German Newspapers on Drupa opening
Before my visit to Drupa 2012, the world’s biggest print-show, I was wondering, what this show had in store for the visitors and exhibitors. The fourteen day extravaganza would definitely leave them exhausted and evaluating whether this duration was justified. While this would hold true for the exhibitors and their staff but for the visitors it was very convenient to adjust their visit to the show in terms of the duration and the dates to visit this gigantic show, considering the time available at their disposal. As visitors entered the exhibition, they were stunned by the sheer size of this event. Even the city of Dusseldorf, where the show was held, came forward to welcome the flood of visitors. Hotels were all full, guest houses and paying guest accommodations were also all taken up months before the show was to open. However still, it was possible to find a willing resident, who would offer a room in his or her home, to a needy visitor. Then there were also seen these floating ship-hotels parked on the river Rhine providing extra rooms for the show.
During the show morning newspapers, periodicals, etc carried substantial news and articles on Drupa. In fact, on the second day after the event opened, we were pleased to see the front page of the morning newspaper with headline “Dusseldorf is in Drupa fever” carrying the picture of an Indian at the show. I have scanned and attached the picture. Drupa is held every four years at the exhibition grounds, Messe Dusseldorf. The complete fairground consisting of 19 halls was transformed into a massive printing plant catering to every part of the multitude of diverse printing processes. 1850 exhibitors from 56 countries were exhibiting in stands spread over  1,65,000 square meters in an effort to attract the attention of an estimated and targeted amount of 3,50,000 visitors. 3000 journalists were to cover the show and 30000 stand personnel were available to respond to visitor queries. Stand sizes were also gigantic. The single largest stand at the show was that of press manufacturer Heidelberg admeasuring 6300 square meters in Hall No.1, which is more then all of Labelexpo India! This was followed by the HP who were showcasing their products from a 4950 square meter stand. The visitors on recovering from the initial impact of witnessing this massive display were left in awe!
Drupa has always been projected as a show, targeted at offset printers around the globe. More so, the show has been focused at commercial applications with conventional printing processes. All that is changing! With the electronics media assuming the position of being the prime medium for communication, commercial printing is going down. Packaging has come into lime light. So long humans need food, clothes and day to day necessities, packaging will keep growing. The focus on packaging was visible both in exhibited equipments and the visitors looking for new opportunities. Continuous advancements in electronics and need for shorter runs has seen growth and innovative developments in digital printing. At Drupa, one could see the unstoppable march of print from analogue to digital printing. Even though digital printing at this time is less than 2% of all the print, the rest being conventional, the show was perhaps showcasing a near reverse of the ratio. Numerous exhibitors from different parts of the world indulged in presenting diverse digital printing technologies to visitors, eager to acquire more knowledge of this evolving printing process.
HP Digital Press
HP led the way with 10 new product launches and a stand full of equipments, patronized by a sea of visitors. Kodak went on to display their evident shift of focus from consumer electronics to graphic communications as a part of their restructuring programme. They were present with perhaps the largest number of new product launches and a portfolio that justifies their endeavors to turn around.

Benny Landa and his innovative Nanography Press
In earlier times when we saw movies like “Star wars” we were excited to see them but always dispensed them as meaningless works of fiction. As we moved ahead in time and science evolved, much of fiction started to turn into reality. Mobile telephony, Wireless communications between gadgets, GPRS, RFID, wireless surveillance of your homes/offices/factories across the globe, etc. are things that were unimaginable and appeared to be work of fiction. Today they are indispensable part of human life. Evolution of Digital computer to print is also one such technology that appears to be bringing irreversible change to our lives. Benny Landa, the man who developed Indigo digital printing and sold the technology to HP, showcased the future. His presentations made many times a day, in the mini theatre built in his stand was “House Full” till the last day of the show. The industry was overawed by the huge touch screens like those of an I Pad and the fancy lit screens as big as the sides of a minivan ,serving as the casing of a digital printing press that incorporated his new offering, “Nanography”. Nanography, according to Benny Landa will change the way the world prints and will probably be the alternative to offset printing. This was great marketing, there was greater hype and even greater showmanship with a promise to deliver something maybe 18 months later. As for now, except for the fancy touch screens and lights there, not much can be written about the print quality these equipments would produce as the samples available at the stand were not good. This is so because the project is still under development. The concept may one day become a reality. There are hundreds of people who strongly believe in his concept and technology. There were problems when Indigo was launched but then it went on to become a great success story. Only time may tell what is the future of print. At this time I am tempted to quote Narendra Paruchuri of Pragati Offset Hyderabad from his discussion with fellow printers at Drupa who wondered what will happen now, he said, “nothing to worry, conventional printing will be there for a very long time, go home and print”.
