Digitalisation And Sustainability Are Central Topics In The Printing Sector


In a current study (Smithers Internal Research and Analysis, The Future of Global Printing to 2028) industry analysts assume that the global print industry will achieve annual average inflation-adjusted growth of over 2.1% over the coming five years after posting 1.1% growth over the past five years.

This development, said Thomas Schiemann, Managing Director of the VDMA’s Print and Paper Technology Association, will mainly be driven by the labels and packaging segments. The print industry remains on course for growth worldwide. The sector posted sales of over €837 billion in the past fiscal year.

In Germany, the approximately 6900 print and media companies generated around €17.6 billion with some 110,000 employees. ‘Nothing works without print. Germany continues to have Europe’s biggest newspaper market, mailshots are retail’s most important marketing tool, the market for packaging is on the rise and every supermarket is a showcase for the print industry,’ said Kirsten Hommelhoff, Managing Director of BVDM.

Counting 1642 exhibitors from 52 nations, drupa, being held in Düsseldorf until 7 June, is the world’s biggest trade fair for print technologies. 200,000 trade visitors from over 180 countries are expected at the eleven-day event. Nearly 75% of customers now come from abroad. With these figures, drupa underscores its position as the most important hub for the global print industry, said Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Portfolio Print Technologies Messe Düsseldorf: ‘Drupa brings the global ranges of innovative technologies, latest market developments and information together in one place.’ Drupa occupies the entire Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre on more than 140,000sqm net exhibition space in 18 halls.

This year, the pivotal trends and topics will be digitalisation, sustainability and production automation. Here, the VDMA sees further opportunities for growth, said Schiemann, ‘The industry has good prospects for the future – but it has to be prepared. Hardly any other topic is as important to us at drupa 2024 and throughout the mechanical and plant engineering industry as sustainability, not only from an ecological but also from an economic perspective. We are therefore delighted to create a cross-sector platform for exchange, discussion and knowledge transfer for the future of the print and paper industry with our Touchpoint Sustainability.’

A total of 30 global players and partners, including German companies such as Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, Koenig & Bauer, Kurz, Tesa and Voith, will be showcasing the latest, energy-efficient print and manufacturing technologies at the Touchpoint Sustainability.

Like other sectors of industry, the print sector struggles with skilled labour shortages. The print industry has been affected by (skilled) labour shortages for years now, as the BVDM’s industry survey 2023 shows. Alongside rising labour costs skilled labour shortages are rated as one of the biggest challenges by more than 50% of companies. Add to this high energy prices as well as red tape. At drupa there are therefore numerous initiatives by associations and universities to promote careers in the printing industry.


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