‘No surprise’: print manufacturers look to 2024

The news that drupa has been cancelled until 2024 has not surprised many in the Australian printing industry with the main feedback being it was inevitable as the world grapples with a pandemic.

The show was initially to take place in June 2020 but the pandemic meant it was postponed to April 2021. Now with cases surging across Europe and a vaccine still in various trial phases, it has been cancelled altogether and will now be held on May 28 to June 7 in 2024.

This timing returns it to the usual drupa cycle of four yearly shows and has been greeted positively in the sector.

Many exhibiting companies had pulled out of the show as risks presented by the coronavirus continued to be of a concern, but a number had stayed in the hope that some sort of show might be able to be held.


Heidelberg was one of the first major manufacturers to announce it would not be exhibiting and the company’s A/NZ managing director, Savas Mystakidis, said it was not surprising that the physical show had been cancelled now.

Heidelberg Australia New Zealand managing director Savas Mystakidis
Heidelberg Australia New Zealand managing director Savas Mystakidis

“We have been expecting it unfortunately, so it’s not good. Obviously we would all prefer to be there and we would love to be able to see our partners and our customers first hand but unfortunately this year is an anomaly and all we can do is go day to day and see what the new norm brings us all,” Mystakidis told Sprinter.

“You can’t just keep postponing it every six months. It is really too soon to put another one in 2022 and then have another one in 2024, this just mucks up all the sequencing so this is the best thing to do.”

Exhibitors who were scheduled to attend drupa, and even those that had decided to no longer exhibit due to the pandemic, now have the opportunity to show their products at a four-day virtual drupa being held from April 20 to 23 in 2021.

Mystakidis wasn’t able to comment at this stage as to whether Heidelberg would be involved in this aspect of the show.

The company has confronted the pandemic by running its own Innovation Week in October, as well as smaller online events to display particular segments of the business with Mystakidis saying thousands of visitors attended these sessions.

China Print, 10th Beijing International Printing Technology Exhibition, is going ahead in May 2021 and Mystakidis confirmed Heidelberg will most definitely be exhibiting at this show as well.

Durst Oceania

Durst Oceania managing director Matt Ashman

Matt Ashman, managing director of Durst Oceania told Sprinter: “It is a big shame to see drupa cancelled, however I think it’s for the best.

“We all need to concentrate on beating the virus and growing our business. It will return bigger and stronger in 2024, and we will be there.”




Koenig & Bauer

Koenig & Bauer Australia managing director Dave Lewis

Koenig & Bauer was one of the manufacturers that had a firm commitment to drupa 2021, reaffirming its support to the tradeshow earlier this year, at the time that some others chose to exit.

Koenig & Bauer Australia managing director Dave Lewis said that the cancellation of drupa comes with some disappointment but as COVID-19 infections increase across Europe, health and safety is paramount.

“From my point of view, the news about drupa is not a big surprise and with what is happening in Europe right now, whilst disappointing, the drupa cancellation is clearly the correct decision,” he said.

“Hopefully virtual events will be able to maintain the international sales effort to some degree.”

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta general manager production and industrial print, Sue Threlfo, said the decision to cancel was not unexpected with the company now primarily focused on PacPrint, to be held in Melbourne in September 2021.

Konica Minolta Australia general manager production and industrial print Sue Threlfo

“With the increasing situation in Europe it seemed far fetched that it would go ahead,” Threlfo told Sprinter.

“We are focused now on our own show PacPrint in September. This will be a great opportunity for the Australian industry to come together and see the latest technology, and have the opportunity to network.

“I think many of us are still expecting that we may not get to Europe in the next couple of years, so the decision of 2024 seems a sensible, safe decision.”


Screen GP Australia 

Screen GP Australia managing director Peter Scott said the move is a “sensible direction” as it addresses health and safety concerns.

Screen GP Australia managing director Peter Scott

“The postponement of drupa 2021 until 2024 – its normal cycle – is a sensible decision given the health and safety concerns and also allowing for a period of economic recovery for businesses impacted by COVID-19,” he said.

“As for the move to digital online for the previous 2021 dates, I see this as a logical and acceptable move but much depends on the format and ‘uniqueness’ because there are now several online ‘expo’ platforms.

“The physical drupa is no doubt unique, and Screen is one of its strongest supporters, but the online field is increasingly crowded and there is evidence of what’s termed ‘Zoom overload.’ It will be interesting to see what the drupa organisers come up with for the digital drupa in April 2021.”



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