The world’s biggest press manufacturer has withdrawn from next year’s PacPrint in Melbourne, citing the changing print business landscape as the reason for its first non-appearance at the once every four yearly event.
Speaking to Australian Printer the managing director of Heidelberg Andy Vels Jensen says, “I have had to make a big decision but the world and the print industry has been through a seismic shift since the GFC and is clearly a very different place to that of four years ago. It is a tough decision, but the alternatives were even tougher.”
The investment for a company like Heidelberg to be at PacPrint is significant, in excess of $1m for them. Vels Jensen says, “We have to be sure that we will see a return on that. The days when we meet new customers at shows like this are gone, and with it much of the rationale for being there. It is purely a business decision about where best to invest our marketing budget. I talked to our customers before I made the decision and they have been supportive.”
In the original schedule Heidelberg was due to be the third biggest exhibitor at the show, behind Currie and the combined Fuji Xerox / Fujifilm booths. Heidelberg, like all offset press manufacturers has been going through a ferocious market downturn for the past four years, and is now selling less than half as many presses as it was then.
Vels Jensen says, “When Heidelberg goes to a show it can’t be as a half-hearted effort, we are Heidelberg. I do believe in print shows, but I think we all need to look at the format and question whether what has worked in the past is still appropriate today.”
Heidelberg's decision is a blow to the show's owners, Printing Industries and GAMAA, but a statement issued by Ian Martin, president of PacPrint 13 says, "The decision by Heidelberg to not exhibit at PacPrint next year has been made by Heidelberg and GAMAA will not make comment on the choices of individual companies or the circumstances that have led to this decision. The decision, whilst disappointing, is not reflective of the Show as a whole. More than 45 per cent of the space at the Show has already been booked and PacPrint will as always showcase the developments and trends in the industry as drupa did this year.
"To pin the success of the Show on a single exhibitor is not feasible, nor valid. GAMAA remains committed to presenting a state-of-the-art show. PacPrint will be a great show expanded in 2013 by the co-location of Visual Impact Image Expo and we look forward to welcoming visitors of all print disciplines from around Australia and across the region.
Heidelberg will be present at the show on its partner stands, primarily Ricoh for digital printing and Kodak for plates and CTP.
PacPrint 13 is due to take place next May at its usual venue in Melbourne. The event is co-owned by the Printing Industries and GAMAA, which represents the local suppliers.
Heidelberg’s decision to pull out means that at this stage Cyber with Ryobi will be only offset press at the show, as manroland won’t have a press, neither will Ferrostaal be showing Komori, Currie Group is unlikely to show Shinohara with the Japanese company currently in bankruptcy, and Pressnet won’t have a Sakurai on the stand. The costs of putting an offset press on the floor have simply become too high for most offset press vendors.