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Printing is no longer only paper-bound

The constantly evolving field of printing demands continuous updating of technology and keeping abreast with the industry. Dr TKS Lakshmi Priya, HOD, Departing of Printing Technology, Avinashilingam University for Women, tells Janani Rajeswari S about making their girls industry ready.

How would you define printing technology and its growth in India?

Dr TKS: Printing is the oldest and evergreen business that is a combination of art, science, and technology that caters to several sectors. The growth of this industry in India is significant, especially in the packaging sector.

The power of printing is vast, but of late, non-printing industries have begun to explore various avenues of the printing sector. The print fraternity should not merely hold on to the concept of ‘printing on paper’ and believe in the future of printing. I would say that three golden rules define the industry: (1) Printing is one of the oldest known businesses and it will last forever; (2) printing is evolving and we need to evolve with it; (3) We are the masters of printing and so we must support the evolution.

What are the courses related to printing available in India?

Dr TKS: In India, professional courses in engineering are available at undergraduate and postgraduate levels as B.E/B.Tech and M.E/M.Tech programmes specialising in disciplines such as Printing & Media Engineering, Packaging & Printing, etc. Diploma and ITI programmes in printing are offered across India. Several short-term certificate courses and vocational training programmes are available in pre-press operations and post-press operations.

Recently, the Government has introduced B.Voc. programme for vocational education to enable students to have a better understanding of the industry.

Avinashilingam University offers B.E. (Printing Technology), a four-year engineering programme exclusively for girls. The entry requisite is a Class 10+2 certification. Diploma holders can join the programme as lateral entrants in the second year too.

Despite being an upcoming field, why aren’t there enough colleges offering the course, and also people opting for the course, in India? Has the scene changed over the years?

Dr TKS: One reason why very few colleges offer the course is the need for a full-fledged infrastructure for practical classes – normally a fully operational printing unit. The challenge is in investing in machinery, keeping them operational throughout the year and updating them to keep pace with the industry. One possible solution could be establishing a printing press in the institution and making it accessible to the printing department. This strategy is feasible with the advent of digital printing units.

Also, the lack of awareness about the course is yet another reason. People generally relate printing only to ‘letter-press’ and take time to imbibe the pervasiveness of the sector.

Lack of extensive interaction among the printing fraternity also plays a small role. This fraternity encompasses the core and allied industries, associations, research centers, educational institutions, and support industries. In short, the lacuna is the absence of a professional body in this sector. However, All India Federation of Master Printers (AIFMP) has initiated several measures to set up a professional body and to create a common syllabus for printing institutions at par with the industry requirements.

As mentioned earlier, printing technology is a combination of many branches of science. Could you elaborate on it?

Dr TKS: Printing covers pre-press, in-press and post-press operations. But to understand these processes, a printing technologist must have basic knowledge of physics and chemistry to understand materials, colour concepts, ink. etc. Knowledge of electrical, mechanical, electronics and control systems is a requisite for understanding machines; management and entrepreneurial skills for an overall perspective of the industry; art, creativity and innovation for exploring the unexplored.

In our department, we create a passion for interdisciplinary subjects through special lectures or workshops on subjects such as ‘creating stick figures’, ‘tips on constructing a small printing unit’ and a two-day workshop on ‘labview for printers’, ‘use of Aakash Tablets’ and so on.

When was a full-time course in printing technology introduced in Avinashilingam University?

Dr TKS: It was the idea of Late Dr (Mrs) Rajammal P Devadas, founder of our institution. Having travelled to many countries, she identified four specialisations in engineering, suitable for Indian women – (i) Computer Hardware & Software Engineering, (ii) Food Processing & Preservation Technology (iii) Biomedical Instrumental Engineering and (iv) Printing Technology. With AICTE approval, the faculty of engineering was formed in 1996 under the Avinashilingam Deemed University with these four B.E programmes.

Being an all-women college and printing being a field wherein there are very few women, what are the challenges involved? What is the intake every year? Do all the seats get filled?

Dr TKS: The primary challenge is lack of awareness among public. People still think printing is merely ‘print-on-paper’. Parents look for a course that would take their daughters to greater heights including well paid jobs, possibilities of pursuing higher studies and securing jobs abroad or white-collared jobs. They fail to notice that by setting the right goals and with adequate preparation, printing would easily fulfill their dreams.

Secondly, parents needed to be educated about how industrial visits to printing presses, internships and trainings at a variety of printing units are essential throughout the course. Thus, their daughters needed to travel to other cities or states during the course.

As the first step, we conducted a meeting with the parents of final-year students in 2012 and found that the parents knew very little about what their daughters were studying. The event proved to be an eye-opener for the parents about the activities of the department. They gave their approval to industrial visits, conferences and taking up internships in places outside Coimbatore.

The annual intake to the course is 20. Earlier, more than 75 percent of the seats got filled up. However, in the past few years, more than 90 percent of seats get filled up.

How have scholarships encouraged more students to take up the course?

Dr TKS: Every year COMPRIA is providing financial assistance to 10 to 15 students. The students spend this amount for internships, projects and industrial visits, which otherwise they would not be able to afford.

How have you and your team tried to create awareness about the field and the career prospects of the students?

Dr TKS: Once admitted to the course, we ensure that the students get a feel of the industry and the opportunities available. Apart from seminars and conferences and IVs, we rope in external examiners for our practical examinations and project viva-voce who are experts from the industry. Recently, we have also identified paper valuators from the industry. This proves to be a great opportunity to interact for the students.

In addition, we also encourage the students to take initiatives to visit printing presses, paper industries, ink mixing units, corrugated board units, and testing centers, during weekends or holidays.

Such exposures have helped our students get an idea about the work culture, job opportunities, scope for improvement, and the possibility of carrying out a student projects.

Please elaborate on the course over the period of four years?

Dr TKS: Our university follows the Choice-Based Credit System (CBCS) in line with the AICTE/UGC recommendations. Being a university, we have the flexibility of updating the curriculum and syllabus as and when required as per the prescribed norms.

All courses in the first two semesters are common courses except one departmental course per semester. The second year comprises of foundation courses and an industrial training at the end of the semester. The third year deals with advanced courses, quality control, a self-study course, a general elective and an industrial training at the end of the semester. The final year courses include recent advancements, courses pertaining to industry, a Computer-based Test that is a consolidation of all concepts, and a two-phase project.

Over the years, we have observed that students tend to have a passion for computers and electronics. Hence, we give them sufficient training in designing, e-publishing, web designing, multimedia designs, fundamentals of programming microprocessors, etc. Thus, every year, a significant number of girls get placed in e-publishing houses.

The other career option is becoming customer co-ordinators. This requires complete knowledge of the processes from pre-press to packaging. In addition, communication skills, use of management tools, costing and scheduling are essential. We also place importance on these skills in our curriculum.

What are the facilities available in your department and how frequently do you update the resources?

Dr TKS: Saradalaya Press, the University’s press, is our real-time laboratory. We also have separate labs for computers, screen printing, quality control, and print finishing operations. The core courses, internships, projects and practical sessions give students a strong foundation in the basics. Extra-curricular courses like value-added courses, soft skill courses, optional orientation and training in entrepreneurship skills, etc. help the students to equip themselves in multiple dimensions. Apart from the set curriculum, students have trained themselves in a paper recycling plant unit and also at ceramic mug printing units.

An internship, during the two semester breaks, is mandatory. The final year student project usually is attached to the industry and a certification from the industry-mentor is crucial. The curriculum also includes a mandatory participation in NSS including a ten-day camp in a rural area. The department also regularly conducts workshops on simple printing/finishing operations for hearing-impaired school students or for school students in adjacent villages.

What about internships?

Dr TKS: A one-month in-plant training spans over two semester breaks in newsprint units, paper mills, e-publishing companies, printing presses, and packaging units. Students get trained in a specific department of the industry. The industry is identified either by the teacher or the student team. The nature of training is discussed and its intensity is worked out, mentor on both sides are identified, and the dates are fixed. Upon completion, each of the student teams prepares a report on the training. Sometimes, students even do mini projects during the internship. TNPL, The Hindu, Indian Express, Dinamani, Scientific Publishing Services, Chroma Print, Lovely Cards, Srinivasa Prints, Autoprint, Alaya Systems are some of the firms our students have interned at.

What are some of the challenges that women face in the field of printing?

