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Reflections on drupa International Media Conference

One of the finest traditions of drupa is the International Media Conference, held a few months before the exhibition. The first drupa media conference took place in the year 2000, and since then, it has established itself as “The Event” for providing information to the global printing and packaging industry about what to expect at drupa. The drupa Media Conference 2024, held from March 25 to 28 at the newly built Messe Duesseldorf’s Congress Center South, hosted trade journalists from around the globe, including the Middle East. During a 2-and-a-half-day tour de force, top graphic arts companies such as Hybrid Software, Fujifilm, Konica Minolta, Koenig & Bauer, Durst, Epson, Canon, BOBST, Kongsberg PCS, Esko Graphics, Ricoh, HEIDELBERG, KURZ, Miraclon, Landa, HP, Highcon and manroland Goss provided a preview of the innovations and highlights that visitors can experience at drupa in May and June.

drupa Media conference My takeaway from the presentations was that all companies are embracing AI, integrating it in one way or another into their products. For instance, Hybrid Software is using AI-based autotuning in its Turnkey Digital Front End to boost productivity. Konica Minolta is advancing variable data with the help of AI, enabling AI-generated content to be added to applications for precisely targeted content for individuals who provide basic information such as their name, age range, and where they live. The list goes on.

drupa Media conference

Another important topic was sustainability, which, in my view, is no longer just a buzzword. Koenig and Bauer, in its presentation, focused heavily on sustainability. According to the German manufacturer, the printing industry is the only sector where sustainability also means lower costs. In 2022, Koenig & Bauer presented the Green Dot Award for the first time, aiming to honor a visionary leader who has made innovative contributions to sustainable printing. Epson also revealed future developments, including support for more sustainable fashion using Epson’s unique Dry Fibre Technology (DFT), which produces highly durable printable fabric from used garments without any water.

Automation is another big trend to be highlighted during drupa, with major manufacturers offering highly automated equipment. Bobst is launching smartGRAVURE, revolutionizing the gravure printing process with automation and digitalization elements. This innovation aims to reduce setup time and complexity, requiring high-level operator skills, and offers considerable sustainability benefits. Heidelberg will premiere a highly automated XL 106 sheetfed press targeted for pharma packaging, labels, and other packaging applications. With the critical shortage of skilled labor in the printing industry, printers are demanding highly automated equipment to offset this shortage.

drupa Media conference

The Drupa International Media Conference provided journalists with a broad insight into industry trends and drupa highlights. As the official drupa media partner in the Middle East, ME Printer covered this event extensively and will continue to offer updates in the run-up to drupa. Stay tuned!

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