Interview Germany: The next generation of intelligent industrial production
With more than 60 first-time exhibitors already registered, Formnext 2016 is on track for further success. We asked Formnext's vice president Sascha Wenzler what visitors can expect from the second edition of the show in November, and what's already in the pipeline.
Sascha, we expect that preparations for the upcoming Formnext event are already in full swing. What are the highlights?
After last year's successful premiere, we continue to be on course for further success. More than half a year before Formnext 2016, bookings received have already significantly exceeded last year's exhibition space. We are proud of the fact that the market leaders in the field of additive manufacturing are already fully represented. Apart from that, we are very pleased that conventional technologies are also noticeably more present with innovative and prestigious companies.
You have further developed the fair's concept compared to the inaugural event last year. Is this true, and can you already say how it will affect this year's fair?
We developed Formnext's profile last year in close collaboration with industry and in a relatively short amount of time. After the resounding success of Formnext 2015, we continue this intensive dialogue with industry, in particular with exhibitors, the trade fair's advisory board and our partner TCT, and have further fleshed out the fair's profile. With Formnext 2016, we focus even more on the entire development and production process, from design to (series) production. Thus, Formnext represents the next generation of intelligent industrial production.
What are the developments in terms of exhibitors and the industries they represent, and of course also in terms of exhibitor numbers so far?
There is increasing awareness of the fact that the combination of additives technologies and conventional production offers enormous potentials. You could say that what belongs together now grows together. Formnext’s success is based on the fact that you can experience for yourself the potential of combining "additive" and "conventional" processes. Moreover, Formnext is the best platform when it comes to integrating new technology into industrial production processes. This success is reflected by exhibitor numbers: In addition to the excellent development in terms of exhibition space, we had 60 new exhibitors who had registered by mid-March, including key technology leaders in conventional technologies.
Which companies are we talking about?
GF now has its own booth, as do Hermle and Sauer/DMG Mori. And we are particularly pleased that even more traditional companies in conventional technologies, like Antonius Köster, Bikar Metalle, Heraeus, Käfer Werkzeugbau, Kegelmann, Knarr, Lamy, Listemann, Werth Messtechnik and many more view Formnext as the trade fair platform of their choice. Formnext also develops nicely in the field of software, with well-known companies like Altair, Autodesk, Dassault Systemes, IKOffice, MachineWorks-Polygonica and more. In the field of additive manufacturing, another major market leader, Ex One, has come on board. Thus, the global elite in this area will be present, with Additive Industries, Alphacam, Arburg, Arcam, Citim, Concept-Laser, 3D Systems, EOS, Envision Tec, FIT, HP, Keyence, Materialise, Prodways, Realizer, Renishaw, Ricoh, Sisma, SLM Solutions, Stratasys, Trumpf and Voxeljet.
What did visitors and exhibitors say about the inaugural show last year?
We had an outstanding 96% overall satisfaction rate for visitors to the trade fair's premiere. In particular, the quality of visitors and their decision-making authority were exceptional. Top decision makers from user industries around the world have visited Formnext, including many international OEMs from fields like aerospace, automotive, medical, energy, chemical, jewellery, clothing and many more. Indeed, some very high volume deals have been closed directly at the fair, particularly with additive manufacturers. But conventional manufacturers also explicitly praised the high level of internationality and competence of our visitors.
There are already a couple of other trade fairs in Germany dealing with similar topics. What were competitors’ reactions at the end of the first Formnext?
Our competitor in Stuttgart has congratulated us on Formnext's successful premiere and we have congratulated our colleagues on their successful Moulding Expo. Because of their different concepts, both events have their place in the market and will continue to do so.
How is Formnext developing in terms of the internationality of its visitors and exhibitors?
At the premiere event, Formnext had already achieved a very high level of internationality, both in terms of exhibitors and in terms of visitors. This is an important element in the concept of Formnext, for which we have deliberately chosen the location of Frankfurt am Main in the heart of Germany and of Europe. 42% of exhibitors and 48% of visitors came from abroad. The most important countries in terms of both exhibitors and visitors were France, the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Austria, Poland, Russia, Spain, Turkey, China, HK, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, and the United States, by the way. With the integration of the global subsidiaries of the Messe Frankfurt group, we continue to strengthen the fair's internationality, but also put particular emphasis on the quality of exhibitors and showcased products.
Why does Formnext prove popular with visitors in your opinion?
Formnext provides a convincing process-oriented and harmonious concept that is closely aligned to the needs and developments of its target groups. Visitors to Formnext will find exactly the information, contacts and solutions they require to make their development, processes and production future-proof. Its high internationality and density of innovation as well as the strong presence of global technology leaders make Formnext stand apart from other events. Highly attractive special exhibitions, like last year’s Audi Toolmaking, as well as our international trade conference offer visitors first-class information and contacts.
Are there any additional topics or aspects would you also like to introduce?
We are working towards showcasing the entire industrial process chain in an even broader way. This includes among other things a further expansion of areas like design, materials, software, or quality assurance. With Formnext 2016, we are well on track towards this goal.
What about the supporting program?
The Formnext trade conference held over the course of the fair and planned by our partner TCT will once again offer high-profile keynotes and serve as a think tank for the latest technologies and applications. Our Design Area, the Start-Up Challenge for young innovative companies and our planned special exhibitions will again offer real added value.