Dr TKS: This is specific to our students – they are reluctant to join jobs with long or late working hours. Only a few are ready to work overseas and only if there are some relatives in that country. Most of them wish to work close to home. The challenge is lack of self-dependence and confidence, which is true in every other sector for women at large.

Do the students participate in activities and events outside the college?

Dr TKS: Yes, they regularly participate in the event ‘Imprint’ organized at Anna University, Chennai. They have also been attending the annual events at SIES, Manipal University and Guru Jambheshwar University and so on.

Tell us about the placements after completing a course in printing technology? Does the college offer placements? Tell us about the journey in improving the job prospects.

Dr TKS: Right from the start of the final year, the students begin choosing the industry, locality and nature of job they want to get into. They submit their resume and expectations to the department and in coordination with the placement division we make of list of recruiters, interact with them and conduct the recruitment process.

Unveil the future of print at drupa 2016

The pre-drupa 2016 International Media Conference took place from February 29 to March 2 in Düsseldorf with 98 journalists in attendance. The conference focused on the major technologies to be displayed at drupa. Sonal Khurana, managing editor, Print & Publishing brings a report on what to expect at drupa 2016.

drupa 2016, the mecca for print and crossmedia solutions, is set to hold stage from May 31 - June 10, 2016 at Düsseldorf, Germany. Organised by Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, drupa is an eleven-day extravaganza event,  showcasing the best and the latest in printing and allied industries. The last staging of drupa in 2012 was an overwhelming success with around 314,500 visitors from 130 countries attending the show, proving once again that it is the industry's leading event worldwide.

Not only is drupa the trade fair to see latest developments and to place orders, it is also a confidence barometer for the entire print media industry itself, its markets, its clients and its suppliers. The recently held pre-drupa 2016 International Media Conference was a perfect prelude to the fair.

Message by Messe Dusseldorf

Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chairman of the drupa Committee and chief executive of Koenig & Bauer AG, said “Between 31 May and 10 June 2016, Düsseldorf will once again be the centre of the printing world. Everyone is getting excited about drupa, the world's leading event in the printing industry, which gives exhibitors the perfect platform to present new products and services, network and nurture customer relationships.”
“This year's tagline, "Touch the Future," is particularly relevant to us as a machine and systems manufacturer. We see it as our job to build bridges to the future and translate technology trends into products for the benefit of our customers. drupa allows visitors to discover these innovations for themselves. For many users, it's their first exposure to them,” he said.

Under the motto of “touch the future” drupa 2016 will focus more heavily on future-oriented technologies such as printed electronics, 3D printing and inkjet printing with its industrial applications. These innovative technologies are driving the market forward and are opening up significant opportunities and growth potential worldwide, primarily in the field of packaging, functional and industrial printing. According to Smithers Pira (UK), sales in the packaging print sector will rise annually by four percentage points to US$ 970 billion by 2018. There are also indications of growth in the industrial and functional printing sector.

“With this strategic reorientation and its focus on future and highlight themes we are obviously on the right track. Because the response of international upstream suppliers to the industry has been very good – which was not a given in view of the difficult market environment,” explained Werner M. Dornscheidt, president & CEO at Messe Düsseldorf GmbH. To the tune of some 1,650 exhibitors from over 50 countries will give impressive proof of the versatility and innovative power of their sector in all 19 Düsseldorf exhibition halls. “International global players and market leaders will present themselves alongside aspiring newcomers and innovative outfits from throughout the world. The complete spectrum of print and cross-media exhibits and topics will be represented. Such a comprehensive 360° view of the entire industry is provided by nobody but drupa,” underlines Dornscheidt.

“drupa is growing into a showcase for the future of the printing industry, which is already a pioneer of Industry 4.0 with its networked process chains. In fact, we talk about Print 4.0., an end-to-end digital workflow made possible by the intelligent networking of our machines and systems. Print 4.0 is the enabler for individualisation and personalisation in digital printing,” added Claus.

Claus also explained that the five letters d r u p a represent the key technology trends in our industry, where D is for Digitalisation of printing techniques and processes; R for Rapid Manufacturing and 3D printing; U for Utilities, i.e. new consumables, substrates etc; P for the growth market of Packaging; and A for new Applications in functional and industrial printing.

With just weeks to go before drupa 2016 opens, the results of the 3rd drupa Global Trends report have been published. The report finds that although recovery from the financial crisis in 2008 is incomplete and uneven, printers everywhere are increasingly optimistic about their prospects throughout 2016, despite tightening margins and falling prices. This is influencing their plans for investment in production equipment.
Sabine Geldermann, director drupa, Messe Düsseldorf, said: “This year’s drupa is a showcase for the latest developments in the global printing industry. By commissioning the series of drupa Global Trends reports, we are able to put these new developments into the context of the state of the industry as a whole. Anyone visiting drupa this year will find the reports make an invaluable backgrounder.” Sabine also hopes that drupa will attract maximumnumber of visitors from India, China and Brazil.

Here are the technologies and product offerings from a few prominent exhibitors at drupa, which were shared by the company representatives at the pre-drupa conference:
Kodak to launch a new inkjet printhead that could see it re-enter the wide-format market via an OEM partner and launch a new NEXPRESS ZX3900

Kodak announced a series of new products to be featured on its stand (Hall 5, Stand F09) at drupa 2016. Building upon its record of introducing important technology innovations at drupa, Kodak will this year announce a new process free plate. With demand for its process free KODAK SONORA Plates growing to over 3000 customers, Kodak’s latest addition to the SONORA Plate portfolio is designed to meet the rigorous demands of UV print applications. At drupa 2016, Kodak will also showcase KODAK AQUA-IMAGE Pressroom Chemicals range to help printers reduce variability and improve performance in the pressroom and KODAK ELECTRA MAX Thermal Plates and KODAK LIBRA VP Digital Plates for commercial and newspaper printers.

Debuting at drupa 2016 will be the new FLEXCEL NX System ’16, which builds on Kodak’s award-winning NX Advantage technology. Brand new system features include NX tags for the application of multiple patterns on a single plate layout, and Advanced Edge Definition, a Kodak patented technology that controls ink flow at the edge of objects, resulting in cleaner print and greater visual edge definition.  Kodak’s stand at drupa 2016 will feature a KODAK ULTRA NX Experience room to showcase environmentally-conscious plate technology 

Kodak will also launch its next generation inkjet technology platform, KODAK ULTRASTREAM Inkjet Technology. Built on the company’s continuous inkjet Stream technology, ULTRASTREAM will move production inkjet into the mainstream of commercial printing and packaging. On display on the Kodak stand, visitors will also see live demonstrations of the KODAK PROSPER 6000C press with inline finishing; Kodak’s Extended Gamut + Varnish (XGV) technology demonstration for flexible films produced on narrow-web; and This is Inkjet! Loft, an apartment decorated with Kodak Stream digitally printed products including laminate flooring, countertops, furniture, wallpaper, napkins and water bottles.

Additionally, Kodak will be presenting the new KODAK NEXPRESS ZX3900 Digital Production Color Press, an enhanced version of the KODAK NEXPRESS SX Platform; KODAK NEXPRESS White Dry Ink for NEXPRESS devices for the Fifth Imaging Unit; and the new Multi-Cassette Unit, Single Cassette Unit and In-Line Punch System for the KODAK TRENDSETTER and KODAK ACHIEVE Platesetters to deliver better functionality and performance to drive efficiency, but with a compact footprint.

Kolbus to showcase digital print finishing and complete solutions

Once again, KOLBUS will host one of the biggest exhibits, with a 1,400 square metre stand packed with innovations. The KOLBUS Book Manufacturing division will present 3D Format Variation of books on a running machine without stopping for make-ready. The key elements of this presentation are the KM 200 Zero-Make-Ready Perfect Binder with newly enhanced 3D Format Variation capabilities and the brand-new HD-HD 143 Three-Knife-Trimmer. This new zero-make-ready trimmer can trim books of different thickness, different height and different width without stopping for format adjustment.

For feeding printed signatures into the system, KOLBUS will demonstrate the full versatility of its approach. For digital web-fed printing, the bookbinding system will be fed by the WF 100 Webfolder. With a capacity of up to 1.5 million pages per hour in its current, standard version, the KOLBUS Webfolder has the potential to start working today and outlast several generations of digital presses.

