Decades of drupa Success – Rollem International

Rollem at drupa 2020
Rollem at drupa 2020

Deborah Corn meets Larry Corwin, president at Rollem International to look at another drupa success story. The company managed to secure international partnerships through exhibiting at drupa: “We’re really proud to be a multi-decade participant. I’m not sure what kind of company we would be if we hadn’t exhibited at drupa 25 years ago.”

When Larry Corwin, President at Rollem International, first stepped into Messe Dusseldorf, he recalls his first thought being, ‘this is breath-taking’, amazed by the show’s magnitude and the hundreds of thousands of people packed into the fifteen halls. That was in 1995, and Larry, along with Rollem International, has kept coming back to every drupa since. When you hear his story, it’s easy to understand why.

“drupa is, in my opinion, the only resource that gives us full access to the entire world of print. And, you know, that is certainly something that has not changed since my first one. There is absolutely nothing like it in the world, and we’re as excited about 2020 as we have been for all the previous shows.

Headquartered in Anaheim, California, with offices in New York, Florida, and Illinois, Rollem International is a distributor of die-cutting, slitting, scoring, creasing, perforating, semi-slitting, collating and card pack production machinery. Thinking back to the overall experience for the business at that first show in ’95, he recalls producing packs of playing cards live in the booth. Every time they turned on the machine hundreds of people waited on line to get samples. Rollem began running their equipment overnight to keep up with the demand. Larry says:

“95% of the people wanted a free deck playing cards, which was great; playing cards for us are 55 business cards that people keep forever (Rollem manufacturers XY Slitters used by a majority of the high volume business card producers in the U.S.). But at the same time, we found that the world’s playing card community simultaneously discovered us right there at drupa. After the show, we booked orders that broke every record in maybe five years combined of all of our total revenues, in just the orders we took at the show, not to mention the dealer network that we were able to set up that still to this day produces return on that show.”

Fast forward 25 years – what does Rollem International have planned for 2020? For one thing, a larger presence is on the cards – no pun intended! Rollem is bringing its latest playing card production machine, the MKIII, brand-new die-cutting machines as well as brand-new slitting converting systems. “The improvements that have been made are absolutely game-changing, with a substantial increase in production, reduction of man hours, and the ability to partner with packaging devices, Rollem creates non-stop finishing workflows with no touch points. Rollem also offers the Insignia Series of Die Cutters ideally suited for the growth sector of packaging. drupa 2020 will be the second of this highly successful sheet-fed Die-Cutter which has experienced excellent sales in the U.S. and abroad. “We’ll be demonstrating two Insignia models showing folded carton automated converting — die-cutting, stripping, folding & gluing in one economical solution. This always draws huge attention so we’re excited to bring Insignia to the international community. We’ve got some real technology innovations and we cannot wait to show the world,” states Corwin.

The decision to exhibit at the show pays off in between drupa years, too; drupa attendees not only buy equipment themselves, they also refer Rollem to their peers. Larry explains that it’s almost difficult to quantify just how beneficial the event is when you add the word of mouth referrals to show floor success.

Rollem International has also secured international partnerships through exhibiting at drupa:

“One of our big goals at the show is to meet and create partnerships. From previous drupas, we’ve met our distribution channel in India and in China – places we can’t realistically consider selling direct to. I personally spend a majority of my time at the show on forming international partnerships – we want a dealer network for the entire world.”

As for how relevant exhibiting at drupa is to US businesses, Larry’s opinion is pretty straightforward:

“I can’t speak for any other CEO or decision maker, but I’m not sure how a manufacturer in our industry can afford to skip the largest printing event. If they’re focused on the US market, certainly that’s a common business model, but I don’t see how you could ignore the opportunity to put your product in front of the entire print world.”

What about attending, as a US-based print business? Again, it’s a no-brainer from Larry’s perspective – if you’re interested in the newest, latest, and greatest, and also have a stake in where the industry is heading on a global scale, attending is a must.

We’ll leave you with a quote from Larry that sums up Rollem’s drupa experience:

“We’re really proud to be a multi-decade participant. I’m not sure what kind of company we would be if we hadn’t exhibited at drupa 25 years ago.”

Make sure to stop by Rollem at drupa in HALL 6, stand C61. Rumor has it they will have playing cards to give away… while they last! For more information, contact Rollem International at (800) 272-4381 or visit