Messe Düsseldorf has announced the cancellation of both interpack and components 2021, scheduled to take place from 25 February to 3 March, due to the restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the same reason, the 2021 edition of drupa will also be cancelled and will be replaced by a four-day digital event titled ‘virtual.drupa’.
"The uncertainty is too great"
“We have done everything we can to do justice to interpack’s tremendous importance for the processing and packaging industry, even during this pandemic – above all because we have received encouragement from the industry in support of a face-to-face event and have a hygiene concept that has been tried and tested in practice in place to protect everyone involved. Ultimately, however, feedback from our exhibitors has shown that the uncertainty is too great, and we are thus unable to host an interpack event that would meet the standards of a leading international trade fair,” explains Wolfram N. Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “On 25 November, the Federal Government and the German states decided to implement stricter measures in Germany, and to possibly even extend these measures into the new year. This, unfortunately, does not give cause for hope that the situation will improve significantly over the course of the coming months. This will affect all Messe Düsseldorf events in the first quarter. We are now focussing on the next edition of interpack, which will take place in May 2023 according to plan, and which we will supplement with extended online offers,” Diener goes on to explain.
Messe Düsseldorf had offered registered exhibitors special conditions for their participation and at the same time granted them an extraordinary right of termination for those companies that were unable or unwilling to take part.
“Besides the unique market coverage, it provides, interpack is primarily characterised by the direct exchange of information between market-leading companies and top decision-makers for brand names around the world. This is exactly what is now largely prevented by continuously high infection numbers in core Europe and the associated and continuing travel restrictions and quarantine regulations. We therefore welcome Messe Düsseldorf’s decision to cancel interpack 2021 and are focussing on interpack 2023,” says Christian Traumann, President of interpack 2021 and Managing Director & Group President at Multivac Sepp Haggenmüller SE & Co. KG.
“For the industry, in-person meetings and live experiences are still extremely important, especially when it comes to complex technology. Both enable a direct market comparison to be drawn and foster new ideas as well as new leads and networks – this is something online formats only offer in part. We are now looking forward to a successful interpack 2023, where the industry can once again come together at its leading global trade fair in Düsseldorf,” analyses Richard Clemens, Managing Director of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association.
virtual.drupa in April 2021
The next drupa will take place as scheduled from 28 May to 7 June 2024. To maintain the momentum until then, the organisers will be holding a four-day digital event titled ‘virtual.drupa’, to take place from 20 to 23 April 2021 during the time frame drupa was originally scheduled for.
“The pandemic has caused a great deal of uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors in terms of their attendance at drupa 2021. Travel restrictions and budget constraints have further exacerbated the situation in the printing industry”, explains Erhard Wienkamp, COO at Messe Düsseldorf. “We have taken this decision in consultation with our partners, who are entirely supportive of it. It was preceded by a detailed process of considering the current conditions and the needs of the industry.”
Sabine Geldermann, Project Director Print Technologies, adds: “Our primary goal remains to support the industry in any way we can to keep in contact at a national and international level, further develop their network and generate leads. To this end, we will be holding an interim event from 20 to 23 April, providing our exhibitors and visitors with an additional sales channel and allowing them to make reliable plans.”
Claus Bolza-Schünemann, Chairman at König und Bauer and president of drupa, welcomes this approach: “A virtual event is exactly the right format in the current time”, he says. “Attending drupa under the usual parameters was just too great a risk for many exhibitors, given declining export and turnover figures, as well as significant travel restrictions, which would also affect visitors. The new digital forum is a virtual platform, providing a reliable pillar and an opportunity to maintain valuable communications within the industry until 2024.”
Launched in October, the drupa preview platform already offers an impression of what ‘virtual.drupa’ will look like. It will give companies the opportunity to showcase themselves and their innovations virtually, as well as maintain existing contacts and establish new ones via the matchmaking feature. In addition, the conference schedule of the five drupa hot spots will provide key incentives and set the agenda for an online transfer of knowledge. For instance, international speakers from vertical markets will present success stories of Future Technologies in the Cube, outlining the future of our industry.
“Our members are telling us, that trade fairs to drive their business forward are still in great demand. The value and appeal of drupa remain intact. The decision to suspend it in 2021 is entirely down to the pandemic”, stresses Dr Markus Heering, Managing Director of the VDMA Printing and Paper Technology Association. “In the long run, it is important for all of us to maintain drupa as an international platform in Europe, as it displays the diversity of our industry. 200 years of expertise are rooted in Europe and must continue. However, we welcome the introduction of the new digital platform as an interim solution until 2024.”