Browsing: Trends

José Salgado
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There is still a certain amount of confusion when people talk about mass customization. Not just because it is difficult to pronounce, but also because there seems to be a lack of understanding. But this is understandable, because mass customization is basically a paradox: individual production with the efficiency of mass production.

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What will people remember about this drupa? It was clearly the ‘higher-faster-further drupa’! It wasn’t AI, sustainability, nanography, robotics or any other trendy topic that dominated drupa 2024 – it was simply about the fact that the technologies that were already on the market 8 years ago have now really grown up. And got faster. And bigger – in terms of the sheet sizes.

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大家好! What would the global economy be without China? What would drupa be without China? 1,646 exhibitors are represented in Düsseldorf in 2024 – 417 of them are from China, with a total of 26,000 m2 of exhibition space. And: around 25% of all visitors to the print mega-event in Düsseldorf come from China. Incredible.

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Software! It’s all about software! Without software, nothing works in a modern printing company, absolutely nothing. From the MIS (known as an ERP system by professionals), to the shop and web-to-print application, to the workflow. Anyone who still relies on the famous ‘sneaker workflow’ is either in a museum or on the last island of the blessed.

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Without doubt, drupa is the world’s leading trade fair for the printing industry. And there are quite a few entrepreneurs who ask themselves: what should I buy? Well, I am a consultant and meet one or two customers here. So I am no stranger to the question ‘Bernd, what should I buy?’ and I am happy to answer it, as follows:

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Yesterday morning I spoke to a young, dedicated printer from Bavaria. His expectations of drupa are high. Because: “Artificial intelligence will change everything. Everything.” That’s what he said, waved and disappeared into the hustle and bustle of the exhibition halls. By the afternoon, his opinion had already changed.

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I admire Landa. Not just Benny Landa, who I really like, but the whole team. Yes, they are masters of marketing. Yes, there is a high potential of exuberant enthusiasm – and, yes, sometimes it gets exaggerated. But it looks as if the company is now (finally) delivering machines on a bigger scale.

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Wait a minute! drupa is the world’s No. 1 printing trade fair, but why are printers themselves exhibiting there, I.e. those for whom the trade fair is actually made. They exhibit here to present something to their competitors. An upside down world. Or is it? What on earth is that all about? Ok, let’s take a look:

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There’s no doubt about it: the Internet was the beginning of the end for the traditional printing industry, or was it television? Or was it radio? Or, wait a minute, it was clearly online print. Clearly. Since then, nothing has been the same! And these online printers are to blame. Oh, how nice it would be without these market disruptors! And now contemporaries are coming along and declaring the age of mass production over.

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