Drupa opens for business

The giant exhibition will focus strongly oin JDF, the job definition format, which many developers believe will facilitate the move of print to a CIM computer integrated manufacturing business. However many remain sceptical pointing out that print’s diverse activities will not make it easy. But with all the industry heavyweights pushing JDF it is certain to make a major mark.

The long awaited drupa 2004 will according to forecasters open its doors in bright spring sunshine, which the industry hopes will be an omen for the times to come, with the clouds that have hovered over Germany for the past week moving away. Many suppliers and printers are banking on the show to kick start their businesses, which have struggled to reach expected levels of activity since drupa 2000.

Showing its resilience in the face of a severe downturn in exhibitions and attendees over the past four years all of drupa’s 161,415sqm of floorspace has been taken up, with many companies unable to have all the space they wanted. There is a total of 1,862 exhibitors from 52 countries showing their wares this time around, from the biggest, Heidelberg, with its usual Halls 1 and 2, to new innovative companies seeking to make their mark for the first time.

However the expected visitors total if reached is ten per cent down on actual numbers from last time around of 428,000. The highest ever number of visitors was for the 1990 show, with 444,000 people coming through the doors. Australian numbers are thought likely to be slightly down this year

Highlighting the spreading development of print around the world the figure of 52 countries from which exhibitors are drawn is almost double that of 20 years ago, and the highest ever, although there is a ten per cent reduction in the number of actual exhibitors, reflecting the ongoing consolidation across all sectors of the industry, and the lack of dotcom companies which were prolific last time around.

Whichever direction the show pans out in there is no doubt that it will set the agenda for the global print industry for the next four years.

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