Heidelberg has confirmed that it will not be exhibiting at drupa 2021 and will instead be placing a greater focus on virtual trade fair concepts and regional events.

This will include its own Innovation Week, taking place across 19 – 23 October, 2020. Under the slogan ‘Unfold your potential’, the company will be presenting ‘a wealth of product innovations that focus on packaging and commercial, including autonomous printing, end-to-end options, Smart Print Shop and Push-to-Stop.’ The Innovation Week will take place via livestream as well as face-to-face at the company’s Wiesloch-Walldorf facility.

‘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,’ said CEO Rainer Hundsdörfer. 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 company’s Print Media Centers in Wiesloch-Walldorf, Atlanta, Shanghai, Sao Paulo and Tokyo, where it will with customer-specific needs directly on-site. At the centres, Heidelberg offers all of its customers and other interested parties market-specific access to product and technology demonstrations, direct communication with applications specialists, and training courses. Heidelberg already welcomes several thousand customers annually to its own demo spaces around the world.

The company has made the announcement in response to the impact of COVID-19 and the global coronavirus pandemic on innovation cycles, as well as global travel restrictions and hygiene regulations that will likely impact attendance at largescale events going forward.

In a statement, Heidelberg noted, ‘COVID-19 has accelerated the move towards digital and local events. Although there is no way of knowing what the impact of corona will be next year, Heidelberg has to make a decision now.

‘So, the company has decided to not participate in international trade fairs next year and will thus not be taking part in drupa. 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 long-time 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.’