Four weeks until the start of the trade show
It will soon be that time of year again: The FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering creates the platform for communication between mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers and is set to open its doors on 10th November 2021! This is what the sector is accustomed to and this year the show is of even higher significance as a great need for information and discussions has accumulated over the past 18 months or so – and due to the fact that the suppliers have developed new products and services during this time, who are now seeking their customers and their markets.
The old-established principle still applies to the visitors: The show makes it as easy as possible for them – with a compact layout, free parking right next to the exhibition halls and a free catalogue. What is new this year – as is the case with all events – are the rules concerning hygiene measures. This includes free registration in the run-up to the show on the exhibition website (www.fmb-messe.de), which is crucial to avoid waiting times at the admissions point.
Visitors will also require verification according to the German “3G” principle (vaccinated, recovered or tested). Contact tracing is then carried out on site via the “EasyGo” system, which the visitors receive together with their admission tickets. This system also enables the visitors to leave behind their contact details on the exhibitor’s reading device in a contact-free manner.
Otherwise, the stage is set for the mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers at Bad Salzuflen Exhibition Centre from 10th to 12th November 2021! Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “The detailed planning of the event is already in place, including the programme of lectures. Many global players such as Beckhoff, igus, Nord, Omron, Pepperl & Fuchs, Schneider Electric, SEW Eurodrive and Siemens will be awaiting the visitors, but there will also be numerous first-time exhibitors from all areas of the supply industry, many of which are smaller-scale companies. We are looking forward to a multifaceted and inspiring show – and to being able to offer the sector the opportunity to engage in comprehensive discussions after such a long “lean period”.”
Preview of the supplier trade fair
When the 16th FMB – Mechanical Engineering Supplier Trade Fair starts on 10 November 2021, many visitors will already have fixed appointments with exhibitors they are not yet familiar with. This opportunity is provided by a ‘B2B matchmaking’ service that is organised by several partners (NRW.BANK, ZENIT GmbH, Kreiswirtschaftsförderung Lippe).
This method of initiating contacts works as follows: Exhibitors and visitors to the trade fair register on the matchmaking platform (at www.fmb-messe.de), create a profile with their concrete needs or offers and view the profiles of other participants on the platform. When a profile matches a need, an appointment is easily booked with the required contact. Finally, they receive a custom appointment plan with meetings that will take place at 20-minute intervals in an area specifically set aside for this purpose.
The B2B matchmaking service was provided at the previous FMB. In the current situation it offers an additional benefit. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: ‘Exhibitors and visitors can make their choice ahead of time and this not only makes their time at the trade fair more efficient but reduces the number of contacts.’
The coronavirus crisis has had massive effects on the foreign economic activities of industrial businesses in North Rhine-Westphalia. At the same time, the pressure to make changes is high: Products, processes and strategies right up to business models must be analysed, diversified and in some cases even reformulated. Collaborations with new suppliers, partners and customers are a fundamental component of this business restructuring. Matchmaking provides the right tool to deal with this challenge – and FMB is exactly the right platform for it.
The broad focus of FMB across the entire spectrum of the supplier industry creates the best conditions for ensuring that exhibitors win potential new customers and that visitors, that is, the decision makers in the mechanical engineering sector, establish contacts with new suppliers. FMB addresses two issues that are high on the agenda in both the mechanical engineering sector in particular and industry in general: digitalisation and the current supply bottlenecks. Visitors to the trade fair will get to know regional and reliable suppliers while gaining an overview of current innovations in mechanical engineering and modern production systems that are organised on the principles of Industry 4.0.
Trade shows are possible once again – a look ahead to the programme of lectures
Face-to-face communication between mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers, together with a whole host of innovations covering the entire spectrum of the supply industry: This will be provided by the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering from 10th to 12th November 2021.
Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “The first regional trade shows are meanwhile being held, for instance the ´all about automation´ organised by our colleagues. We have now already entered the detailed planning stage and notice again and again how great the need for communication in the sector is.”
This is alsodemonstrated by the speed at which the programme of lectures for the second day of the event was booked up – whereby this enthusiasm no doubt also lies in the topics being addressed there. “Digitalisation in industrial manufacturing”: The next steps literally affect every production plant, and numerous suppliers and service providers have developed new solutions here to lend their support to their customers.
The range of subjects covered in the lectures comprises the entire value-added chain from development (with new tools and components) to the preventive maintenance of machines (with a “digital twin”) right through to new communication technologies in production and sales (with HoloLens and AI). The multifaceted nature of the lecture programme is a good reflection of the broad spectrum of the exhibitors.