Indian label printers were also seen present in Drupa and they came from all corners of India. I would be failing in my duty if I did not write about my colleagues in the Indian label industry who were present at Dusseldorf. In my earlier column I wrote about the visible interest of our label printers in packaging, an industry which is in synergy with their product offerings and is having a healthy growth rate. I could see most of these visiting label printers evaluating printing equipments, products and technologies that would facilitate their entry into this field to attain faster growth. From the western zone I met Manish Desai, past president LMAI, label manufacturers association of India. Others from western India who visited or were visible included Amar Chhajed of Webtech Mumbai, Chandan Khanna of Ajanta Packaging, Jigesh Dani and Bhagwat Shah of Mahrishi Ahmedabad, Bhushan Banhatti of Narain Offset Nagpur, Denver and Janus Annunciation of Janus International Mumbai, Aditya Patwardhan of Manohar Packaging Goa/Palghar, Ashish Patel of Gujarat Printpack Ahmadabad and Ravi Patnaik of Duralabel Mumbai. North Indian label community found representation from Sanjeev Sondhi of Zircon who also has pan national presence, Bhrigav Jain of Monarch Noida, K K Bajaj of Regal Creative, U K Gupta of Holostik Noida, Gaurav Goel from Gopsons, Yogesh Agarwal from Print & Pack Delhi Naveen Goel of Anygraphics and teams from Uflex. The South Indian label community was represented by Narendra Paruchuri & his team from Pragati Hyderabad, Vijay Varma of Arunodhya Hyderabad and Shiv Prasad Reddy of Pravesha Hyderabad. Surprisingly I found a Kolkata based new label printer as well, Avijit Sengupta from A2 Sticker Labels. Amongst international companies who invested in Indian Label companies I could see Marc Reynder of Reynders Labels and RVS Ramakrishna of ITW along with Gururaj of Wintek Bangalore. Suppliers to the Indian label industry who were present included Esko Graphics, Dupont, Ranesh Bajaj of Vinsak Gurgaon with his stand in hall 9, Vijay Pareekh of Genius Mumbai, the Riefenhauser team, Sameer Patkar from Gallus, members of the FIG team, Amit Sheth from Label Planet came to the show briefly for a day and Pawandeep Sahni from Weldon Celloplast New Delhi. On display for the label industry were a mix of presses, consumables and materials. Leading press suppliers
Omet Stand
Omet displayed their Vary flex and the new Xflex X6 press which had the capability to print conventional flexo, screen and digital with conventional finishing online in the same press, Gallus had a folding carton press on display but nothing in labels, Iwasaki from Japan, K2, labelman and a host of Chinese presses were on display. Amongst the digital presses Hp Indigo was displayed, others who showcased digital label presses included Nilpeter (Caslon at the Ffie stand) and EfI who displayed a press that was tool less printing and finishing. The EFI press could print the most opaque white alongwith CMYK in high resolution, laser die-cut with waste matrix removal and turret rewinding. ETI converting in Hall 9 exhibited the path breaking mini-liner and linerless label converting technologies. Bunting Magnetics of USA were displaying their magnetic cylinders. Inspection system manufacturers AVT, BST and Nikka were amongst the visible ones. Automatic butt splicer manufacturer, USA based Martin Automatic, who is staedily making inroads in the label industry was exhibiting in hall 3.  Other few companies offering plate mounters, toolings and consumables were also present.
India Day at Drupa
The show seemed to go on and on with numerous Indians in sight, they just seemed too visible everywhere. They came in big teams and were looking to be the moneybags in the show making an impact like never before. The AIFMP, All India Federation of Master Printers, in association with Messe Dusseldorf had organized an “India day” during the show. The Indian Counsel General at Frankfurt, Mr. Taranjit Singh Sandhu was the chief guest. It was pleasing to see the number of Indians who turned up for the event. Though with unending speeches from the office bearers of both associations the event was a little overbearing yet the strength of the Indian presence in foreign land, was a moment of pride. As the show came to an end we limped out of Messe Dusseldorf tired and exhausted, with fond memories of moments spent with the International and Indian print fraternity at Drupa 2012. As I reached home on the 18th of May 2012, I received a scanned copy of the most important newspaper of Düsseldorf (Rheinische Post) from the owner of the guest house where I stayed in Dusseldorf, Lothar Hofmann. He was excited, the front page headline story had the same Indian in the picture with the final story on Drupa (scanned copy attached). Though I cannot read German yet I could make out from the translation of the subtitle sent by Lothar Hofmann, “P. Sahdi was one of 15 000 Drupa visitors from India (P. Sahni has been miss spelt as P Sahdi). Besides Germany, from no other nation came more visitors!” According to the story the total No. of visitors were 314500 from 130 countries, somewhat lesser then the target, yet a huge number! However still at 15000 in number and the largest from any nation, no wonder Indians, were the most visible lot at Drupa 2012.
German news papers on conclusion of Drupa
Note: The Indian in both the newspaper pictures happens to be my elder son Pawandeep Sahni, I wonder how they picked him from the 15000 odd Indians.
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 20th May, 2012