The optimism disease

There is no drupa without you!

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Yes the organizers have promised the more than 2,000 exhibitors that we the informed technologists, technical tourists, critics and customers who actually buy equipment, technology, software and consumables will be there. And thanks to Mr. Modi, the whole world thinks that our markets in South Asia are full of opportunity and our pockets are full of cash. That we are eager and this is actually true  – a recent visit to Surat revealed that several of the city’s heavy hitters are continuously shopping  – and they take their cheque books to exhibitions nowadays and are happy at having gambled on Landa at the last drupa four years ago. Although they are happy to have just played, they are going this time to see the outcome of their hunches and bets. In fact, one of the Surat printers said to me, “This is going to be the most important drupa of them all!”

Actually what makes drupa special is that the organizers do not take you for granted. In a fast changing print industry and an even faster changing information and communication global environment, the Messe Dusseldorf team works and runs very hard to maintain the show’s relevance. They keep researching the change and keep inventing new exhibition ideas such as Innovation Parc which is now several drupas old, just as they have this time brought the packaging exhibition to the centre of the event. The drupa cube has also grown as a platform for showing innovation and value addition in print by printers and in engaging brand owners and designers. Important themes at this drupa are 3D printing and the printing on all kinds of 3-dimensional objects. The CIP3 and CIP4 initiatives of providing equipment with data interfaces and communication protocols could take the print industry toward Print 4.0 and the integrated factory connected its processes and its customers through the cloud. Of course the event this year is the pre-eminent time and place for the new sheetfed digital inkjet presses in the works to actually being widely saleable.

However, there is no drupa without you although at every drupa I encounter the cynics who point out “there is nothing new this time.” We need these know-it-alls to be at drupa as well as the astute technical critics who caution that every new paradigm and infotainment may not lead to a practical business solution. The great thing about the Indian print entrepreneurs is their spirit of using new Indian technology to solve uniquely Indian marketing and communication problems. This is what I learned in Surat and with all due respect to that city’s unique qualities and entrepreneurs, I firmly believe that there are many other uniquely Indian problems that our entrepreneurs in many other cities and situations will solve by using a hybrid of the newest emerging print technologies. And this is why, apart from the hardened veterans and cynics, drupa is likely to be visited by a new generation and a new kind of Indian printer hungry for the future.

Packaging South Asia is the cooperating media partner for drupa 2016 which is scheduled to be held from 31 May to 10 June at Dusseldorf, Germany