Komori and manroland say nein as drupa trims show

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Offset press manufacturers Komori and manroland Sheetfed have joined rival Heidelberg and pulled out of drupa next year, as the show itself cuts its duration, from 11 days to nine.

Transformation: drupa 2020, set for June, will show how the printing industry is transforming itself to meet the demands and opportunities of the new era. 
Shortened: drupa 2021 will now be nine days, and will not have Komori on manroland in its halls.

Both manroland and Komori cite the ongoing impact of Covid as the main reason for not attending the iconic event, while drupa says the cut in days is in anticipation of fewer visitors.

The postponed show is now taking place 20-28 April, but with three of the big five press manufacturers now absent. Of the other two, Koenig & Bauer, whose CEO is president of drupa, has committed itself to the show. RMGT (formerly Royobi and Mitsubishi) has not changed its position, although it has traditionally supported trade shows – it has been the only offset press manufacturer at PacPrint for the last two outings.

The loss of the manroland brand will be keenly felt in Germany, although manroland's booth has shrunk considerably since the company was bought out of administration by Tony Langley, whose antipathy to trade shows has been long known. For manroland, the withdrawal means it will not be able to show its new Roland 900 Evolution and Roland 700 Evolution Elite. The Roland 900 is in a market now down to two players since Heidelberg stepped out of large format presses, manroland battling it out with Koenig & Bauer.

Komori was due to have a bigger booth than manroland. It was planning to launch commercial sales of its Impremia NS40, the digital B1 sheetfed inkjet press based on the Landa nanographic inkjet technology. Komori would also have highlighted its Connected Automation workflow concept, and its range of sheetfed offset presses. It would also have been the first time folder manufacturer MBO would have been seen as part of Komori. Komori president and CEO Satoshi Mochida said “extremely unusual circumstances” had prevented it taking part in the rescheduled show.

Both companies will now run a series of live streamed events and regional open houses. The move to live streaming led one industry insider to quip that it would be quicker to travel to drupa and back and spend two weeks in quarantine than watch all the live streaming events planned.

The two companies follow Bobst, Xerox and Heidelberg in deciding to withdraw from participation. However, the organiser says it has a waiting list of would-be exhibitors to fill up the now vacant spaces at the extensive Dusseldorf showgrounds.

The reduction in length of drupa to nine days has been made in light of the impact of the virus in visitor numbers, say the organisers, but still giving time for exhibitors to have machines at the show. "Since we are currently assuming that fewer visitors from overseas will be able to travel to drupa 2021, we consider a reduction from eleven to nine days to be sensible in order to direct visitor flows more efficiently. At the same time, the duration of nine days ensures that running machines can still be shown, which is a unique selling point of drupa," drupa president Claus Bolza-Schünemann said.

For the show itself the organiser has instigated hygiene protocols which will see a different type of event. They include strictly enforced social distancing in the halls, limits on numbers, compulsory face masks, and no on-stand exhibitor parties.

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