- March 27, 2012
The Printed Electronics and Print Automation theme parks will be special highlights at the drupa innovation park 2012 presented by digi:media (dip) in hall 7.0. Printed electronics technology is all set to revolutionize production in many industries in the foreseeable future. Numerous printed electronics companies will present their latest exciting innovations at the dip, together with the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Assn.). The drupa 2012 print media trade fair will take place from May 3–16 at the fairgrounds in Düsseldorf, Germany.
An interactive business card incorporating a flexible display, “talking” packaging, or a board game with a printed battery and flashing OLEDs – printed electronics open up a broad spectrum of possibilities and fields of application. So many, in fact, that the OE-A, a working group within the VDMA (German Engineering Federation), was founded a few years ago as an interface for communication and development for the various fields of research worldwide. It represents the entire value-added chain of organic electronics, including materials manufacturers, plant engineers, producers and users—and now has more than 120 members worldwide. The goal of the OE-A is to provide orientation in the large variety of technical developments and help define possible fields of application.
The logistics industry in particular benefits greatly from the use of RFID chips, which store and pass on information via contactless reading devices to a central system, thereby helping to monitor the commodity chain and prevent product piracy. The enormous potential offered by printed electronics will become especially evident when their use becomes economically viable and practical, not just on the outer packaging but also on the individual products themselves—due to their ability to reduce costs and simplify integration. In the field of medicine, billions of these printed sensors are already being used. Electronic books with organic electronic controls that will make flexible displays possible in the future are another fast-growing field of application. In the medium and long term, strong demand is also predicted for intelligent packaging that combines features such as sensors, battery, display, logic, and RFID technology.
The printing industry will be able to apply all of the above-mentioned functions in the future. Particularly due to their additional usefulness these features are becoming increasingly attractive for customers and readers alike. Using nanotechnology, even wafer-thin displays, for example, can be printed on tickets, greeting cards, and packaging as well as in magazines and catalogs. Publishers are already experimenting with integrated displays and other additional functions for their print products. “This is a quantum leap for customers wishing to advertise and has a realistically high level of potential for the printing industry. For this reason it was important for us to integrate this topic in the drupa innovation park. These technologies enable new fields of business to be developed on an entirely new market,” explained Manuel Mataré, director of drupa 2012.
Another special feature of the dip will be the Print Automation Park. The goal is to optimize processes and achieve the highest possible efficiency in the printing process with the help of planning and control systems. Interacting with MIS, JDF, and server applications and in cooperation with the members of CIP4, manufacturers, consultant,s and users from the printing industry, the graphic industry, and related economic sectors can examine both solutions and workflows in the Print Automation Park of the dip. In special working groups, the CIP4 members are developing the Job Definition Format (JDF), PrintTalk and other standards important for process automation. In this process they take user requirements into consideration, test the interaction of the various products and develop the required JDF tools as well as training documents.
“JDF and Print Automation are not bleeding edge technologies any longer, and at drupa 2012 expect to see the majority of printers either engaged in print automation or the process of getting their implementations going. Print Automation is one of the few areas of print technology where printers can get a return on their investment quickly, and in many cases with relatively little investment,” stated Jim Harvey, executive director of CIP4 Org. “We’ve found an average ROI on successful print automation implementations of over 270% annualized; and that’s without the high and low outliers. These kinds of gains in productivity and ultimately profitability are hard to ignore, and in the US, 43% of printers had or were implementing print automation in 2011, with another 22% in planning stages. While we are looking for better worldwide data, we believe that drupa 2012 will be the milestone where after which the majority of printers will be employing print automation across the developed world. For many printers, advances in digital printing and new areas like printing of electronics and publication to apps will be among the ‘hot topics’ at drupa,” continued Harvey. “We expect that print automation will be the topic that for operations managers, owners, and general managers offers the most immediate opportunity for making positive changes at the plant following drupa, and the Print Automation Zone in the dip is the place to start. Attendees will be able to learn from multiple print automation solutions providers in a concentrated area, and attendees can get a copy of the drupa 2012 edition of the Production Automation News.”
Jill Taylor, corporate communications director at Global Graphics Software, reported: “We have chosen to take part in the dip for a second time as the theme parks offer a refreshing mixture of ideas and innovations for its visitors and the hall has a correspondingly special atmosphere. We like it when we can present our products on the dip stage and have a special interaction with the visitors. This year we focus on the Harlequin RIP software that is used in the digital front-ends for printing machine control systems.”
The IT company ipactor GmbH will exhibit at the Print Automation Park for the first time. “In order to understand us, people have to get to know us. We are a handful of IT experts with the aim of comprehensively assisting every person with any question about information technology. We don’t care which operating system someone has or in which industry they are “at home.” Our goal is our motto: improving structures! We look forward to presenting this to the visitors with our print plan within the drupa innovation park,” remarked Matthias Welland from ipactor GmbH.