Export markets USA: Fair Landscape Offers an Event for Everyone

Von Stéphane Itasse

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Worldwide, the maximum number of fairs and congresses are held in the US, as analysed by the International sectoral association, International Congress and Convention Association. But European companies must make readjustments on the other side of the Atlantic.

Prospects from the US manufacturing industry meet once every two years in Chicago at the biggest sectoral fair IMTS.
Prospects from the US manufacturing industry meet once every two years in Chicago at the biggest sectoral fair IMTS.
(Photo: IMTS)

In 2014 – later figures are not yet available – the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) claims that 831 fairs and congresses were held in the US, Germany ranked second with 659 events. Depending how the word fair is defined, the number is definitely bigger than this: In an analysis, the Exhibitions and Fairs Committee of the Germany Economy Inc. (AUMA) counted as many as 13,000 fairs. All fairs with an exhibition area of 300 m² and more were included. Due to the large number, the AUMA analysis claims that there was an event for every product and every service. Most of them however, have only a regional area of influence, others target the entire east- or west coast.

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Leading international fairs that attract a large number of visitors from the entire world are seldom held in the US – unlike in Europe. For reasons of historical development, fairs and congresses in the US are organised mostly on a theme in the form of an event unit.

The IMTS Fair in Chicago is a leader for the manufacturing industry

The biggest US fair for the manufacturing industry is the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS). It is held at Mc Cormick Place in Chicago once every two years. The 31st edition will be held from 12th to 17th September, which is sure to put off some German participants, because this means overlapping of dates with the AMB in Stuttgart. According to the information provided by the IMTS organiser, the Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT), more than 2000 companies will display their wares on a net exhibition area of 121,000 m². The association also expects more than 114,000 visitors from 112 countries. On display will be machines and tools for metal cutting, cutting and connection technology, heat treatment and additive production as well as controls and software for production.

Thus, the IMTS themes overlap at least partially with the themes of Fabtech in Las Vegas. Besides welding technology, the event organised at the Las Vegas Convention Centre also exhibits machines and tools for metal recasting and processing as well as for surface technology. With a slight time gap from Euroblech in Hannover (from 16th to 18th November), the Fabtech organisers expect 1300 exhibitors occupying a net exhibition area of a good 51,000 m² and 28,000 visitors. The fair is also held in Canada and Mexico.

Plastics Fair NPE makes it to the Top Ten in the US

The International Plastics Showcase ranks within the Top 10 of the biggest fairs in the US. The event is held once every three years at the Orange County Convention Centre in Orlando. In the latest edition held from 23rd to 27th March 2015, more than 2000 companies displayed their goods on an area covering approx. 105,000 m². More than 65,000 specialist visitors gathered information about innovations along the entire process chain of plastics processing. The next fair is scheduled to be held from 7th to 11th May 2018.

The Pack Expo, which is held in Chicago in even years and in Las Vegas in odd years is one of the biggest industry fairs. According to information provided by the fair organiser The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) , nearly 29,000 visitors attended the 20th Edition of Pack Expo Las Vegas from 28th to 30th September 2015, which can be attributed partially to the fact that Pharma Expo was also held simultaneously. For the first time, the fair was able to shatter the barrier of 2000 exhibitors, the net exhibition area was 79,000 m². The events held in Chicago under the official name Pack Expo International are much bigger in size. In 2014, more than 48,600 visitors visited the event centre Mc Cormick Place, 2352 companies presented their wares on approx. 112,000 m² of exhibition space. The organiser has not disclosed any information on the schedules and expectations from the fair to be held from 6th to 9th November 2016.

The Photonics West Fair displays laser and much more

Equally interesting is the Photonics West Fair, which is organised every year by the International Society for Optics and Photonics SPIE in San Francisco. More than 22,000 professional visitors visited the 1345 exhibiting company stalls from 13th to 18th February 2016 to collect information among other things on neuro-photonics, 3D printing and image processing, fibre laser or miniaturization in biomedical devices, sensor systems and optical-electronic devices. The next event is scheduled to be held from 28th January to 2nd February 2017.

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