drupa: my geeky half gets an overdose
by Eddy Hagen
Fortunately drupa only takes place every four years. The geeky half of my brain is already doing overtime and it will get a nearly lethal overdose in just a few days. New and sexy models (from a technology point of view) will call for its attention. And we love it! Yes, you too... admit it!
Question number one for drupa 2012 will be: what is that nanographic printing? Will it really revolutionize the printing industry? How does it work? But it is only one of the new technologies shown. There is also Xeikon Trillium (the new name for Quantum), the liquid toner of Miyakoshi. And probably some other technologies. And they all looking extremely promising! There is a revolution upon us! Again.
And then the rational half of my brain takes over: what did I see at drupa? Is that new, sexy technology viable? Will the company still exist in five years? Will the company be able to service its customers within a very short time frame? And what is happening with the 'old' technology?
These are very important questions. Certainly the first one: what did I see? Was it a concept, a technology demo, a beta product or a product that I can take home and put into production the day after? One has to make a clear distinction between those different types of products shown. A concept may be nice, but it may never happen. Anyone remembering the fantastic Aprion Booknet, which was going to revolutionize the book printing industry? That's what I mean.
And, please, don't forget the old technology. It's not as sexy as it used to be, but it is a proven technology. And it has evolved. It has become much more productive these last few years. Remember the Heidelberg demo at Ipex, two years ago, running 3 jobs of 600 sheets and complete plate changes in 10 minutes. That's quite a revolution. Also others showed similar demos. And this drupa we will see a lot of inline control systems, making offset printing presses more efficient, making them viable in lower run lengths... And low meaning a few hundred sheets. I know a company who shifts to web offset at 3000 copies, thanks to a lot of automation. It's proven technology, that has evolved significantly. And that's what the rational half of my brain is telling the geeky part: can you run a production job with it, every hour of the day, over and over again?