Two technology innovation experts share feedback on the world’s largest trade fair on printing technologies: DRUPA

DRUPA is the world’s meeting point for printing technology.
Since 1951 and every four years, the trade fair welcomed thousands of exhibitors in Düsseldorf. 

The word “drupa” is a portmanteau of the German words “druck” und “papier” (print and paper), and their motto is “Enabling the Digital and Sustainable Transformation”. This year, between May 28 and June 7, over 1600 companies occupied 17 massive halls. The top 5 most represented countries were:

  1. China (410 companies)
  2. Germany (401)
  3. Italy (140)
  4. India (72)
  5. UK incl. Ireland (65)

In comparison, Portugal was represented by four companies.
 
We asked AlmaScience’s Senior Researcher, Cristina Gaspar, and Technology Integration Manager, Rui Miranda, to share their feedback after visiting DRUPA (the text has been edited for clarity):

 

 

What did you find at DRUPA?

Rui Miranda: As an international fair, all the big players were here. We saw a lot of companies from China, a lot from Germany, Italy as well, but mostly every other country was there. We were proud to see The Navigator Company there, one of our founding associates and one of the biggest players in paper production in Portugal and Europe. And a few other Portuguese companies fighting their way through this giant market.

Cristina Gaspar: At AlmaScience, we keep a focus on developing more sustainable, eco-friendly, mainly cellulose-based solutions. Not only but keeping those in mind. And at DRUPA that was also the focus. Related to packaging, everything was more sustainable, more eco-friendly, more biodegradable, and more compostable. Not only the package itself, and the materials, paper-based… but at the end of the life cycle of the product, it had to be more sustainable. Also, the materials used in printing, the graphic prints themselves, needed to be more about water-based inks. Still fleshy, still catchy for the consumers, but the consumers would know that they are buying a sustainable product. It’s an easy interconnection of fields for us, I guess.

Rui Miranda
Rui Miranda (left) at AlmaScience

 

What were you looking for at DRUPA?

Rui Miranda: My job at AlmaScience is to scale up our technologies and bring technologies to life as a product. My visit to DRUPA was basically to find partners who can take our technology and have already the production means to realize products from our technology.

Cristina Gaspar: As my background is in printing technologies, DRUPA was very important to keep me on top of the latest innovations in the field, not only for the graphic industry as a whole but also for other small niches like textile printing, for example. Digital is now entering the field of packaging, food packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, and any type of packaging. It’s improving the speeds and the resolution, so it's a direct competitor to what exists now as flexography. I took a lot from that. I was really enthusiastic about seeing those innovations. It's one field that we can try to enter as AlmaScience because the speed of processing and the throughput of the technology were the main drawbacks. But now we can use it for developing our innovations.

Rui Miranda: From my point of view, looking for partners to help us scale up our technology, I came to the conclusion that the industry is still very much focused on graphics and packaging. Not so much in functional printing, which means we are a bit ahead of what the industry is available to do right now, which I think is a great sign that our products and our technologies are looking to the future.

Cristina Gaspar
Cristina Gaspar outside AlmaScience’s headquarters

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