Drupa 2016: A showcase for packaging’s digital transformation

Rick Lingle in Digital Printing on April 14, 2016

What’s creating a buzz heading into the biggest printing show on earth, drupa 2016? In a word, digital. We offer a preview from an industry insider about systems and technologies that will have an impact on packaging and brand owners.


We called on printing expert, consultant and drupa veteran Michael Ferrari, also a former 32-year P&G employee in packaging, to preview what he expects of the 2016 edition of this every-four-years industry show taking place in June.

Our first question: What’s the exhibition all about?

“It is the world’s largest printing exhibition, held in Dusseldorf, Germany, only every four years,” responds Ferrari. “Attendance during this this 11-day marathon event attracts more than 300,000 from more than 130 countries. This truly demonstrates its worldwide importance.

“Equipment manufacturers and software companies plan and spend their R&D funds and rush to demonstrate commercial and prototype innovation at the show. Top leaders, decision makers and early adopters come to this event for specific investment intentions. Drupa provides an insight to the direction of the industry. Drupa 2016 will focus on the fast-paced digital transformation taking place in the package printing workflow.”

Ferrari responds to our questions previewing those printing trends and technologies in this Q&A.


What are the key packaging-industry trends that will be on display?

Ferrari: Drupa 2016 will be a digital packaging event. While many commercial printing categories are struggling to grow and maintain revenue, packaging is growing proportional to population growth. Software and hardware manufacturers are very aware of this and have been investing in R&D to capture the fast transforming digital packaging market.  Brands are embracing the creation of relevant and engaging packaging to enhance the consumer experience. This increased diversification is producing ever increasing shorter runs and more frequent changes.

There are two major technology trends occurring that will play a key role to meet brand challenges:

1.  Digital print presses

The traditional analog press manufacturers (such as Heidelberg, Gallus, Nil Peter and Omet) have suffered revenue loss during the last decade. They will all be offering digital print presses during drupa 2016. The halls will all be showcasing and producing digitally printed labels and packages.

2.  Digital end-to-end workflow

The digital journey goes beyond the print press.  Manufacturers and software providers are transforming the workflow by closing the gap in the workflow in creation of a digital end-to-end solution. Software to drive web to print solutions along with digital decoration and finishing will be unveiled and demonstrated.


Next: Buzz-worthy vendors and technologies.

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