The latest digital press vendor to withdraw from drupa 2021 is Konica Minolta, which says it will pursue ‘new, tailored formats of engaging with its customer base’. 

The news follows close on the heels of cancellations by Ricoh, Canon, EFI, and perhaps most critically for the beleaguered show, HP, which was to have been the largest exhibitor. Konica Minolta says that it has already begun running tailored digital or hybrid physical/digital events with its target groups and will ‘pursue these new rules of engagement’ further.

Olaf Lorenz, general manager of the international marketing division within Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe, said, ‘We very much still believe in the power of personal relationships and of course the power of seeing our portfolio and touching the print products from our presses and are evaluating the potential combinations of virtual and real-life concepts.

‘However, exhibiting at drupa or any other trade fair at the moment makes no sense to us during the current world uncertainty. Things are too unpredictable. Our highest priority is always to make sure that our colleagues, customers and all their families stay safe and healthy. And while the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt on a global basis, we have taken a decision to withdraw our physical presence from drupa, as well as other shows for the foreseeable future.’

Konica Minolta has already launched a virtual showroom, while in the Konica Minolta Inkjet Centre of Competence in Bratislava, Slovakia, the company offers virtual live demonstrations where people can experience products with a two-way camera set-up and interact with Konica Minolta experts. The company is additionally reviewing opportunities for bespoke local events that would allow customers to see products and technologies, while remaining in their own country and so avoiding international travel restrictions.

With Fujifilm, Screen, Xerox and Kodak also having withdrawn from the 2021 event, very few digital press vendors serving the mainstream commercial print sector are still expecting to participate. In an online Q&A event in mid-September, Benny Landa expressed strong support for drupa and said that his eponymous company was planning to attend but added a caveat about ‘public health’. Xeikon does not currently appear in the exhibitor list online but has not made a public announcement as far as we are aware.