The lectures on the first day of the show are focused on the new field of “surface technology”. Christian Enßle: “The topic itself is by no means new to the show. However, by providing the exhibitors with their own focal point, they then become more visible and obtain an enhanced platform on which to showcase their machines and services, e.g. in the areas of painting, coating, corrosion protection, grinding, cleaning, etc. By doing so, we also underscore the significance of this supply industry for mechanical engineering.” The lectures presented on the stage will include a presentation by the exhibitors of current trends in heat treatment (with multi-process systems), in grinding (robot-assisted) and in the field of parts cleaning (sustainable and efficient aqueous cleaning systems).
On day three of the show, the lecture programme is traditionally organised by the Leading-edge Cluster it´s OWL, and the audience is provided with an insight into the current Industry 4.0 projects being driven forward in East Westphalia.
These lectures will serve to supplement the presentations of the exhibitors by affording the participants the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the topics and to obtain additional information – as well as to engage in face-to-face discussions and an exchange of ideas and knowledge.
The entire spectrum of the industrial drives at the supplier show
All machines need a drive system: For this reason, the field of drive engineering will also be a focal issue of the forthcoming FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering (10 to 12 November 2021). Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “Yet again, the event will be showcasing the entire spectrum of industrial drive engineering. This applies both to the exhibits, i.e. the components and systems, and to the calibre of exhibitors, ranging from leading global players to small, highly specialised companies. Therefore, visitors are almost certain to acquaint themselves with new suppliers they have not been aware of until today. Moreover, the show will once again provide a balanced mix of exhibitors from East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL) and from outside the region.”
When it comes to mechanical drive components, full-range suppliers (e.g. G&G Antriebstechnik) will be represented at the event as well as manufacturers of gears (e.g. Euronorm, Nidec Graessner, Nord, SEW), couplings (Mayr, Vulkan) and linear technology (Hepcomotion, Hiwin, igus, Neff, Nippon Thompson, RK Rose & Krieger).
A wide range of suppliers of electric motors and frequency converters (e.g. Heidrive, KEB, Nord and SEW) will be showcasing their electrical drive engineering products as exhibitors at the show in Bad Salzuflen. The fields of compressed air technologies (including D&N) and hydraulics (HBE, S&Ü) will, of course, also be represented.
The product ranges of further well-known manufacturers of drive engineering components and systems (Gates, NSK, Schaeffler, Siemens, SKF…) will be displayed at the stands of the distributors and industrial outfitters (e.g. at the booth of Hausmann & Hänsgen and at that of Werthenbach).
Drive engineering in machines is becoming increasingly integrated with superordinated control and automation technology. The FMB takes this trend into account since automation has traditionally been one of the focal topics of the show. Global players from OWL such as Beckhoff and Weidmüller will be among the exhibitors, as will further companies from other regions, e.g. KEB and Schneider Electric.
However, the large number of exhibitors and products must not mask the fact that the FMB is a compact trade show – which, in the face of the abating pandemic, is an even greater advantage. Christian Enßle: “Our hygiene concept is certified and tried and tested. And we offer tools such as the contactless transmission of contact details with our “Smart Badge” and a “B2B matchmaking service” to arrange targeted appointments for discussions at the event.” This means: There are no obstacles in the way of a stimulating and much-missed personal exchange of ideas and knowledge between the mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers, and this does not merely apply to drive engineering but to all disciplines of the supply industry.
Supplier show provides an insight into the digitalisation of production
How will industrial enterprises manufacture their products in two or five years’ time? What will tomorrow’s Smart Factory look like, which (digital and real) tools and machines will they employ?
Anyone in search of answers to these questions should mark the 10th to 12th of November 2021 in their calendar. The FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering will be opening its doors for the sixteenth time on these three days. The trade show location Bad Salzuflen is situated in the heart of East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL), and thus in a core region not only for mechanical engineering but also for Industry 4.0.
The region OWL is home to leading enterprises in the field of automation technology, which are driving forward the implementation of Industry 4.0 concepts across the globe. And a very large number of these concepts are being directly put into practice in OWL. This achievement is already ensured by the Leading-edge Cluster it’s OWL in which solutions related to the transformation of small and medium-sized manufacturing companies are developed by some 200 enterprises, research institutes and organisation from the region.
Therefore, it is only logical that key exhibitors of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering will once again be showcasing their concepts, solutions and products for the Smart Factory this year. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “We are pleased that global players for Industry 4.0 solutions are based in OWL and that they are represented at the FMB. However, visitors to the event should find discussions with many smaller specialised companies, which develop solutions for digitalisation of industry, worth their while.”
