Interview at SGI with Christoph Gamper, CEO - Durst Phototechnik AG
How important is the Middle East market and how successful have you been in this region?
2014 was a good year for us in ME, and the market is very interesting for us for different reasons and different business units. All over I would say we had success, but there is a lot more potential on both, the graphical and industrial printing sides.
You are making printers for a variety of applications, isn't it difficult to keep track of all the new trends and developments in all these areas of printing?
We constantly and strategically develop new markets. Whenever we see a real benefit (cost, disruption, new application for our customer) of digital coming together with a certain opportunity we intensively research the process and the technology used today and create a model how it could look like if we do it and what the real benefit for the customer (and ourselves are). If all parameters fit the model, we create a team which explores the opportunity in a protected start up mode – only if successful a business unit (like a little company) gets created and is responsible to make the segment happen (including R&D, marketing, channels, promotion and so on) So even if it seems that we play in a lot of fields, in reality our every move is carefully planned and prepared.
There are many large format manufacturers around what do you consider your core strength that sets you apart from the rest?
There are only a few players in our league. I don't want to praise ourselves but we are not investor, we are customer driven. We have been in the market since more than 75 years, 100% family owned, and we re-invented ourselves several times to provide real value to our customers. My people is proud on what they are creating and we are doing this in a place where you would expect tourism, skiing and great food – but not high tech (the Tyrolean Alps). The addiction to technology and Durst's quest for perfection combined with an owner family which has long term goals and is not short term investor driven, is the recipe for success and this is what sets us apart. Every machine is designed with our customer and our customer's customer in mind. That's our reason to exist.
In your opinion what are the future opportunities for large format print providers, soft signage, textile printing, packaging or industrial printing? Which of these segments are more promising?
Soft Signage has been a huge growth area in some European countries and there is no doubt it will remain a growth segment for the next years. As I already explained water based systems will play an important role for some applications. As segments that you mentioned are interesting, however for textile/apparel the entry barrier is quite high (wet line, process). Packaging – to a certain extend – can be interesting. But even here, as with apparel there are entry barriers for pure large format providers, which need to be taken in consideration (process, people knowledge).