We are slowly learning to live in a new reality that is the result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Restrictions are slowly being lifted, but it is still unknown when it will be possible to return trade fair events. Despite this, yesterday the organizers of the Formnext trade fair announced that their incremental technology trade fair in Frankfurt am Main will take place as planned, that is on November 10-13, 2020. However, this fair will differ in many respects from previous editions of the event.
In an official announcement published on May 14, Mesago Messe Frankfurt, an event organization company, ensures that the event is planned to be scheduled in the usual late autumn. However, they emphasize that the event will be unique in terms of providing users with certain conditions for the sake of their health and safety. At the same time, works are ongoing on the possibility of combining the classic concept of the fair with digital solutions.
Sascha F. Wenzler, Formnext vice president, Mesago Messe Frankfurt, emphasizes the special role of trade fairs and the possibility of contacting other representatives of additive technologies. He realizes that digital interaction cannot replace face-to-face contact, but over the last few months it has turned out that the formula of virtual meetings offers many possibilities and can also be successfully used in the organization of trade fairs.
What would this look like in practice? As an example, the organizers give the possibility of digital presentation of products through a dedicated platform on which work is currently underway. Such a solution may be appropriate in the face of logistics and transport problems that the whole world is facing.
Whether the fair will take place according to the announcements depends on the subsequent stages of lifting the restrictions, e.g. opening borders. If, as predicted by scientists, we are dealing with a second wave of cases, the borders may be closed again. However, at present the organizers are of good cheer. According to a document issued by the German government, trade fairs are no longer classified as major events that pose a particular health risk. As Wenzler points out, the fair is a driving force for industrial innovation, which is particularly important, especially after months of economic stagnation in many industries and sectors.
Regarding the special conditions of the event, the organizers mention, among others reducing visit density and guaranteeing high hygiene standards. Currently, the development of the most appropriate methods for implementing the mentioned concepts is underway.
Formnext is the largest trade fair event dedicated to additive technologies in the world. Every year, it brings together an increasing number of exhibitors and visitors. 852 exhibitors presented their services and products at Formnext 2019, and the event attracted 34,532 visitors. The organizers believe that this year’s edition, despite the big obstacles, will take place, but in the current situation it is difficult to be certain about it.