Touch the future @ 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 print and media industry is changing and new technologies are establishing themselves. drupa is responding to these changes to pique visitor interest with state-of-theart technologies and new solutions in the highlighted themes of commerical printing, functional & industrial printing, packaging productions, multichannel, 3D printing and green printing.

drupa 2016 to highlight
industrial printing

As the world’s leading trade fair for print and cross-media solutions, a strong focus at drupa 2016 will be the advances in industrial printing, specifically packaging, glass, textile, ceramics, flooring, laminates, wood, wallcovering and decorative printing as well as printed electronics.

“Packaging production and industrial printing applications are recognised today as growth markets. We must follow market changes and identify future trends to integrate them into our concept for the trade fair. For 65 years, drupa has always been at the forefront of technological innovations,” explained Werner M Dornscheidt, president & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.

Industrial printing applications have historically been produced using a variety of analog printing technologies, such as offset, gravure, flexographic, and screen printing. Although the digital revolution has taken several paths, the most prominent to date has been in the graphic communications market. Digital print-ondemand is now well-established in this area and the use of digital technology is now migrating and growing in industrial segments such as packaging, decorative and functional printing.

According to estimates by InfoTrends worldwide mass-production of decorative products accounted for just under half a trillion dollars in manufactured goods in flat glass, ceramic tiles, flooring/laminates, textile and wall coverings.

In addition to the individual exhibitors’ products on display, drupa 2016 will present the latest design and production solutions in the special exhibits drupa innovation park (dip), drupa cube, touchpoint packaging and PEPSO – Printed Electronics.

drupa cube partners with The Medici Group to spur out-of-the-box thinking
–Bestselling author Frans Johansson and other thought leaders to deliver keynotes during drupa 2016

Four months prior to the start of the trade show on May 31, the programme for drupa cube, the conference and event location at drupa 2016, is now largely set. The primary partner for development and delivery of innovative content for drupa cube 2016 is international innovation firm The Medici Group and its founder and CEO Frans Johansson. Johansson caused somewhat of a furor with his 2004 book The Medici Effect, and since then has been the goto expert for the concepts of thinking and acting outside fixed limits and the “out-of-the-box principle.” Worldwide brands such as American Express, IBM, Nike, Volvo and The Walt Disney Company have already been drawing on the strategic expertise of The Medici Group. Now drupa is doing the same. “With The Medici Group, we have precisely the right partner at our side for drupa cube. A consistent approach to change management is absolutely necessary to master the challenges in the print, packaging and media sectors”, says Sabine Geldermann, director at drupa. “I am extremely pleased that we will be presenting a high quality and clearly structured programme that will appeal both to the print and media industry as well as to web agencies, brands and print buyers, with The Medici Group and other impressive thought leaders at its core.”

Keynote speaker Frans Johansson, Silas Amos & Shane Wall

In his opening keynote on May 31, bestselling author Frans Johansson (The Medici Effect) will base his talk on the drupa theme ‘touch the future’ and ‘Intersectional Thinking’. The core question that will be addressed is, “What happens when technological revolutions meet an industry that has been around for a millennium?. The second keynote on June 2 will build on this and explore key situations where one can forge a route to a future vision. The third keynote speaker on June 6, Silas Amos (Founder of Silas Amos Ltd. Design Thought), has worked as a designer and strategic partner for several firms in the FMCG industry, including AB InBev, Bacardi, Diageo, Heinz, Mars and Unilever. The final keynote will be held on June 8 with Shane Wall, chief technology officer at HP and Global Head of HP Labs, as the speaker. There will be a mix of the following five sessions across the eleven days:

Business Evolution: Twelve 30-minute slots are aimed primarily at decision-makers in the printing industry who are focusing on increasing efficiency and profits within their companies. Accordingly, both ‘best practices’ and business models, as well as investment strategies and human resources management will be discussed. Already on the list of speakers are: Ronan Zioni/HP, Neil Falconer/ Print Future, Ulbe Jelluma/Print Power and Chris Bondy/RIT’s School of Media Sciences.

Technology: Eleven 30-minute slots will focus on technological innovations and their new areas of application. How can these innovations be integrated into existing workflows and what will be the consequences? These and other topics are aimed at decision-makers and management at printing firms, and will also appeal to all other drupa visitors who have an interest in technology.

