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Recapping DRUPA 2016: The Largest Printing Equipment Exhibition in the World

This past June, the DRUPA print media fair was held in Dusseldorf, Germany. This massive exposition of print technology, products, trends, and companies is known worldwide as the premier destination to get the scoop on print media and cross-platform marketing for the upcoming future. As has been the case in years past, the expo produced some amazing prospects for the future of printing, advertising, and technology! Read on to learn more about a few of the top highlights from the event that drew more than 1,800 exhibitors from 54 countries.

The Highlights from DRUPA 2016

If anyone ever thought the age of physical media was dead due to digital technologies, their minds would have most certainly been changed by the astounding display of print capabilities heralded by the future of print technology. Some amazing highlights in this realm include:
  • Advances in UV LED ink are going to be a game-changer for pharma companies and food packing companies. Because these inks can be cured via LEDs, there’s no heating element required to set them, thus staying well within the packaging and printing guidelines of these rigorously monitored industries.
  • Affordable raised ink is now becoming a standard option for at-home, desktop printers! What this means for consumers is the ability to print not only textured documents, but also braille!
  • Flexo printing is getting a second look by innovators! This once quickly-dismissed printing platform is being innovated and improved upon to stay relevant within the industry. Look for enhancements via fixed color palette printing and new substrate materials to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of this process.

3D and Functional Printing

The widespread accessibility of 3D printing and other forms of functional printing stirred up a tremendous amount of excitement at DRUPA this year. Some of the biggest things to draw a crowd include:
  • Conductive inks are a major focus of functional printing, thanks much in part to their continued use in RFID printing. Innovations continue to push the boundaries of conductive ink use—especially when used in conjunction with 3D printing!
  • Organic printing is already a hot topic in the medical field, but it’s also starting to gain traction in other industries as well! When paired with marketing services, organic printing could become a staple in temporary outdoor advertising.
  • Printed electronics was a show-stopping concept that this year’s DRUPA conference! Circuit carriers and circuit boards are the subject of printed electronics currently, with much speculation as to how they’ll shape the future of the electronics industry when perfected!

Packing Advances

Packaging technologies and opportunities have always been a core focus at DRUPA and this year, the excitement was turned up another notch. Presentations regarding touchpoint packaging and intelligent print packaging designs stole the show, opening the door for technologies that will soon come to revolutionize workflows in industries such as shipping, warehousing, and distribution. Highlight’s from this year’s conference include:
  • Printed packaging security is something that can benefit nearly any industry, with positive ramifications that improve logistics, cut costs and streamline workflows. More than just RFID alert emitters and clear-print security, things like temperature-activated ink and inherently secure printed packaging designs will touch industries far and wide.
  • Holographic and tinted printing techniques could be used for a wide variety of print packaging applications, from security to advertising and beyond.
  • Serialization was a big topic this year, with much emphasis being placed on late-stage customization and how serialization via print processes can help to provide cradle-to-grave tracking for customers and designers alike.
DRUPA’s 11-day event timeline was loaded with amazing concepts, products and technologies from dawn until dusk each day. Authorities on printing from around the world exhibited and attended to make this year’s event yet another resounding success. And, as has been the trend in the past, many of the concepts being pitched and explained at DRUPA are sure to find their way into modern printing standards—most likely before the next conference in four years!

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