Heidelberg quits drupa 2021, focus on virtual events

German print manufacturer, Heidelberg, will not be exhibiting at drupa 2021 or any international trade fairs next year and instead will focus on regular virtual livestreams and regional events to show its products in faster cycles.

Heidelberg CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer says the decision has been made early as the situation with the COVID-19 pandemic remains unclear for next year and it is expected this will impact the number of visitors who can attend these events.

He also adds that with technology changing so rapidly, customers need to stay up to date with new technology more flexibly and quickly.

“So the company has decided to not participate in international trade fairs next year and will thus not be taking part in drupa,” Hundsdörfer said in a statement.

“In 2021, drupa will be a very different event – global travel restrictions and hygiene regulations mean significantly fewer visitors and constraints on communication.

“Traditional international trade fairs with busy booths and halls will very probably be difficult to implement and will likely lose their status as global meet-up events for customers and manufacturers.

“As a longtime partner to drupa, Heidelberg will be happy to continue to offer its experience when it comes to bringing future trade fair concepts into line with new digital possibilities and customer requirements.”

Instead Heidelberg is turning its focus to an Innovation Week from 19 to 23 October 2020. This will be delivered by both virtual livestream as well as face-to-face in Wiesloch-Walldorf.

There are also events planned at Heidelberg’s Print Media Centres in Atlanta, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Tokyo.

The Innovation Week will focus on packaging and commercial, including autonomous printing, end-to-end solutions, Smart Print Shop and Push-to-Stop.

“We will be investing more in new, virtual trade fair concepts to ensure closer and more individual customer communications as well as in regional events in our growth markets,” Hundsdörfer said.

“This means we will be able to consistently align ourselves with our customers’ expectations.

“The Innovation Week will now enable us to communicate with our customers as soon as possible and to present our innovation offensive.”

Face-to-face dialogue will continue to be the focus at the unique Print Media Centers in Wiesloch/Walldorf, Atlanta, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Tokyo, where customer specific needs can be addressed directly on-site.

Heidelberg says these centres offer customers specific access to product and solution demonstrations, a multitude of possibilities for direct communications with applications specialists as well as extensive training courses.

The Print Media Centers are now established locations for customers to experience live demonstrations and for validating investments.

Heidelberg says it welcomes several thousand customers annually to its own demo spaces around the world.

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