The 2020 staging of glasstec, which was set to take place October 20-23 in Düsseldorf, Germany, is the latest event to announce rescheduling due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The biennial event is now scheduled for June 15-18, 2021. According to the statement from the organizers, given “the continued uncertainties in terms of travel restrictions and quarantine provisions in the core target markets Messe Düsseldorf has opted in favor of these new dates in close coordination with the trade fair’s advisory board and all partners involved.”
“The economic crisis caused by the pandemic has also hit the glass industry and its machinery and equipment manufacturers hard. Many companies are forced to switch to crisis mode and put all investments–including trade fair participations–to the test to mitigate possible negative economic impacts,” says Egbert Wenninger, chairman of the glasstec advisory board and chairman of VDMA’s Glass Technology Forum. “Potential travel restrictions and the protection of visitors’ and exhibitors’ health will have an impact on visitor numbers. A smaller glasstec 2020 with markedly fewer visitors would in our view not do justice to the trade fair. glasstec has been and will be the most important global event for the glass industry, mechanical engineering and skilled crafts; and since it should continue to be that way we decided to postpone. In 2021 we expect a strong glasstec with high international attendance, ideally in perfect sync with a phase of economic recovery after [the pandemic].”
Dr. Overath, director general of the Federal Association of the Glass Industry (BVG e.V.) says, “glasstec is the leading trade fair for glass. It thrives on the international cross-section of its visitors and brings together people from throughout the world with a passion for the material that is glass. Many companies and visitors, however, will abstain from participating this year in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and/or heavily cut down their engagement at the trade fair for economic reasons. We therefore back the decision taken by Messe Düsseldorf to not hold glasstec this year. glasstec should be postponed to a point in time where glass rather than the Coronavirus is center stage.”
The postponement follows announcements from several companies over the past few weeks to withdraw from participating. Guardian Glass was the first to publicly announce their decision to not exhibit. The company issued a statement May 4 saying its decision “was done with the health and safety of our employees and customers in mind, being respectful of the current business environment.” Likewise, Fenzi followed later in the month with a statement urging postponement of the event. As the company noted, “The unpredictability surrounding possible developments in the pandemic and the technical planning and preparation required to organize such a major event in total security have forced the [Fenzi] Group, in part through representatives of the Italian delegation, to state its preference for postponement of the event, an outcome that has already befallen many other international shows.”
In line with Fenzi’s push to postpone, GIMAV, the Italian association of glass machinery and equipment suppliers, also announced that none of its member companies will be participating in any events in 2020. Machinery manufacturer Mappi is one of those member companies. Mappi issued its own announcement stating, “The safety of our employees and customers cannot be guaranteed … October is just around the corner, possible developments of COVID-19 are unpredictable, planning and preparation of a major event like glasstec requires time, accuracy and safety that no one can guarantee today.”
Kuraray also announced that it was withdrawing from participation in this year’s event.
“The cancellation was a very difficult decision for us because we have been a regular guest at this leading glass trade fair in Düsseldorf for many decades. But we have to respect the safety of our partners and employees. This is an important element of Kuraray’s global philosophy, which places the health and safety of employees and their families first,” explains Reisuke Nakada, director global marketing PVB division.
Werner M. Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, adds, “In close consultation with the industry associations, major exhibitors as well as many other partners, we have succeeded in agreeing on these new dates. We are happy to help all parties involved reliably plan with this joint decision. Needless to say, we are also in close contact with the hospitality sector and all other industries and trades affected by the re-scheduling with a view to coming up with viable solutions”.
He adds, “The safety and health of our visitors, exhibitors and employees will, of course, also be our highest priority at the upcoming event. Appropriate precautions are being developed and taken in partnership with our conceptual partners (the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association VDMA, the Federal Association of the German Glass Industry and the Federal Guild Association of the Glazier Trade). The Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre continues to be characterized by a high degree of hygiene as well as good medical care for the upcoming fairs in autumn 2020. We are closely monitoring current developments and are in direct contact with the authorities for that matter. This ensures that any new findings are exchanged quickly and measures can be adapted.”
Messe Düsseldorf is working with the associations to offer digital service formats for 2020 with the aim of bringing customers and exhibitors together and digitally place the information and ranges available at glasstec at the disposal of interested trade visitors on the original trade fair dates. Additional information is available on the event website, www.glasstec-online.com.