drupa 2024: "Record number of deals signed"

Organiser Messe Düsseldorf draws a very positive conclusion of drupa 2024, although the number of visitors was well below the expected figure of 200,000.

drupa 2024 in Düsseldorf, the world’s No. 1 trade fair for printing technologies, drew to a successful close on 7 June after eleven days. According to organiser Messe Düsseldorf, drupa 2024 "impressively demonstrated the progress of an entire sector and gave proof of the operational excellence of the industry". 1,643 exhibitors from 52 nations presented "an outstanding showcase of innovations in the Düsseldorf exhibition halls and thrilled the trade visitors with unforgettable performances."

Investment decisions and signed contracts

The international share of the visitors was 80%, with attendees coming from 174 countries, "a record figure", Messe Düsseldorf points out. After Europe, Asia was the most strongly represented region with 22%, followed by America with 12%. Asia as well as Latin America and the MENA region are markets with great growth potential, which was reflected in the significant increase in exhibitors' presence and order books. Many key players, such as Bobst, Canon, Fujifilm, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, HP, Horizon, Koenig & Bauer, Komori Konica Minolta, Kurz and Landa, reported having signed contracts that significantly exceeded expectations. In some cases, the sales targets set were already achieved in the first few days of the trade fair.

Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director at Messe Düsseldorf, is highly satisfied with the course of the trade fair: "drupa has underpinned its position as the industry’s leading trade fair and its unique appeal in a remarkable way. The impressive international flair and, above all, the high decision-making competence of the visitors ensured in-depth and well-founded technical discussions at the trade fair stands on the one hand and many direct investment decisions on the other. Our exhibitors told us about large-volume purchase agreements."

Dr Andreas Pleßke, Chairman of the drupa Committee, emphasised the exceptional position and relevance of drupa: "drupa stands for new approaches and new technologies like no other trade fair. It is not only the largest, but also the most important global platform for our industry, because the entire printing and post-press industry meets at the world-leading trade fair. It has been invaluable for generating leads. Nowhere else offers the opportunity to make so many new international contacts from all over the world in such a short space of time in one place."

170,000 visitors, packaging with growing significance

Exhibitors praised the high level of decision-making competence of visitors, says Messe Düsseldorf. They, in turn, gave top marks to the range of products and services on offer in the 18 exhibition halls. Around 96% of all visitors confirmed that they had fully achieved the objectives associated with their visit. At over 50%, most of them came from the printing industry, followed by the packaging industry, whose share has increased significantly and which was the focus of many exhibitors as a growth driver. Many well-known brand owners were welcomed at the trade fair stands. In total, 170,000 trade visitors attended drupa 2024. Yet, at the previous event eight years ago in Düsseldorf, there were 260,000 visitors and around 1800 exhibitors.

Digitisation as a determining factor

Automation took centre stage at this year’s drupa, with a strong focus on AI and smart workflows, including software solutions. It became clear that digital and analogue technologies ideally complement and benefit from each other. Traditional industry leaders presented a wide range of digital solutions, while digital pioneers integrated conventional components into their offerings. Robotics played an important role in the exhibition halls and illustrated the path towards the smart factory.

"A relevant and resilient industry"

drupa made it abundantly clear that the industry has great potential for the future, even against the backdrop of many challenges, and that the prospects are promising. In the last financial year, the global printing industry achieved a turnover of around EUR 840 billion (source: Smithers) and, as C2 Coating & Converting has reported, continues to develop at varying pace worldwide.

"At drupa 2024, we experienced first hand just how relevant and resilient this industry is," summarises Sabine Geldermann, Director drupa, Portfolio Print Technologies. "The community is determined to set the course for the future together. Exchanging ideas with people from all continents and from all areas of the industry was extremely enriching and inspiring. We were able to welcome around 50 large delegations from various nations, and numerous globally active associations and organisations chose drupa as the ideal setting for their conferences and board meetings."

As the organisers explain, many new strategic alliances concluded at the trade fair reflected the opportunities that are only possible in such a concentrated form at drupa: meeting market players from other countries around the world in person, using core competences as synergy effects, forming networks and driving the market forward together.

Sustainable technologies in focus

Technology is the key to achieving sustainability goals - exhibitors at drupa illustrated this with numerous practice-orientated developments and concrete solutions. Top priority is given to resource efficiency and the path to a functioning circular economy. In addition, Touchpoint Sustainability from the VDMA, the German Machinery and Equipment Manufacturers’ Association, showcased current state of the art innovations, presented best-practice use cases and gave a far-reaching outlook into the future of a sustainable printing industry.

Valuable knowledge transfer

The extensive supporting programme with its five high-calibre special forums drupa cube, drupa next age (dna) and the Touchpoints Packaging, Textile and Sustainability was very well received. In times of constant change and the resulting new business models, they ensured an intensive transfer of knowledge and provided important guidance. Together with its partners, drupa focused on impressive industry expertise and the future topics of its target groups. Guided tours on various key topics rounded off the trade fair experience.

The next drupa will be held in 2028.

Caption: Eleven days, 18 halls, high international participation: drupa (28 May to 7 June, 2024) once again proved its position as the leading global trade fair for printing technologies. Informative, impressive presentations and running machines were particularly well received by the public. Yet, the visitor numbers of previous events were not reached. (Picture: Messe Düsseldorf/ctillmann)


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