As expected, the 14th Blechexpo – International Trade Fair for Sheet Metal Working – together with the 7th Schweisstec – International Trade Fair for Joining Technology – was an industry highlight and ended successfully with 1,498 exhibitors from 36 countries. From November 5 to 7, 2019, 41,152 visitors from a total of 113 countries took advantage of the trade fair duo, which has grown to 108,000 m² of exhibition space, to get up to date on everything to do with the processing of sheet metal, tubes and profiles, cutting and joining technologies, forming technology and welding technology.

Records in all areas - nine full halls - international as never before

The trade show duo Blechexpo/Schweisstec broke some records this year. 1,498 exhibitors (2017: 1,339 exhibitors) from 36 countries were present in Stuttgart. “A foreign share of 45 percent,” sums up project manager Georg Knauer with great satisfaction. “Blechexpo/Schweisstec was more international than ever this year”. It was also larger than ever before: at 108,000 square meters, the stand area sold was around 15 percent larger than in 2017. For the first time, Blechexpo/Schweisstec occupied the new exhibition hall 10, which with its generous, modern design is an enrichment of the Stuttgart Trade Fair Center.

“For us, this trade event is a leading trade show with very high importance,” noted Wolfgang Wiedenmann, Deputy Sales Manager at press manufacturer Andritz Kaiser. Even though the industry currently has to deal with a noticeable decline in order volume for various reasons, Blechexpo/Schweisstec was a welcome and important technology and knowledge platform: In terms of the processing of sheet metal, tubes and profiles, their thermal and mechanical treatment and processing, processing machines, equipment for punching, bending, folding and forming through to peripherals with controls, software as well as solutions for handling and quality assurance, this trade fair is a unique marketplace for the current challenges as well as the future topics of the industry. Accordingly, the topics of digitalization and automation also dominated here. Increasing attention is also being paid to modern cutting technologies: 56 exhibitors alone appeared with the topic of laser cutting and a further 25 companies presented technologies relating to high-pressure waterjet cutting.

Highlight for the sheet metal working industry - process-oriented, practical, future-oriented

The trade fair duo Blechexpo/Schweisstec, which takes place every two years, was once again able to convince with its strictly practice-oriented concept and cover all aspects concerning a more than ever digitalized and thoroughly automated world of sheet metal and metal processing. The Industrial Association of Sheet Metal Forming (IBU) had organized a joint stand, thus offering its members the opportunity to present themselves in a larger environment. 16 companies were present. This collaborative presence created awareness and an adequate platform for business-related networking.

“The economy is cooling down,” Cornelius Eich, managing director of ZVEI (Zentralverband Elektrotechnik- und Elektronikindustrie e.V., the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers’ Association), pointed out. “Trade wars do not stop at our industry”. Nevertheless – or precisely because of this – the liveliness of the technical discussions and the intensity of interest were pronounced. This is because topics such as digitalization, sustainability and process efficiency, which dominate in many places, are driving the development of the sheet metal working industries. Thus, the trade show topics revolved around trends, innovations and sustainable solutions in the course of a rapidly changing production world. For example, modern joining and bonding technology is becoming increasingly important because many new materials and hybrid materials cannot be joined or separated thermally – here, the focus is shifting toward mechanical joining technology in the area of lightweight construction, for example.

First-class supporting program aroused great interest

Once again, the exhibitor forum in Hall 9 met with great interest from trade visitors. Over the course of three days, the program of presentations was packed, especially with topics related to digitization.

This was also the topic of the stahlnews.de-Blechexpo experts’ meeting on the evening of the first day of the fair. Organizer Hans Diederichs welcomed around 50 interested parties to the event under the motto “The steel industry in times of globalization and Industry 4.0”.

“This trade show is just the right setting.” The presentations covered topics such as research into steel forming, new process approaches, e-commerce and internet platforms as an opportunity for the metal market, the learning steel mill and “data harvesting”.

On the afternoon of the second day of the trade fair, the “Award zur Blechexpo” was presented for the fourth time – an award presented by the trade journal blechnet in cooperation with the trade fair organizer Schall. The Innovation Award went to the most innovative exhibits in five categories: In the Stamping and Forming Technology category, Schuler was the winner with its MC 125 automatic blanking press. In the cutting technology Kjellberg Finsterwalde Plasma and Machines won with the plasma cutting system Q 3000. The winner in the joining technology category was Trumpf Laser- und Systemtechnik with its TruLaser Station 7000 3D laser welding machine. The surface technology division was won by Q-Fin Quality Finishing Machines with the SER600 Super Edge Rounder deburring and edge rounding machine. Finally, in the Handling and Automation category, Cenit was awarded with the multi-vendor software for cutting and joining Fastsuite Edition 2.

The next trade fair duo Blechexpo/Schweisstec will take place in Stuttgart from October 26 to 29, 2021.