EFI cancels Drupa presence

Darryl Danielli
Thursday, October 1, 2020

EFI has become the latest major exhibitor to withdraw from Drupa 2021, citing the ongoing uncertainty over the impact of the coronavirus impact on large scale events.

EFI at Drupa 2016. Image: Messe Düsseldorf/C.Tillmann
EFI at Drupa 2016. Image: Messe Düsseldorf/C.Tillmann

In a statement issued last night, the wide-format inkjet kit manufacturer and productivity software developer said its decision was based on “an abundance of caution for employees, customers, prospects and partners”.

“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 EFI chairman and CEO Jeff Jacobson.

“The show has always represented some of the best of what can be accomplished at an in-person event for the global print industry.

“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.”

Since the pandemic took hold, the manufacturer has hosted a number of virtual events and said it was well versed in hosting remote demos across its global operations.

EFI has already reformatted its annual Connect global user conference in 2021, which typical attracts around 1,000 attendees to Las Vegas, to a virtual customer event.

EFI Engage will mirror Connect’s established format of offering sessions, delivered by EFI and its partners, dedicated to training, education, and technology announcements, but rather than being a four-day in person event it be delivered online over two weeks from January 25 to February 5 2021.

However, EFI stated that it remained “committed to participating in in-person events when the pandemic subsides”.

EFI’s Drupa decision comes after a number of other high-profile withdrawals, most recently HP, which issued a statement that said it would not have a physical presence at Interpack and Drupa 2021.

Last week, the group of German and Swiss finishing kit manufacturers that were set to exhibit at Drupa under the banner of “The Postpress Alliance” also announced their decision to withdraw. Instead Baumann Wohlenberg, Bograma, H+H, Hohner, and MBO will host virtual "Alliance Days" event next month.

However, a number of exhibitors currently remain committed to the event’s 2021 edition, most notably Koenig & Bauer and Landa Digital Printing, although with a watching brief on the impact of Covid-19 on the safety of employees and customers and local and federal restrictions respectively.

In a statement issued to Printweek following the withdrawal of HP, a Messe Dusseldorf spokeswoman said that while the Messe was saddened that key accounts had cancelled due the impact of the pandemic, it believed that the detailed measures it had implemented for its events meant that next April’s Drupa could take place although it will "offer a different edition and customer experience in 2021".

"We are currently working intensely on expanding our digital services in order to ensure that we continue to achieve the desired reach given the many travel restrictions," the spokeswoman said. 

"Therefore, we will launch new virtual formats at Drupa Preview at the end of October that will contribute valuable content formats and meet current needs of exhibitors and visitors alike. This allows our worldwide community to interact with exhibitors and to participate on the way to Drupa 2021.

"We are convinced that a hybrid form of Drupa and the corresponding hygiene measures for the live event will result in a successful trade fair.”

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