Even as some of the top press manufacturers in the world have dropped out of Drupa 2021 citing the pandemic and the economic turmoil that ensued, converting machine manufacturer Windmoller and Holscher (W&H) has pledged solidarity with Drupa by confirming its participation in 2021. Moreover, the European machine manufacturer has confirmed that it will present new trends and innovations in the printing sector and focus on both physical and digital display formats.
W&H will exhibit at Drupa 2021, the world's largest industry trade fair in Dusseldorf. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the trade fair for print media has been postponed until next year.
The Indian arm of W&H has said that the information about new products and technologies could not be divulged as the show is still in the planning stage. However, it believes that there would be new investments in flexible packaging solutions.
Describing the company's outlook for India in 2020, Anuj Sahni, general manager sales and marketing, Windmoller & Holscher India told PrintWeek: "We see investments happening in single material flexible packaging solutions, which would include investments over the complete supply chain such as extrusion, printing, converting as well as filling equipment in this direction. Another segment we see opening up in India is the FFS film bagging for polymers and petrochemicals. FFS film bagging is the global packaging standard for polymers and first major investments are already underway in India."
Sahni also revealed that demand for packaging would increase due to hygiene requirements. "This would be especially the case for India as a lot of items such as milk are still sold loose. We also foresee increased investment in automation to reduce operator dependence and have a no-touch solution for even packaged items. Sustainability and single material demands will still continue in the mid-term," he added.
According to the company, W&H has been present since the show began in 1951 and has developed over the years into one of the largest exhibitors. In addition to the plastics trade fair K and Interpack, Drupa is the industry’s most important trade fair at which W&H has been regularly presenting its latest product developments and innovations.
"As one of our leading trade fairs, Drupa remains an important marketplace for us. This is where new trends in packaging printing are regularly set. With our commitment to Drupa, we are also committing ourselves to Germany as a business and trade fair location for the mechanical engineering industry," said W&H CEO Dr. Jurgen Vutz. "We are convinced that the hygiene and health concept presented and the shortened runtime from 11 to nine days, are the right measures to make this important trade fair possible for the trade public in times of Covid-19."
This past June, W&H organised its first virtual expo. Peter Steinbeck, managing partner at W&H said, "We have been able to accomplish a lot digitally over the past few months. Our first virtual trade fair was a great success and we gained a lot of experience and knowledge. Nevertheless, we cannot completely replace the close-up trade fair experience virtually. This includes personal meetings, which are indispensable for building and maintaining trusting customer relationships. Both virtual and personal formats, such as Drupa, have their justification and are important for us and the entire industry."
W&H's announcement comes at a time when Drupa 2021 has been facing major blows from top machine manufacturers across the globe. At first, Xerox and Bobst announced that they will no longer exhibit at the industry’s flagship event citing "continued uncertainty around holding large events during a pandemic". The next blow came in the form of an Heidelberg announcement, which stated that it would be dropping out of all international exhibitions next year.
Recently, Japan's Komori and Germany's Manroland Sheetfed also followed suit after mounting concerns regarding the spread of the contagion and cited uncertainty.
However, Messe Dusseldorf, the organiser of Drupa, have released an extensive new hygiene and infection protection concept designed for "safe and successful trade fairs" during the pandemic.