29 September 2020 – HP has joined the growing list of companies not taking part in drupa 2021. The decision comes immediately after Fujifilm, Kodak, and the Postpress Alliance announcing their withdrawal.
To once again recite the list of withdrawals, it was Bobst and Xerox who were the first to quit the event. Next came Heidelberg and Manroland Sheetfed, followed by Komori. Then it was Screen in the first week of September, Fujifilm on 14 September, Kodak in the third week of September, and HP and the Post Press Alliance at the end of September.
However, the organizers have declared that drupa 2021 will be a hybrid physical and digital event, and the most recent withdrawals strengthen the digital and virtual outlook. Starting in October 2020, drupa will be making an online portal available to exhibitors and visitors.
Regarding Kodak’s decision, executive chairman Jim Continenza has commented, ‘Kodak’s commitment to the safety of our employees and customers during the Covid-19 pandemic is paramount. The continued concerns and impacts of the pandemic make it difficult for us to commit resources for such an event in these uncertain times.’
A statement from Fujifilm added, ‘Under the circumstances where Covid-19 has become a global epidemic, and the spread of infection has not yet come to an end, Fujifilm has made this decision of withdrawal from these exhibitions as a result of giving top priority to ensuring the health and safety of all visitors and employees.’
A statement from HP says, ‘In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, health and safety of our employees and customers remains our highest priority, and therefore HP will not have a physical presence at Interpack and drupa 2021.’ Again, it was expected to be the biggest exhibitor occupying the entire 8,300 square meters Hall 17 of the Düsseldorf Messe at the reorganized drupa 2021 from 20 to 28 April 2021.
As reported by Print Business in the UK (printbusiness.co.uk), the companies that comprise the Post Press Alliance – MBO, BaumannPerfecta, Wohlenberg, Bograma, H+H, and Hohner, are not convinced that the measures taken for the safety of exhibitors and visitors are sufficient. “Responsible thinking and a lack of planning security were at the heart of this difficult decision,” says a Post Press Alliance statement.
The other vital unknowns are safety measures beyond the exhibition site and government decisions and behaviors, including visas and quarantine protocols. Currently, travelers from most countries except the EU and the UK must spend two weeks in quarantine. This protocol may remain in place next April and be a severe discouragement to visitors from outside Europe.
Alliance Days 24 to 27 November 2020
Print Business adds, “The intention had been to launch the collaborative venture at Drupa this year. Instead, there will now be the inevitable online open house, Alliance Days, running from 24 to 27 November. This will showcase the rotary die cutting prowess of Bograma used for folding cartons, a 13,000 copies an hour HSB saddle stitcher from Hohner along with its HHS Futura capable of individualized brochure production, the MBO CoBo Stack used to enable a single operator to run two folding lines, Wohlenberg with digital binder and the launch of the Baumannperfecta brand for guillotines, along with the latest generation of BASA handling equipment.
In a joint statement, the partners say, “We need and seek contact to our business partners and are happy to be able to launch something so new in such a short time. It is uncharted territory for everyone involved. Neither we nor our dealers and end customers have much experience in this encounter on a virtual level.
“This concept means a lot to our management. They are firmly convinced that, even after Covid, targeted marketing concepts will require this duality of virtual appearances in combination with analog physical events.”
Print Business goes on to say, “A host of other smaller companies would be giving serious consideration to withdrawing from the event if it did not mean losing a deposit of several thousands of Euros, which many cannot afford to do.”