Dusseldorf, 19 January 2008. From 13 to 18 January 2008 a combination of important and interesting drupa exhibitors put on a preview for more than 130 trade journalists from 40 countries. Formal presentations of the new technologies and products were interspersed with the usual mixture of show concepts, secrecy and hints. Some of the revelations were held back for special preview events that will be held in the next couple of months.
For packaging, Interpack will have its own revelations although some important packaging vendors such as EskoArtwork are focussing on drupa rather than Interpack although they will have a small presence at Interpack. Moreover, there seem to be more traditional drupa exhibitors that are thinking in the other direction – of being at Interpack either on their own stands or in other vendors booths. The emphasis on packaging at drupa08 seems to have increased in keeping with the high growth of this part of the industry and the especially high growth in Asia. In fact, the Asian companies, most notably from China, have not only greatly increased their exhibition space at drupa but are showing an increasing amount of packaging equipment.
Many of the exhibitors at the drupa preview in January acknowledged the strong growth of packaging and their offerings in terms of technology and equipment for this segment. They also made a point of saying that they will be present in Dusseldorf for both Interpack and drupa.
Heidelberg will in fact have two halls at drupa08 – Hall 1 will be mostly commercial printing and hall 2 will concentrate on packaging and converting. Adriana Nunova presented the Heidelberg drupa08 concept, which will focus on business consulting. For this purpose, both the halls will have “Information and Business Centres” with experts available to discuss financial services, education, and business consulting.
The packaging solutions areas in Hall 2 will demonstrate special packaging print applications on a very large format press, the new XL162, prepress including a CtP, and postpress. The prepress will demonstrate third party connectivity with the Heidelberg Prinect Packaging Solution. Three or four live packaging jobs will be run each day with an emphasis on using environmentally friendly and chlorine free substrates.
One of the main packaging partners for live production will be Adidas and an entire brand gallery of Adidas packaging and promotional material aimed at print buyers will also be shown. As far as narrow web label production is concerned, there will be an element of a Gallus press in Hall 2 although Gallus will also be in a separate stand not too far away in Hall 3-F17.
At drupa08, in Hall 15 D89, Domino Printing Sciences will launch its new third generation drop on demand inkjet K150 head for narrow webs in addition to its new L400 thermal 600 dpi head developed with Lexmark. At drupa, these new variable printing products are aimed at the mailing and track and trace segments of the commercial printing market. Domino, of course, is better known to us in India in the packaging realm, and at Interpack in Hall15-B02, it will be showing its encoders and on-line ink-jet printers for bar-coding and other information incorporated on labels. It will also show the entire Domino track and trace offerings including RFID.
Xerox talked about its interest in low volume and sample packaging at the drupa08 preview. The company plans to show some of its brand protection or security software most likely in conjunction with a leading packaging prepress solution. Kodak acquired the “Traceless” technology from Creo that has great implications for brand protection and anti-counterfeiting of both products and packaging. Increasingly, this technology is finding application in pharmaceutical packaging. In addition, Kodak will be showing at drupa08, its Thermoflex digital flexo imager, its Prinergy PowerPack workflow and its Flexcel NX and SR photopolymer flexo plates. The Flexcel NX system plate is currently being tested and, at drupa08, we can also forward to seeing the Flexcel 10X system. Also of interest to flexo printers will be Kodak’s Hyperflex resolution enhancement software that can work in conjunction with the company’s Maxtone hybrid screening software.
EFI in Hall 5 C01 at drupa talked at the preview about industrial inkjet printing beyond paper. The company is interested in the industrial, packaging and textile printing markets. It’s Jetrion Hybrid Label Systems manufacture two label presses, the monochrome reel to reel 3025 and the Jetrion 4000 UV inkjet system that makes economic sense for run lengths up to 50,000 labels and higher. At speeds from 15 meters a minute (50 ft/min) up to 30.5meters a minute (100 ft/min), it works for well for secondary labels, industrial labels or flexible packaging and its greyscale printing capability will, according to EFI, even match the image quality demands of many primary labels. This machine was launched at the Label Expo show in Brussels last September.
At drup08, there will be a lot of RFID technology, product and application demonstrations and there maybe even a special section dedicated to this fast growing technology. The other futuristic excitement for packaging companies may come from the expected discussions and demonstrations of conductive inks.