Friday 23 April 2010

Show overcomes volcanic eruption...

Despite the fact that many people were unable to attend and the fact that the high level personalities scheduled to participate in the opening, Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (who did visit later) and Silvio Berlusconi, the eponymous prime minister of the Italian Republic, (whose Economic Minister did in fact Drive from Italy for the show!), were both precluded from attending the opening by the eruption of Eyjafjallajokull, the organisers advise that this years Hannover Fair was a success.

It has given a further boost to economic recovery, with benefits set to flow through to the industrial sector over the next few months. Exhibitors are feeling upbeat about their future prospects: "The mood at HANNOVER MESSE is always a good indicator of industry sentiment, so we can now confidently speak of an upswing," commented Deutsche Messe Managing Board Chairman Wolfram von Fritsch at the end-of-show press conference in Hannover on Friday, April 23. "Although the first part of the show was indeed severely impacted by the air travel bans caused by the volcano eruption, the last two days made up for part of this."

"Exhibitors have reported many promising talks on projects, investment plans and deals which will contribute to enhanced utilization of capacity over the weeks and months to come," he added. "Last year people came here in need of orientation; this year they came strictly to do business. The strengths of HANNOVER MESSE were leveraged to good advantage in this phase of the cycle, giving a real boost to business activity. Some exhibitors even managed to generate returns on a par with the boom year of 2008."

Major travel limitations resulting from the international flight embargo impacted both exhibitor participation and visitor attendance, but Deutsche Messe was quick to launch a series of measures to ease the situation, chartering a fleet of buses to bring several hundred exhibitors from across Europe to the show. From Turkey alone, some 150 exhibitors took the 50-hour ride. And from New Zealand, an exhibitor turned up after a 134-hour travel marathon! "Many hundreds of people demonstrated to us just how important it was for them to be at HANNOVER MESSE," von Fritsch remarked. The air travel ban did, however, prevent around 300 exhibitors from arriving in time to set up their stands, with exhibitors from Asia and the Americas most severely affected.

The closing of European airports put the brakes on international air travel to Hannover and Europe in general, which naturally had a negative impact on attendance. "Flight bans and several days of uncertainty did put a major dent in attendance on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and we were not able to catch up by the end of the event," von Fritsch explained. Attendance from outside Germany was down by about half. The total visitor count of 150,000 was roughly 20 percent below the previous year's figure. Attendance from Asia and North America suffered the most.

As expected in light of the flight bans, the majority of foreign visitors were from Germany's neighboring countries. Attendance from the Netherlands was well up on the 2008 figure. The next largest contingents came from Austria, Denmark, France, Switzerland and Poland.

"The performance of HANNOVER MESSE 2010 certainly cannot be gauged in terms of the visitor statistics. This year's event will go down in history as the 'volcano event,'" von Fritsch commented.

The President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Hans-Peter Keitel, agreed that the event had been a success overall. "The volcanic ash cloud paralyzed international air travel, but not HANNOVER MESSE! To the contrary: The exhibitors, and in particular Deutsche Messe, were totally committed to making this HANNOVER MESSE a success. This was absolutely crucial in light of the incipient economic recovery. The companies and industries who exhibited here now have wind in their sails for smoother sailing ahead, despite any navigational obstacles which might still be in the way."

The main sectors at HANNOVER MESSE 2010 consisted of industrial automation, energy technology and industrial subcontracting, with well over 4,000 innovations being unveiled at the exhibition. Hall 2, devoted to the research and development sector, featured market-ready research findings awaiting industrial application.

This year's HANNOVER MESSE, staged under the keynote motto of "Efficiency, Innovation, Sustainability," attracted bookings from more than 4,800 exhibitors from 64 countries, matching the totals for the "boom year" of 2008.

The energy shows at HANNOVER MESSE occupied around one-fourth of the exhibition space. Over 1,100 companies were on hand to present with conventional and renewable sources the energy mix of the future, with displays covering the entire energy added-value spectrum - from generation, delivery, transmission and distribution to transformation and storage.

A major drawing card for the public consisted of the new MobiliTec trade fair in Hall 27. This was also the location for the group pavilion on hydrogen and fuel cell technologies and the exhibitions on renewable forms of energy. MobiliTec marked Deutsche Messe's debut in the electric mobility sector - clearly a topic for the future, given attendance there by around one-third of all visitors to the show, who were able to gain new insights into hybrid and electric drive technologies, mobile energy storage systems, and alternative mobility technologies. Around 100 exhibitors showcased a wide range of future mobility technologies and solutions on a total of over 4,000 square meters of floor space. "Our new MobiliTec tradeshow has been a great success," said a delighted Wolfram von Fritsch. "Our concept of highlighting the linkage between the various sectors and technologies involved worked very well. We presented the full value-added range of electric mobility - from components, drive technologies and batteries to entire systems and the relevant applications, including infrastructure and network integration."

Another show making its debut in 2010 was CoilTechnica. Around 70 exhibitors were in Hall 6 to present technologies for the production of transformers, generators, coils and electric motors. Even before HANNOVER MESSE opened its doors, the industry had made its decision to stage another CoilTechnica in 2011. "This will further enhance the profile of industrial subcontracting at HANNOVER MESSE. The CoilTechnica show has secured the participation of an industry that fits perfectly into the HANNOVER MESSE mesh. Exhibitors were delighted with the trade fair, and will be back in Hannover next year to repeat the exercise," said von Fritsch.

Once again, industrial automation was high on the agenda. Visitor interest was particularly strong for the "Efficiency Days", jointly organized by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the German Electrical and Electronic Manufacturers' Association (ZVEI) and Deutsche Messe. Companies showcased their expertise involving energy efficiency in industrial processes in a series of presentations, discussions and guided tours over the five days of the show.

Von Fritsch also expressed his appreciation for the outstanding performance of this year's Partner Country, Italy. "Italy has made good use of every opportunity to present itself as an export-focused industrial nation with strong innovative skills. The adaptability and flexibility displayed by our Italian exhibitors was underscored by Economic Minister Claudio Scajola, who drove all the way from Italy to take part in the opening - a fine confirmation of our close partnership with his country."

The TectoYou careers initiative for young people was another success. Several thousand young people came from across Germany and were clearly inspired by the technologies and innovations presented by exhibitors. HANNOVER MESSE also featured more than 1,000 conferences, forums and workshops, which helped bring visitors up to date on the latest trends and topics.

On Friday, the last day of the show, Deutsche Messe was preparing to stage its 7th "WoMenPower" special symposium, focusing on career issues and success strategies in the workplace as well as "work-life balance". Deutsche Messe expected to welcome over 800 participants.

HANNOVER MESSE 2011 will run from 4 to 8 April, occupying the entire exhibition center, with a total of 13 trade fairs. The nine trade fairs at this year's event - Industrial Automation, Energy, Power Plant Technology, MobiliTec, Digital Factory, Industrial Supply, CoilTechnica, MicroNanoTec and Research & Technology - will be supplemented by Motion, Drive & Automation, Wind, Surface Technology and ComVac.

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