One special event of note is the three one-hour “Gladiator Sessions” comparing two converging technologies where the pros and cons are discussed with a moderator. The following speakers have already committed to participate: Chris Bondy (RIT’s School of Media Sciences /USA), Joanna Stephenson (DataLase/UK) and Lilach Sapir (Massivit 3D printing/Israel).

Intersectional: These six sessions, led by The Medici Group, will focus on “Innovation @ the Intersection” and will encompass the six highlight topics of drupa 2016 (multichannel, print, functional printing, 3D-printing, packaging production and green printing). In each interactive lecture slot, several of these highlight topics will be combined with one another using specific application examples, such as functional printing & packaging print, 3D printing & sustainability or multichannel & print.

C-Level: The four invitation-only slots in this programme segment are aimed at a fixed, defined subscriber group at management level as well as at exhibitors and visitors. These C-level sessions will directly follow the four keynotes and are formatted as interactive workshops where strategic insider knowledge is conveyed. The keynote speaker whose talk precedes each session will act as the moderator.

The strategic and creative design of the programme and on-site implementation have been entrusted to London-based brand experience agency FreemanXP. “Just as Gutenberg revolutionised communications by converging the spoken word with print, we are seeing new crossroads that are spawning unimaginable results in every sector. Be it personalisation of printed products, ‘fabbing’ or even human organ printing, drupa is a showcase for how we ‘Touch the Future’ of print. With The Medici Group, drupa Innovation Partner 2016, we have evolved the drupa cube experience to encourage conversation and convergent thinking that will lead to the co-creation, re-imagination and re-invention of the future of printing,” added Jordan Waid, vice president brand experience, FreemanXP EMEA.

“The printing technology manufacturing industry can and will grow with the packaging market”

The drupa year 2016 has started. In an interview, Thilo Sporbert, head of Business Development for Printing Technology of the Digital Factory Division of Siemens in Erlangen, reveals which solutions Siemens will show in Düsseldorf and how automation supports the trend to shorter print runs and individualised print products.

Thilo SporbertQ: Briefly explain the role Siemens is playing in printing technology?

Thilo Sporbert: We assist machinery manufacturers of all industries worldwide – among them the printing technology industry and related sectors like packaging or plastics machines. We offer them a wide spectrum of automation and drive solutions. This ranges from hardware and software to technologybased services. We are present wherever printing machines are manufactured, and we work for large, medium-sized and small companies at most versatile technological levels.

Q: drupa 2016 is just around the corner. What will you show there?

Sporbert: The focus will clearly be on digitalisation. We will show the machine manufacturers and the users from the printing industry how an integrated process chain from the design and planning stage to simulation and engineering as well as the production and operation of a machine can look like and which advantages it offers for the development of a machine in terms of flexibility, time and cost. In addition, machinery manufacturers and users can gather and analyse data relating to the performance of their machines, energy data, make-ready and downtimes or hints regarding pro-active maintenance by means of our software and cloud solutions. Our solutions support the transformation of the machinery manufacturing industry towards Industry 4.0. At drupa, we want to demonstrate that by means of the life cycle of a machine.

Q: Are these solutions open to all printing methods?

Sporbert: It makes no difference whether the machines are operated in the graphic arts, industrial or packaging sector. Our solutions are now being used in analogue, digital and hybrid printing processes that combine offset, gravure or flexographic printing with a digital step for personalisation. The main growth area is digital printing because it supports the trend to individualisation and shorter print runs in the best way.

Q: How do individualisation and automation fit together?

Sporbert: The shorter the print run and the more frequent the job and format change, the more important is automation! Otherwise, the changeover times are a burden to productivity. Nowadays, we see print shops that have automated only islands around single machines and printing companies with a fully digital, highly automated workflow. The latter are better able to cope with the difficult market environment. In the printing industry, automation is the key element of continued competitiveness. Thilo Sporbert

Q: Do you see the printing technology manufacturing industry as a growth market?

Sporbert: In this sector, we are clearly set for growth. This is driven by digital printing and the packaging market where we are closely involved in packaging machines and machines for the production of flexible materials. We are confident that we will be able to achieve a disproportionally high growth rate with this market.

Q: There is also growth in Asia. How are the machinery manufacturers doing there?

Sporbert: In India, they rather operate in the low-performance range. In China, more and more in the mid-range where first companies take the plunge into the high-end range with fully automated machines. They focus on exports and want to make a compelling impression in the global competition by offering high quality.

Q: What is your vision of the printing house of the future?