At drupa 2016, KOLBUS will also introduce the brand-new Hardcover Book-line BF 513. This machine will make all the zero-make-ready features of the flagship BF 530 Bookjet-Edition available for the lower budget, 30 books a minute class.

KOLBUS’ Commercial and Publishing Printing division will present the brand-new KM 610 Perfect Binder. This new line of machines, running upwards from 5,000 books per hour, will be displayed in its 7,000 book per hour version. The new KM 610 series has been newly designed to incorporate the user interface structure of the future, taking ease of operation to a new level. As a special feature at drupa, KOLBUS will be running the new KM 610 binder at full speed through the new digital zero-make-ready three-knife-trimmer HD-HD 143, thereby displaying the unparalleled hybrid capabilities engineered into the KOLBUS system.

For the Luxury Packaging industry, an innovative production system for rigid boxes has been developed that will revolutionise the luxury packaging industry and will even impact the luxury goods industry. At their stand at drupa 2016, they will be producing rigid cardboard boxes with lids and metal fasteners on a fully automatic continuous flow line. This will be demonstrated at an unprecedented running speed of more than 2,000 boxes per hour, and format changeovers will be shown to be just as easy as on a modern KOLBUS case maker.

On top of all this, there will be a lot of focus on the KOLBUS approach to workflow design and systems control, especially in view of the approaching era of Industrie 4.0.

HP Inc. inspires print providers to reinvent their possibilities, unveils cloud-based HP PrintOS

HP Inc will exhibit the industry’s broadest portfolio of digital printing solutions at drupa 2016, including new advancements that demonstrate how HP digital print technology enables print service providers (PSPs) to reinvent their possibilities. The company will also unveil HP PrintOS, a cloud-based operating system that reinvents how customers manage print production.

An open, secure and integrated platform for print production management, PrintOS is a cloud-based operating system ideal for PSPs of all segments and sizes for use with HP Indigo, PageWide Web Press, Scitex and Latex digital printing technology. Featuring a suite of intuitive web-based and mobile applications, PrintOS helps simplify and automate print production, enabling customers to start printing jobs, faster. Additionally, cloud connectivity allows customers to monitor print status remotely as well as track and improve production performance over time.

HP Indigo and PageWide Web Press customers can begin using PrintOS on May 31, 2016.  Many apps will be available without charge to existing customers with a service contract, while certain apps will be subject to monthly subscription and usage charges.

HP Financial Services, IT investment solutions and financing provider for HP Inc., can help customers gain easier and faster access to innovative digital printing technology. Customers have the flexibility to choose how they acquire and pay for an HP PrintOS solution, with IT investment options that can be customized across HP Inc.’s product portfolio, based on business needs.

Ricoh to open new worlds at drupa 2016

The Ricoh stand at drupa 2016 is designed to Open New Worlds for print service providers who are looking for new ways to seamlessly manage workflows, maximise productivity, increase profitability and access additional markets. Benoit Chatelard, vice president, production printing, Ricoh Europe, explained, “By harnessing the power of digital print and data, and by creating innovative new technologies for multichannel production and communications environments, Ricoh is providing new ways for any print service provider to transform, optimise and grow their business.”

A number of hardware and software solutions will demonstrate ways print service providers can achieve these ambitious goals. Demonstrations will include a fully configured Ricoh Pro VC60000 running a variety of media roll-to-roll and roll-to-sheet, and a single engine Pro VC60000 that lets visitors take a close look at the technology that powers it. Furthermore, colour cut sheet presses including, notably, the Ricoh Pro C9110, and the Ricoh Pro C7100x with its fifth toner station.

Visitors to the show will see live demonstrations of the new aqueous resin (AR) latex inks for the Ricoh Pro large format L4100 printer. Also, visitors will be able to see the increased finishing capabilities with the Watkiss PowerSquare 224 booklet maker running inline with the Pro C9100 series, Pro C7100x series, and the Ricoh Pro 8100 series digital presses. In addition, being shown for the first time is the enhanced banner option for the Pro C7100x and Pro C9100 digital presses. Another important addition to the Ricoh portfolio that will be on show at drupa is the Ricoh TotalFlow Cloud Suite, a hosted portfolio of cloud-based services comprising carefully selected Ricoh software and Ricoh-endorsed third-party solutions.

Visitors to the Ricoh stand will be able to experience Ricoh’s innovative portfolio of solutions in a number of zones based on New Worlds of opportunity: Corporate Printing Zone - focusing on increased promotional output and print room integration;  Commercial Printing Zone - concentrating on live end-to-end production and lean manufacturing; Publishing Zone - showcasing digital print technologies and workflow for short run colour trade book and journal production; Direct Mail/Transactional Zone –showcasing rejuvenation of Direct Mail; and Industrial Zone  - focus on factory automation, the smart factory, track and trace, integrated industrial innovations and specific industrial verticals, especially automotive and healthcare. 

In the Creative Studio, emphasis will be placed on personalisation and maximising the range of marketing services a print service provider or marketing agency can offer to its clients. This includes using MarcomCentral for portal-based personalisation, FusionPro for variable data campaigns and cross media workflow solutions, as well as Clickable Paper to bridge offline print to online content. Live production will be on a Pro C7100x in this area of the stand, and advice will be offered to visitors on unleashing its full creative potential including through special surface effects such as those achievable through Color-Logic’s decorative and reflective effects technology.

In an innovation zone, Ricoh will showcase its breadth of technology, highlighting the latest innovations, including the Theta 360S camera plus Ricoh’s own Virtual Reality goggles. In addition, lean and green consultancy services including Carbon Balanced Printing, inkjet head technology, digital signage and immersive projection will all feature. Ricoh Customised Solutions being shown will include third party finishing system integration. We will also be showing examples of innovative Additive Manufacturing applications in this area.

Visitors will also have the opportunity to be on the cover of one of Germany’s most popular news magazines, Focus. In a demonstration of end-to-end production with Ricoh solutions, a photograph of each participating visitor will be taken, and their personalised magazine cover will be printed for their collection.

Fujifilm to focus on “Value from Innovation”

FUJIFILM Corporation will occupy a 2,020 m2 booth in Hall 8b at drupa 2016, alongside a smaller booth in Hall 1 to support the company’s Heidelberg partnership, which in combination, represents the company’s largest drupa presence to date. Under the slogan “Value from Innovation”, the company will be showcasing technologies and solutions that add value to print operations in the commercial, wide format and packaging market sectors.

A key element to Fujifilm’s presence in both locations will be the company’s industry-leading inkjet technologies, summarised and showcased under a new brand name “FUJIFILM Inkjet Technology”. Fujifilm’s inkjet capability combines the very best UV & water-based ink technologies and production facilities, leading piezo-electric printhead design and manufacturing, and world-class software and systems integration expertise.
In Hall 1, Fujifilm will be showcasing how the latest generation of its modular SAMBA printheads, unique VersaDrop jetting and RAPIC anti-coagulation technologies, together with the company’s software, systems integration and ink development expertise, have been combined to form the “print engine“ at the heart of Heidelberg’s new B1 industrial inkjet press.

In Hall 8b, the company will be showcasing how these inkjet technologies can contribute to the expansion and development of new printing applications and opportunities. Of equal importance however, will be Fujifilm’s traditional technologies and solutions which are designed to optimise existing print processes, in particular offset and flexo print production. At drupa, Fujifilm will be focusing on demonstrating how its recently launched “SUPERIA” and “FLENEX” solutions can optimise production, help printers improve their profitability and ultimately provide the foundation for a strong print business.

Fujifilm’s stand in Hall 8b is divided into five different zones for different types of printing application: Commercial Printing Zone: showcasing Jet Press 720S, Fujifilm’s XMF Workflow, and SUPERIA solution for offset printing; Wide Format Printing Zone: showcasing a new Onset X Series printer for the first time in Europe, Uvistar Hybrid 320, Fujifilm’s Acuity F flatbed printer,  Acuity LED1600II roll-fed inkjet printer, and application examples produced using Fujifilm’s unique Uvijet KV inks suitable for thermoforming applications; Package Printing Zone: showcasing FLENEX FW water-based flexo printing plate and a new LED-UV inkjet digital press for the flexible package printing market, powered by proprietary new Fujifilm image forming technology called “EUCON” (Enhanced Under Coating and Nitrogen purging technology); FUJIFILM Inkjet Technology Zone: demonstration of company’s cutting-edge UV & water-based ink technologies, leading piezo-electric printheads and world-class software and systems integration expertise, showcased under a new brand name “FUJIFILM Inkjet Technology”; Print Applications Zone: showcasing a variety of innovative and creative printed materials produced using Fujifilm’s diverse solutions.

