During July the Messe Düsseldorf published new guidance around how future trade fairs will run in a ‘Covid-secure’ manner.
It also announced that the show would be shortened from 11 to nine days in duration.
The new guidance has implications for exhibitors in terms of how their exhibition space will need to be organised, and what sort of showcases and demonstrations will be possible.
A number of high profile exhibitors have pulled out of Drupa altogether including Heidelberg, Komori and Xerox. Others – including Koenig & Bauer and Windmoller & Holscher – have reaffirmed their commitment to the flagship print expo.
Shanghai Yoco Printing Machinery, UP Group, SCS Atomaberg and Tecnomac Italia have also voiced support.
The new hygiene concept, combined with the cancellations, have made it necessary to re-plan the hall layouts – a mammoth task in itself for the Messe team.
In a communication to exhibitors, the Messe said it would be contacting exhibiting companies over the coming month to co-ordinate next steps.
It said: “Your currently approved space and allocation will remain the basis for further planning. Should you have any change requests, please let us know by 31 August, 2020 at the latest. We will then immediately get in touch with you in order to ensure a smooth and successful process.
“If we do not receive any feedback from you by 31 August, 2020, we will assume that you agree with the above-mentioned conceptual adjustments and that your space requirements remain unchanged.”
Some exhibitors are known to be contemplating taking on additional space in order to have the necessary area to safely showcase all the products they had originally planned to show, pre-Covid.
One seasoned marketing pro and long-time Drupa exhibitor commented: “I would like to see what the layout is looking like now, because some exhibitors drag in a lot of people because they know how to create a buzz.
“Shipping kit to a show like Drupa is a big commitment and at some point people will have to make a call on that.”
Windmöller & Hölscher organised its own virtual expo during June, where it showed new kit for flexible packaging production that would have been launched at Interpack and Drupa – both shows are now postponed until 2021.
The North Rhine-Westphalia headquartered firm has exhibited at Drupa since the show’s inception in 1951 and has become one of its biggest exhibitors.
W&H chief executive Dr Jürgen Vutz commented: “As one of our leading trade fairs, Drupa remains an important marketplace for us. This is where new trends in packaging printing are regularly set.
“With our commitment to Drupa, we are also committing ourselves to Germany as a business and trade fair location for the mechanical engineering industry.”
He said the new hygiene concept and shorter duration were "the right measures to make this important trade fair possible for the trade public in times of Covid-19.”
Drupa 2021’s new dates are Tuesday 20 to Wednesday 28 April.