EFI, Canon, Ricoh and HP Bail Out of drupa 2021. Is it the End of the Road for the Iconic Show?

EFI, Canon, Ricoh and HP Bail Out of drupa 2021. Is it the End of the Road for the Iconic Show?

Following the footsteps of Heidelberg, Kodak, Xerox, Fujifilm, Komori, and Screen, four biggest names in digital print and packaging industry have said “No” to the April 2021 edition of drupa, citing health and safety issues. The latest names to pull out of the iconic show include Canon, Ricoh, EFI, and HP. However, reports also suggest that some of the exhibitors who said “Nein!” to drupa are looking forward to drupa’s new ‘virtual platform.’

The move by these companies leaves only Konica Minolta, Landa, Flint Group and Koenig & Bauer as the few exhibitors who still feature on the event’s floor plan. “Our company has a long, positive history with drupa, as do I personally, having also run two companies that have been major drupa exhibitors in the past,” said Jeff Jacobson, chairman, and CEO, EFI. “The show has always represented some of the best of what can be accomplished at an in-person event for the global print industry.”

“But, with the limited amount of knowledge anyone can have right now about what conditions will be for public gatherings early next year, withdrawing from drupa 2021 is an unfortunate albeit prudent decision,” Jacobson added. “All of us at EFI look forward to future drupa events beyond 2021 – and to other industry tradeshows – once the world has clearly moved past the current pandemic.

HP has always been one of drupa’s biggest exhibitors. The company had taken the whole of Hall 17 during drupa 2016. For the 2021 edition, the industry giant had originally planned to showcase its huge product portfolio by taking over all of the 8,300sqm Hall 17 at the Messe Düsseldorf, yet again.

However, in common with a raft of other exhibitors HP’s plans have been severely impacted by the Covid-19 situation. In news reports, an HP spokesperson was quoted as saying, “In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our employees and customers remains our highest priority and therefore HP will not have a physical presence at Interpack and drupa 2021.”

Meanwhile, Ricoh said that the decision had not been taken lightly. Eef De Ridder, vice president, of Ricoh Europe’s Commercial & Industrial Printing Group, commented, “Ricoh has always highly valued the opportunities that drupa has brought us over the years. However, we have taken this difficult decision to withdraw as the continued health, safety and wellbeing of our clients, partners and staff is our number one priority.”

Under its ‘Henkaku’ motto, meaning “transformational innovation”, Ricoh said it would ramp up its series of Henkaku Live virtual events. “More events are planned later this year with an emphasis on industrial print,” the firm stated.

In July, drupa organisers Messe Düsseldorf trimmed the length of the rescheduled trade fair from eleven to nine days, from April 20-28, 2021, following the withdrawal of several high profile exhibitors including Heidelberg, Xerox, Bobst, Manroland, Komori and Chili Publish. Digital print technology manufacturer Screen also cancelled, citing health risks.

drupa 2021 is preceded by Interpack, which shares some common exhibitors, and runs from 25 February to 3 March. Messe Düsseldorf is also running a new ‘Hybrid Drupa’ online, which goes live soon. The new online platform is expected to offer exhibitors and visitors “an additional channel for touching base with the sector, discussing trending themes and presenting product portfolios.” 

“We have already been working long and hard on enhancing our digital offering,” says Sabine Geldermann, director drupa and Print Technologies. “The pandemic has faced us with new challenges and has ultimately been a catalyst for digitization. With the hybrid drupa we also give those visitors who are unable to travel the possibility to take part in the industry get-together. At the same time, we meet exhibitors’ needs to reach the international community personally. Via the portal, the drupa platform, therefore, unites the global print community in a targeted manner.”

The portal will consist of the content formats Conference, Exhibition, as well as Networking, will bring the industry community together, the organizers of drupa said.

Chris Fernando

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