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International, innovative and sustainable – the METPACK slogan describes the past five days of the trade fair one hundred percent. Around 6,500 trade visitors from all parts of the world came to Messe Essen/Germany from May 2nd to May 6th 2023 and experienced forward-looking technology, new products and further developments for the production, refinement and recycling of metal packaging. One thing became particularly clear: the industry is intensifying its efforts to position itself even more sustainably. Decarbonization, resource efficiency and digitalization were the defining topics in all areas of the value chain - from steel production to printing.
"METPACK is back - and more successful than six years ago before the pandemic. We are delighted to receive so much positive feedback. The industry has been waiting to finally meet again. The atmosphere was excellent," summarizes Oliver P. Kuhrt, CEO of Messe Essen.
The world's leading trade fair for metal packaging recorded 313 exhibitors at its tenth edition - a slight increase. METPACK received a particularly large number of visitors from abroad. They accounted for a share of 73 percent. Italy, the USA and the UK led the national rankings. The quality of the visitors was also top-class: 88 percent of the trade show visitors had purchasing and procurement expertise. The exhibitors were already able to close successful deals during the trade show: One quarter of their customers placed orders directly. Post-show business also promises to be positive. 72 percent of those surveyed said they intended to place follow-up orders on the basis of the information they had received at METPACK.
Trends and technology at first hand
"The industry's big goal is to use as few resources as possible, cut costs and improve quality at the same time. This can be achieved through new technologies and processes. At METPACK, the trade audience had every opportunity to catch up on the latest developments and experience innovations up close. The willingness to invest is high," METPACK Committee Chairman Wolfgang Niemsch sums up.
For 92 percent of the exhibiting companies, the expectations of METPACK 2023 were met. All in all, 82 percent of the visitors rated the range of products and services as very positive. In Halls 1, 2 and 3, they saw mechanical engineering at the highest level and in action. The elaborately designed booths invited visitors to exchange ideas and network.
Process automation and networked production, for example through data analysis and the Internet of Things, were among the trends at METPACK 2023, as were digital printing processes that permit numerous new design options. Detailed insights into technical innovations were also provided by the well-attended international METPACK Conference with around 70 participants.
The new EU packaging regulation currently under discussion, which is intended to control the use and recycling of packaging in Europe in a sustainable manner in the future, is giving the industry further impetus, as metal packaging is considered a sustainable solution per se due to its recyclability.
Awards for the best innovations
Koenig & Bauer MetalPrint received the METPACK Innovation Award in Gold. The system provider for printing and coating lines, drying systems and exhaust air purification solutions was able to convince with a new closed-loop color control system. "MetalControl" scans each sheet and measures the ink density. The results are transmitted digitally to the control panel, evaluated and the ink zones automatically corrected. Manual adjustments are no longer necessary. Complaints, test prints and makeready times are reduced.
Ralf Hipp, CEO, Koenig & Bauer MetalPrint GmbH: “METPACK for us is a family gathering –After six years, we were very much looking forward to finally meeting our partners and customers from all over the world again face-to-face. At METPACK we were presenting our innovative Koenig & Bauer strength and our customized services. It was worth it: With our 100 percent closed-loop colour control system we won the golden METPACK Innovation Award. For us this is an outstanding honour, which shows us that we still are on the right way. Besides, we showed our MetalStar 4 and flying sheets at the new Venturi sheet guiding system for coating lines. After five intensive days with very good conversations and contacts, we are looking forward to METPACK 2026.”
Actega received silver for the innovation "ROTARflow." Bronze went to Can Man for the development "PowerCUT SuperFLEX."
In May 2026, the next edition of the world's leading trade fair for metal packaging will take place at Messe Essen. The conditions are already right: 93 percent of the visitors surveyed plan to visit METPACK again; 94 percent recommend a visit. Of the exhibitors, 95 percent want to take part in the next trade fair.