After the upcoming 2016 session, drupa changes frequency: the world’s largest fair for printing and cross media solutions shortens its cycle from four to three years, scheduling sessions to come for May 2019, 2022, 2025… Here’s why.

Messe Duesseldorf’s decision to increase the frequency of drupa events made big news. Drupa is one of its main fairs, as well as a global leader in the area of cross media printing and a showcase of new developments in technology and the market. The fact that the drupa project was under review for major changes was already anticipated by the reduction of the fair’s duration (which was indeed quite long) from 14 to 11 days, and by the integration of new product categories coherent with sector developments, starting with functional printing, printed electronics and 3D printing. But this new change has the appearance of a watershed moment.

The reason is partly obvious: digital technologies and Internet have had profound effects on the entire production chain of printing, generating new applications and new fields of business. The radical nature and speed of these changes makes even more urgent the task of updating a panoramic view of these phenomena and, from this standpoint, three years are not a short time. And no one really feels like excluding further developments a priori.

Today, tomorrow, the day after… During a recent international press conference, drupa’s organizers explained in detail, supplying further reasons in support of the change, but also expressed some worries and mentioned other possible new developments. Below is a quick summary, in bullet points.
– The change will prevent drupa and interpack from being held in the same year, freeing packaging printers from the burdensome commitment to participate in both events within weeks of each other (in 2008, 90 did so) or the temptation to not attend one of the two (in 2014, the drupa exhibitors who participated at interpack rose to 130).
On the other hand, the fact that drupa and K, the most important B2B plastics and rubber fair, will always be held in the same year will not pose any issue: the two events will be held six months apart (drupa in May and K in October); furthermore, there are no overlaps either in terms of exhibition or visitors.
– The decision to have a three-year cycle was approved by 80% of drupa’s consulting committee – made up of exhibitors and visitors – and anyway accepted by the remaining 20%. «Of course we are aware that the new cycle will require more investments from concerns», stated the organizers.

– The duration of drupa, just shortened to 11 days, could be further reduced: «In 2016, it will run from Tuesday 31 May to Friday 10 June, but we remain open to other possibilities and may reconsider this and other aspects at the end of the next edition». On the whole, the organizers do not expect any drastic changes, considering the leading role which drupa continues to play internationally, effectively determining the fair calendar for the entire world. That said, common sense dictates that nothing stays the same forever: «For example, following last year’s edition of Shanghai’s All in Print China (also organized by Messe Duesseldorf, Editor’s note), that event was “promoted” to a biennial event. Before it was only held every four years».