There’s an old saying: “As one door closes, another door opens” and this is certainly true of the graphic arts industry this year. No sooner are we saying goodbye to drupa for another four years (and thankfully not three) than we are saying hello to Labelexpo Americas. Elsewhere in this issue of NarrowWebTech you can read our review of the Düsseldorf event, which despite its massive size and coverage of the overall print market, nevertheless had plenty of interest for narrow web converters. We also preview the upcoming Chicago show, which we shall be attending and reporting on via all of our media channels.
It is difficult to satisfactorily review a trade show the size of drupa, because so much of what was there was of interest to everyone involved in print, especially as the media market is changing so fast. So how do you spot the most important trends that are relevant to your own business and evaluate the new digital technology against existing known and trusted techniques?
Not surprisingly, perhaps, the digital press manufacturers made the most noise, and very interesting it all was with this area attracting a lot of attention. But I cannot help but feel we need to keep things in perspective. Exhibitions are just what the word itself describes – an opportunity to show off – and all exhibitors are guilty to some extent of marketing hype. The secret is to see past the ‘smoke and mirrors’ and look at what is really happening out there in the real world.
Digital technology continues to improve in terms of format size, speed, substrate capability, print quality, and finishing possibilities, and all of these are valuable elements in a market that is ever more demanding and competitive. But do not think for one minute that the other technology manufacturers are standing still, and there were just as many examples of their new technology in Düsseldorf.
What I’m saying, in a nutshell, is that while digital print continues to grow and improve, so does traditional technology, and all of this is a huge benefit to converters because it offers an even greater choice of processes and opportunities to differentiate the products they can offer. The key to all of this is: “Choose the most appropriate technology for each job”.
So, if drupa was all too much to cope with, as far as making your next investment decision is concerned, why not spend some time in Chicago at the upcoming Labelexpo Americas, which we preview in this issue of NarrowWebTech. Far more manageable than drupa, and smaller even than Labelexpo Europe in Brussels, the Chicago show affords an excellent opportunity to see the latest narrow web technology in action, discuss plans with all the key manufacturers, and take in some of the practical Workshops that show you how to grow and diversify you business. Oh, and for those who don’t know it already, Chicago is one of the world’s great cities, and always worth a visit!