31 May 2020 Events

Drupa prepares online preview event this year

With the exhibition postponed until next year, the organisers of Drupa are examining the feasibility of an online preview before the end of the year.

Messe Dusseldorf is planning a virtual Drupa to take place in Q4 this year, several months before the doors open on the rescheduled exhibition in April next year.

That show will open with fewer exhibitors after Xerox and Bobst declared that they would be absent from the show. Xerox has been hit by the closure of offices across the globe and subsequent dip in printing and has said that the 2021 event falls outside its cycle to bring new products to market. The company will also be regrouping after the end of its joint venture with Fujifilm a few weeks beforehand.

The absence of Bobst will be felt more keenly, particularly as the Swiss company increased its floor space by 30% for 2020 compared to the 2016 event. As its focus is on packaging print the company has not been as badly hit by Covid-19, though many investment projects have been put on hold. It has explained that skipping Drupa is part of a new strategy to focus on its competent centres and online conversations. This will allow for deeper conversations, testing customer concepts, reduced environmental impact, digitised workflows and more. And as Bobst knows the customers likely to invest in its technology in the mature economies, it is unlikely to engage new customers at next year’s trade shows.

It has also cancelled participation at Interpack, also rescheduled for 2021, and next year’s Labelexpo. Messe Dusseldorf will be hoping that these do not set a damaging trend, something that hit Ipex when it moved to London.

The idea behind Drupa’s digital preview is to allow “numerous exhibitors to present themselves online, to prepare for the world’s leading trade fair for printing technologies” the Messe company says. Drupa itself has yet to make any announcement. There have also been proposals to run the content programme based in the Drupa Cube as an online event this year.

The announcement comes in statements by Werner Dornscheidt, CEO of the Messe Dusseldorf, who is retiring at the end of this month. “In addition to the further development of content we are continuing to extend the digital presentation options for our customers,” he says.

“We are constantly further developing these formats to make our customers’ content even more attractive and user friendly.”

The Messe has the resources to ride out the impact of the pandemic thanks to a 28% increase in group revenue (including overseas exhibitions) during 2019 to €378.5 million (€294 million), more than doubling profits to €56.6 million (€24.3 million). Some of this is being ploughed back into development of the exhibition site. The new Hall 1 is ready and would have housed Heidelberg at Drupa. By the time the show opens next year, development of the adjacent south entrance will be complete with new transport interchange under a 20 metre high canopy roof.

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Drupa is planning an online preview for exhibitors that had planned to launch products at the now postponed event. Meanwhile, the organisers are putting in place measures to cope in a post Covid world where social distancing will be the norm.

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