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According to the official figures over 314,000 industry experts from more than 130 countries visited Drupa 2012. However, nearly half of these visitors were German, which should come as no surprise considering the show is held every four years in Düsseldorf. Of the foreign visitors, of which there were 190,000, the second highest represented country was India with 15,000 visitors. This was followed by Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Great Britain, the USA, Switzerland and Italy. There were, of course, many other countries represented but not by any noteworthy amount.
The show was down by some 75,500 less visitors than in 2008, which again, comes as no surprise given the state of the global economy. I chose not to go because I didn’t have to. After all, we had Gerry Mulvaney on the inside at Landa and Gareth Ward was there with 2,000 other international trade press journalists. It’s not a wide format show and any wide format launches would be lost in the rest of the hype surrounding the show which was generated by the launch of Benny Landa’s Nanography. And let’s be honest here. What else was there on offer that would have had you going all the way to Drupa that you couldn’t already see here? I have not been to a Drupa show since 2004 and I said at the time that it was going to be my last. I’m an Ipex man: always have been; always will be. It’s the one trade show I would never miss.
Speaking of not to be missed trade shows I am now adding EcoPrint Live to my personal list. Here at GDW we were very early supporters of this event and we continue to give it our support because we firmly believe that sustainability in print is a must have credential in the modern printing world. Sustainability is no longer something to which you can just pay lip service. Green washing is so last year. Therefore any PSP worth its salt these days needs to be able to demonstrate its environmental credentials because its customers are not just expecting them, they are demanding them, and rightly so in my opinion.
The EcoPrint show is run by FM Brooks, a division of Mack Brooks Exhibitions – a company that has made quite a reputation for its niche sector exhibitions. Its latest niche event is InPrint Live 2013, a show dedicated to the world of industrial and manufacturing printing. InPrint Live will focus leaders, inkjet developers, technical print specialists, print production companies and most importantly industrial manufacturers on innovation and future possibilities for industrial print. Drawing upon the considerable Mack Brooks Exhibitions industrial and manufacturing communities of over 500,000 exhibitors and visitors, InPrint Live 2013 will be a unique forum for manufacturers to discover new technologies, applications and techniques that will revolutionise their functional and decorative printing. How clever. And it’s just the sort of thing that can add further value to an existing print manufacturing business.
Mimaki has products for industrial inkjet print applications, as does Roland and HP. That’s why we didn’t skip a beat and immediately set up the aptly named Industrial Printing category so we can be there from the beginning to deliver a range of informative and engaging content to bring you up to speed with all the major developments in this rapidly emerging sector of the market.
The Economist refers to industrial printing as the third industrial revolution, and it’s easy to see why. In an excellent must read article on the subject, Economist writer Paul Markillie reminds us that the first industrial revolution began in Britain in the late 18th century with the mechanisation of the textile industry. In the following decades the use of machines to make things, instead of crafting them by hand, spread around the world. The second industrial revolution began in America in the early 20th century with the assembly line, which ushered in the era of mass production.
Markillie believes that as manufacturing goes digital, a third great change is now gathering pace. It will allow things to be made economically in much smaller numbers, more flexibly and with a much lower input of labour, thanks to new materials, completely new processes such as 3D printing, easy-to-use robots and new collaborative manufacturing services available online. 3D printing eh?
A couple of years ago, when I had money, I had a crown fitted to a tooth. When all the preliminary work was over I asked the dentist what the next step in the process might be, expecting him to tell me the crown would be manufactured offsite and I would need to come back for a fitting etc. He looked at me as if I were mad and said to follow him into another room. “Here is your crown being printed,” he said and enthusiastically told me how 3D printing had revolutionised the business of dentistry. It took about 45 minutes to complete and before I knew it I was a grand lighter and out on the street with a fancy new tooth. And this is precisely why 3D printing is going to be important in the not so near future.
One only has to stop for just a few moments to contemplate the rapid pace of developments in technology in the 21st century to recognise that it won’t be too long before we will be able to ‘print’ almost anything we can put our minds to. It wasn’t all that long ago that we all thought that a digital watch was a cool gadget. These days I never wear a watch. If I want to know the time I will look at my phone.
And speaking of niche exhibitions, on October 19-21, 2012, the world's first trade and consumer 3D Print Show will be hosted in London. The event will show the latest innovations in 3D printing and all of its applications in the art and design, transportation, home, consumer products, medical and dental, architecture, fashion, archaeology, music and consumer products. And I’m going to be there because just like Paul Markillie, I too believe that 3D printing and industrial printing will very quickly bring about a third industrial revolution.
Benny Landa got us thinking about Nanography at Drupa, and now we need to start thinking about industrial printing. It’s bigger than you think.
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