Sporbert: It won’t take very long and every printing company will implement the fully digitalised value chain; simply, in order to remain competitive. The basis is provided by an integrated software platform for an uninterrupted flow of data from the order intake to the machines and the processing of the order. This digital factory will be carefully shielded from cyber attacks and will be able to respond extremely flexible to the customers’ wishes. The development progresses towards the digital workflow in which processes and decisions run in parallel. This requires the companies to do some rethinking – recently, the willingness to do that has substantially increased.

Ten major attractions in Düsseldorf apart from drupa

Düsseldorf is known as a university town and a center of art and fashion. Wide streets lined by elegant shops, ring of parks and gardens encircle its vibrant downtown area. Known as an important cultural center, the city boasts of dozens of museums and in excess of 100 art galleries encompassing everything from internationally renowned facilities such as the impressive Art Collection North Rhine-Westphalia to the smaller installations found in the city’s trendy Königsallee area. Here are top 10 places to visit in Dusseldorf:

Königsallee - Germany’s Most Elegant Avenue

The street, lovingly referred to as the Kö, is a lively shopping paradise and exciting “going-out mile” all rolled into one, a catwalk for the fashiondaring and a rest stop for epicures. It is this inimitable combination of extravagant luxury and Rhineland joy of life that turned the Kö into a world-renowned trademark and turned a street into an attitude towards life.

Official site: www.koenigsalleeduesseldorf. de/en

Schloss Benrath

An easy ten-kilometer journey from the city center by public transit, Schloss Benrath is a splendid Baroque palace constructed between 1756 and 1773. Highlights include the palace’s sumptuous interior, as well as a stroll around its huge park and gardens. Originally built for Elector Carl Theodor, the palace is home to three excellent museums focusing on various aspects of life in the 18th century: in the main palace building is Museum Corps de Logis, showcasing the history of Benrath and its architecture, while the equally interesting Museum for Landscape Art and the Natural Science Museum are situated in other ark buildings.

The museum opening hours are: Tuesday to Sunday 11.00 am - 05.00 pm Summer time (May 1st – September 30th): on weekends (Sat + Sun) 10.00 am - 06.00 pm

North Rhine-Westphalia Art Collection

The Kunstsammlung Nordrhein- Westfalen is the art collection of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, located in Düsseldorf. United by this institution are three different exhibition venues: the K20 at Grabbeplatz, the K21 in the Ständehaus and the Schmela Haus. The Kunstsammlung was founded in 1961 by the state government of North Rhine- Westphalia as a foundation under private law for the purpose of displaying the art collection and expanding it through new acquisitions.


Incorporated into the city in 1929, Kaiserswerth is one of Düsseldorf’s oldest (and poshest) neighborhoods, and is a wonderful place to explore due to its many old buildings and its picture-perfect location on the Rhine. Tracing its roots back to the 13th century is the Church of St. Suitbertus, noted for its beautiful reliquary of the saint. Even older is the Kaiserpfalz, the imperial stronghold of Emperor Frederick I, also known as Barbarossa. Although mostly ruins, the scale of the site still impresses.

The Museum of Art: Kunstpalast

The Museum of Art (Museum Kunstpalast) is another important art facility in Düsseldorf with artwork dating from the 3rd century BC to the present day. Highlights include fine art, sculptures and drawings, in addition to more than 70,000 items of graphic art, photos, and applied art. Other highlights include a collection of glass by Helmut Hentrich, along with rare Italian Baroque works, a modern art collection including works by Dali, Warhol, and Caravaggio, as well as examples from members of the Düsseldorf School of Painting and Expressionism. The museum also offers theatrical performances and classical concerts, and guided tours are available

Old Town Düsseldorf

Düsseldorf’s Old Town (Altstadt) remains remarkably well preserved. The focal point of the Old Town is the Marktplatz where you’ll find the imposing Town Hall (Rathaus) and a large equestrian statue of Elector John William II erected in 1711. Another highlight is the Castle Tower (Schlossturm) in Burgplatz on the banks of the Rhine. The only surviving section of this old castle that once dominated the city, the tower is home to the SchiffahrtsMuseum, one of Germany’s best (and oldest) marine museums with fascinating exhibits on the history of shipbuilding and trade. Another attraction to visit is the Hetjens Museum, dedicated to more than 800 years of ceramics, porcelain, and earthenware. After exploring the Old Town, be sure to visit the neighboring Ehrenhof district, home to the domed Tonhalle, a concert hall constructed in 1926 as the base of the city’s orchestra, Düsseldorfer Symphoniker.

