drupa 2008 goes live

With vendors reporting a satisfactory but not crowded first day, the biggest print exhibition of them all opened today under threatening skies, and promised to live up to its reputation as the centre of the print universe for a fortnight.

The action kicked off yesterday, before the official opening, as manroland (the new-look MAN Roland) and Heidelberg held press conferences to outline their new directions and technologies. They also spent a good deal of time outlining their marketing directions for the future, and in the case of manroland, convincing the gathered press that long conjunctions of names with no upper case anywhere in sight is a step forward in brand recognition.

Beyond the usual hyperbole, both companies did indeed have significant new releases to talk about, including Heidelberg’s much talked about XL145 and XL162 presses, a new Suprasetter 162 CtP system to match the XL162, a ten-colour XL75 perfecting press, an XL105 running alcohol-free with UV inks, and a ten-colour SM52 running Anicolor and supporting Pantone colours.

Curiously, two new releases that had the potential to grab the spotlight at the exhibition were no-shows. Heidelberg did not show its new inkjet printing system for short packaging runs for flexible media, the Linoprint, and a counterfeit protection system using stochastic screens and camera phones for testing product authenticity, like medicines, called Linoprotect.

Heidelberg’s reasoning for not exhbiting them was that they were debuted at Interpack just a couple of weeks ago at Dusseldorf, so they left them at home. While they are targeted at a specific industry sector, they would nevertheless have pulled the crowds to Heidelberg’s two massive halls of exhibits.

manroland (best you get used to it, that’s the official new look) had its moments too. Of interest was the new Roland 50, the company’s new step into the A3 market, after years of showing little interest in that sector. As sheetfed division director, Dr Markus Rall, told ProPrint late last year, MAN Roland (as it was then) misread the A3 market by assuming that that sector would largely migrate to digital technology. Not so, it seems. Now the company has a solution for that market in offset, and as Dr Rall pointed out in an answer to a question from the floor of why?, “We’re late, but not too late. We were asked for a while, why not, and when we have one we’re asked, why?”

A five-colour Roland 50 with high delivery is being demonstrated daily. All the presses on the manroland stand are running alcohol-free.

Manroland has sold two Roland 900XXL presses with inline foilers to beta sites in Germany, and should have production models ready for sale in about two years, providing large-format print shops with a new value add proposition.

manroland’s commercial web division boasts that it now has four presses running at 50,000 impressions an hour, although not every day. It will not be too long, said the comany at the conference, before that will be a production reality.

Rumours of an inkjet-focused drupa appear to have legs, judging by ProPrint’s quick trawls through some of the halls. Screen, Fujifilm, EFI, HP, Mimaki, and many more manufacturers have brought new machines which push the previous boundaries of inkjet technology further and further. Expect to hear a lot more about inkjet innovations over the next fortnight.

There is so much more to see at drupa, and we’ll keep you up to date as the days go by. Check our new web site to read the latest reports from Dusseldorf.

Pictured above: In front of the new XL 162 press, Dr Jurgen Rautert addresses the Heidelberg press conference at drupa 2008: “Print has a bright future”.

Comment below to have your say on this story.

If you have a news story or tip-off, get in touch at editorial@sprinter.com.au.  

Sign up to the Sprinter newsletter

Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.