Ongoing Economic High in the Metalworking Sector
According to a survey conducted by the organizer of Metav 2018, around one-third of the visitors indicated that they are planning investments, especially in machine tools, measuring technology, production and process automation as well as in precision tools.
After five eventful days, Metav 2018, the 20th international trade fair for metalworking technologies, ended on February 24. Focused discussions with qualified and capable customers, some unexpected machine sales and the establishment contacts with new customer groups — these aspects are reflected in numerous statements, the organizer VDW (Verein Deutscher Werkzeugmaschinenfabriken) reports. The report by Andreas Lindner, Managing Director of the German branch of the Spanish manufacturer Bimatec Soraluce in Limburg, Germany, is certainly outstanding: "We concluded a huge deal at Metav worth over one million euros. We hadn’t expected a visit by the customer and there has not been a previous quotation.” That’s a perfect example for the quality of Metav.
Pros and Cons of the Economic Boom
Approximately one third of the visitors stated in the visitor survey that they are planning investments, especially in machine tools, measuring technology, production and process automation as well as in precision tools. “This confirms that Metav's focus on the core area of metalworking and the supplementary topics in four areas (Medical, Additive Manufacturing, Quality and Molding) is the right strategy,” says VDW Managing Director Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, commenting on the current situation. A remarkable fact is that around a quarter of the visitors wanted to expand their capacities by investing in new machines. The product range presented by the 560 exhibitors (2016: 638) supported them in their investment decisions.
“For us, however, the booming economy also has a downside. The companies are working at full capacity. Therefore, it is not surprising that many companies were not able do without their employees. As a result, instead of the 30,000 visitors we expected, only 26,500 people visited the trade fair," explains Schäfer. By comparison, in 2016 Metav still counted just under 36,000 visitors. Meanwhile, as expected, three quarters of the German visitors came from Western and Northern Germany. On the other hand, around one-fifth of the visitors came from the south and southwest of the Republic to the fair ground in Düsseldorf. Of course, some visitors work in in large medical technology companies — a sector that has a strong base in the region. Altogether, around 350 representatives from this industry visited Metav in 2018.
New Metav Exhibition Concept Established
The area concept, which was launched two years ago and focuses on the topics of quality, generative manufacturing, tool and mold making as well as on medical technology, has become well established among exhibitors and visitors. “We exhibited at Metav for the first time in 2016 because we were convinced by the new area concept. In the molding area, the entire Hasco process chain is concentrated, from machines and standard parts through to software solutions," says Axel Fehling, Sales Manager at Hasco Hasenclever from Lüdenscheid.
The areas highlight topics and products in equal measure. The interest of the trade visitors is strongly focused on machine tools and precision tools, especially on machines for toolmaking, molding and model making, testing and measuring technology as well as on quality management systems and increasingly on additive manufacturing. More than 90 % of the visitors are satisfied with the range of products exhibited.
The Industrial Internet of Things also plays a central role: solutions for this purpose were presented in the theme park called Industry 4.0, but also at many of the 560 exhibitors' stands. VDW used the trade fair to report on its industry initiative to develop a common, manufacturer-independent interface for connecting machines to higher-level IT systems. “There is still a lot of work ahead of us, but this topic strikes a chord with many suppliers and users in small and medium-sized companies," says Schäfer.
Additional Events Complement the Exhibition Programme
The supporting events for the Metav 2018 were also well received. They focused on generative manufacturing, grinding and clamping technology and fire protection. One highlight included the Inside 3D Printing conference. Programme Director Franz-Josef Villmer, Professor of Product Development, Innovation Management and Rapid Technologies at the Ostwestfalen-Lippe University of Applied Sciences, says: "The content, professionalism and organization of the leading international conference Inside 3D Printing at Metav 2018 was once again very well received by the participants. They appreciated the diverse programme with current topics, 45 lectures by international speakers and the discussion and interaction with experts. After the conference, practical examples at Metav offered an opportunity to obtain more detailed information following the lectures and discussions."
All in all, Metav 2018 confirmed the industry's good economic situation and the customers’ willingness to invest," concludes Wilfried Schäfer from VDW. Most of the exhibiters share this point of view. More than 80 % already know that they will be participating in the next Metav, which will take place in March 2020.
This article was first published by konstruktionspraxis.
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