Neue Zollhof and the Gehry Buildings

Dusseldorf is home to some of the most daring of modern architecture, the best of which can be seen in Neue Zollhof, a stunningly redeveloped section of the city’s old port. The highlights here are undoubtedly the Frank Gehry designed office buildings of Media Harbor, three quite distinct structures built in 1998 that seem to defy gravity as they lean and curve like jelly frozen in mid-wobble. Another interesting architectural landmark is the nearby Rheinturm Tower, a 240-meter-tall telecommunications tower constructed in 1981 with an observation deck offering superb views of the city (it also claims to be the world’s largest digital timepiece).

Nordpark’s Japanese Garden

One of Düsseldorf’s most popular parks - and at 90 acres, one of its largest - Nordpark is a wonderful place to explore. Numerous wide pathways crisscross the park through its spacious lawns and themed gardens, including the lovely Lily Garden. Other Nordpark highlights are its Horse-Tamers statue and the Japanese Garden, the latter presented to the city by Düsseldorf’s Japanese community and boasting an astonishing variety of landscapes. Another top attraction here is the Aquazoo Löbbecke Museum, a great place for kids of all ages.

The Hofgarten

Düsseldorf’s city center is bounded to the north by the Hofgarten, a large park laid out in 1770 that stretches all the way from the Old Town and Königsallee to the banks of the River Rhine. Designed in the English landscape style, this delightful 68-acre site includes extensive meadows and wooded areas, as well as numerous streams and ponds. The park is also home to a number of interesting modern sculptures as well as historic monuments and memorials, including the Märchenbrunnen with its fairytale figures, and a sculpture by Henry Moore.

The Magic of Rhine: Embankment Promenade

Düsseldorf’s Rhine Embankment Promenade offers one of the best ways of enjoying the city’s wonderful riverside. Opened in 1997 as a means of hiding one of the city’s busiest roads (it’s buried beneath the promenade), this long pedestrian route gives the city a distinctly Mediterranean flavor, lined as it is by cafés, restaurants, galleries, and shops on one side, and the mighty Rhine on the other. Running all the way from the Oberkassel Bridge and connecting the Old Town to the state’s Parliament buildings, the one-and-a-half-kilometer, tree-lined promenade encompasses pedestrian and bike paths and offers countless opportunities for sightseeing and people watching.

The digital transformation of industrial printing

Ron Gilboa, drector of InfoTrends’ Production & Industrial Printing Advisory Service, shares how graphic arts technology has enriched the decorative elements in everyday surfaces like packaged goods, decorative surfaces, and other functional materials. The range of applications span textiles, ceramics, flooring, laminates, glass, wood, membrane switches, printed electronics, packaging, and even some bio-medical materials.

Ron GilboaSince ancient times, people around the world have been looking to beautify their environment and enrich their lives using decorations. They have used decorative glyphs, paintings, and written words in monochrome and colour to reflect their lifestyles and to communicate functional messages (e.g. a green light means go!). Innovators on worldwide basis always seek solutions for the deposition of decorative and functional materials on everyday objects and surfaces. Some of these designs were intended to convey information, while others created a striking visual effect or enhanced functionality. First came early block printing on paper and textiles, and then the gamechanging invention of Gutenberg’s printing press with movable type in 1440.

Since the time that Gutenberg revolutionised printing 575 years ago, this manufacturing process has evolved as a precise deposition of colorants or materials as part of graphic arts applications and industrial applications. Graphic arts technology evolved to produce printed matter used for information sharing, promotional activities, education, and a range of utility documents. Industrial printing became a technology used for enriching the decorative elements in everyday surfaces like packaged goods, decorative surfaces, and sophisticated functional materials for the electronics industry. Industrial printing applications have historically been produced using a variety of analogue printing technologies, such as offset, gravure, flexographic, and screen printing. The range of applications is dazzling, spanning applications such as textiles, ceramics, flooring, laminates, glass, wood, membrane switches, printed electronics, packaging, and even some bio-medical materials.

The impact of mass customisation

The driving force behind these developments was the need to mass-produce printed items like books or packaged consumer goods from leading industry brands. Items such as fashion fabrics, decorated laminates, ceramic tiles, and product packaging became available to consumers with the help of mass production processes and technologies. Although mass production reduces unit price, it requires a large investment in manufacturing capacity as well as a suitable supply chain to manage the inflow and outflow of materials and goods.