Hybrid software to accelerate innovation in packaging

HYBRID Software, now the fastest growing software company in the graphic arts sector, will use drupa2016 to further strengthen its position as a major pre-press innovator by launching a range of industry-leading products. In addition to a string of installations worldwide, HYBRID has extended its global distributor network, expanded its workforce and formed several strategic new partnerships with other key vendors.

Technical highlights at drupa2016 will include a groundbreaking cloud-based enterprise workflow solution, variable data options for digital package printing, warping and 3D facilities for shrink sleeves and cartons, plus a 64-bit scalable RIP for PC and MAC platforms, the only RIP of its type on the market. Visitors to the stand will also be able to hear about HYBRID’s expanded gamut color management for package printing as well as the latest developments in automated workflows, from MIS to digital output.

CLOUDFLOW is a web-based workflow solution that connects multiple workflows, devices, and even distributed production sites through a common interface and centralized database. The sophisticated features range from intelligent flattening, trapping and separation management to the generation of step and repeat marks, plus production file management and a wide variety of pre-press functions. CLOUDFLOW Share, which will be shown for the first time at drupa2016, is a unique method of transferring data between multiple sites and provides important advantages over existing file transfer systems.

The CLOUDFLOW RIP is an important addition to the company’s suite of software for the packaging and label markets. The 64-bit RIP is based on Harlequin’s powerful Host Renderer kernel, with a custom user interface developed by HYBRID Software specifically for labels and packaging. It can easily be combined with other HYBRID products such as PROOFSCOPE and PACKZFLOW for soft proofing and pre-press automation functionality.

HYBRID has been pioneering the use of variable data printing within the labels and packaging sectors and has developed PRINTPLANNER for its customers and digital press OEMs. PRINTPLANNER is very well suited for combination forms featuring multiple jobs on a single press run. Its VDP module can be used, for instance, to produce labels on demand where a barcode needs to change regularly to match the date of production.

Being shown for the first time at drupa2016 will be HYBRID’s exciting software-as-a service product, MyCLOUDFLOW, which lets companies purchase capacity within CLOUDFLOW rather than having to buy a license and configure systems

The company will introduce at drupa2016 a new warping and 3D functionality within PACKZ. The easy-to-use and intuitive tools allow the user to take an existing document and create a precise deformation of it, which takes into account the substrate to be printed on plus the shape and size of the object it is to be applied to, including irregular shapes and overwraps.

Canon to help printers unleash their business potential

Canon will show print businesses the full gamut of its market-leading inkjet and toner based solutions, from small to wide format. The focus of Canon’s drupa presence will be on productive, high quality technologies that meet the evolving expectations of commercial printers and corporate print departments of every size and type.

The highlight for most visitors will be the first opportunity to see Canon’s most recently launched production print systems, including Océ VarioPrint i300 - inkjet sheetfed press - with new features and finishing options; imagePRESS C10000VP - digital production press, 100ppm; imagePRESS C8000VP – digital production press, 80 ppm; Océ ColorStream 6000 Chroma – high-speed commercial inkjet system featuring the new Chromera ink set; ImageStream 2400 - full-colour inkjet press for standard coated papers; ColorWave 910 - high-speed, single-pass colour inkjet printer; and the first European showing of several new wide format printer models.

The Canon stand will be arranged to reflect the most prominent applications for visitors, making it easy to locate the solutions of most interest to them: commercial print; business communications, including transactional and direct mail;  publishing, including books, magazines and newspapers;  advertising and creative, including display graphics;  functional/industrial, including 3D printing; packaging; and photographic products.
In every area of the stand, Canon will bring to life its new campaign to ‘#UnleashPrint’. This communicates Canon’s passion for print as a unique and powerful medium, celebrates the value of print and sets out to unlock it’s still untapped potential.

Canon experts will be on hand throughout drupa to talk to PSPs about their development plans and aspirations, offering practical guidance and insight through such successful tools as the Canon Business & Innovation Scan and Essential Business Builder Program.

Pitney Bowes to demonstrate ‘Real Impact’

Pitney Bowes revealed that ‘Real Impact’ will be its theme at drupa2016. As businesses work to achieve greater results at a faster pace, creating real and meaningful business impact more quickly becomes critical both within and outside organisations. At their stand in Hall 4, Pitney Bowes will showcase its latest data, print and mail technologies, demonstrating how businesses can create real impact to gain a competitive edge and deliver worldclass results.

Visitors to the drupa Cube – the show’s 11-day conference programme - will hear from senior Pitney Bowes executives including chief operating officer, Digital Commerce Solutions, Christoph Stehmann, who will present “Management lessons from winning companies” in the Business Evolution stream on the 31st May.

A selection of Pitney Bowes’ exciting technologies on show at drupa2016 includes: new Clarity solutions suite; new DirectView software; new Client Success Services; new Pulse inserter; new version of Epic Inserting and finishing system – first showing in Europe; EngageOne video, and other Personalised Customer Engagement solutions including EngageOne Communications Suite, EngageOne Vault; new EngageOne SmartView/SmartBill/SmartPay/Liaison – customer self service; Print+ Messenger Colour Inkjet System; Accelejet Inkjet printing and finishing system – first showing in Europe; OneSort parcel and mail sorting system; Vantage mail sorting solution;  Relay 8000 / 4000 / Communications Hub; Spectrum data integration/data quality; and Synchronised Communications Execution for customer engagement.

Konica Minolta driving future growth

Konica Minolta will enable its customers’ businesses to generate more profit by demonstrating real-value business opportunities in several business zones on a massive 2,400sq m stand, one of the largest at drupa 2016. The business zones will cover the complete Konica Minolta production printing portfolio, including markets such as industrial inkjet, label printing and marketing automation. New products as the bizhub PRESS 1250e series and the full commercial launch of KM-1, a UV sheet-fed digital press, will help pull the crowds.
Konica Minolta’s Press Conference will be in room 7, CCD Süd, Messe Düsseldorf, on 31 May at 13.00.

Xerox to unveil two new presses

With a theme “Let the Work Flow,” the Xerox stand at drupa will showcase how providers can work better by becoming more automated, integrated and productive in their operations.
To help print providers capitalize on inkjet’s growing momentum, Xerox  will launch two new inkjet presses, the Xerox Brenva HD Production Inkjet Press and the Xerox Trivor 2400 Inkjet Press, at drupa. The presses are the first in an innovative new series of inkjet offerings to come from Xerox; Brenva HD to the cut-sheet inkjet market and Trivor 2400 with the Xerox IJ Print Server powered by Fiery to the continuous feed inkjet market. Each will enable print providers to accelerate growth and drive the production of more high-value applications such as direct mail, transactional, books and catalogs.

“We are focused on expanding our inkjet portfolio with more choices and greater capabilities for print providers to grow their businesses,” said Robert Stabler, senior vice president and general manager, Global Graphic Communications Business Group, Xerox. “With the addition of Brenva HD and Trivor 2400, we’re making inkjet more accessible and affordable to a larger number of print providers.”

Xerox is targeting the space – dubbed by InfoTrends as the Zone of Disruption – that sits below the gap between high-end toner and low-end inkjet presses with Brenva HD. The new press combines the cost effectiveness of inkjet with the flexibilities of cut-sheet to address the needs of print providers in the light direct mail, transactional and book markets. Incorporating many of the reliable paper-path components of the award-winning Xerox iGen, Brenva HD offers best-in-class automation and reliability features to maximize press productivity.

The Xerox Trivor 2400 Inkjet Press provides printers with a platform built to grow as business demands increase with the same machine scaling up for more speed, volume and solutions. The Trivor 2400 press combines high performance  and increased speed (551 feet/168 meters per minute in color; 656 feet/200 meters per minute in monochrome) in a small footprint. The press will allow print shops to move into catalogs, magazines and color books, giving customers more flexibility. Engineered-in automation ensures superb, reliable image quality including inline density optimization, clear pixel technology, and missing jet detection and correction.

