But back to DRUPA. Business for the sheetfed manufacturers appeared to be solid at the show, driven mostly by packaging. The graph below shows total orders for the main players in sheetfed, but should be taken with a few caveats. KBA orders include the web and special segments. Sheetfed orders are about 44% of the total. Ryobi/Mitsubishi, now rebranded as RMGT (RYOBI MHI Graphic Technology is a mouthful...), only reports sales and Manroland sheetfed provides only limited insights, so I had to apply some estimates.
Heidelberg Orders by Quarter
A look at KBA's recent quarters indicates that the market remains challenging. While overall orders were up 20% over the average previous four quarters, sheetfed orders were actually down some 6.5%, not exactly what one would expect in a DRUPA quarter. (KBA expects that 2/3 of DRUPA orders will be booked in Q3.)
Using the same measure, Komori's sheetfed orders were down almost 14%. The company also reported its first quarterly loss in 3 years. So did its smaller rival RMGT, suggesting that pricing for the Japanese suppliers is more difficult in a strong Yen environment.
All in all, I will not be surprised if, in a couple of years, we will look at DRUPA 2016 as the beginning of the next down cycle for printing equipment. I hope that I am wrong.