As expected, the 14th Blechexpo international trade fair for sheet metal working, together with the 7th Schweisstec international trade fair for joining technology, was an industry highlight and closed successfully with 1498 exhibitors from 36 countries. 41,152 visitors from a total of 113 countries took advantage of the trade fair duo, which in the meantime has grown to 108,000 square metres of exhibition floor space, in order to bring themselves up to date with regard to sheet metal, pipe and profile processing, as well as cutting, joining, forming and welding technologies, from the 5th through the 7th of November, 2019.
Record-Breaking Figures in all Categories – Nine Fully Occupied Halls – More International than Ever
The Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo broke several records this year: 1498 exhibitors from 36 countries (as opposed to 1339 in 2017) were on hand in Stuttgart. “45% of them came from outside of Germany”, sums up Georg Knauer with a satisfied smile. “This year’s Blechexpo/Schweisstec was more international than ever before.” And it was bigger than ever as well: With a total of 108,000 square metres, roughly 15% more exhibition floor space was booked than in 2017. For the first time, Blechexpo/Schweisstec occupied new exhibition hall 10, which enhances the Stuttgart Exhibition Centre with its spacious and modern design.
“For us, this technical event is a leading trade fair of very high significance,” remarked Wolfgang Wiedenmann, deputy sales manager at press manufacturer Andritz Kaiser. Despite the fact that the industry is currently having to deal with noticeable declines in incoming orders for various reasons, Blechexpo/Schweisstec was a well-received and important technology and knowledge platform: where thermal and mechanical processing of sheet metal, pipe and profiles is concerned, as well as processing machines and systems for stamping, bending, bevelling and forming, right on up to peripherals including controllers, software and solutions for handling and quality assurance, this trade fair is a unique marketplace for the industry sector’s current challenges and future issues. As a logical consequence, subject matter covering digitalisation and automation dominated here as well. To an ever greater extent, emphasis is being placed on modern cutting technologies: alone the issue of laser cutting was presented by 56 exhibitors, and 25 further companies exhibited technologies covering all aspects of high-pressure water-jet cutting.
Highlight for the Sheet Metal Working Sector – Process-Oriented, Practical, Forward-Looking
Held once every two years, the Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo was distinguished once again this year by its strictly practice-oriented concept and was able to cover all aspects affecting the world of sheet metal processing and metalworking, which is now more digitalised and consistently automated than ever before. The Industrieverband Blechumformung (industry association for sheet metal forming) organised a communal booth and was thus able to offer its members the opportunity of presenting themselves in a more comprehensive setting. 16 companies participated. This mutual presence drew attention and formed the basis for an adequate platform for business-related networking.
“The economy is cooling down,” pointed out Cornelius Eich, managing director of the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association (ZVEI). “And our industry sector won’t be spared from trade wars.” Nevertheless – or perhaps precisely for that reason – technical discussions were very lively and interest was highly intense, because issues which are of overriding importance in many areas such as digitalisation, sustainability and process efficiency are driving current development in the sheet metal working sector. And thus the trade fair’s topics included trends, innovations and future-proof solutions in the wake of a rapidly changing production environment. For example, modern joining and fastening technologies are becoming increasingly important because many new and hybrid materials can’t be cut or joined by means of thermal processes – as a result, more attention is being focused on mechanical joining technology in the field of lightweight design.
World-Class Supplementary Program Generates Strong Interest
The exhibitor forum in hall 9 was received once again with great interest by the expert visitors. The presentation programme was brimming full all three days, in particular with issues covering all aspects of digitalisation.
This was also the subject of the stahlnews.de/Blechexpo Expert Meet on the evening of the first day of the trade fair. Organiser Hans Diederichs was able to welcome roughly 50 interested parties to the event in keeping with the motto: “The Steel Industry in Times of Globalisation and Industry 4.0”.
“This trade fair is precisely the right setting for our meet.” Amongst other things, the presentations concerned themselves with major areas of research such as steel forming, new process approaches, e-commerce and Internet platforms as an opportunity for the metals markets, the learning steel plant and data harvesting.”
Already for the fourth time, the “Blechexpo Award” was presented on the afternoon of the second day of the trade fair by “blechnet” trade journal in cooperation with event promoters P. E. Schall GmbH & Co. KG. The innovation prize was awarded to the most innovative exhibits in five different categories. With its MC 125 automatic stamping press, Schuler was the winner in the stamping and forming technology category. Kjellberg Finsterwalde Plasma und Maschinen won in the cutting technology category with its Q 3000 plasma cutting system. The winner in the joining technology category was Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik with their TruLaser Station 7000 – a 3D laser welding machine. The award for surface finishing technology went to Q-Fin Quality Finishing Machines for their SER600 Super Edge Rounder (a deburring and edge rounding machine). Last but not least, Cenit was distinguished in the handling and automation category for their cross-manufacturer cutting and joining software, namely Fastsuite Edition 2.
The next Blechexpo/Schweisstec trade fair duo will take place from the 26th through the 29th of October, 2021.