Epson presents its most advanced range of professional production inkjet printers

Epson will demonstrate its most advanced range of professional production inkjet printers and presses at drupa 2016 for label, sign & display, photographic, apparel, décor and product decoration applications. Reducing the environmental impact of its technology is a major focus for Epson. The design and precision of the inkjet printers and presses reduces energy and ink use, and cuts down waste. For example, the new SureColor SC-S printers demonstrated at drupa use up to 4 x less energy compared to latex technology, about 15% less ink than the previous SureColor generation and up to 50% less ink than latex technology (depending on the substrate and quality printed).

In line with its commitment to meet the changing needs of the printing industry and to maximise the potential of many different print applications, Epson has merged its wide-format, label and textile businesses to create a major new global ‘Professional Printing Solutions’ division, headed by COO Sunao Murata. drupa 2016 provides the launch pad for this new division where Epson will show how it is transforming professional printing with a range of smart production systems that are affordable, easy-to-use and which produce a wide variety of ‘added-value’ creative products.

Sunao Murata, COO Professional Printing Division, Seiko Epson, says, “Our commitment to R&D and continual improvement shapes everything we do. The industry will see the very latest results at drupa where we will demonstrate more professional inkjet printers and presses than ever before – all delivering the ultimate in production performance and user experience – and show how companies can use them to build successful businesses and enter new markets.”

The Epson booth at drupa will be split into 5 zones: prepress, sign & display, label, copy shop and technology to allow visitors to focus on specialist demonstrations and applications and experience the significant business benefits each can deliver.

In the Sign & Display zone, Epson will show its latest range of wide-format SureColour SC-S signage printers and SC-F dye-sublimation printers producing a selection of signage, display and décor products on a variety of substrates. Epson is the world’s leading manufacturer of dye sublimation printers and at drupa it will also show the latest range of SureColor SC-F models using UltraChrome DS ink to produce a selection of soft signage, soft furnishing, apparel and promotional products.

Highlights of Label Zone include Epson’s SurePress digital label presses which will be a major focus within this zone: These include the single-pass SurePress L-6034VW with PrecisionCore linehead and LED-cured UV ink featuring in-line digital varnish and high-opacity white ink. At the Copy Shop zone, Epson  will showcase a range of desktop-based production printers from the SureColor SC-F2000 direct-to-garment printer to the SureLab D700 inkjet printer enabling the widest variety of applications. While, at the Prepress zone, the ultimate in colour-accurate proofing will be demonstrated by the latest SureColor 24-inch SC-P7000 and 44-inch SC-P9000 printers with the 11-colour UltraChrome HDX inkset, incorporating a new violet ink. Moreover, at Technology zone,  Epson will display and demonstrate some of its latest technologies.

Global Graphics Software to display excellent software capabilities

Global Graphics Software has been working with a number of inkjet press manufacturers to develop a solution to address the problem.  At drupa it will launch Harlequin Multi-Level Digital Screening a package of technology and services to tune multi-level half-tone screens for a specific press/media combination to produce the optimum quality.

Global Graphics has been working closely with the press vendor community for 30 years ever since the Harlequin RIP was first used in a production system.  A RIP – raster image processor - transforms design and pre-press data into a format that can be printed.   Without a RIP production presses cannot produce pages. Global Graphics is one of the world’s foremost software developers with this expertise.

Today the Harlequin RIP drives the fastest inkjet presses on the market, including the HP PageWide Web presses, the fastest of which is capable of over 7000ppm. The Harlequin RIP renders 80% of the world’s photobooks and approximately 70% of the world’s newspapers. Vendors expect their RIP software to deliver exceptional quality output that is repeatable and reliable while handling data at speed.  Harlequin’s speed means they can achieve their performance goals with less processing power which saves on costs. That’s why increasing numbers of vendors are turning towards Harlequin.

Among Global Graphics customers who will be exhibiting at drupa are HP Indigo and HP PageWide Presses, Canon, Delphax, Onyx, Roland and TKS.

DataLase touches the future of digital printing

Leading inline digital printing company, DataLase, will launch the next generation of its revolutionary digital printing solutions at Drupa 2016. The new Variprint monochrome technology will be demonstrated by the DataLase team on their stand in Hall 6 at Drupa. Historically, the technology has only been seen in product coding and marking applications, in white, clear and black. Now, the company has extended its intellectual property portfolio and is bringing to market the ability to deliver true real time messaging and variable data on pack with a new selection of monochrome colours – a breakthrough in laser inline digital printing.
The Variprint development delivers a new level of pack differentiation with promotions and key variable data messages able to stand out from traditional coding and marking style graphics in blue, green and red text.
The DataLase technology can be applied on a variety of primary and secondary packaging materials, to enable the laser to print text, and graphics up to 100mm high and 2m/sec with one laser. The solution enables high-speed printing, which is ideal for in line customised print. In addition, the system is essentially an inkless print solution removing the requirement for consumables at the point of packing and filling or converter.
DataLase CEO, Chris Wyres, said, "Our unique technology platforms have been designed to deliver enhanced flexibility, quality, productivity and consumer interaction. Our solutions are a true breakthrough in the market and will change the way brand owners print packaging and interact with consumers.”

EFI continues software support

Speaking at this week’s pre-Drupa media conference as the Rialto news was announced, EFI chief executive Guy Gecht said, “Water-based ink is going to be a big part of what we do in future.” EFI said it planned to enhance its inkjet portfolio with Rialco's “advanced ink component capabilities” as well as growing the business into new areas.

Gecht also hinted at some of the new products EFI will launch at Drupa. He said EFI was combining the know-how from its rugged Cretaprint system for ceramic tiles, the Jetrion label printing system and Vutek wide-format kit to create a “revolutionary” system for packaging. It is likely to target the corrugated market but Gecht would not be drawn on details.“We are migrating our technology into other industries,” he said.
EFI is also planning to combine the attributes of its water-based and LED/UV inks for “our next evolution in ink”.

“That’s going to be as exciting as the new machine I just described and this ink will work on that machine,” Gecht added. He said EFI had learned a lot developing a “very, very fast” Fiery front-end for Benny Landa’s Landa Nanographic B1 sheetfed press that will effectively be relaunched at the upcoming Drupa show.

“We’re in the same hall as Landa so will share the traffic. He’s ready for the show, that’s for sure,” Gecht said. “As an industry we need him to be successful, it will drive more digital printing.”

EFI has announced that users of its Prinance and Printy MISs who are on maintenance contracts will be able to switch to EFI PrintSmith free of charge. The announcement follows EFI’s acquisition of Alphagraph, which developed Printy and the former Heidelberg MIS, Prinance, both of which were predominantly sold in German-speaking countries. 

At drupa, EFI will continue to offer support to users wishing to continue using Alphagraph’s Prinance or Printy. Steffen Haaga, director of European sales for EFI Productivity Software, said,“We wanted to demonstrate to the prior Alphagraph customers our strong commitment to their future by providing a no-cost alternative for them to switch to an EFI platform that will be developed for the long term.”
EFI has launched its 3.2m-wide Vutek HS100 Pro high-speed wide-format printer to challenge existing top-end digital platforms by offering very fast throughput rates, low ink consumption and the “true versatility of a hybrid solution”. Designed to work with flat-sheet and roll-fed materials, it features an eight-colour inkset with options for white and special colours, and can process up to 100 plates per hour.  Key to the Vutek HS100 Pro is its ink technology, plus the combination of LED pin curing and conventional mercury arc lamps to provide precision, artefact-free droplet placement on all materials, even at high speeds.

Bobst innovation galore

BOBST will use drupa  to showcase innovation solutions that will drive customer productivity higher, open up new capabilities and protect customers’ global investments . Jean-Pascal Bobst, CEO of BOBST, said, “2016 will be a milestone year for BOBST as we celebrate the 125th anniversary of the formation of our company. This drupa will see us clearly demonstrate that we are going forward with the same dynamism and commitment that first won us our reputation in the industry. We will unveil innovations that will address the needs of brands and their suppliers for maximum efficiency, reduced time to market and optimized printing processes. Our Services offering will continue to expand and new customers features will be unveiled covering the entire product portfolio.”

Among the highlights that BOBST will present at drupa 2016 will be the world premiere of a brand new  MASTERCUT 106 PER. This new model will be the most productive die-cutter ever available to the industry. Other innovations will include a new MASTERFOIL 106 PR hot-foil stamping press that incorporates FOIL UNWINDER+, a system which delivers up to 30% more press productivity and a reduction of up to 50% in foil use. Besides, a new folder-gluer is to be launched at the show, along with the new MASTERCUT and new MASTERFOIL, which feature increased automation, shorter set-up times, lower running costs, easier use, and will allow packaging manufacturers to realize ‘zero fault’ production.

