Planning drupa 2020 and what it holds for you

Have you ever wondered what it takes to prepare for an exhibition the size of drupa? drupa attracts exhibitors and visitors around the world to Germany every four years. drupa Director, Sabine Geldermann lets us in on what happens in the background during the preparation and how far preparations are for the exhibition ahead of the 2020 edition.

The largest trade fair in printing, cross-media and packaging is set to take place next June between the 16th and 26th. This is quite telling of the magnitude of work that goes into perfectly executing a fair of this nature. The next drupa will look at three major touchpoints which will be packaging, which has come to the fore in the recent past as consumer behaviour changes and the e-commerce market grows, 3Dfab+print and textile, which is a new hotspot at the trade fair. 

Next year’s drupa has more exhibitors than 2016’s which points to the value exhibitions continue to hold for businesses despite naysayers saying the exhibition as a form of marketing is dead. Sabine Geldermann speaks about where drupa 2020 preparations stand and why you should get in on the action while you still can. Ticket sales went live on 4 September 2019 and will also be offered onsite during the trade fair. 

 Mrs. Geldermann, drupa 2020 is approaching. How's the preparation going? 

Sabine Geldermann: "We can look back on a very positive booking status with currently 1,600 exhibitors from over 40 nations and are very pleased that we have already exceeded the result of the 2016 edition in terms of area bookings. We assume that we will at least confirm the exhibitor figures for the 2016 edition. We are looking forward to more than 400 new exhibitors along the entire process and product chain and have a very good return booking rate of 73 percent. We regard this as confirmation of our concept and the ongoing updating of the nomenclature, with which we pick up on new technology trends. Here in Düsseldorf we are in close contact with our key accounts and experience that they are driving forward the planning of their exhibition stands with impressive commitment and effort. We will see fantastic stand concepts that stimulate all the senses, including numerous impressive two-storey buildings. Logistics planning is also running at full speed. The entire range of technical preparations is on our daily agenda.”

 What do you do to attract international visitors to Düsseldorf? 

Geldermann: “Our analyses show that existing growth potential here lies particularly in the international environment. With this in mind, we launched another drupa world tour in September together with the VDMA and Print Promotion GmbH. From September 2019 until spring 2020, high-ranking delegations will travel deep into over 30 countries worldwide. At events and various conference formats, they present current technology trends as well as our concept, the content orientation and the programme of drupa 2020. The whole thing is a very large investment and ties up resources for months. But the effort is worth it. We get a lot back from the local participants: some of them act as true ambassadors of drupa in their home country. We would also like to open up new visitor profiles so that we can welcome visitors from at least 183 nations to drupa City Düsseldorf again in June 2020.”

What highlights can drupa visitors look forward to? 

Geldermann: “First and foremost, of course, our exhibitors are in the limelight. Exhibitors from Germany took first place in space bookings with over 50,000 square metres, followed by Italy with over 16,000 square metres. But because the majority of Japanese exhibitors register from branches in Europe, our statistics do not reflect the overall picture: without this effect, the current 56 Japanese exhibitors are in second place with an impressive 22,000 square metres. In addition to the exhibiting companies, whose stand plans promise absolute highlights, we have also designed our own supporting programme, which picks up on current technology trends. Among them are our three touchpoints and the conference area drupa cube.”

What is behind the drupa touchpoints? 

Geldermann: "We are planning the three touchpoints as special exhibition areas with our industry partners and are picking up on particularly relevant trend themes here. On the one hand, we have touchpoint packaging, which will be a real highlight at drupa 2020. Together with a steering committee, which includes global brand owners and well-known suppliers from the packaging and print sectors, we develop packaging solutions for the future in interactive projects with talents from the NABA - Milan Academy of Design. There, we will see absolutely unique specimens that are not yet on the market. The aim here is to translate global trends into visionary solutions for the packaging industry. Another highlight is the touchpoint 3D fab+print, which we are realizing for the first time with the Additive Manufacturing Working Group of the VDMA. Here visitors can look forward to a very exciting, inspiring and practice-relevant lecture programme as well as to many innovative exhibitors from industrial 3D printing. In addition, there is a new hotspot; drupa touchpoint textile, where everything revolves around applications in industrial textile printing and in the dynamic growth areas of fashion and interior decoration. Digital printing on textile substrates opens up enormous potential here. We implement this touchpoint with the German Institute for Textile and Fiber Research Denkendorf (DITF). Among other things, a fully networked process chain is planned. In Hall 4, Digital Micro Factory Textile will demonstrate the potential of networked on-demand processes in the textile sector.”

Do you already see trends in technology? 

Geldermann: “Digitization is the key driver behind the key trends at drupa 2020. In future workshops with industry, we identified four megatrends that are particularly relevant to our industry: Artificial Intelligence, Platform Economy, Connected Customers and Circular Economy. The consistent return of raw materials to recycling cycles is of the utmost relevance to print and packaging suppliers. E-commerce, on-demand solutions and the transformation to industry 4.0 continue to be in vogue. drupa will also focus on brand protection, i.e. protection against plagiarism, because printing and finishing technologies can be an important part of the solution. Industrial and functional print applications are also particularly important and definitely offer further growth potential.”

Why should no trade visitor miss drupa 2020? 

Geldermann: “What our exhibitors offer in terms of quality and diversity is unique in the world. drupa sets the pace for our industry. Many exhibitors gear their development to the drupa cycle and present their most important innovations here. As a meeting point for the global community and a trend barometer, drupa serves as an epicentre. Here companies learn which developments are relevant for their markets and which technologies they have to invest in in order to remain competitive. drupa is a trade fair of superlatives: technologically innovative, but also highly emotional. Our aim is to convey positive visions that inspire our visitors - and which they implement in their environment.”