Visitors to the FMB with an interest in Industry 4.0 should definitely make their way to the large joint stand of the Leading-edge Cluster it’s OWL. Together with companies and start-ups, industry-related universities and institutes from Bielefeld, Paderborn and Lemgo will be showcasing model solutions geared towards digital transformation in the SME sector. Christian Enßle: “Current projects from the region will be demonstrated here “live”, and the developers are available for discussions.”
Technical issues including artificial and machine intelligence as well as product development will be addressed here – with the focus on practical applications. However, interdisciplinary topics such as platform economy and “people and work” are also among the issues dealt with in the numerous on-going it’s OWL projects. This means: Whatever industrial manufacturing issues of tomorrow are of interest to the visitors to the FMB, they will leave the show wiser and take home ideas to use in their day-to-day business operations.
Objective: short and reliable supply chains
International supply chains are facing severe disruptions. Commodities such as plastics are running low and becoming expensive, the same applies to high-tech products and semi-conductors as well. And freight costs between Asia and Europe are rising so drastically that lower production costs are being offset by higher transport costs.
This issue is causing turmoil in the industrial sector. In a recent survey conducted by Ifo-Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (Institute for Economic Research), 45% of the participants stated that they are having difficulties procuring upstream products. This is the highest number in the last thirty years.
Many mechanical engineering companies are currently evaluating the stability of their supply chains and the risks in relation to procurement. They are building up second-source suppliers, whereby preference is given to suppliers from the region in order to keep the supply chains short.
The FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering will be offering the right platform for these additional sources in November 2021. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “The show came into being in 2005 with the objective of linking the mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers in the region. Since this time, the catchment area of exhibitors and visitors has grown substantially, yet the basic idea has remained: The FMB is not an international purchasing platform. It thrives on the personal contact between the mechanical engineering enterprises with the suppliers – both at the show and in the projects initiated and agreed upon during the discussions held at the event.”
There is certainly a lot of catching up to do here. The organisers are working towards creating both a successful and safe trade show. Christian Enßle: Virtual trade fairs cannot fully replace what trade shows ultimately constitute. Face-to-face discussions, communication among experts, unexpected ideas – this works best at a “live” event. We create the platform suitable for this exchange and make it as easy and safe as possible for the exhibitors and visitors to come together once more.”
An additional bonus here: The FMB covers the entire spectrum of the supply industry. Design engineers, buyers and other decision-makers can obtain comprehensive information about trends and innovations – in such different areas such as metalworking, drive engineering and automation technology, assembly and handling technology, surface technology and related services.
Additional focus on surface technology
In 2021, the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering will be supplemented by a new core theme: surface technology. In doing so, the trade fair will provide an even fuller picture of the spectrum offered by the supply industry. This concerns both the “hardware” of mechanical engineering as well as services, which are likewise gaining in significance at the FMB to an ever-increasing extent.
Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “Every mechanical engineering company makes use of surface technology in one form or another, for instance, to protect machine components from corrosion or for the application of functional coatings. For this reason, it is only logical that we give this field the attention it deserves in line with its actual significance in the supply industry.”
This step is all the more logical since surface technology has always been represented at the FMB. Companies that have been exhibiting for many years present, for example, plant and equipment for painting and powder coating as well as consumable materials and peripheral equipment such as dosing, filtration and air exhaust systems. An even higher number of companies offering services such as varnishing and painting, powder coating, pre-treatments, cleaning, galvanising, zinc plating and other surface technology processes – many of which are based in East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL) – will be present at the show.
These exhibitors – of which there are currently more than thirty – will now be provided with an improved platform to showcase their performance capability. Christian Enßle: “We assume that this will enable us to attract further specialists in the field of surface technology as exhibitors. This dovetails perfectly with the customers of many subcontractors in the field of coatings and plant manufacturers. For this reason, surface technology will also be the key topic of the programme of lectures on day one of the show.”
The special concept of the trade show scores points with first-time exhibitors, providing them with the opportunity to book a complete package including furniture, catering and marketing services. Therefore, all they need to bring with them are their exhibits and information leaflets. This is a real benefit particularly for smaller companies with more limited marketing resources.
A look ahead to the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering 2021
The organisers of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering are convinced that it will be possible to conduct face-to-face discussions again in November 2021 – at a regional trade show and with the appropriate hygiene concept in place which is applicable at that time.
There is already a great deal of catching up to do when it comes to the communication between mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers. Online formats – according to general perception – can neither completely replace personal discussions nor the dynamics and positive elements of surprise which a visit to a trade show entails.
