the digital heart of the international AM industry

Formnext Connect: 8541 active participants from more than 100 nations

2020/11/12 — From 10-12 November 2020, Formnext Connect demonstrated its credentials as the international, digital hub of the AM world, highlighting, even in challenging times, the continuing importance of the world’s leading exhibition for the AM industry and the next generation of industrial production.

Formnext Connect attracted 203 exhibitors with about 2200 representatives, and showcased 1412 products. 8541 active participants from more than 100 nations (1/3 national, 2/3 international) made great use of the intelligent and modern matchmaking function, which managed to generate more than 450000 recommendations for products and other participants. Further, 23311 new contacts and 4733 business meetings in the form of video calls were enabled. The 221 lectures and presentations of the high-profile program of stage events and sessions were watched by 45000 spectators. Here, experts from all over the world discussed current and future trends, developments and applications in various webinars and discussion panels.

With international product launches, amongst them numerous new materials, a SLM machine with 12 lasers as well as post-processing solutions for finishing, de-powdering and curing and exciting new developments on show, Formnext Connect demonstrated that the AM industry remains highly innovative, even in this year of corona, and urgently needs an international platform for business opportunities and networking. »The newly developed digital format of Formnext Connect has enabled us to meet the demand from the AM community and target industries for dialog, business, and innovation,« commented Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext at Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. »Formnext has thus demonstrated that, even in a purely digital format, it is indispensable as a globally important catalyst for the technological and economic development of this future-oriented industry.«

Wide-ranging content program

In the content program, Formnext Connect and the TCT Conference @ Formnext presented current trends and significant innovations from the world of AM, and gave a detailed insight into technological advances. In addition, the AI-supported matchmaking platform matched exhibitors with participants throughout. An ever-present accompaniment to Formnext Connect was the varied program from the Additive Manufacturing Capital Studio with its high-caliber guests. This was broadcast on the main stage in consideration of different time zones, and presented a varied program with a number of high-profile names.

There were discussion panels among technology experts from the various exhibitors as well as interviews with representatives from various user industries, including automotive, aerospace, construction, mechanical engineering, medicine, and tool and mold making. Dayle Alexander and Oluseun Taiwo (Virgin Orbit), Dr. Eliana Fu (Relativity Space), Melissa Orme (Boeing) and Hauke Schultz (Airbus), for example, reported on AM components in aircraft construction as well as an entirely 3D-printed rocket. Automotive applications were discussed in presentations by Martin Bock (Audi), Dr. Martin Goede (Volkswagen), Dr. Martin Hillebrecht (EDAG), Carsten Merklein (Schaeffler), and Markus Schnell (Continental). AM is no longer confined only to prototyping; it is already being employed in live production environments and responding to challenges relating to cost efficiency, speed, and production volume.

»trade fairs also work digitally«

»With Formnext Connect this year, Mesago has proved that trade fairs also work digitally. It was an exciting virtual journey for all of us, however, at the same time we’re looking forward to seeing you again in person in Frankfurt next year«, says Marie Langer, CEO of EOS. Gianluca Mattaroccia, Engineering Fellow at The Estee Lauder Companies, attested that »the best show in the field of additive manufacturing made a good start in the digital world. In a time where in-the-cloud interaction is still better than nothing, the team behind the Formnext was able to deliver value with unprecedented reliability.«

For Sascha F. Wenzler, the digital format of Formnext Connect proved a success and will also play a role in future trade fair formats. »Born out of necessity due to the worldwide corona restrictions, Formnext Connect has proven itself as a digital platform and will continue to form an important part of future exhibitions.« That being said, Wenzler is of the firm belief that it can never make up for the direct contact and personal interaction of a physical event. »That is why we look forward to future editions of Formnext, which we hope will once again can be held in person, so that we may bring the vibrant Formnext atmosphere, which we are all familiar from previous years back to the Frankfurt show floor.« In view of the positive experiences from Formnext Connect, however, the digital component is to be further developed for the future.

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