According to InfoTrends’ estimates, worldwide mass-production of decorative products accounted for just under half a trillion dollars in manufactured goods in flat glass, ceramic tiles, flooring/laminates, textile, and wallcoverings.

Our desire to increasingly customise our surroundings coupled with relentless innovations in materials science and digital material deposition technology is a major driving force in the transition from massproduction to mass-customisation. This transition enables consumers as well as institutional buyers to customise their environments with branded imagery, or with decorative surfaces that reflect their tastes and visual sensibilities. Digitally printed output is now increasingly used to enable mass-customisation while also providing a range of other benefits, including operational efficiency in manufacturing and a positive environmental impact.

Industrial printing in the digital age Over a generation ago, digital printing emerged with a range of technologies that ushered in new integrated production processes as well as the ability to customise or personalise products. Although promising, early innovations were often expensive and did not yield acceptable quality for end-users. One of the leading technologies in this space was inkjet printing. For many years, inkjet printing technologies like drop-on-demand and continuous inkjet struggled to gain acceptance due to high costs, reliability issues, and a limited range of available materials (e.g., inks and substrates).

These factors hampered the range of applications that could be produced. Over the past two decades, surging technological developments in materials and printheads have yielded a crop of products that have effectively transformed industry dynamics to enable mass-customisation of graphic arts products using inkjet technology. These changes are quickly expanding into industrial manufacturing as well. At their core, these inkjet solutions enable manufacturers to produce quality products while benefiting from the operational advantages of digital print. As important as operational efficiency may be, it is only one of the ingredients that is driving market growth. The ability to costeffectively manufacture products in short runs is democratising the creative process. In a market where printing requires less make-ready and inventories are significantly reduced, brand owners and designers are now free to explore new products, materials, and manufacturing technologies that do not require as high an investment as massproduced products. Fueled by the Internet, these products generate demand for a range of applications that were previously unavailable to consumers and businesses.

Compounded with the operational benefits, these market-driven opportunities can spell profitable growth for companies of all sizes.

The industry landscape

The printing technology spans a broad range of industries including graphic communication, packaging, decorative, and functional printing. A common element to all of these industry segments is the need to precisely deposit a range of materials such as ink binders and functional materials. These are deposited on a variety of surfaces from sheets of paper to 3D printed objects. Core technologies typically migrate to adjacent markets; for example, a technology that was initially adopted by one segment will find its way into a related segment and will later be modified based on the new segment’s specific needs. Although the digital revolution has taken several paths, the most prominent to date has been in the graphic communications market. Digital print-on-demand is now wellestablished in this area, with over one billion A4 impressions produced annually. The use of digital technology is now migrating and growing in industrial segments such as packaging, decorative, and functional printing.

To better understand the key trends that are impacting the various industries, we compiled a short description and some examples to illuminate the solutions that are available in these industry segments.


Packaging is a massive industry, and InfoTrends’ industry assessments estimate that it accounted for over $400 billion in related revenues on a global basis in 2014. Applications span from simple marked corrugated brown boxes to awardwinning labels for premium products.

Over the past few years, digital colour technology has established a critical base of electrophotographic and inkjet solutions. These accounted for about one billion square meters in 2014 and are projected to reach two billion square meters in 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23 percent. Thanks to a new generation of inkjet presses, this market is now reaching folding cartons, flexible packaging, direct-to-shape, and corrugated printing. These systems go beyond proofing into fully integrated production lines. Solutions that are targeted toward corrugated liner manufacturing or sheet fed printing of corrugated boxes/displays are now available from key industry suppliers with print speeds exceeding 200 meters per minute.

Direct-to-shape is another example of an emerging category where graphic arts, technologies, and industry-specific suppliers have come together to meet the demand for customised printing like never before. Examples include a major brand that is now offering digitally printed beer bottles that are fully customised and linked to an augmented reality campaign. This isn’t a completely new concept, except that it is now being done on an industrial scale by a mainstream manufacturer.

Decorative printing

Decorative printing is a vast market segment with a number of applications that are taking advantage of digital printing capabilities. The digital print volume in this segment is large and growing rapidly. Although many applications exist in this segment, this article will focus on ceramics, textiles, laminates & wood, wallcoverings, and glass, which are leading the digital transition.


The market for ceramic tile is huge, with over 12 billion square meters of tile manufactured worldwide in 2014 based on an InfoTile report. This industry segment traditionally used rotary presses to deposit decorative ceramic inks onto tiles ahead of the firing process, resulting in a cost-effective product that rivalled the permanency of natural stone. At the same time, however, using rotary print cylinders has its drawbacks—pattern repeats are limited and require costly changeovers.

