keyvisualMichael Mittelhaus

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prepress consultant

DRUPA 2004
DRUPA 2004 is over and it is time for a resumée. It wasn't a JDF DRUPA, but it was the first major appearance of JDF. Digitalprinting has finally arrived where it belongs, it's just a print application amongst many others. Personally I hate shows like the one performed by HP and if I could, I would ban or dismiss them to CEBIT or a separate Circus tent; that's where they belong to!

It will be interesting to see in 2008 how many booth receptionists will ask me dumbfounded , „Ahm, that JDF what you're asking for, what is it and how do you spell it?“ Maybe if I do not run into questions like this anymore, it marks the real breakthrough of JDF; at DRUPA 2004 it happened at least at 30% of all stands. Exhibitors told me, that 50% of their visitors were putting questions on JDF, half of them just „What is it about?“. The other half thought wanted to know, what JDF could do for them and put even more pointed questions. On the other hand amongst the nearly 100 exhibitors who had a JDF sign on their stand, 95% were in the middle of planning their JDF application or implementation. There were even some using older CIP3 data applications instead of real JDF; so beware of that. What I found disappointing that many vendors said, we're not driving the JDF developments, we're waiting for our customers to ask for them. It sometimes nearly shook my faith what I heard from MIS vendors: „We'll start our JDF interface right after DRUPA and have it finished within a week or so“; or „With our software used, there's no need to improve the organisation within the shop“. I'm not sure about the right English term, but in German I would say to that „Heilige Einfalt“; should these people really be allowed to sell MIS-Systems? So at the moment I see a big risk, that some vendors will put a JDF interface into the market as just another technical application. Than a user will by it, without knowing how to use it, how to train it's sales and production people and how to reorganize the shop to make real use of JDF. My advice is: have a look at your workflow first, think how to improve it, define the interfaces and then ask for JDF implementations to help you – not the other way round. Workflow products prooved at DRUPA, that the time for major innovations has passed, of course many things can still be improved and refined; but again, JDF was the major buzzword with workflow improvements. At DRUPA a complete new type of software could be seen for the first time: Total management systems based on JDF. In this range I counted AGFA's Delano, DALiM's Mistral and Printempo, and as even more comprehensive tools EFI's Printflow and Printnet Commercial from PPI Media.

CTP became a mainly mature technology, but the next years should show the breakthrough to the mass market; the systems shown in Düsseldorf yet, were not quite ready for that. Thermo lost it's power as the leading technology and I put myself the question wether it won't change to a niche application at DRUPA 2008. I wrote a more indepth piece on this, published in some of the major international trade press magazines, you can also find it here (PDF, 44 KB). The day before the last at DRUPA I met my friend and collegue Kurt K. Wolf and in his opinion DI-Offset is currently dead. Heidelberg is onyl selling the QM-46 DI, Komori's Project D has quietly passed and who's buying the Dicoweb? This may change over the years, but at current there's no sign for that.

One of the best signals sent by this years DRUPA was „Business is back“, or might normalize; a lot of vendors were very satisfied with their sales and I hope that this is not only due to a rather moderate forecast. KBA, HD and MAN reported very good sales and when I took a rest at one of the major prepress suppliers the very last day of DRUPA everyone they were was quite relaxed (though exhausted), their sales forecast for DRUPA was surpassed by 23%. News like this are most wonderful for all of us.

PS: Drupa is a very well organized trade fair and I want to say a warm thank you to all who helped it, esp. to Manuel Mataré and Monika Kissing and all of their staff; it was great, thank you!

PPS: If you could open the press centre one hour earlier at least the first week and let us a little more time to relax in the evening, it would be perfect!

JMF Feedback from
a Müller-Martini
saddlestitcher to MIS
system Hiflex

CTP at DRUPA 2004
A strategic change
(PDF, 44 KB)