their own confidence and the economy itself. Here we report some significant testimonials, knowing well that this is only the tip of the iceberg: according to the event’s organizers’ estimates, nearly half of visitors took out orders during the course of the event.

Even if Benny Landa’s nanographic technology machines will not be available for another year and a half, there are many who believe in them enough to commit themselves in advance. This is the case for example of the Lexon Group that has booked a machine format 50×70 cm to ensure the company a role as forerunner, with all the relative competitive advantages this entails on the UK market.

CEO Malcolm Davis signed the letter of intent immediately after the presentation show: «It took me five minutes to realize that this technology will change the world of print. The make-ready is faster, the machine produces up to 12,000 sheets or 8,000 white front and back an hour, it also prints variable data and the quality is extremely high».

Drupa 2012 has been the most successful fair ever for Bobst, with thousands of new commercial contacts and more than one hundred projects approved for completion during the next three months. Nearly 40% of sales involved new customers (outlet areas included India, at second place, China and Brazil), confirming the trend of emerging markets investing in quality installations. Furthermore, this year Bobst set the record for contract manufacturing. At the center of attention, among the many novelties presented by the Swiss group, was the 20SIX for flexo printing flexible materials; the Expertcut 106 PER table die-cutter, the Masterfold 110-A3 gluer for folding boxes and the SL 1000 high speed solventless lamination line. Bobst also anounced at Düsseldorf that it will be launching a sheet-fed digital printer for packaging production: it will be capable of printing on diverse materials with water-based inks at high speed and with superior quality.

Here is the post-fair balance of David Preskett, director of Canon Europe’s Professional Print division: more than 10 thousand new contacts at the stand, a strong presence of visitors from Western Europe and a healthy number of representatives from the USA and emerging markets (Middle East and Brazil, first of all). The many orders signed at the fair involve the concern’s entire range of printing systems, from Océ reel solutions to Canon imagePRESS devices: in the EMEA area alone, 390 solutions of both brands were sold. The public’s attention was drawn above all by the new and high performing solution for large formats Océ Velocity, by the Océ ColorStream 3500 inkjet system, already very popular with print providers in outsourcing, and by the launch of the large format UV flatbed printer Océ Arizona® 318 GL: an entry level model designed for small service suppliers that wish to enter into the field of quality UV printing on rigid substrates.

Forty-four million orders from abroad: with this flattering result, the Cerutti Group leaves the event revitalized, especially in terms of exports.
At the fair, contracts were drawn up, but orders also signed for as much as 21 Cerutti, Flexotecnica and Iberica-brand installations. The concern’s customers, new and old, included the Central Bank of Australia, the South African publisher Ctp Caxton, a large US operator that is investing in printing and converting self-adhesive labels…
Cerutti also saw success in the field of converting, where it is delivering to Al Invest a triple-lacquering machine for aluminium and will soon finalize various important agreements.

Laserline (a Berlin-based online printer, with approximately 200 employees and more than 65,000 customers) went shopping at the immense Heidelberg stand, spending a whopping 7 million euro. The order included a four color Speedmaster XL 106 with transfer device, a four color Speedmaster CX 102 with varnishing unit, a four color Speedmaster SX 52 Anicolor, two CtP Suprasetters, a Stitchmaster 450 sewing machine with metallic needle, a Polar 115 paper cutter and two Stahlfolder folding machines. Speedmaster XL 106 represents a new class of high performance machines and is used for commercial printing of labels and packaging, with a productivity of 18,000 sheets/hr both front and front and back.

In occasion of Drupa, Heidelberg and Landa Corporation signed a cooperation agreement on a global scale for the joint development of print machines based on Nanographic Printing™ technology.

Rotolito Lombarda and Rotomail, pioneers in European high output inkjet printing, confirmed their presence in HP by ordering two twin rotary T 410 machines, which will go into operation during the first months of the year alongside the T 350s already operating at full capacity since late 2010: that of Rotolito primarily in the service of book publishing; the Rotomail one employed in direct mailing and financial printing. T 410 beats its previous version in terms of productivity, thanks to a bandwidth of 106 cm (the T 350 had 76) and a speed of 183 m/min, in color (244 in black and white), also due to new printing heads and new pigment ink series. At Drupa HP announced a series of pre-treated bright glossy papers, which should be available in Europe starting next year.

