Due to the recent rise of the Covid-19 infection figures worldwide, and the associated increase in travel restrictions, Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH has decided to hold Formnext 2020 purely virtually. The digital event will be named Formnext Connect.
It, unfortunately, took a global pandemic to slow down Formnext’s rocketing growth (mirroring the AM industry’s). The show is considered the best opportunity to meet in person and see new technologies up close by AM industry professionals around the world. At the same time, we have argued many times that – as the most digital form of manufacturing – the AM industry needs to further embrace a digital way of communicating. The pandemic has been accelerating this process which was already underway. With that said, AM is also the most physical of digital industries so the need will always continue to exist to be able to see – and especially touch – 3D printed parts and 3D printing systems. So Formnext will come back, probably stronger than ever, as soon as the COVID-19 emergency subsides.
Formnext 2020 was previously planned as a hybrid trade fair, that is, with the on-site event at the Frankfurt exhibition grounds plus a digital add-on component. This plan was based on the Corona Contact and Operating Restrictions Ordinance valid in the State of Hesse and a health and hygiene concept agreed upon with the City of Frankfurt am Main, the State of Hesse and Messe Frankfurt.
“The current rise of the Covid-19 infection figures in Germany, Europe and around the world have led to increased uncertainty among exhibitors and visitors. Together with the renewed tightening of official and in-house travel restrictions, this will no longer allow the otherwise highly international Formnext to be carried out in the accustomed quality,” stated Petra Haarburger, President of Mesago Messe Frankfurt.
“We have been planning Formnext 2020 for months now. We have done this consistently and with the full support of our Exhibitor Advisory Board and with the highest level of protection and safety for the health of our exhibitors and visitors. In doing so, we examined the entire layout of the fair from scratch from the halls with all entrances, booths, to the aisles. We devised completely new stand construction packages, spacing and communication areas in accordance with the health and hygiene concept agreed with the authorities. Our disappointment at the end of the summer is all the greater now that we have to recognize that the course of the pandemic is destroying our efforts to make these personal encounters possible again,” explained Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext Mesago Messe Frankfurt.
In the course of the crisis, the additive manufacturing industry has clearly demonstrated the potential that lies in flexible, diversified and decentralized production. There is no doubt that AM will be one of the leading technologies that will lead the way out of the recession. It will play a major role in the development of new products, the design of resilient supply chains and the development of sustainable business models.
“An exchange between technology providers and users is absolutely necessary for this, and we are now putting all our energy into the realization of a virtual Formnext, the Formnext Connect,” Wenzler continued. “It will be the central virtual platform for business and knowledge exchange for the global AM community at the end of the year.” The Exhibitor Advisory Board* unanimously welcomes and supports this decision.
Formnext Connect will start as a virtual event from 10 November 2020 and will offer a wide range of digital services. These include exhibitor presentations in showrooms (products, information, videos, chat function, lead generation/lead tracking), intelligent matchmaking with all participants supported by AI, live streaming and on-demand content of the supporting program and webinars as well as the scheduling/assignment of appointments for online meetings with exhibitors. Further details will follow shortly.
*The members of the Exhibitor Advisory Board of Formnext are: Rainer Lotz, Chairman of the Exhibitor Advisory Board (Renishaw), Dr.-Ing. Kristian Arntz (ACAM), Dr. Christoph Schumacher (Arburg), Kai Witter (Dyemansion), Dr. Thomas Weitlaner (EOS), Nora Cibula (GE Additive), Ingo Kuhlmann (IKOffice), Günther Rehm (iQtemp), Dr. Karsten Heuser (Siemens), Andreas Langfeld (Stratasys) and Dr. Markus Heering (VDMA AG AM).