Nearly one month more for the biggest European exhibition for machine tools and technologies for fabrication, technologies, and proceeding of sheet metal. This is BlechExpo 2023 which will take place from 7 till 10 of November this year in Stuttgart, Germany.
BlechExpo was extremely popular during the 2021 year because it was the first main show for sheet metal reopening after the reduction of COVID restrictions in Europe when all the exhibitions were mainly closed, postponed, or canceled. So it was a big return for the visitors and as well as for exhibitors because all companies had a lot of limits for contacts during the nearly 2 years of restrictions.
From the Internet, there are official numbers as approximately 1,500 exhibitors from 36 countries on an area of 110,000 square meters with 50,000 visitors from 120 countries. If we compare it with the second biggest European exhibition EuroBlech in Hannover (it is the run that one year BlechExpo takes place and next year is EuroBlech so BlechExpo is for 2023 and EuroBlech for 2024) we can notice that it is even a little bit bigger than EuroBlech (1300 exhibitors, ca. 87,000 square meters).
Why it is so important? First, it is the exhibition which is dedicated ONLY to sheet metal technologies. In a lot of countries, exhibitions of machine tools are mainly mixed with everything with a demonstration of cutting, milling, welding, and assembling technologies and sheet metal fabrication is only one part of it. So the dedicated exhibition allows all the potential visitors to see more, to visit all main manufacturers and operators on the market and find in one place all the technologies for the production of sheet metal.
The 2021 BlechExpo exhibition was a special one for everything. At first, we can remember that there were still active COVID limits and restrictions so all visitors were obliged to demonstrate the Green Pass (the passport of vaccination valid in Europe) or the fresh COVID test which was valid only for 24 hours. Next exhibitors can remember that they were obliged to use glass panels on the table between the people to protect somehow from each other. And for sure these rules cut a lot of possibilities for a lot of potential visitors to come to Germany for the exhibition from such big areas like Russia, India, Africa, China, South America, etc… And despite this the exhibition in 2021 was overcrowded – a huge number of people and companies represented. Everybody was happy to return to normal life and BlechExpo was enormously good for projects, contacts, and new contracts for everybody.
To tell the truth, we visited BlechExpo the second time and we would like to explain our impressions and some comments from the exhibitors we know well. At first, BlechExpo has a very good composition of exhibition grounds in Stuttgart and it is more effective than in Hannover. The exhibition is presented in 8 big pavilions (halls) and all of them are connected with the big covered hallways. So in this composition, there are no bad halls where people are not coming or coming very rarely. There are a lot of exhibitions where other halls are a little bit far away from the main halls and in this case, these bad halls receive only 50% of potential visitors, even less. BlechExpo does not have this disadvantage and this is very positive for exhibitors.
Next thing – BlechExpo is more strict with the positioning of exhibitors with the same technologies. So all with the same technology go to the dedicated hall for it. It is very good for visitors – they know the hall and they can study and contact all exhibitors and companies in this hall to see all the producers in one place. So there is no need to search for a particular company – just follow the technology! But it is bad for all manufacturers because they can be 100% sure that the potential customer who is interested in their machine will talk with 5 else with the same machinery. After all, they are just round. So all competitors are at the same place and it is a very hard situation to win the customer if he is checking everybody else and at the finish can forget about the first offer.
We spoke with our friends who already participated in BlechExpo in 2021 and their opinions for 2023 participation. For companies with German roots or international companies with constant business in Germany through resellers and dealers feedback was very positive with big interest and several visitors. For companies with products with big competition (for example deburring machines) the feedback is not positive – the reason that they are exhibited together with all competitors and German visitors in this case mainly prefer to buy German machines if the price is near – the reason is close service and easier communication and legal formalities. Yes, it is important to note that most of the visitors are from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland so the German language and mentality is the main one point.
Now let us go from organization points to technologies. During our last visits to exhibitions, we saw that the market today doesn’t go to any revolutionary next steps. So we do not expect to see something special at BlechExpo. We can see a lot of bending solutions based on robots with automatic bending tools change, power cutting lasers (today everybody exhibits laser cutting machines with 30 Kw or more with the availability of smooth cutting more than 40 mm thickness), combination solutions for cutting and bending panels, a lot of cobots (cooperative robots) in many different areas, wide software solutions and other digital technologies connected with Industry 4.0, a lot of stamping molds and stamping presses which is quite big part of the exhibition.
From year to year, there is also a big growth of participants from China and Turkey as 2 big machine-tools producer countries outside Europe so we can expect new companies from there and new interesting machines with interesting prices. For example will be presented Raycus company which mainly produces all the laser power sources for laser cutting machines in China. We need to note that for a lot of companies industrial exhibitions today are not the way to find really new customers but to continue and to recreate relations with their existing customers and companies so they should be participated because it is the long-term strategy of support and company representation. Anyway probably if we see something interesting we will make the story of it, no doubt.