This year, many buyers from mechanical engineering companies attending the FMB will be doing so as a sign that supply chains need to re-evaluated. The pandemic has resulted in upheavals here and has demonstrated how the global movement of goods is susceptible to disruptions. Consequently, many companies operating in the field of mechanical and plant engineering are increasingly on the look-out for suppliers from their own country or, better still from the region – according to the motto “think global, buy local”.
The fact that this concept can be a true recipe for success is demonstrated by the region East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL). The high density of suppliers from all disciplines is one of the reasons for the development of the second strongest cluster of mechanical engineering companies in Europe. The FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering is part of this network and, of course, also provides visitors from outside the region with the opportunity to acquaint themselves with efficient new suppliers, who can be reached swiftly and via direct channels of communication. Not only does this reduce and stabilise the supply chains but it also facilitates collaboration in projects.
Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB of the trade show organiser Easyfairs Deutschland GmbH: “It goes without saying that mechanical engineering thrives on global trade and that it also needs to be open on the supply side accordingly. The division of labour is international, the aim should not be for regionalisation at any price. However, as mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers are collaborating with each other to an ever-increasing extent, stable business relationships are becoming more and more important. A large number of suppliers will be showcasing their products and services at the FMB who wish to and also have the expertise at their disposal to bring their skills and experience to bear in this cooperation – which mechanical engineering companies and their customers can benefit from.”
Suppliers wishing to take advantage of this opportunity have good reason to make a swift decision: They can benefit from an early-booking discount until 31 March 2021.
With B2B matchmaking and an additional focus
How will trade shows and industrial fairs be designed and organised in the autumn of 2021? Nobody knows right now. The “makers” of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering are currently working on a concept to provide for all contingencies.
Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “One thing is certain: The opportunity for mechanical engineering companies and their suppliers to engage in face-to-face discussions will be sorely missed by both sides.” Our aim is to make this communication possible in November 2021 – safely and efficiently.”
One element of the concept concerns “matchmaking” in the run-up to the show: Exhibitors and visitors can reduce the amount of personal contacts at the event if they already identify suitable companies in advance of the show and arrange appointments with them for discussions.
For this reason, the B2B matchmaking service offered for the first time last year will – and this has already been firmly decided upon – once again be part of this year’s show. The trade show organiser has succeeded in acquiring some strong partners for this efficient way of initiating contacts. The NRW.Bank, which is very active and well connected in the SME business, will be there, as will ZENIT GmbH – the Centre for Innovation and Technology in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW). The business development agency “Kreiswirtschaftsförderung Lippe” is also involved in the organisation of the B2B matchmaking service as a locally established link to the region of East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL).
The three partners exemplify their motivation in bringing mechanical engineering companies and suppliers together at the FMB in a joint statement: “Mechanical engineering in East Westphalia-Lippe is a key sector which is discernible and reinforced as such by the exhibition activities at the FMB in Bad Salzuflen each year. Exports and innovation are important factors when it comes to continuing the successful operations of the mechanical engineering companies in East Westphalia-Lippe. Against this background, the NRW.BANK in association with ZENIT will continue to make use of this event to lend their support to providing a platform for the initiation of business contacts – both on a national and international level – within the scope of the Enterprise Europe Network (NRW.Europa) sponsored by the European Commission, and to providing them with space – in the truest sense of the word.”
It goes without saying that that the “Easy go” system will also be part of the concept of the next FMB, enabling the touch-free exchange of contact details. The admission ticket will become a “smart badge” which is able to communicate with the exhibitor via an NFC reader located at the booth.
These ideas and measures allow exhibitors and visitors at the FMB to limit the number of their personal contacts without reducing the offers of information and contacts provided by the show. This range of offers will even be added to at the upcoming fair: Surface technology will supplement the wide range of machines, products and services presented at the FMB as an additional thematic focal point.
No trade show due to the current development of the pandemic
Right up until towards the end of October, the organisers of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering were optimistic that they would succeed in staging not just a successful and informative fair but also one where people would be safe. Over 300 exhibitors had been looking forward to resuming their trade show activities, with pleasing developments in the number of visitor registrations.
However, the sharp increase in infections has brought about a dramatic change to this vision. The organisers have acted in a timely manner and offered the exhibitors the opportunity to transfer their booking to the FMB 2021. The good news is that almost all of them have taken up this offer, which means that there is already a very strong exhibitor base for the FMB 2021. This approach has been confirmed by the lockdown now imposed on the trade show business.
The next FMB will take place in the established manner from 10–11 November 2021, with the addition of new hybrid formats.
Exhibitors and interested parties can avail themselves of the international cooperation fair of the B2B matchmaking service. It is being organised by the NRW Bank and ZENIT GmbH in the NRW Europa Network in association with the district business development agency “Kreiswirtschaftsfoerderung Lippe”. Access thereto will remain open on the FMB website, the matchmaking process for establishing business contacts will take place entirely digitally.