Also on offer will be a brand new version of the M6 UV flexo press, configured with folding carton production in mind, which will challenge offset printed carton production by offering job changeovers in under a minute - thanks to Digital Flexo technology; high running speeds; and high-speed in-line sheeting. Cartons produced on the line can then be converted using the BOBST die-cutting and folding & gluing equipment available to most carton makers. The seven-color M6 offers what no other press in the market can – the cost benefits of purchasing board on reels, allied to the production benefits of the no-water, no-solvent, fast changeover UV Digital Flexo process.

Using new low migration UV curable inks and Digital Flexo automation, BOBST will show solutions that offer comparable set-up times to digital, allied to the highest productivity. Visitors who pre-register online to visit the BOBST booth at drupa 2016 will get a BOBST Innovation Compass sent to their Smartphone which will give them quick and easy guided access to those solutions on the booth they have expressed an interest in.

At drupa 2016 BOBST will be working closely in partnership with other forward-thinking suppliers to the industry. These include Kodak, who will host packaging samples and their VIP lounge, Kurz, who will host a brand new BOBST hot-foil stamping press on their stand,, Marbach, Hinderer + Mühlich, Baumer hhs, Metsä, Henkel, Gebr. Knauer, and the partners in the REVO Digital Flexo project.

Maintaining positive pressure becomes cost effective for Uflex

A cost-effective way to adequate cooling and dust-free environment

Background: Established in 1983, Uflex is India's largest flexible packaging company and an emerging global player. Uflex has a formidable market presence in more than 85 countries, a multibillion dollar turnover, with stateof- the-art manufacturing facilities in India, Dubai and other locations around the world.

Challenges: A cool, dust-free environment, with positive pressure in the department, is critical for any print and packaging related industries. These conditions can only be maintained by 100% fresh-air systems.

One of Uflex's Indian plants is situated at Noida, Uttar Pradesh, where the temperature shoots up to 45°C in the summer. Spread over an area of 100,000 square feet, the plant was equipped with air washers since its inception. But the air washers failed to fully meet the requirements. The cooling was not adequate and air washer added a too much moisture in the factory space.

The management then replaced all their existing systems with a centrally air-conditioned system for the entire plant with a total capacity of 800 TR. The power consumption of the air conditioning system added substantially to the already huge operating cost of the plant. Also, for energy efficiency reasons, the air conditioning system recirculated the same air over and over again. Hence the fumes generated in the printing processes were recirculated too without an escape route, resulting in severe deterioration in the indoor air quality (IAQ).

Solution: Dissatisfied with both the above systems, the management decided to look at other alternatives that give an appropriate amount of cooling, a dust free environment, maintain adequate positive pressure, and are economical at the same time. This is why they approached HMX for a solution based on HMX's much sought-after IDEC (Indirect Direct Evaporative Cooling) technology.

Based on the heat load calculations and process requirements, HMX installed 14 HMX-Ambiators (IDEC technology), with a combined capacity able to deliver 420,000 CFM into Uflex's process area.

Result: The HMX-Ambiators proved to be the perfect solution for Uflex. The installation met the requirements of adequate cooling, maintaining a dust-free environment with positive pressure in the company's printing area, and did so very economically. HMX's Ambiators also add significantly less moisture as compared to a conventional air washer system, thereby increasing process efficiency.

The HMX-Ambiators provided 100% fresh air, yet were able to save 70% of the energy of the previously installed 800 TR water-cooled chiller. The HMX solution not only continuously saves operating expenditure, but also costs considerably less when compared to a central air-conditioning system. The staff is also very pleased with the good IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) provided to them.

The management is proud to be using an eco-friendly product, and is so happy with the performance of the HMX-Ambiators that it is now replacing all their legacy systems with HMX-Ambiators across India. (HMX products are available from ATE Enterprises in India).

Düsseldorf…beyond drupa!!!

As curtains for drupa 2016 is all set to unfurl, we know that Indian contingent would be there in big number. To help them make their trip a memorable, Smita Dwivedi of Print & Publishing becomes a trip advisor for its readers!
Düsseldorf, a leading business centre at the heart of Europe is a lively and modern city, which stages around 50 trade fairs. The elegant quality-of-life city on the banks of the Rhine stands for fashion, shopping, culture and unusual events. From the Königsallee, affectionately called the "Kö", one of the most luxurious shopping boulevards in Europe, it's not far to the historic Old Town with its 260 bars and restaurants. The Old Town's flair is world famous, life pulsates in its alleys and the richly faceted cultural scene offers spectacular events and exhibitions. The art academy and more than two dozen museums and exhibition venues, Schloss Benrath, the Düsseldorf Schauspielhaus (theatre), the Deutsche Oper am Rhein (German Rhine Opera), the Tonhalle (concert hall), over 100 galleries, the large number of stages, cabaret and variety theatres and many concert halls make Düsseldorf a recognised centre of culture.

Travellers’ Delight

Düsseldorf is an incredibly diverse city with many amazing qualities adding to its attraction as a tourist destination for countless national and global visitors! Due to the international airport and the many trade fairs and congresses, people in many countries know the metropolis on the banks of the Rhine as a business city with perfect transport links. The city’s great quality of life, its cosmopolitanism, its hospitality and the Rhineland joie de vivre which is so evident here, are appreciated around the world. In Germany, Düsseldorf is popular as a shopping city with a very special lifestyle. But the Altstadt (Old Town), the Rhine embankment promenade, the MedienHafen and top-ranking museums and events are also attracting increasing numbers of visitors and help shape Düsseldorf’s image both nationally and internationally.

Düsseldorf’s Altstadt (Old Town)

Nowhere else in the state capital of North Rhine-Westphalia will you be so close to the city’s heartbeat as in the area sized not even half a square kilometre and located between the Rhine and Heinrich-Heine-Allee. Everything is here! Those wanting to party will find themselves as well catered for in the Altstadt as the culture vultures and historians. This variety is difficult to describe in a single sentence. Around 260 pubs, bars, discotheques and restaurants are concentrated in such close proximity to each other – more so than in hardly any other city. The food on offer here ranges from cuisine local to the Rhine region to Far Eastern specialities.

But the art and culture also make a stroll through the unique alleys. And furniture stores and boutiques are just as much at home in the Altstadt as are small shops catering to everyday needs, and specialist retailers of all kinds. If you want a night out in Düsseldorf, you can’t ignore the Altstadt.

Restaurants ranging from gourmet temples to Lebanese falafel takeaways have the right food for all budgets and tastes. And you’ll be spoilt for choice in the Altstadt if you just want a coffee or cappuccino. Countless bars and cafés invite people in to spend time and relax. The fashionable cafés at Stadtbrückchen, Marktplatz and on Mittelstraße are the place to meet – and to see and be seen. Düsseldorf’s nightlife enjoys a special reputation that extends far beyond the city. The Altstadt is home to the hottest clubs, the best cocktail bars, Irishpubs and the most famous local breweries.

Bolkerstraße, Kurze Straße and Berger Straße make up the “longest bar in the world”, which has often been praised in songs by the cult Düsseldorf band, “Die Toten Hosen”. Wednesday is the day when people meet just behind the Grabbeplatz for a dance or a cosy Altbier (a dark, top-fermented beer) on Ratinger Straße.

Düsseldorf’s Königsallee

It is one of a small group of internationally famous streets that may justifiably call themselves boulevards. Affectionately called the “Kö” by Düsseldorf’s residents, attention always turns to it when people talk about Düsseldorf. It is the primary shopping street in Düsseldorf, and as its nucleus, it connects the city centre to provide a continuous shopping experience ranging from the Altstadt (Old Town) through to the Kö and all the way to Schadowstraße. The “Kö” is characterised by its formidable width and the 580-metre-long and 32-metrewide trench – a leftover from the city’s moat – in which water from the River Düssel runs, but also by its impressive stock of trees, numbering almost 120 horse chestnuts. The “Kö” has undergone many changes throughout its eventful history.