KBA sold offset printers for all sheet formats to customers old and new from 30 countries. At the top of the list of outlet areas we find China, Russia, Germany, Poland and France, followed by the more traditional KBA markets, such as the USA, the UK, Italy and Scandinavia. Significant orders were also taken out by users from Benelux, Czech Republic, Brazil, South Africa, Turkey, Northern Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia; also important, considering the scale of the local economies, were the deals made with Danish, Croatian and Lebanese users.
The jewels of the stand were Rapida 145, presented as the most powerful machine at the fair, and Rapida 106 for large formats (on show was the 12 unit configuration, with an output of 18,000 sheets/hr), along with the latest version of Rapida 76, B2 format, and the concern’s highest selling model of all time: the Rapida 105, particularly valued in China and other emerging markets. Also well-received were the reel-fed offset printers and the brand new RotaJET 76 for on-demand production, while packaging converters valued the impressive cost/performance ratio and the quality of the new Varius 80 offset printer with variable reel format by KBA-MePrint. The most important contracts signed with Italian concerns includes one with the large Naples packaging manufacturer Seda International (pictured), which acquired three Rapidas of medium and large format, with a total of 27 printing and coating units, to be installed during the next year in various European facilities.

It’s official: Macchingraf (Staples Group) has acquired the exclusive rights for Italy of the entire Gallus equipment portfolio. Hence the presses of the packaging paperboard division are now flanked by the label presses and all the related services. At Drupa Gallus showed its innovative verve, standing out for its proposals aimed at new applications. Alberto Mazzoleni, general manager of Macchingraf, confirmed: «we offer ourselves as partners both for traditional printers that use offset technology and intend investing in new technologies to expand their offer and increase their flexibility, as well as to the flexo label printers, to which we offer all our knowhow on consumables».
Shortly after the German fair, for the second time Macchingraf was also designated "Best Distributor of the Year" (2011) of the Flint Group’s Nyloprint and Nyloflex plates. Besides Flint and Gallus, the Bollate (MI) based company is also distributor of Heidelberg, Goss, Polar, Kodak, Fujifilm and Agfa.
The new owners of the manroland sheetfed division – the English group Langley – were fully satisfied with the results achieved at Drupa. Just three months after rescue from insolvency, the Offenbach am Main based company was visited by over 3,000 aficionados, confirming the commitment to innovation by presenting all the new features in the 700 and 900 Series and denying in words and deeds any intent to scale down its product offer by giving up on some formats. Of note, among other things, the agreement with Benny Landa for the use of new digital printing technology and the series of sales contracts signed with printers around the world, covering over 30% of planned production for 2012. manroland sheetfed thus expects to surpass its set objectives and close the financial year in the black.
Nordmeccanica at its stand received more than 2,000 professionals from around the world: from Nigeria to the Americas, China and Southeast Asia to India, going by way of Germany itself, and many other countries. They sold 25 machines at the fair but, gauging the consistency of the negotiations launched in Düsseldorf, managers of the Piacenza-based company aim to double this figure. Among the group’s proposals, exceeding the expectations of the same manufacturer, the new leading-edge Duplex SL 600 HD 600 m/min laminating machine enjoyed particular success. It uses solventless adhesives and has already been sold to Delo, the important German flexible packaging converter.
Reduce costs to safeguard corporate profitability and ensure brilliant print results with simple and effective processes. To these needs Omet responds with its own leading-edge multi-process single step label-, flexible packaging and cardboard production technology, which means running on the same machine and just-in-time all the processes of flexo printing (UV and solvents), gravure, offset, screenprinting, digital, cold and hot print, lamination and much more. Demoed at Drupa a powerful and compact Varyflex V2 for cardboard sheets, and a XFlex X6 for printing wine labels with the new JetPlus digital inkjet technology (excellent quality at 60 m/min).
To these characteristics must be added the advantages of die-cutting in line: thanks to the Monotwin Cut unit you can change format by only replacing the flexible sheet while maintaining cylinder and lamination. This in essence allows you to print only what you need, even just those 1,000 labels, using exactly and only the material needed, without waste, and – on top of that – without the need for offline processing.

