The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on industries around the globe and will certainly have a long-lasting effect on how business is conducted. One particular area where many questions have been raised is in how international trade shows and events will operate going forward. Unfortunately, many AM events scheduled for 2020 have been cancelled or postponed, but there is some hope on the horizon.
Formnext, one of the most important international events for the additive manufacturing industry, announced last month it was still planning to go ahead with its trade show in November 2020. However, the event, to be hosted in Frankfurt, will not look like it has in previous years as it is making a number of changes to comply with health regulations.
A socially distant Formnext
Now, the event’s organizers have given the first details about how Formnext 2020 will address COVID-19 concerns and keep its guests safe. The health protection concept devised by Messe Frankfurt GmbH, in accordance with German guidelines and regulations, is based on a number of key points: hygiene (with more frequent cleaning and sanitization), social distancing (including crowd management) and air supply (through regular exchange of the hall air). The event also says it has planned a thorough registration process for visitors, with tickets valid on specific days, and fully electronic registration and payment systems. Attendees will also have to sign a current state of health declaration.
The physical format of the event will also be impacted by COVID-19 measures: Formnext organizers say that aisles between booths will be much wider (six meters instead of three) and will be flanked by a one-meter-wide communication strip on each side. Trained personnel will also survey the event from CCTV to ensure social distancing is maintained. Booth construction guidelines are also being modified to encourage distancing. Formnext is offering turnkey booth packages designed to comply with all of the social distancing and health protection requirements.
“With these measures, we are going above and beyond the legal safety requirements and at the same time enabling people to again visit a trade fair in person to share ideas, drive innovation and to do business,” commented Sascha Wenzler, Vice President Formnext, Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “Whilst it is wonderful that we all have access to digital working and communication models, these are no substitute for face-to-face interaction and the many known benefits of a ‘genuine’ trade fair.”
A digital alternative
For those who may be unable to travel or still be wary of COVID-19 risks this November, Formnext is also going to host a digital event, which will include online product presentations, digital matchmaking and more. The digital offering will also comprise live and on-demand transmission of many of Formnext’s supporting events.
“Additive manufacturing has made a significant contribution to the fight against the corona pandemic in recent months and is still a driving factor for innovation, resource-efficient production and the technological management of future challenges,” added Wenzler. “It is all the more important that with Formnext 2020, we continue to support and advance this trend even in these economically challenging times.”
The revised trade fair concept for Formnext 2020 is still not yet finalized, but it is reassuring to see what the organizers are thinking at this stage. We’ll keep you updated on any future announcements from the German event. Formnext is taking place from November 10-13, 2020 in Frankfurt, Germany.