drupa 2016: Cloud, inkjet and process digitisation

Major drupa exhibitors have made it clear that this year’s mega show will feature three main themes; cloud, inkjet and process digitisation, writes Wayne Robinson from Dusseldorf.

The giant exhibition takes place May 31-June 10 and will likely mark the wholesale move of print from analogue to the digital world, with IT centrestage and the focus on client solutions.

Speaking to the world’s print trade media at the Messe Centre in Dusseldorf this week the exhibitors were unanimous in their aim to get their software off individual printers’ servers and into the cloud. They say it will be less expensive to printers, will mean they will never need to upgrade, will be more secure, and will enable printers to access software previously out of reach, and on a job by job basis if required.

Inkjet printing for commercial print, for packaging, for labels, for wide format, and for an expanding range of media and applications will be centrestage. Already Heidelberg has said it will launch its B1 inkjet press, and this week EFI, Kodak, Fuji Xerox, Fujifilm, Canon, Ricoh, Konica Minolta and even Bobst lined up to promote their upcoming inkjet launches. They will be joined by a host of other vendors at the show. A big question mark though hangs over Benny Landa and his nano technology, and whether it will be available, Landa wasn’t at the Media Week and is playing his cards close to his chest in the run up to drupa.

drupa 2016 themes: cloud, inkjet and process digitisation

drupa 2016 themes: cloud, inkjet and process digitisation

Process digitisation underpinning print production is clearly going to be the route to the future for printers, as the drupa Media Week made clear. We know the more times a job is touched by humans the more it costs, visitors to drupa will see how many venbdors have developed systems which keep people out of the equation as much as possible. Process digitisation also allows the automated integration of multiple software solutions.

Printers will be encouraged to offer far more to their clients than ink on paper and print product manufacturing, vendors will be providing plenty of means for printers to offer far more to their clients through software solutions.

Some of the highlights from the companies presenting at the Media Week:

Kodak will send Prinergy to the cloud, and will launch a new version of Nexpress, the ZX3900, a new high volume inkjet printer the UltraStream, and will launch a new flexo technology, the Flexcel NX System 16.

Kolbus will launch a new end-to-end luxury packaging boxmaker, which it says will bring luxury boxmaking back to local markets from China. It will also launch new three knife trimmers and perfect binders. Kolbus is also going to put its workflow system XML on the internet for free download in the hope that other vendors will develop interfaces with it.

HP is keeping mum about its hardware launches until nearer the show, but is launching a cloud based operating system for printers, named PrintOS. It is not an operating system in the Windows or Linux sense but rather a way that printers can integrate all their software. HP says it wants all other vendors to work with it and develop apps to go with PrintOS.

Ricoh which has come from nowhere eight years ago to be a major player today is launching a cloud based worlflow TotalFlow while in hardware it has a new version of its high volume inkjet web, the 150 page per minute VC60000 which allows custom colour management.

Fujifilm has had 28 per cent growth since the last drupa will focus on resource savings and inkjet. It is launching Superia consumables, its Jetpress 720S has been enhanced to give 20 per cent more uptime, it is launching a new 3.2m wide format press the Uvistar Hybrid 320which will pump out 195sqm per hour, and for the flexible packaging market it will launch a new UV LED inkjet press, which will run at 50 metres a minute in the four process colours plus white, and will print onto PET, OPP and nylon.

Hybrid Software, which has just opened an office in Australia, told a slightly incredulous audience that it would be the biggest software company in printing by 2019. It too was launching a cloud based workflow with the software as a service (SaaS) model: It said it would work with native PDFs and would be 100 per cent open.

Canon says it has the broadest portfolio in the digital printing industry with its toner and inkjet solutions. At drupa it will premier its latest high volume inkjet web, the 127metres a minute ColorStream 6000 Chroma, it will be the first showing for the ImageStream 2400 inkjet web which prints ointo standard offset coated stocks, and will be the worldwide launch of the Oce VarioPrint B3 i300 cutsheet inkjet press. It will also launch the C8000VP 80ppm cut sheet toner printer, which is based on the C10000VP 100ppm printer.

Pitney Bowes says it is spending $200m a year on R+D, it will also be heading into the cloud with the launch of its Clarity Solutions Suite which it says will provide real time production information, predictive analytics and prescriptive maintenance. It will also be launching a new Intellijet print and finish line with the HP engine, a new inserting line Pulse and a new sorting line for parcels, TrueSort.

Konica Minolta confirmed it will be launching the B2 sheetfed inkjet KM-1, which it has co-developed with Komori, although Komori will market its own version of it. Packaging is a key market, and the company is also making a play for digital labels with the launch of its L71cf, first shown in prototype form at Ipex two years ago.

Xerox is currently splitting its business into two, production print will be part of the $11bn Document Technologies part. Visitors to drupa will see the company launch its first cutsheet inkjet press, the Brenva HD. The technology comes out of the Impika business that Xerox bought three years ago. It will print 197 A4 pages a minute or 6000 B3 sheets an hour. A B2 version is likely before drupa 2019. Xerox also launched the webfed Trivor 2400 inkjet printer which will run at 168 metres a minute, with a Fiery rip.

Epson is developing an in-house paper recycling system which it says will take printed A4 sheets and through a new dry recycling process produces clean sheets. Epson is launching new SureColor wide format printers and will also have robots on its stand.

Guy Gecht EFI CEO gave the most entertaining presentation, complete with a song to rival the official drupa version. EFI is taking to the cloud with all its software, and at drupa will launch a new inkjet printer for one pass packaging printing which will be based on the Creta Print, the Jetrion and the Vutek, which will use water based inks.

Global Graphics said it would be launching software that would enable inkjet print systems manufacturers to up the quality to offset level, and would either sit behind a third party rip or as part of its own Harlequin 11 rip. The company made the bold claim that all inkjet printers would be fitted with its rip in the future.

DataLase is launching a new inline digital printer for packaging applications that can operate at speeds of 200 metres a minute. It pre coats the stock with a patch of reactive ink, then fires a laser onto that patch to print.

Finally Bobst announced a raft of new launches including what it claims is the world’s most productive die cutter ever, the MasterCut 106PER. It will also launch a new M6 Line press for food packaging, and a new CL750D 400 metres a minute duplex laminator.

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