Rossini has filed away a superlative Drupa: the great interest aroused by the proposals on display, starting from the Starbridge carrier prototype, the object of attention and enquiries. Among its key features Starbridge offers a mechanical locking device, activated by two lateral flanges that close and open with the emission of air.
The Evolution drum washer for flexographic printing presses also scored an exceptional sales success: immediately after the show 11 contracts were formalized for as many systems to be installed on new facilities.
A good 30% more visitors than the previous edition held in 2008, going against their average attendance figure trend for the show. This the flattering balance declared by Uteco Converting SpA, that during Drupa also defined sales contracts for 15 machines, nine of which for flexographic printing central drum of the Onyx line, two of which will go to customers in South America, three to Eastern Europe, one to Western Europe and the others to customers in Asia, the U.S. and the Middle-East. The orders package signed at the fair also include three central drum flexo printers of the Topaz line – two going to Eastern Europe and Latin America, two flexo stack-type Quarz model machines (sold to European converters) and a system for in-line laminating for special applications sold to a German customer.
At the fair Uteco gave the absolute preview launch of the new Crystal 808 central drum flexo press for printing packaging (and not only). Ideal for applications in the food sector, working at 500 m/min and, thanks to the high degree of automation and very fast format changes, it is particularly suited for short runs. Uteco proposes it as ideal for food applications, because the minimum and maximum development, the reel-holders and the standard accessories are type required by flexible packaging converters in that sector. The standard configuration includes frontal rewinder and unwinder to allow loading and unloading of the reels in the area that is located between the two reel-holders, thus facilitating the application of robotizing and handling systems suitable both for the reel being printed and the finished reel,  making for an even more compact machine. Other features worth mentioning: its sturdiness and stability, quick start, blade change and doctor blade tightness, automatic cleaning of the central drum, the brighter LED lights making the machine easier to operate, improved drying to save energy, the use of high efficiency, low noise brushless motors. Crystal 808 is equipped with the patented Kiss & Go automatic printing pressure setter with minimal material waste at the start of each job, and the Click & Drag zero waste register setting. The machine allows greater freedom in the choice of aniloxes and formats.

Records sales (at least 250% higher than forecast) to users on all continents and latest proposals in all the Xeikon business areas, allowing the manufacturer to offset the slow start at the beginning of the year, typical of the pre Drupa period. But beyond its current successes, the Group’s prospects are based in the value of new features launched at the show, starting with the Trilium trademark technology, based on a new high viscosity toner (HVT) capable of high speed printing at lower costs, maintaining the highest levels of image quality and eco-sustainability. Among the multinational’s other proposals, the 8000 and 3030Plus Series (an entry level press for the label and packaging market, widths up to 330 mm, top speed 15m/min and +50% productivity), the Label Application Suites and color controls, the ThermoflexX imagers and the basysPrint UV platesetters.

Drupa is as ever Drupa
Drupa has once more avowed itself and, despite the (expected) drop in attendance, it is still "the" world sector fair.
This is confirmed, without exception, by the Italian and foreign exhibitors that we visited in person and, more generally, by the comments and statements made at the end of the event.
 Here is some data, emblematic of the scope of the event. Drupa 2012 lasted from 3rd to 16th May, animated by 1850 exhibitors and 314,500 visitors from over 130 countries, 75,500 less than in 2008. «This drop – President and CEO of Messe Dusseldorf Werner Matthias Dornscheidt comments – did not take anybody by surprise. In Germany alone, between 2000 and 2011, around 3,900 companies in the printing industry totalling over 61,000 employees closed down, and another 7,700 similarly so in the U.S., leading to an overall drop in the number of operators that could not but have its effects on the main sector fair. However Drupa, now more than ever, has become the decision makers fair (50.8% of the total, compared to 44.4% in 2008)». And likewise a fair for doing business. During the two weeks of events negotiations were concluded at the show, to such an extent as to inspire a widespread sense of confidence and optimism.
Foreign operators were over 190 thousand, with peaks of particular importance for India (the country ranked second with 15,000 visitors, after Germany with 123 thousand accesses), followed by Belgium, France, Holland, Great Britain, USA, Switzerland and Italy. Particularly significant in addition the arrivals from Central and South America (8.8% versus 7% in 2008), especially from Brazil.

Drupa by…
Goliardo Butti, owner of BeeGraphic (representative for Italy of Founder, Luescher, Quadraxis and many other solutions for Global Packaging Industry), consultant with over twenty years experience in the print market – in particular in converting, flexible (flexo and  gravure) and labels.
The dominant note of Drupa 2012? The spread of digital technology in all sectors, like in color reproduction (where "Benny’s" nano technology would force the original producers of digital printers to reflect heavily), in die-cutting (I immediately think of the Highcon machine) and, lastly, in paper and cardboard converting with Landa, HP, Komori, Agfa etc. (to be expected). Interesting, also, the developments of inkjet printing dedicated to the labeling market, where the need is to be equipped to provide acceptable quality and good productivity at limited running costs. More generally, in spite of experiencing fatigue and uncertainty, the market is there and in good health. We can see this day-by-day in the company:  BeeGraphic is growing well, to our satisfaction as well as to that of the companies we represent, that show a marked propensity for innovation: the Quadraxis product for Shrink&Sleeve distortions, Label&Cup, Metal and Atomotive were received with great favour and allow us to stand out from the competition; Luescher prepares to repeat the success of the CTP Hybrid MDX with the large format solution (1100×1300); Ferrania Digital has added new proposals for the flexo and screenprinting market to our portfolio, constituting an alternative to the classic films on imagesetter, now obsolete and difficult to find; together with Italica we are presenting interesting equipment for inkjet printing on the flat, for the production of heatshrink sleeves and on metal, directly on the user’s material…
Innovation too from the company Founder (BeeGraphic is their exclusive distributor). We presented an absolute new feature: the PhotoPack brand set of 25 plugins for Photoshop, for decorative-, packaging and more general design applications. On top of that “PaSharp 4.3”, the by now consolidated software for the packaging market, the suite of plug-ins for Adobe Illustrator™, has had new functions added (Warp, Seamless, Screen etc). Also presented at the fair the new P5200 digital 200 m/min for full color and variable data, and the first of a complete set of digital inkjet presses for labels, branded L1400, which also reproduce data variables and anti-counterfeiting devices, and that presents special screen solutions.
Drupa has also opened up new prospects for us, supported by the appreciation shown by the large retailers and global distributors for our expertise.