Because digital printing has dramatically improved time-to-market, enabled design changes, and reduced make-ready, it now captures the majority of tile manufacturing in Europe and is gaining a rapidly-growing share in China. Moreover, digital technology offers dimensional printing in later firings to add texture in addition to the decorative layer.


Textile printing is a far-reaching industry with a deep-rooted heritage in countries like Italy, Turkey, India, Japan, Korea, and China. Based on InfoTrends’ Digital Textile Forecast, printed fabrics accounted for over 35 billion square meters in 2014—and 800 million of this volume was digital. Although most of these fabrics are produced using silk screens or rotary presses, the use of digital printers is rapidly increasing. This unique industry has been creating dazzling designs since woodcarved blocks were used to stamp fabrics. Great strides have been made since that time, and the prevailing technology for high-volume fabric manufacturing is now rotary screen printing.

Now that specialty inks can be used with a wide range of manmade and natural fibers, it is possible to create cost-effective finished products with bright colours and bold designs. The ever-increasing need for improved operational efficiency and the desire to provide consumers with cutting-edge designs was a key driver in the market’s evolution. Since the early 1990s, inkjet technology vendors have attempted to make inkjet a suitable solution for fabric manufacturers.

The past few years have seen a rapid growth in inkjet printing on fabric for organizations of all sizes. InfoTrends’ Digital Textile Forecast projects that digital textile fabric printing will demonstrate a CAGR of over 30 percent, surpassing 3.2 billion square meters by 2019. This rapid growth can be attributed to a reduction in make-ready, cost reductions in environmentally-friendly production, and the democratisation of designs that enable brand owners to reach markets quickly and effectively.

Laminates & wood

Within the construction and furniture industries, woodworking products have been making use of printed decorative papers and laminates for decades. With a wide range of designs that mimic natural wood grains, stone, and graphic patterns, laminates are a cost-effective substitute for natural materials. In some cases, laminates are actually preferred because they are more durable. Typically produced using gravure presses, decorative papers are converted to laminates using a range of processes. This industry produced over 300 million digital square meters in 2014, based on InfoTrends’ document entitled Profiting from Digital Printing in the Décor Marketplace. The pressure to develop short-run or custom laminates is driving an increased demand for mid-range as well as industrial products that rival the printing volumes of traditional gravure presses.

Many leading providers of laminates and décor paper (e.g., Schattdecor, WilsonArt, and Formica) are now offering custom laminates based on end-users’ demands for increased levels of design freedom and customisation. These trends follow many years of successful production of laminate flooring as well as a range of decorative trims for the construction industry. Emerging on the heels of laminate solutions are a range of direct printing solutions produced on a variety of wood products such as Medium Fiber Board (MDF), plywood, and natural wood. These do not require lamination and are used for adding a decorative surface to residential and commercial applications.


Wallcoverings have been in existence since the ancient Chinese decorated their palace walls. More recently, King Louis XI of France ordered wallpaper for his royal dwellings in 1481. Creator Jean Bourdichon painted 50 rolls of paper with angels on a blue background because King Louis found it necessary to move frequently from castle to castle. Wallcoverings have made great strides since that time, and they are now readily available to everyday residences and commercial buildings. Technologies such as surface printing, offset, flexography, and gravure printing have been widely used to produce standard wallpapers, with volumes estimated at 52 million square meters annually in 2014 based on InfoTrends’ Profiting from Digital Printing in the Décor Marketplace.

Digital wide format printing solutions ushered in generations of innovative graphic communication solutions for the plethora of industries that have been migrating to the wallcovering segment. Advancements in digital printing inks (e.g., latex and flexible UV inks) now enable printing on standard industry media that complies with health and safety codes. Applications such as murals and graphically rich wallpaper rolls are becoming increasingly common and are now available from a number of suppliers.


Decorative glass has been adorning cathedrals, palaces, and a range of public and private buildings for millennia. Applications span from leaded stained glass to screenprinted glass panes, and these items have been used to reinforce branding, promote artistic expression, or create simple signage. According to the Global Flat Glass Industry Trend, Forecast, and Opportunity Analysis by Lucintel, the flat glass market is expected to surpass $66 billion by 2019 and is starting to adopt digital printing as a means of expanding its reach. With the development of inkjet printheads that are capable of printing ceramic inks onto glass, a number.

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