It used to be part of the fortifications of Düsseldorf’s Altstadt (Old Town) before they were demolished. Between 1802 and 1804, royal architect Kaspar Anton Huschberger, landscape artist Maximilian Friedrich Weyhe and water architect Wilhelm Gottlieb Bauer created a new city moat that was over 30 metres wide, five metres deep and almost 1,000 metres long. The Neptune fountain, which feeds it with water, is supplied directly from the River Düssel. “Königsallee” was only named so in 1851, as a gesture towards the Prussian King Friedrich Wilhelm IV, who during the legendary “Horse Manure Attack” three years earlier, had suffered an outrage: arriving from the railway station to the south, horse manure was hurled at him on his way to Schloss Jägerhof. The city fathers of Düsseldorf – as the anecdote goes – thought long and hard about how to atone for the misdeed. They then decided to rename the street until then called “Kastanienallee” into “Königsallee” (“King’s Avenue”) with the aim of restoring the city’s honour and getting back into the royal family’s good books. Today, the world-famous avenue stands for a highly sophisticated approach to life, with many top-class shops and shopping centres. More and more international names are popping up on Königsallee. It has become the most expensive shopping street in North Rhine-Westphalia and the most upmarket luxury address in Germany, with a top rent of EUR 290/sqm in 2015. In the last survey carried out in 2015, Königsallee had a pedestrian flow count of up to 5,000 people per hour, which easily makes it the busiest luxury streetin Germany.

The west side of the “Kö” has also developed into a first-class hotel location. Besides the long-established Breidenbacher Hof and Steigenberger Parkhotel, the Hotel Intercontinental opened its doors for business in 2005. All three hotels on Königsallee carry five stars and bear the “Superior” label.

Düsseldorf Altbier

Altbier, frequently just called “Alt”, is a special type of dark, top-fermented beer that has its origins in and around Düsseldorf. Alt is usually brewed from several different kinds of barley and hops. The dark colour of the beer ranges from amber through to copper to a deep dark brown and varies with the quantity of malt it contains, which imparts colour to the beer during the roasting process.

Füchschen, Schumacher, Schlüssel, Uerige, and since 2010 also Kürzer, beers are brewed in Düsseldorf. The term “Alt” refers to the “old” brewing method employed before technical refrigeration came into use. Before the invention of refrigeration, top-fermenting yeast, which was able to convert the malt sugar into alcohol at temperatures ranging between 15 and 20°C, was used almost all over Germany. This meant that it was possible to brew beer even during the warmer months of the year. Bottom-fermenting yeast, which is used, for example, to brew Pilsner beer, requires temperatures between 4 and 9°C. The brewing method employed to make this kind of beer was only invented by Carl von Linde in 1873 when refrigerators came into use.

Alt is brewed with an average wort of 11.5% and has an alcohol content of around 4.8%. This creates an aromatic and refreshingly bitter flavour that develops particularly well at temperatures of between 8 and 10°C. It tastes best straight from the barrel and served in a typical 0.2 litre Alt beer glass. It’s said that Beuys, Immendorff, Grass and Reinhard Mey have met and chatted in one of the many pubs and bars in Düsseldorf’s Altstadt. Aleida Guevara is also a great fan of the beer. The daughter of the legendary Cuban revolutionary leader, Che, spoke very highly of it when she visited Düsseldorf. German expatriates have also taken the beer into the wider world. There is even a category for “German-Style Brown Ale/Düsseldorf- Style Altbier” in the annual World Beer Cup. A hit song has also been dedicated to the beer: the “Düsseldorfer Altbierlied” by Hans Ludwig Lonsdorfer – which was also covered as a punk-rock version by Düsseldorf's “Die Toten Hosen”.

Shoppers’ paradise

The metropolis on the banks of the Rhine is famously regarded as one of the hotspots of international fashion. So much fashion competence concentrated in one area means that the opportunities to shop in Düsseldorf are just endless – it’s where “shopping at its best” can be enjoyed! Düsseldorf’s city centre is the ideal destination to savour the perfect shopping experience. From the Altstadt (Old Town) via Königsallee all the way to Schadowstraße, it is virtually one big connected shopping location. Individual districts such as Flingern or Unterbilk equally offer an innovative and unique range of small boutiques and designer stores, several of which can be found only in Düsseldorf. The city is a platform for the world’s major fashion designers to present the whole gamut of fashion alongside large flagship stores of well-known brands – but also budding fashion stars – to satisfy any taste.

Such major international designers as Armani, Bulgari, Gucci, Jil Sander and Prada have opened shops along the luxurious shopping mile – Königsallee – which is one of Europe’s top retail boulevards. It’s here that exclusive boutiques rub shoulders with major fashion houses, and where shopping malls with elegant street cafés can be found. It is a true catwalk for the latest trends – a great place to see what’s going on and to be seen! Düsseldorf caters to every budget, from upmarket to bargains. It is a popular place for a stroll along countless designer shops and jewellery stores.

Königsallee, often called the “Kö”, is easily the busiest luxury street in Germany. At peak times, there can be as many as 5,000 pedestrians strolling along the boulevard. In a European comparison, the Kö belongs to the shopping locations with the greatest density of high-end businesses. With the opening of Kö-Bogen in autumn 2013, Königsallee has actually been extended for keen fashion followers and, on the whole, received a burst of new inspiration.

Those who like curious and trendy things will just love taking a stroll through the Altstadt (Old Town). The narrow alleyways have become home to unconventional fashion shops and many avant-garde stores. A particularly idyllic flair may be enjoyed in the historic district of Carlstadt, with its many antique shops, galleries and art shops. Schadowstraße also has many attractive shopping opportunities to offer. And there are lots of shopping arcades in the city centre, to make shopping enjoyable even on rainy days. Schadow Arkaden, Sevens, Kö Galerie and Stilwerk could not be more different from one another in style and appearance.

The legendary and exclusive Breidenbacher Hof hotel opened its doors again in Düsseldorf in the summer of 2008. Marco Polo, Hugo Boss, Strellson and Michael Kors are but four of the tenants, and Abercrombie & Fitch opened its first German flagship store in the direct vicinity. But that’s not all! Prada displays its haute couture directly opposite, close to Gucci and Louis Vuitton. If that alone hadn’t made Audrey Hepburn’s eyes sparkle, the branch of Tiffany & Co. would have made her fall in love with Düsseldorf.

But you don’t have to avoid Düsseldorf if you don’t want to shell out on luxury and chichi. The 120 shops at Düsseldorf Arcaden also attract many visitors to the down-to-earth district of Bilk. Shopping enthusiasts and trendsetters will find fashion away from the mainstream all around Lorettostraße, in close proximity to the MedienHafen, or in the trendy, upand- coming district of Flingern.

Those who have trouble in Düsseldorf deciding between Ansons, Peek & Cloppenburg, Esprit, Zara, Mango, Primark, New Yorker or Karstadt and two Galeria Kaufhof outlets, can also seek inspiration for new furniture and the latest consumer electronics or browse through one of the many large book stores in the city.

Sightseeing tours

Whether on business or a leisurely city trip, whether on shopping tour or a stroll through the museums – the lifestyle metropolis on the Rhine invites you to discoveries, experiences and enjoyment. Explore its highlights on our guided tours between the Old Town, Königsallee and the "MedienHafen", by bus, on foot, by boat, carriage or bike. Our well-trained, knowledgeable city guides will make you familiar with Düsseldorf’s sights and landmarks.

Public guided tours in Düsseldorf

City tour in Düsseldorf: If you are a visitor in Düsseldorf and want to take part in a guided tour spontaneously, one of our numerous public tours is bound to be just right for you. From the classical guided walk through to old town to the individual HopOn HopOff bus tour accompanied by guides. Guided group tours in Düsseldorf: MedienHafen – You want to discover the city on the banks of the Rhine on foot or by horse carriage? It could be done easily, all arranged by local operators there.

Boat tour on the River Rhine: In Düsseldorf, a boat tour on the river Rhine is a must! Choose between a boat excursion to the new “MedienHafen”, a variety of day trips or enjoy beatiful fireworks onboard the ships. The boat tours can be combined with guided tours as well. Barrier-free guided tours – Exploring Düsseldorf without barriers: Düsseldorf offers a multitude of choices for people with limited mobility to discover the many aspects of the city on the Rhine, which is coupled with Photo-Shooting, Personal Shopper, city rallye or coffee break at 172m height. It's your choice!

