pre-drupa sustainability

The Verdigris blog by Laurel Brunner

I first attended drupa in 1986, when I spent a strange fortnight manning the stand for Seybold Publications. We had three early Macs supplied by Apple; they had 128KB RAM and attracted considerable attention. The sainted (possibly) Andy Tribute was editorial point man and our coverage extended to two or maybe even three issues of The Seybold Report on Publishing Systems. Two weeks in stilettos left me with seriously compromised Achilles tendons: they’ve never really stretched back. Back in heels the other week at the pre-drupa press conference, it was impossible not to think about how much our industry’s changed since 1986. Mac 2024 has up to 32GB RAM and there are one million kilobytes in a gigabyte, so yes the tech has moved on for the graphics industry. Also there were over 425,000 participants at drupa in 1986 and in 2024 more like 260,000 are expected. Technology has driven huge changes for printing companies, but the reduction in numbers is a massive environmental sustainability win.

Sustainability was on the lips of every single organisation presenting at this premedia event. Seventeen exhibitors plus Messe Düsseldorf did their best to woo journalists flown in from all over the world to hear their words of wisdom. We were wined and dined and bussed about with aplomb, and exhibitor representatives made sure to press as much flesh as they could cope with which was a considerable amount.

Only one company, Ricoh, presented actual data about its sustainability commitments. Ricoh was the only company presenting at the pre-drupa event to reference the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The company has zero-carbon and the circular economy at the heart of its business and although there wasn’t much to wow about in terms of Ricoh’s drupa presence, the sustainability commitment is real. For instance Ricoh in 2022 cut its use of virgin materials by 85% compared to 2020.

There are of course prizes. The prize for the best boasting goes to Landa on the basis of its €1 billion investment to develop its S10 and S11 nanographic press technology. Of the S10, over fifty have been sold and at drupa Landa will launch the next generation of this B1 press. The Landa S11 and S11P double the S10’s output speed to 11,200 SPH thanks to faster data processing to the heads. There are 650 people working for Landa which works out to be thirteen people per press installed at a cost approaching €20 million apiece. The Return on Investment will take Landa years and given the investors in the company it is hard not to see the venture as much more than a vanity project.

The prize for honesty goes to Kurz for admitting that they couldn’t tell us about their new something or other. They also win the prize for the most surreal presentation: Creativity and Technology Falling in Love; Desire and Budget Becoming Best Friends; and my favourite, Virtuality and Reality Having a Date. The company makes films, I think, but it took us until a good two thirds through the presentation before this was clear. Kurz is also turning itself into a recycling company, so watch this space for further details.


This article was produced by the Verdigris Project, an industry initiative intended to raise awareness of print’s positive environmental impact. This weekly commentary helps printing companies keep up to date with environmental standards, and how environmentally friendly business management can help improve their bottom lines. Verdigris is supported by the following companies: Agfa GraphicsEFIFespaFujifilmHPKodakMiraclonRicohSplash PRUnity Publishing and Xeikon.

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