Four weeks to go until the start of the fair
Some of the first trade shows like the ones “all about automation” in Essen and Chemnitz have shown that regional industrial fairs of a manageable size are achievable, they are safe, and the visitors come and feel at ease there. This is not something that can be taken for granted. For this reason, the “makers” of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering – have outlined seven reasons below for coming to the event:
The major industrial fairs scheduled for the autumn of 2020 will not be taking place due to the pandemic. However, there is a great need for discussions and the exchange of ideas within the “industrial community”, and change also occurs at a rapid pace. Therefore, a trade show like FMB as a communication platform is all the more important right now.
This applies to the exhibitors: They have been developing innovations they now wish to showcase. This has only been possible to a limited extent since March 2020. Now, they will finally get the opportunity to do so.
It also applies, however, to potential visitors to the fair. They require inspiration and proposals to optimise their products and their production. Such visits frequently result in the initiation of innovations and their implementation by the suppliers. There will be ideas and solutions to this end at the FMB – across the entire spectrum of the supply industry in the field of mechanical and plant engineering.
The hygiene concept developed jointly by the Easyfairs Group and SGSgroup – the world’s leading provider of certification services – is safe and has meanwhile been put to the test, including at the “all about automation” fairs held in Essen and Chemnitz.
The touch-free exchange of contact details is made possible by the “Easy go” system in the case of which the admission ticket communicates with an NFC reader located at the booth. And the new platform “B2B Matchmaking” enables a targeted search for suppliers and customers in the run-up to the show. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: In doing so, it is possible to limit the number of personal contacts for both sides – exhibitors and suppliers alike, without reducing the amount of information offered at the fair or restricting the opportunity to establish contacts.”
The FMB provides visitors with a look ahead to the future and in greater depth. Major issues such as Industry 4.0 and digitalisation will be addressed at the joint stand of the leading-edge cluster using practical examples from research and industry. Individual specialist topics, including digitalisation and surface technology, will be enlarged upon in the programme of lectures held on all three days of the show.
The entire spectrum of suppliers to companies operating in the field of mechanical and plant engineering will be on site: global players just as much as regional “hidden champions” and local specialists of the supply industry. A visit is thus compact and efficient. The “Easy Entry” concept is also a contributing factor: The distances at the show are short, costs are kept to a minimum. Visitors can go to www.fmb-messe.de to register free of charge and in advance (for one of six time slots, each in the morning or afternoon on one of the three days of the show).
A look ahead to the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering
Today, hardly any mechanical engineering company can manage without suppliers offering precision metal parts. At the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering, visitors have the opportunity to establish contacts with specialists operating in this demanding field of metalworking.
Three examples: The company Loll Feinmechanik GmbH from Tornesch is among the exhibitors at the FMB from this field of expertise. It manufactures entire systems for sophisticated industries such as medical technology, aeronautical engineering, the oil and gas industry and mechanical engineering.
Schwichtenberg GmbH based in Lemgo also machines to the highest of quality standards and is specialised in the production of very small components. This does not only apply to the traditional materials aluminium and steel but also, for instance, to titanium and magnesium as well as metal components with a particularly high-quality finish as is required in the case of medical products.
A further expert in the field of high-end machining is the company Poggengerd GmbH in Marienfeld. As a contract manufacturer for high-precision requirements, it produces components in temperature-controlled rooms using state-of-the-art CNC machines for industries including mechanical engineering, tool and die making, hydraulics and medical technology. The focus here is often on simultaneous 5-axis complete machining in a clamping operation with the aid of powered tools.
In doing so, Poggengerd also serves as a link to the subject of surface technology as a new focal issue at the FMB. The company is proficient in a wide variety of grinding processes, including ones of a very sophisticated nature.
How does a visitor to the FMB meet the machinists that match his requirements? There are three possibilities: He talks to them in person at the exhibition stand. Or he holds his Smart Badge, which he received at the entrance, up against the reading device at the stand, thereby allowing the contact-free exchange of company details.
The third and new option: The visitor makes use of “B2B Matchmaking” prior to the FMB, which the trade show organiser is arranging in association with several partners (NRW.BANK, ZENIT GmbH, Netzwerk NRW.Europa and Kreiswirtschaftsförderung Lippe). He registers on the matchmaking platform (https://fmb2020-matchmaking.b2match.io/signup), provides a brief presentation of his company, and describes his requirements or actively looks for suitable suppliers himself. If both parties are interested in establishing contact, a 20-minute one-on-one discussion is organised for them in the designated matchmaking area in Hall 21.
Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB of Easyfairs Deutschland GmbH: “This new matchmaking approach brings together the online world with “live” discussions in optimal fashion as it increases the success rate for really beneficial discussions as well as the efficiency of trade show attendance – both for the exhibitors and for the visitors. We are intrigued to see to what extent people will avail themselves of this service.”
The hygiene and safety concept of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering
The concept has been finalised: The organisers of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering have established the basis for implementing the trade show in compliance with hygiene requirements. It goes without saying that the concept which has now been submitted also satisfies the requirements of the corona protection regulation of the federal state of North-Rhine Westphalia. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB of Easyfairs Deutschland GmbH: “We are able to implement these requirements from a technical point of view without the slightest hesitation as they are already in line with our current standards.”
Moreover, the special concept of the trade show also creates favourable conditions for observing social distancing regulations. “Although the entire spectrum of the mechanical engineering supply industry is represented at the FMB, the visitors do not come to the event from all corners of the world. The number of exhibitors in relation to visitors is balanced and we are well able to ensure that social distancing is maintained.”
This year, this also involves an online registration for one of six slots (in the mornings or afternoons in each case on the three days of the show). Christian Enßle: “By doing so, we guarantee that the maximum number of 3,000 people is not exceeded at any time, and that each visitor coming to the event also obtains admission.” The number of visitors at the show is recorded automatically and electronically.
Online registration with rapid admission, marked walkways, signs indicating which direction to walk in and catering facilities set up over a larger area and with offers adapted to the current situation. In addition, a sufficient amount of disinfectant for hand hygiene will be available at each stand, as well as in common areas and sanitary facilities. Furthermore, the contact surfaces in the sanitary facilities and in common areas will be disinfected on a regular basis.
The new “EasyGo” system enabling the contact-free exchange of contact details between the exhibitor and the visitors also meets the hygiene requirements. Visitors arriving at the show will receive a smart badge with an RFID chip. Each stand at the fair is equipped with a corresponding reading device which links the visitor to the exhibitor when he holds his badge up against the exhibitor’s device. Christian Enßle: This device was already developed prior to the corona pandemic and is beneficial quite apart from this virus-related situation. For instance, at the end of the day of the fair the visitors receive a mail from us containing a list of all the exhibitors whose reading devices they activated. This thus enables them to easily review their discussions and, where desired, to continue the communication with the exhibitors.”
The organisers are already looking forward to the start of the fair. Christian Enßle: “We have already received many positive signals from exhibitors and visitors. They miss engaging in face-to-face discussions and they also miss the ideas and the aha effects which trade shows convey so well. We are doing and will continue to do everything in our power to make the FMB a successful and – at the same time – safe industrial trade show and we are optimally prepared!”
Surface technology completes the exhibition programme
Each component of a machine has a surface. These surfaces often need be specially protected, treated or finished – by means of processes such as painting or varnishing, powder coating, galvanising, zinc plating, blasting …
Mechanical engineering companies either have the corresponding systems at their disposal or work together with enterprises providing surface technology services. This year, for the first time, the FMB will be demonstrating the current trends and will show which efficient partners lend themselves to such collaboration: Surface technology is a new focal point of the FMB 2020.
In doing so, the organiser is implementing a logical step. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “We have noticed that an increasing number of exhibitors now offer services in surface technology in particular – whether exclusively or as part of their portfolio. They are provided with an enhanced platform for their attendance at the show and we are also in a position to appeal to new, potential exhibitors in targeted fashion.”
The exhibition has an eye on several target groups. Producers of equipment, e.g. for painting and powder coating can present their range of products to a knowledgeable audience at the FMB. The show also addresses manufacturers of consumables such as bath chemicals and from the periphery such as filtration systems and exhaust air units.
In particular, the organisers of the FMB have an eye on the numerous service providers in the wider region who offer surface technology – ranging from pre-treatments and corrosion protection to “traditional” processes such as painting and powder coating right through to sophisticated processes like plasma coating. Christian Enßle: “The spectrum here is wide, the suppliers are highly qualified, yet the market is somewhat obscure. It is our objective to create visibility and to bring together supply and demand in this field of the supply industry as well.”
The trade show can score with its special concept. “We offer the exhibitors a complete package including furniture, catering and a marketing package. Therefore all they need to bring with them are their exhibits and information materials. This is a real benefit for smaller companies in particular as their marking resources can often be rather limited.” An additional benefit and a real value-added for exhibitors and visitors: Surface technology will also be a focal issue of the lecture programme in which the current trends in the individual subject areas will be presented.
Regionalisation rather than globalisation?