Drupa by…
Sante Conservan
, managing director of the I&C-Gama (control and automation of production processes) and current president of Atif. His post fair report "in a nutshell":
• Drupa is still the international industry event, where people meet up and compare notes, get up to date, do business and delineate scenarios. Worthy of note, for various reasons, the show held by Benny Landa and the growth of "other" printing techniques at the expense of offset, the vitality of converting, both on the supply as well as on the demand side, supported by the ongoing technological evolution of packaging and by its expansion in emerging countries….
• The different printing techniques have reached very high levels of quality and evermore “normally” the machines include systems of process control, that are sophisticated and at the same time easy to manage. Common objectives: optimize production, reduce start-up times, improve the quality, reduce waste, save energy. Respect for the environment and guaranteed product preservation are recognized and shared values.
• Less visitors came to Drupa 2012, company groups were less numerous, and the senior managers that attended the show came with targeted visit objectives and well-defined timing. European and North American operators are no longer dominant; players in the developing economies are emerging, notably South America, Africa and Asia, with which the largest number of contracts were signed.
• Drupa 2016 will be different, because the costs of participation and visiting are too high; because information and news are available in real time on the web; because the producers have set up technology centers where you can, at any time, see machines, accessories, consumables… We expect Drupa to last less than the usual two weeks, have a few surprises in store and to double by fielding an edition in Europe and one in Asia. «It's both a wish and a hope».
I&C has established itself in the Italian Graphics, Packaging and Labels market as competent and dynamic reality in the service of printers that it assists in defining and implementing their plans for technological development. Its current partners are ABB, Camis, Ferretto Group, Gama, Isra Vision, LeoMat, Ocme, Peret, X-Rite.

Rossini has filed away a superlative Drupa: the great interest aroused by the proposals on display, starting from the Starbridge carrier prototype, the object of attention and enquiries. Among its key features Starbridge offers a mechanical locking device, activated by two lateral flanges that close and open with the emission of air.
The Evolution drum washer for flexographic printing presses also scored an exceptional sales success: immediately after the show 11 contracts were formalized for as many systems to be installed on new facilities.

Dual commitment,
dual opportunity

Drupa and Plast: two exhibitions of international standing, which in 2012 took place over the same days (May 3rd to 16th the former and May 8th to 12th the latter), forcing companies to choose whether to exhibit at one or the other. Temac, company based at Lonate Pozzolo (VA), that specializes in the design and manufacture of slitter rewinders and special machines, made a decision going against the grain, presiding over both events with a stand and trained staff. «For Temac – explains Massimo Cerliani, owner and CEO of the company – taking part in both events was "almost a duty" both due to the excellent results achieved in the past, in either Düsseldorf and Milan, and also in terms of our search for new business opportunities, all the more necessary in an economic climate like the current one. Our presence on two highly important "fronts" of course entailed a considerable effort, but it was worth it: we have been able to file away the two events with full satisfaction. Being present in both Germany and Milan has allowed us to meet up again with existing customers in person while meeting new ones.
We also had very encouraging feedback from our longterm customers, who expressed satisfaction with the machines purchased over time: even today, years later, they ensure excellent performance, quality of workmanship and, last but not least, unyielding reliability. This is a precious testimony, which provides useful information on our design and production philosophy».
Looking at the figures, the entrepreneur states, in both cases the contacts registered at our stands were slightly down compared to previous editions, «yet we found the visitors more technologically prepared, which allowed us to clinch deals on negotiations started up previously and to define new ones both during the show and in the subsequent weeks. To conclude, I can therefore say that these shows have not only provided us concrete business opportunities but also a prospective "vision" that, at least in the medium term, is definitely positive».