“Due to unforeseeable effects of COVID-19,” Heidelberg, the world’s largest press manufacturer, said it intends to pull out of all live international tradeshows as an exhibitor – including Drupa – during 2021. Heidelberg did have a substantial presence in Hall 1 at the world’s largest print industry tradeshow in Dusseldorf in 2016, alongside partner companies that included Masterwork Machinery and Muller Martini. The German press manufacturer said that it plans to focus on “new, virtual trade fair concepts and regional events” moving forward. Two other large exhibitors, Xerox and Bobst, had already cancelled their Drupa 2021 participation.
Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer recently told Printweek: “We all love Drupa…..it used to be a festival, but this is not going to happen next year with distancing and masks. Our customers say they’ll most likely not come, and what sense does a festival make if the guests aren’t coming?” He added that the major investment involved as a major exhibitor would therefore be wasted. Hundsdörfer added that the OEM would instead re-allocate its Drupa double-digit million euros into open houses and virtual events. Heidelberg said it spent at least 10 million Euros on the last Drupa event in 2016. “I can do probably 50 in-house shows for the same money,” Hundsdörfer revealed.
Drupa had previously removed the interactive hall floorplan on its website because of the COVID-19 situation. “We will make the new layout plan available to our visitors again as soon as possible,” a Drupa spokesperson said. Show organizer Messe Dusseldorf is implementing a new ‘COVID-secure’ exhibition concept for exhibitors and visitors, which will be deployed as major shows resume at the beginning of September. This will include the ability to track contact chains through the online registration of visitors. “We’ll inform our exhibitors shortly about the security requirements they’ll have to take into account when planning their exhibition. The implementation of the safety distances on the individual exhibition stands will be the responsibility of the exhibitors themselves,” tradeshow organizers pointed out.