For many companies operating in the field of mechanical engineering, it was not only the sales markets that took a hit at the beginning of the pandemic – the supply chains were also subject to severe disruptions as well. In particular, cross-border deliveries – whether from China or “just” those from France – were either no longer possible at all or only with delays, and the maintenance or restoration of the supply chains was among the most urgent tasks faced by management. Basing their actions along the lines of “lessons learned”, buyers and directors will, therefore, be addressing the issue as to whether procurement needs to be reassessed from this angle. Specifically, the questions to be answered are: Will reliability of supply play a stronger role in the future? Is it advisable to rely on short supply chains from a geographical point of view? A current investigation carried out by the ifo institute shows that this is where the shoe pinches. It comes to the conclusion that in addition to the lack of incoming orders, a shortage of materials in mechanical engineering is the second major cause of disruptions in production. The supply chains are thus in need of optimisation. It is against this background that the organisers of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering see the fair as the suitable forum to establish contacts with new or additional suppliers on the spot. Ultimately, the first FMB held 16 years ago already focused on matching mechanical engineering and suppliers at a regional level in East Westphalia-Lippe (Ostwestfalen-Lippe (OWL). Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: At that time, the objective was to form short and closely linked supply chains. This still accounts for a fundamental strength of the mechanical engineering region of OWL.” Although only around two-thirds of the exhibitors at the show today come from the region due to the continuing growth of the event, its focus clearly lies on the domestic market and the neighbouring countries. And each year without fail, visitors to the fair are amazed to discover that they can also find highly specialised components in the immediate vicinity. World-wide procurement trips are not always necessary. In doing so, the organisers attach importance to keeping an eye on both aspects – regional and global procurement. Christian Enßle: Relying purely on regionalisation would mean falling short of the mark. After all, our mechanical engineering companies depend on the global market. If their customers were to rely on regionalisation, this would be counterproductive. In our opinion, it comes down to the mix, for instance to establishing second source suppliers and the diversification of the supply chains.” The some 450 exhibitors expected to take part in the show feel they are in a position to support the mechanical engineering companies with regard to this task – whereby they cover the entire range of the supply spectrum. They can also benefit from a further trend: batch sizes are becoming smaller, the variety of versions is increasing, manufacturers are more flexible and delivery periods are becoming shorter. All this is indicative of the close cooperation between mechanical engineering companies and suppliers. Spatial proximity is not a compulsory requirement in this respect, but it is helpful. Many exhibitors at the FMB are extremely well prepared for this close collaboration and correspondingly flexible.
Perspective for communication and exchange in the second half of the year
It is now officially confirmed: Trade shows and conventions are permitted to take place in North Rhine-Westphalia with effect from 30 May 2020. This is the case according to the North Rhine-Westphalia Plan of the state government published on 6 May 2020. This is great news for the organisers of the FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering, particularly as the time between this effective date and the start of the show on 4 November 2020 is so long that there is at least some hope that the measures made necessary by the pandemic will be further relaxed. The results of a survey conducted by the organiser among the exhibitors showed that over the past two months the suppliers to the mechanical engineering industry have had to forgo their established channels of communication in sales, such as trade shows and visits from field service representatives. Although it was still possible to provide existing and potential customers with information, most of which was done online, there were and are shortfalls when it comes to addressing the clients directly, particularly in the case of new customers. It is now all the more important that there will be a return of communication platforms where discussions can be held and ideas and knowledge can be exchanged in the second half of 2020. The 16th FMB in Bad Salzuflen will fully meet this requirement and will show the visitors the entire spectrum of the supply chain for mechanical engineering. From the automation of systems to preventive maintenance. Some 550 exhibitors are expected to take part in the event, including market leaders such as Festo, igus, Schneider Electric and Siemens as well as companies from the region of East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL) Beckhoff, HARTING, WAGO and Weidmüller. The numerous small suppliers, which are often specialised in niche areas of business as “hidden champions”, are a group of exhibitors with just as much importance as the global players. Buyers and design engineers from the field of mechanical engineering can thus make some real discov-eries and establish new contacts. For igus as a regular exhibitor, the FMB 2020 is not merely a “fixture on their calendar” but is assigned a more significant role in view of the general situation. Michael Blaß, head of the division e-chain systems: We are always glad to showcase our products at the FMB and have further increased our exhibition space this year. This show gives us the opportunity to conduct discussions with customers in the north-west of Germany, particularly at a time when many large national trade shows have been cancelled.” The second division iglidur plain bearings and drylin linear technology also feels in good hands at the show. Tobias Vogel, head of this division “The FMB is an event where you can find out information quickly and easily in a pleasant atmosphere. Visitors do not necessarily have to invest a whole working day in gaining such information but have the opportunity to become acquainted with many innovations within a very short period of time.” This year alone, igus will be showcasing over 100 motion plastics innovations in Bad Salzuflen. They contribute to improving the technology employed by the users and to reducing costs.
