Manroland Sheetfed has joined German rival Heidelberg in saying ‘Nein’ to Drupa.
The company will instead stage online events streamed from its Offenbach headquarters in the autumn. It is blaming the ongoing pandemic for the decision. "Exhibiting at Drupa, or any other trade fair for that matter, makes absolutely no sense during the current Covid-19 pandemic,” says group managing director Rafael Peñuela-Torres.
The company had taken space in Hall 13 where it had planned to show the new Roland 900 Evolution an the Roland 700 Evolution Elite. “Unfortunately it is just not practicable in the current circumstances,” says Peñuela-Torres.
While Manroland Sheetfed is not the leading producer of litho presses it once was, its absence will be felt by organisers and visitors. Nor is the move fully unexpected. Manroland Sheetfed’s owner Tony Langley expressed his antipathy to large trade shows when buying the press manufacturer from administrators.
The Roland 900 Evolution was to be the highlight of the stand. It brings technology developed for the B1 format Roland 700 to the VLF market at a point when Heidelberg has decided to pull out of the sector. Manroland had also planned to show the top of the range Roland 700 Evolution Elite commercial press.
A number of other exhibitors are understood to be mulling their participation next year in the light of Heidelberg’s action. However, a Drupa spokesman points out that there are still 1,500 exhibitors, with a waiting list. “We very much regret that Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, a long standing partner and exhibitor, has cancelled its participation in Drupa 2021. This is of course an individual decision, which we respect. Like Heidelberg, there are many companies that were already in a tense economic situation before the outbreak of Covid-19 and its associated effects.
“Many of our customers still consider Drupa as an important sales platform, though, and see themselves as having a responsibility to strengthen the industry and provide important impetus face to face.”
There is a hope that the pandemic’s impact will have faded by next spring and that some of the restrictions that are now in place can be eased further, although hygiene and anti infection measures will remain in place.
The show’s organiser adds: “Right now, trade fairs are a key instrument for bringing the economy quickly and sustainably back to a state of far reaching normality. Our customers reflect to us that there is no more suitable platform to present the product diversity from digital, offset and flexo printing to intelligent digitisation and service solutions to an international audience.”
Manroland Sheetfed at Drupa 2016. The company launched the Roland 700 Evolution, here with inline cold foiling. This time it planned to show a new version of this press along with a new Roland 900 Evolution.