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Elevating our print capabilities: Rawson explores drupa in Dusseldorf

20 May, 2024

Can you guess a favourite date we look forward to every four years? 

If your first thought was “the Olympic Games”, you’re not completely wrong. 

But we’re actually talking about “drupa”: a trade fair that could be the Olympics of the printing, packaging and graphics industry. Held every four years in Düsseldorf, Germany, drupa’s scale is otherworldly. From 28 May to 7 June, 1625 exhibitors will take over 140,000 square metres across 18 halls, each the size of two football pitches, filled with printing equipment and ancillary services from many of the world’s leading printing technology companies. Accompanying the physical displays is an extensive program of talks on all things printing, packaging and graphics.

Why drupa is important to the global printing industry

As the 2020 event was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rawson Print & Packaging’s three directors, Andrew, Shane and Lachlan, are itching to get to Dusseldorf for the first time since 2016 and connect with industry colleagues from around the globe.

Drupa brings together the best of our industry to talk about challenges, opportunities and solutions that affect our industry now and in our future. A program of discussion panels, seminars and presentations offers businesses, suppliers and printing/packaging technology companies a rare chance to be in one space sharing knowledge and learning from one another about industry trends, consumer behaviours and changes to the global market.

Drupa is also a major event in our diaries because it’s really the only time and place where we, as a company focused on high quality B2B print and packaging solutions, get to see printing presses and equipment fully installed and operational, other than visiting another commercial business site.

What industry challenges and trends are on the agenda

The global marketplace is a challenging one for many industries, and print and packaging is no different. There are many factors at play that can affect businesses like ours, including rapid innovations to the technology we use, changing political and social landscapes, environmental sustainability, climate and resourcing challenges, and shifts to trade and economic relationships. What we and many of our industry colleagues know is that if we don’t adapt, we risk losing our competitive advantage or becoming obsolete.

The 2024 drupa has two big focuses—sustainability and digitalisation—both of which are already front of mind for us at Rawson. We’re looking forward to attending some of the dozens of scheduled talks and panel discussions to learn more.

Sustainability

A major focus in printing and packaging over the past couple decades has been how to improve sustainability practices across the supply chain and build sustainability into business strategy.

This year’s drupa offers a specific “touchpoint sustainability” program that dives into how the printing and paper industries play a part in sustainable transformation, including short, mid and long-term areas of focus and improvement, from technology to energy use and emissions to production processes.

At Rawson we’ve already put sustainability at the heart of everything we do so our business operates responsibly and viably for years to come. This means addressing sustainability across four pillars—human, social, economic and environmental—from how our team works, to the resources we consume and produce, to the waste we generate and recycle.

Digitalisation

There’s little in our lives that hasn’t been touched by the digital space. Previously manual or analogue processes have turned into digital or AI-driven automation, including the manufacturing processes used in our own industry (and some of our own automated machinery at Rawson).

There’s lots to love about this—and we reckon lots to learn still! So we’re excited to join the discussions at drupa that focus on “Industry 4.0”—today’s rapid technological advancement. There’ll be talks about future and cross-sectional technologies across the supply chain, the circular economy (which taps into sustainability too), how automation and AI can improve efficiency and the scalability of business, printing and finishing services, and more.

Other topics we’re keen to hear more about

A bunch of other themes have caught our attention, including on improving business success, the circularity of fibre-based packaging (Rawson’s packaging specialty), best practice case studies on business improvement, printing software developments, the future of personalisation in printing (another area we already focus our digital printing offer in), and the impact of global economic trends on our industry.

How Rawson’s attendance helps you

While we don’t have a presenting role at drupa, attending is an absolute must for us.

We’ll attend drupa for four days and expect to get our steps in as we stroll the floors. Andrew clocked 20,000 steps a day last visit—and they count for more than just exercise. We’re booked to meet with vendors including Hewlett Packard, Heidelberg, Konica, Komori and Horizon.

Our primary focus is to see the latest in printing technologies—to learn about what’s already in the market and what’s in the pipeline that could become part of our suite of cutting edge printing and packaging equipment. It’s also valuable to meet with other printers from Australia and around the world to discuss challenges and opportunities and share our own experiences. These activities help us continually improve and enhance the award-winning services we provide you. 

What else we’re planning

Before we head to drupa, we’ll also join an industry technology tour in Heidelberg, home of the world-leading printing technology company, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen Aktiengesellschaft.

We’re proud to own and operate the best offset printer on the market right now, the Heidelberg CX-102 Offset Printing Press, which we’ve operated in our Sydney-based factory since January 2019. We’ll see demonstrations of more than a dozen other Heidelberg printing presses and post-press machines (including robotics and finishing services), plus visit a packaging company to see its operations. 

It’s another chance for us to keep up with what’s happening in our industry.

Follow along with Rawson at drupa

Keen to hear more about what we get up to at drupa? Follow Rawson’s social media channels, including LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.

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Please Note: We do not produce corrugated items.

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