offset exit from drupa
No Manroland or Heidelberg but Koenig and Bauer will still exhibit at drupa

Manroland Sheetfed has joined fellow offset giant Heidelberg in its exit from drupa.

Rafael Peñuela-Torres, group managing director for Manroland Sheetfed, says, “Exhibiting at drupa, or any other trade fair for that matter, makes absolutely no sense during the current Coronavirus pandemic.”

“….it is regrettable, as we would have been exhibiting with live demonstrations of both our recently launched Roland 900 Evolution press and the new Roland 700 Evolution Elite, but unfortunately it is just not practicable in the current circumstances. Instead we will be holding a series of live webinars in the autumn.”

The decision to not attend drupa as an exhibitor follows Bobst and Heidelberg, who have both stated their current preference for online communication or more focused one to one customer discussions.

Koenig & Bauer steps up

Meanwhile, still in Germany, Koenig & Bauer has reaffirmed its commitment to participate in drupa. It has exhibited at every drupa since the event’s inception in 1951.

Claus Bolza-Schünemann, chief executive and president at Koenig & Bauer, sees no reason to stop. He says, “We continue to see drupa, the world’s leading trade fair. It is an important building block in the graphic arts industry and we see it as our responsibility to support this industry.

“We want to do our part to continue to provide important impulses locally in personal discussions. We have confidence in Messe Düsseldorf’s hygiene concept and in the sense of responsibility of all visitors.”

Ralf Sammeck, board member at Koenig & Bauer, says drupa delivers the best platform for presenting product diversity from the business. He says, “Trade fairs will not be the same as they were before Covid-19. Koenig & Bauer is also supplementing communication with its customers with virtual formats and customer-specific events.

“Nevertheless, these formats can only convey the performance capabilities of the broad product portfolio to a limited extent. Nothing beats experiencing the latest technologies up close in action with the public and the trade fair feeling.”

Offset exit from drupa may worsen

In 2016, over a quarter of a million visitors attended drupa from around 183 countries, according to drupa. After rescheduling the giant d=show to April 20-30, 2021, organisers had the backing of the global print community. However, as the pandemic has expanded, companies can see that international travel will not restart any time soon.

This year should have at last seen ‘the inkjet drupa’ and that could still happen in 2021. That will depend on how many manufacturers and suppliers follow these offset giants out the door.

All of the world’s other trade shows have felt the effects from the Covid-19 pandemic. Closer to home, Visual Connections has reported huge success with its virtual trade show and other exhibitions will certainly try their hand at online shows.

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