drupa Will Switch To A Three-Year Cycle After 2016

Back in 2012 when drupa closed its doors, Manuel Mataré, former director of drupa made an anouncement that shocked everyone back then. He recommended the 22-strong Drupa committee, to shorten the show from 14 to 11 days. But he didn’t stop there he also said drupa should be held every three years starting in 2015. 

Matar’s recommendations did not bode well with major exhibitors including Heidelberg, HP, KBA and others. So naturally it was rejected. However the committee did decide to shorten the show from 14 to 11 days. The consequence of switching to three year cycle seemed catastrophic for other major graphic arts show including Ipex in UK and Print in Chicago. The idea seemed outrageous. On the other hand many believed four years was much better as far as R&D is concerned. But that was then. How things change so much and so quickly.


The 3 year argument wins

Just when everybody thought the 4 year cycle is here to stay drupa committee announced its decision to switch to 3 year cycle after 2016, when it runs from 31 May to 10 June. This decision was taken by the drupa committee in a recent meeting in Düsseldorf. “The entire print process chain has changed radically because of the Internet and digital technologies. New applications and solutions are developing and opening up new fields of business. At the same time, there is more focus on innovative technologies, such as 3D printing, printed electronics and functional printing,” explains Claus Bolza-Schünemann, Chairman of the drupa Advisory Board and President Koenig & Bauer Group. “It’s more important than ever before that our customers have an overview of the latest technology and are also inspired to use new business models and solutions. drupa is the only specialist trade fair in the world to offer this– and will do so every three years in the future.”

One positive side-effect of this change is that drupa will no longer run in 2020, the same year as Interpack, one of the world’s most important trade fair for the packaging industry and the closely related process industry. “The drupa exhibitors who specialise in packaging printing would have found 2020 an incredibly stressful year so the change will clearly benefit customers,” emphasises Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO Messe Düsseldorf. The precise dates haven’t yet been finalised, but it’s clear that drupa will take place in the traditional drupa month of May in 2019, 2022 and 2025 in Düsseldorf.

Accordine to Sabine Gelderman director of drupa 2016, Messe Duesseldorf is also welcome any suggestion regarding more changes after drupa 2016. So drupa 2019 might even be shorter.

The new drupa!

Traditionally drupa selects a central theme to convey the spirit of the show for a particular period. The theme or the motto could depict a technology trend or a process or just some pretty expression with no particular meaning. Some past themes includede, CTP drupa, Digital drupa, JDF drupa. For 2016 the motto is Touch the Future. 

Based on company’s announcement under the motto of “touch the Future” drupa 2016 will focus more heavily on future-oriented technologies such as printed electronics, 3D printing and inkjet printing with its industrial applications.

With respect to the increased focus on 3D, functional and electronics printing, Sabine Geldermann, Director of drupa during online media conference said, “This opens up the universe of printing/inkjet technology, in which a lot of exhibitor companies are investing. Before, these companies exhibited only at drupa and are now exhibiting in packaging, glass, plastics, and other industries. We believed we needed to increase the nomenclature of the exhibition to address all of these topics and the innovation that is occurring, including enlarging the range of substrates that can be included in the printing process, and our committee fully agreed to this new positioning of drupa.”

There will be more focus on packaging as well. The reason is obvious. Packging still has huge potential for growth.

According to Smithers Pira (UK), sales in the packaging print sector will rise annually by four percentage points to US$ 970 billion by 2018. There are also indications of growth in the industrial and functional printing sector. Since 2008 this market, that includes printing processes for the production of decorative and laminated surfaces, ceramics, vehicle parts, promotional items or electronic products, has risen annually by 13.4 percent and in 2013 achieved a volume of US$ 43.7 billion. Experts from InfoTrends (USA/UK) currently value the market at US$ 100 billion. The market for 3D printing is developing even more dynamically. The global market volume is currently estimated at around US$ 2.2 billion.

All in all drupa 2016 will be a different creature and how this creature will evolve and grow is still unknown. But drupa’s development as the biggest and most imprtant printing industry trade have always been and will always be exiting to follow.  

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