Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Germany and Back Again

When I travel for work I usually wait until the last minute to leave the house.  Initially, I am very excited about my trip…What new opportunities await me? Will I learn something new on this trip, who will I meet this time? But when it comes to leaving my family – I prolong the inevitable. 

In May I had the opportunity to travel to Germany for a once every 4-year tradeshow.  This show exhibits the latest and greatest in technology for the printing industry.  I have heard about this for many years.  Thought about going many times.  But it was never the right time.  So 2012 was the year for me!  I saw my opportunity and grabbed it!  I was DRUPA bound!

For those who have never been, the show is called Drupa; it is always held in Dusseldorf Germany.  The city is located right along the Rhine River, the waterfront and the old part of the city is the highlight of the town.  We were within walking distance of everything.  This part of this city was devoted to the show.  The city streets were lined with ‘Drupa’ flags, and logos…it was a true “Drupa” experience from the moment we stepped off the plane and were greeted by the Drupa Welcoming Committee.

With a rare opportunity like this to travel overseas, my husband came along with me.  A first for us!  In all my years of working at IPB, we have never been able to co-ordinate getting away like this (work travel).  He has never seen all there is to offer out there in the printing world!  Boy was he excited.  My husband, Suni is a mechanical person, far more mechanical than myself.  I rely on him to help me to understand how some machinery works.  So for him to see all of this first hand (other than what we have in our shop) was a real experience for him.

We landed Saturday and wanted to get started right away (yes this show runs for 3 weeks straight, including weekends!), but jet lag was getting the best of us!  We took a quick nap, and off we went!  Saturday, Sunday and Monday at the show.  We managed to see it all!  Now this show was so huge, and I mean huge.  There were over 17 very large buildings to go through.  Actually, huge doesn’t even begin to describe it!  It took me 3 days to see everything and after all of that walking, my feet were done in…even with my comfy shoes! 

Bobst was showcasing their latest and greatest in diecutting and gluing technologies.  Numerous board companies were there, all the printing presses looked very impressive.  But what I noticed the most was the amount of digital presses marketed towards our packaging industry. This is something that we have been looking at as an enhancement to our line up of machinery.  So I wasn’t unfamiliar with a lot of their names.  It was more shocking for me to see the strength of their presence at the show and the scale of their booths!

What I found the most impressive and ‘out of the box’ concept, was a company unveiling their laser cutting die cutting machine.  It was quite impressive, and although it is still in the formative stages and machines are not available for sale for another year or two…they had a packed house (or booth I should say). Providing a live demo every 2 hours, I among many others waited patiently for the “show” and I have to admit that watching the machines cut boxes with a laser certainly had a coolness factor to it.

When we were not at show; we spent our time exploring the city.  We walked along the river each night – lots of people out and about and we love to people watch!  Old Dusseldorf is filled with tiny restaurants.  Indian, Spanish, Italian, Beer houses, and pubs…It really felt like a multi-cultural melting pot.  We ate amazing dinners each night outside along the streets, sat in cafes and just sat back and watched the world go by. 

When I travel to different conferences I always try to bring home what I call ‘take aways’.  Something I have learned or something new I/we can implement at IPB.  There were so many great things that I saw and heard about.  Stay tuned for what will be coming to IPB soon!

Click to watch the most beautiful highlights of Drupa 2012 below - See you at Drupa 2016!