Formnext 2020 is set to take place as scheduled in Frankfurt from 10 – 13 November 2020, but with a revised innovative trade fair format including a comprehensive health protection concept and a new digital component. The leading international trade fair for additive manufacturing and modern industrial production is thus sending an important message to the additive manufacturing world and the exhibition industry as a whole.
“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,” explains Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext, Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “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 of Formnext 2020 also has the express support of the event’s advisory board: “The full scenario for November has, of course, not yet been finalized, but our commitment stands. It is important for us that the trade fair goes ahead, and we are happy to contribute towards the further development of the concept,” states Dr. Christoph Schumacher, Arburg GmbH & Co. KG.
Dr. Karsten Heuser, Siemens AG, also underlines the special importance of additive manufacturing: “Additive manufacturing has just now proven to be a clear future technology for many industries. A Formnext to be held in November will send a strong signal along the entire value chain to take industrialization a big step further.”
As Dr. Markus Heering from the VDMA e.V. Working Group Additive Manufacturing, Formnext’s honorary sponsor, explains: “The economic downturn happened surprisingly fast, which makes embarking on a new state of operation even more challenging. Formnext is one of the first important steps in this direction.”
Comprehensive range of health protection measures
With the wide-ranging health protection concept, which was developed in cooperation with Messe Frankfurt GmbH, the exhibition organizers have gone above and beyond the legal requirements in order to provide maximum protection for exhibitors, visitors and employees. The concept centers around a range of measures focusing on hygiene (higher cleaning frequency for example), social distancing (including professional crowd management), and a generous supply of fresh air (including a regular exchange of the hall air every hour).
A thorough registration process for visitors is also planned as well as tickets that are only valid on specific days. Unnecessary contact will be avoided thanks to the fully electronic registration and payment system. A self-declaration concerning attendees’ current state of health for example will also be mandatory.
Aisle and booth redesign
Formnext is also taking new approaches in the design of the exhibition space and booths: The aisles between the booths will be significantly wider (increasing from 3 to 6 meters) and will also be flanked by a 1 meter-wide communication strip on each side. There will also be CCTV and trained personnel in the hall to monitor whether the coronavirus and social distancing requirements are being observed. The general distance concept is based on a calculation designed to ensure a sufficiently large exhibition space per visitor. The booth construction guidelines are also being adapted accordingly and recommendations regarding catering, for instance, will also be provided. Furthermore, Formnext is offering exhibitors 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,” comments Wenzler. “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.” Thus, in addition to the booths, visitors will also be able to experience the showcases, lectures, and other events live.
Rainer Lotz, chairman of the exhibitor advisory board, Renishaw GmbH, emphasises: "In an uncertain time, projects must be approached pragmatically. The concept of Formnext 2020 is viable and all members of the exhibitor advisory board support the fair. Corona forces us all to be highly flexible and requires the willingness to tackle things and get things moving".
However, Formnext 2020 will also have a much stronger digital focus this year in order to offer participants unable to travel the opportunity to participate. The digital aspect is to include online product presentations and the accessibility of contact persons. This will enable a fast and extensive exchange in the virtual environment. Digital matchmaking also offers a wide range of search and communication capabilities to establish contacts based on similar interests and promote exchange. The format also includes the live and on-demand transmission of a large number of individual supporting events.