Drupa to be held every three years

The massive international printing industry trade fair, Drupa, held in Dusseldorf, Germany, is to be held every three years. Not so long ago, it was every five years, then every four, and it has just been announced, now every three years. Just two years ago, major exhibitors were questioned about a move to every three years, and they rejected the idea.

Technology is moving so fast however that now the move to every three years has been driven by those same major exhibitors.

This move will put other trade shows around the world, such as Ipex, the world’s biggest English language show, in jeopardy. The future of the two Australian trade shows, PacPrint and PrintEx, traditionally held either side of Drupa, are unclear.

An article explaining the reasons for the move appeared recently in “Proprint” and can be seen in full here.

The drupa organiser says it was the exhibitors who drive the move to a new three year cycle for the world’s biggest trade show, which kicks in after 2016, and has thrown the plans of all other print exhibitions into disarray.

Organisers are downplaying the dramatic impact of the decision on the rest of the world’s trade shows, with drupa director Sabine Geldermann only acknowledging there will be some ‘irritation’ among organisers around the world, and saying its decision was straightforward in response to vendor requests.

They say the move to three years gained the support of more than 90 per cent of exhibitors, and is intended to help drupa keep up with the quickening ‘innovation cycle’ that is ushering new technologies into the print industry.

Speaking to the global print media on a conference call last night, Messe Düsseldorf managing director Hans Werner Reinhard says that the organiser first suggested a three year cycle in late in 2012, but it was knocked back by the exhibitors, with 80 per cent of them including Heidelberg, KBA, and HP vetoing it. Those three were also the main instigators of the rush from Ipex.

However, such has been the change in the print landscape that just two years later the exhibitors, particularly the smaller and mid-sized companies, were pressing for a triennial show, which has now been accepted.

There was no consultation with other big trade shows before the decision being taken, although the others were informed before the trade press were told.

The move to a three year cycle will have a massive impact on other major and some smaller shows, all of which will have to consider their future viability – no major manufacturers are going to exhibit anywhere else in a drupa year.

Some consider the three year move a masterstroke for the drupa business, as it will spell the end of some shows which are already under pressure, and release exhibitors’ budget previously allocated to other shows.

Ipex for instance which fell to its knees in 2014 and was already on its last legs will no longer be viable, the big Print show in Chicago held every four years is also struggling and may not survive the move, and while some shows across Europe have already closed the rest will be under a cloud.

Even the Aussie shows PrintEx and PacPrint will be impacted as they are currently held either side of drupa years.

However, drupa denied it was trying to ‘snuff out’ other trade shows, focusing instead on the shortening innovation cycle as the driver of the change.

That the move to three years also avoids a conflict with Interpack in Dusseldorf, which is slated for 2020, was also cited as a reason for the change.

Reinhard says: “drupa is the global core of print, and a mirror to the market. The move to three years reflects the changing nature of the print business. The 2016 drupa will be broader than ever before with more opportunities and more technology on show.

“There will be a substantial conference programme, which will mainly be in English and which will be free to visitors. It will be an essential event for everyone with a print business.”

The 2016 show will see a dramatic shift in focus for drupa and the print industry, with digital dominating. HP has increased its floorspace and will overtake Heidelberg as the biggest exhibitor, with the whole of the 6000sqm Hall 17 to itself.

EFI is also significantly increasing its size, while Landa will double the size of its already impressive drupa 2012 booth, and if he has a working nano-press on the stand is certain to be the centre of attention. All other digital players will at least maintain the same size as 2012.

In contrast the heavy metal players – the traditional core of the show – are shrinking their spaces. Last week ProPrint revealed that Heidelberg will still be in Hall 1 – there will be no Hall 2 – but will be sharing its stand with partners, likely to include Gallus, Kama, and Polar.

It is not known if manroland will have a press on its stand or opt for its more recent tactic of a concept booth with no press.

KBA will be at the 2016 show, as will Komori, but there will be no Mitsubishi as it is now part of the Ryobi business, although there may be the first co-developer Ryobi MHI press on the show – the new B1 press. The plans of the smaller press players such as Hans Gronhi and Akiyama are not yet known.

The heavy metal players are all getting into bed with digital: The Heidelberg stand will show its B1 sheetfed press co-developed with Fujifilm, Komori will show its digital B2 sheetfed press co-developed with Konica Minolta, and is providing the chassis for the Landa presses.

KBA will have its webfed digital RotaJet, manroland may or may not have a press on the stand but if not its folder is certain to be shown on an Oce webfed press, while Ryobi has been developing digital sheetfed and webfed presses with Miyakoshi and will likely have the latest iterations on the stand.

Dusseldorf, Germany,
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