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Well, I’ve had some time to step away from the week long trip to Germany and the Drupa Print show. The trip was fun, and informational.

Day 1 – Recovery from flight, stayed local, near the hotel. Cab driver from Airport spoke great English and knew more about Abe Lincoln then I did. Gave us a great recommendation on where to go in the Alt Schtadt (old city).

Day 2 – Train ride to Heidelberg. 3 hours on a train, no Heidelberg people bothering us, except the one woman who kicked us out of our car to accommodate some Ukranian customers. Hope they bought something, cause it pissed me off. Moved to end of the train. View was amazing traveling up the Rhein river. Got to Heidelberg, to the print manufacturer tour, band was playing, slightly raining, but no big deal. Got on a bus and did the tour. Not the best tour but the facility was amazing. German manufacturing at its finest.

Headed up to Heidelberg Castle ruins and was blown away by the sights and view. Amazing. Hopped on the bus back to the train station and 3 hours back to Dusseldorf. 2.5 hours into it, finally someone from Heidelberg sales pokes in. Got a conversation he wasn’t expecting.

Day 3 – First day at Drupa. Wow, the people, buildings (all 16 of them) and the walking. That stupid Drupa song before the doors open… Still can’t get it out of my head. Blown away by Heidelberg’s new VLF offset press. The ground actually shook watching it run at 15,000 sheets an hour. KBA was impressive, except for our appointment with our rep. He wasn’t going to arrive till the next day. Still got a good tour and conversation. Strange drinking beer on a show floor.

Day 4 – Had a meeting with HP. Rep wasn’t answering his cell, gave us the quick tour, the HP inkjet press was impressive, but not running when I saw it. Indigo 7000 has potential, need to see more and do lots of testing to see if it can finally break out of its productivity challenges. Uptime looks great, but not sure if it can crank out the sheets over a month like an iGen3 or Nexpress can. Back to KBA to meet with our rep. He’s jet lagged and zoning, told him to go to the hotel and sleep, planned on meeting us for dinner, he never showed. Can’t say I can blame him, we were in good hands with Travis. Spent some time with Man Roland and talking JDF / JMF and telepresence. They have some cool stuff.

Day 5 – Kodak showed us some cool stuff. Stream actually running offset quality at high speed, on coated paper. Very impressive. Saw working versions of Prinergy 5, Prinergy Direct, Colorflow and much more. Kodak has some of the best software from web to output. Absolutely amazing stuff, the future looks very bright for Kodak, wish I could say that about the printing industry.

Day 6 – Last day, time to run around and hit everything I haven’t seen. Xerox booth, wow, not much new here. Couldn’t get an appointment to see XMpie, so had to go over to HP to get a demo. Strange. iGen3 220 concept was interesting but not actually running. Couldn’t get an appointment to hear about iGen4 but seems like a spiffed up iGen3 with all the trimmings. Saw where the igen3 fire was, all cleaned up, nothing to see really. Hit a whole bunch of ink jet guys, not that impressed with any of it yet as it compares to offset, Stream still seems the most impressive. Got a demo of Press-sense iWay. Wow, worst demo ever. Excuse was it was in beta, but just eye candy, nothing more and very, very slow. Hit 12 buildings and every vendor I wanted to, nothing really grabbed my attention, but maybe it was just show overload. Feet were ready to fall off.

Day 7 – Trip back… Hotel was ok, no real air conditioning and a feather down comforter to sleep with. Very expensive hotel, and not the best for the price, but sure beat taking a train in from Koln each day. Internet was expensive, but needed. Phone worked but didn’t dare turn on data. Landed back in the USA, cleared customs and went home and crashed.

Overall, ink jet Drupa, maybe, offset peak for sure. Amazed at the offset tech, and software. Can’t wait to see how quickly all this cool stuff comes to market. Fun was had, beer was drinken, food was consumed and pictures were taken. Till next time.