A look ahead to the autumn fair
The “makers” of FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering are satisfied with their progress in their preparations for the fair to be held in November 2020 for the 16th year running. Christian Enßle, Head of Cluster FMB: “As of 1 April 2020 we have 325 bookings. We are extremely confident that we will achieve last year’s level – in other words both halls 20+21 filled to capacity. There are good reasons for this: The exhibitors with whom we are in close dialogue miss the personal contact with existing and potential customers. Therefore, we expect strong demand for communication and information in the second half of the year.” In addition to engineering trends – with digitalisation leading the way – the trade show organiser is of the opinion that one topic at the forthcoming FMB will be discussed much more intensively than in previous years. Christian Enßle: “Many companies have now established that their supply chains are unstable in this time of crisis. In the coming months, they will draw their own conclu-sions from this situation, reassess their procurement strategies in this light and, for instance, build up second source suppliers or rely more on regional ones.” The 16th FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering will provide the ideal forum for this. After all, it was originally set up to bring together the suppliers in East Westphalia-Lippe (OWL) and the enterprises based there with a view to developing regional networks. Although this focus has expanded to the northern half of Germany with the growth of the fair, the need to encourage strong and stable supply chains with close and direct communication among those involved still exists. The FMB thus anticipates a very large number of exhibitors and visitors on account of the fact that the field of mechanical engineering, including its suppliers, is currently undergoing a very intensive phase of innovation. The key words here are digitalisation and Industry 4.0. Platforms on which suppliers, manufacturers and the users of machines can engage in discussions, talk about trends and find out about new developments are therefore all the more important – particularly since the region OWL, home of the FMB, is regarded as the “hotspot” for these topics throughout Europe. The FMB has been successfully performing this task since 2005 and has retained its unique profile – as a fair covering the entire spectrum of the supply industry across different sectors, yet still maintaining its compact and personal nature.
Taking stock of the 15th FMB: Exhibitors full of praise for the large number and high quality of the contacts
Satisfaction among the trade visitors, exhibitors and organisers: This is, in a nutshell, the summary of the 15th FMB – the supplier show for mechanical engineering, which took place in Bad Salzuflen from 6th to 8th November. There were precisely 555 exhibitors at the event, with both halls being filled right down to the last square metre. And both the exhibitors surveyed by the organisers of the show as well as the visitors confirmed that their expectations were more than satisfied. Christian Enßle, Head of the Cluster FMB of Easyfairs: “The unanimous feedback provided by the exhibitors: The quality of the discussions is very high. Buyers, directors and design engineers come to the FMB with very specific projects in mind. And many exhibitors reported that the quantity of the contacts was also at an extremely high level.” In doing so, the FMB once more demonstrates its reputation as an information platform for mechanical engineering. As shown by the many participants in the programme of lectures, information providing a deeper insight into the topics is also in demand. This year the content of the theme days focused on corrective maintenance of the future and digitalisation in practical applications. On the third day of the show, the programme of lectures was presented by the Leading-edge Cluster Intelligente Technische Systeme – it´s OWL. The cluster also showcased innovative and practice-oriented solutions for the production of tomorrow at its stand. Among the eye-catchers was a measuring case with which existing systems – at the show it was a decades-old box column drill – can be digitalised with state-of-the-art sensor technology. The initiative “owl maschinenbau”, which was involved in initiating the show 15 years ago, offered interested visitors a “Walk of Champions” to particularly innovative suppliers of the region. The blend of well-known suppliers and newcomers offering their products and services to the mechanical engineering sector is typical of the FMB. This year, this included joint stands from Spain and – with the support of the German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ) – from Kosovo. Dutch suppliers are traditionally well represented at the event, and they accounted for the largest group among the 79 foreign exhibitors. From the point of view of the visitors, it was also clear that the FMB is gaining importance as the place to be and as a networking platform. Christian Enßle: “We were hosts to several delegations of overseas companies, including from Russia and several groups from the Netherlands.” The satisfaction of the exhibitors can also be deduced by the fact that many booked their stand for the 16th FMB, which will be held from 4th to 6th November 2020, while they were still attending this year’s event. Before that, however, the FMB-Süd will take place in Augsburg on 12th and 13th February 2020. It was initi-ated just under four years ago with a view to providing the mechanical engineering companies located at the technological hub of the south with an information platform similar to that available to the northern half of Germany by the FMB.