Palaces and castles

For many years, palaces and castles with their “enchanted” parks have stimulated the imagination of visitors, transporting them back in time to the fairy tale age of counts and knights. Within a radius of 80km, Düsseldorf’s surrounding provides plenty of options for visitors to travel back in time to different eras. Be it the most important moated castle in the lower Rhine region, a fortress dating from Emperor Barbarossa’s times, or a playful palace ensemble from the late baroque period – the region is a revelation to anyone interested in history or who simply wants to experience an authentically historic setting.

Schloss Benrath (Benrath Palace) in the south of Düsseldorf was built on the banks of the Rhine over 200 years ago as a summer residence and hunting lodge for Elector Carl Theodor. Created by Nicolas de Pigage, it is one of the most beautiful garden palaces of the 18th century. In its artistic entirety comprising structures, interior furnishings and the 60-hectare park, the ensemble is today a late rococo work of art that in its completeness has become rare in Europe. The east wing houses the “Museum für Europäische Gartenkunst” (“Museum of European Garden History”) and the west wing is home to the“Museum für Naturkunde” (“Museum for Natural History”).

Rising up from the banks of the Rhine, the mighty ruins of the medieval Kaiserpfalz (royal palace) built by the legendary Friedrich I Barbarossa – once one of the most important castles of the Hohenstaufen dynasty on the Rhine – may be found on the outskirts of the picturesque centre of Kaiserswerth to the north of Düsseldorf. The walls of these impressive ruins of the once much larger royal palace and imperial fort are still more than 50 metres long and up to 4.5 metres thick.

The impressive Wasserschloss Dyck (moated Dyck Palace) near Jüchen is regarded as one of the most significant cultural monuments in the lower Rhine region and is able to look back on almost 1,000 years of history. Since it was first mentioned in documents in 1094, Dyck Palace has always been owned by the zu Salm-Reifferscheidt-Dyck family.

The moated castle of Linn, one of the oldest castle complexes in the region, is located on the outskirts of Krefeld. Today’s castle dates in the main from the 13th century. The southwing and the low outer defence wall were among other things built in the 15th century. With towers, battlements, keep, dungeon, hall and chapel as well as an entirely intact outer bailey all surrounded by a broad moat, it presents a true image of a medieval castle.The hunting lodge is home to several furnished burgher rooms dating from the 18th and 19th centuries, a fully equipped farmer’s kitchen typical of the lower Rhine region and a collection of historic mechanical musical instruments.

The Museum Schloss Rheydt (Rheydt Palace museum) in Mönchengladbach is a complex of buildings whose origins date back to the 12th century. The ensemble’s present day appearance is the result of conversion measures carried out during the middle of the 16th century.

Art in Düsseldorf

Fashion city, trade fair city or “desk of the Ruhr area” – Düsseldorf is called many things. But the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia is also a pulsating metropolis of art and the city of fine arts in western Germany. With Kunstakademie (the art academy), 26 museums, over 100 galleries and projects such as the Duesseldorf Photo Weekend, the city possesses a rich and varied landscape of art and culture that is second to none in Germany.

The Kunstakademie constitutes the nucleus of Düsseldorf — as the city of art. It is regarded as one of the most important institutions of its kind and has been associated with major artists’ names almost throughout its history. Paul Klee, Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Jörg Immendorff, Katharina Sieverding, Andreas Gursky and, of course, the co-founder of the internationally influential ZERO group of artists, Günther Uecker, are just a few of the many famous artists that Düsseldorf’s Kunstakademie has produced. The cultural high point in 2016 will be the “Horst: Photographer of Style” touring exhibition of London’s Victoria and Albert Museum from 12 February to 22 May 2016.

From 23 April to 14 August 2016 the Museum Kunstpalast will devote itself in a joint cooperation with the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam to the works of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925-1991). Tinguely was best known as an experimental artist who liked to transcend the boundaries of performance art, creating several massive projects with kinetic objects and mechanical sculptures that helped redefine art after 1945. With a total of 26 museums and exhibition venues, the city covers a broad range of cultural interests – from unique special museums as the Hetjens Museum (The German Museum of Ceramics) to such major flagships as the Museum Kunstpalast and Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen. Around half of Düsseldorf’s museums and exhibition venues are dedicated to the fine arts.

Theatre fans are also well catered for and are able to enjoy four venues at Düsseldorf’s Schauspielhaus (theatre) alone, including Junges Schauspielhaus (young theatre) and the Central at Düsseldorf’s central station, which functions as the main stage until summer 2017, which is when a renovation of the Schauspielhaus will take place. In 1999, the professional-independent art scene found a new platform at the Forum Freies Theater. Venues such as the “Kom(m)ödchen” cabaret at Kunsthalle, the boulevard theatres “Komödie” on Steinstraße and the “Theater an der Kö”, as well as, last but not least, Düsseldorf’s Marionetten Theatre on Bilker Straße, round off the wealth of theatre venues. The Tonhalle, which is the city’s largest concert hall, has become one of the most impressive and modern music venues in Germany.

Green tourism is “in” in Düsseldorf

Hardly any other major city is as green as Düsseldorf. Almost one fifth of Düsseldorf’s total area is taken up by green, recreational and forested areas. A total of around one third of Düsseldorf’s urban space is under landscape protection. All of which guarantees a high quality of life, enhances the city’s attractiveness as a living space and promotes the preservation of nature and the environment in harmony with the city’s development. Restoring the municipal greenery following the devastation caused by storm “Ela” during Whitsun 2014 has already got off to a successful start thanks to the great dedication of the public and the city’s Parks Department.

Many visitors come to the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia just for its beautiful parks and green areas. These form a “green axis” right across the metropolis on the banks of the River Rhine. Besides such oases in the centre of the city as the Rheinpark and Hofgarten, the main attractions also include the Nordpark with its Japanese Garden, the Kaiserpfalz (Royal Palace) and Schloss and Park Benrath. The Südpark, which was extended over a wide area for the Bundesgartenschau (National German Garden Festival) in 1987, is Düsseldorf’s green lung.

Dusseldorf at a glance!

Historical Kaiserswerth: Located in the northern part of Düsseldorf, is always worth a trip at any time of the year. The pretty heart with its charming baroque houses from the 17th and 18th centuries is always a great place for an excursion. Palace of Benrath - Corps de Logis: You can reach the small station "Benrath" in the south of the city by regional train from the main station within 6 minutes (free ride with the DüsseldorfCard). From here it is only a few steps to the Palace and Park Benrath. Benrath Palace was built as a pleasure and hunting palace for the elector Carl Theodor.

Barbarossa's palace: You reach the tram stop Klemensplatz in Kaiserswerth from the city centre within approx. 20 minutes by underground U79 (free ride with the DüsseldorfCard). There you start your journey into the middle-age. Alter Golzheimer Friedhof (cemetery): Tombs of famous people can be found here: the garden architect and creator of the cemetery Maximilian Weyhe, the painter Alfred Rethel, the architect Wilhelm von Schadow and the theatre director Karl Leberecht Immermann.

Burgplatz: The mighty castle of the Count of Berg and the later Dukes of Jülich - Kleve - Berg stood at this place. Nowadays, a former side tower of a later baroque palace is all that remains.

Carlsplatz: The former farmers market is now a gourmet's paradise for Düsseldorfers and tourists (Mon-Sat).

EKO-House of Japanese Culture: Consists of a Buddhist temple (the only Japanese temple in Europe), a Japanese garden and a house in the traditional style with tea room.

Heinrich Heine birth place: Heinrich Heine (1797–1856), author of the Loreley song ('Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten..') was born in the rear part of the property. Historical Kaiserswerth: On the boundaries of the picturesque centre of Kaiserswerth, the ruins of lengendary Emperor Barbarossa's medieval palace directly by the riverside are what is left of one of the most important castles on the Rhine.

North Rhine-Westphalian State Parliament: In 1946, Düsseldorf was elected the state capital of the newly founded federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Oberkasseler Bridge: In 1896-1898, the Rheinische Bahngesellschaft (public transports company) built the first road bridge across the Rhine in Düsseldorf at this place.

Rathaus (city hall): The city hall complex consists of three buildings from different periods. The so-called 'old city hall' at the northern side of Marktplatz, the 'Wilhelminischer Bau' (period of the Emperor Wilhem II) and the 'Grupello house' at the western side.

Rheinturm: The Rheinturm (built 1979–1982, architect H. Deilmann) is a striking landmark on the Düsseldorf’s Rhine skyline. It stands on the edge of the southern city centre, at the entrance.

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