Tool, pattern and mould makers have a home

27.07.2017 - 09:54

763 exhibitors, 14,000 visitors: 2nd edition establishes Moulding Expo as the international marketplace for an innovative industry

The première in 2015 was already a success, but the 2nd Moulding Expo (MEX) at the Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre from 31 May to 2 June 2017 raised the successful concept to the next level. With 763 exhibitors who attracted more than 14,000 visitors from all over Germany, Europe and many other countries of the world to Stuttgart, the trade fair is becoming established as the most important European meeting point for the tool, pattern and mould making industry. 39 per cent of exhibitors came directly from this core area. Every leading supplier in the industry also presented their products and services. MEX therefore underlined its status as a trade fair by the industry for the industry.

Stuttgart proved to be the perfect stage for the topics in the industry
Thomas Seul, President of the Association of German Tool and Mould Makers (VDWF): "MEX is characterised by a very special 'spirit'. The profile of the trade fair in the industry is very pronounced. Tool makers came to Stuttgart and presented their company on their marketplace.“ Companies are able here to gain an ideal overview of the innovations, trends and developments in their market environment. The trade fair location of Stuttgart is predestined for this. The region around the state capital of Baden-Württemberg has the highest industrial density in Germany and Europe. It is also home to one of the most productive clusters of tool, pattern and mould makers in the world. Southern Germany also contains a large number of traditional user industries such as plastic and metal working enterprises and automotive component suppliers.

The growing international interaction at Moulding Expo produces inspiration for innovation and the necessary cooperation network for the success of the industry. Ulrich Kromer von Baerle, President and CEO of Messe Stuttgart: "The second MEX demonstrated what the European and, in particular, the German high-tech tool, pattern and mould making industry can actually do.“ The organisers of the trade fair also managed this year to give Moulding Expo, despite its size and internationality, an unmistakeable positive atmosphere in which exhibitors and visitors equally felt at home.

The formative topics and trends during the four-day trade fair were very clear:
Nothing is preoccupying companies in the industry as much as digitalisation, an area which is posing great challenges for medium-sized enterprises in particular. This is also closely linked to the increasing internationalisation of business processes. During his tour of the trade fair Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, underlined the "impressive inventive and creative spirit" of tool, pattern and mould makers, and wished the companies courage on their road to the digital future. "It is easier to connect IT to our industrial world than the other way round. I know that tool, pattern and mould makers are stretched to the limit here, but also that they will achieve this objective."

The exhibitors at MEX included many important companies who are assuming key roles in digitalisation with their products and services. Trade visitors were also able to obtain an extensive picture of the generative technologies, which are now changing the entire industry, and find out how 3-D technology and additive manufacturing methods can be integrated in their own process chains. Florian Niethammer, Team Director for Moulding Expo at Messe Stuttgart: "A large number of visitors to the trade fair came with specific requirements, even with project drawings, in order to discuss their concerns and problems on the spot with exhibitors. Intensive discussions were held and projects were also concretised right away. This represents something special."

Exhibitors and visitors both rate MEX as positive
"Key to markets" is the motto of Messe Stuttgart. In the opinion of the exhibitors, this did not promise too much. They regard MEX as the perfect platform for the industry, and all of them awarded the trade fair good marks. Exhibitors unanimously mentioned good and lengthy business discussions. According to Franz Tschacha from the company Deckerform in Aichach, MEX is a "distribution and sales trade fair for German tool makers, which rightly exudes confidence." Jörg Vetter (Hermann Hauff, Pforzheim) believed that the event "hits the nail on the head" while Andreas Sutter (Meusburger, Wolfurt/Austria) made the following comments:
"The mood at MEX was fantastic and cannot be topped.“ The concentrated and productive atmosphere at Moulding Expo was reflected in the results of the official survey of exhibitors and trade visitors.

Overall, the exhibitors were impressed by the excellent organisation and the quality of the contents of MEX, They awarded the average mark of 2.0 for the expertise of trade visitors. Isabell Oerder, who is responsible for marketing and communication of NCSimul at the software developer Spring Technologies GmbH, was representative of many suppliers when she concluded: "What we really liked about the trade fair was the mixed hall planning where software, control units and machines were placed together rather than being separated. With Industry 4.0 we are moving closer towards integrated solution approaches - something which is positive for both exhibitors and visitors.“

The participants were therefore confident that MEX will become even more relevant for the industry in future. MEX also went down very well with trade visitors: Out of the more than 14,000 visitors, 83 per cent said they would recommend the trade fair to other people while 93 per cent of them already knew that they would come back to the third edition of MEX in 2019. Markus Heseding: "The high expertise and the length of stay of the visitors were noticeable at MEX." The Managing Director of the Precision Tools Association in the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) highlighted as an "ideal synergy" the large number of accompanying events, e.g. the guided tours of the trade fair for the participants in the Buyers' Forum of the Federal Association of Materials Management, Procurement and Logistics (BME), which was held concurrently at the Stuttgart Trade Fair Centre.

Meeting point for an international industry network
One important task which was given to the MEX team by the advisory boards was to increase the internationality of the trade fair. "We are on the right track here," said Niethammer. "The companies in which the visitors work come from Europe and all over the world.“ 31 per cent of exhibitors came from abroad - an increase of 7 per cent. The international proportion of visitors also rose from 11 to 14 per cent. Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, Managing Director of the German Machine Tool Builders' Association (VDW), was pleased with this development: "The large number of international joint stands and the growing interest among visitors are confirmation of the market position of the trade fair!“ The just under 2,000 foreign guests travelled to Stuttgart from 52 countries: visitors from Austria (15%) and Switzerland (13%) formed the largest group, followed by guests from Italy (10%), Turkey (7%) and the Czech Republic (6%).

"Interested parties from all over the world examined Moulding Expo at close quarters," said Florian Niethammer. "The delegations of trade associations from Estonia, France, Japan, Spain, Turkey, Croatia and the USA were able to forge contacts and were supplied with valuable information." In addition to guided tours of the trade fair, there was, for example, a tour of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen with the emphasis on the press and tool shop. Niethammer emphasised here the successful partnership with the world association, i.e. the International Special Tooling and Machining Association (ISTMA), which participated in the trade fair for the first time. Bob Williamson, President of the Association, underlined the importance of Moulding Expo as an international meeting point: "Not only German tool, pattern and mould makers meet here in Stuttgart, but also entrepreneurs from throughout the world. Anyone wanting to enjoy success in the industry must communicate - also with potential competitors on the market." And precisely this "positive co-opposition", as Williamson put it, can be seen and felt everywhere at MEX.

Theoretical and practical highlights in the extensive accompanying programme
Up to date and compact: first-class speakers provided insights into the important developments from the world of tool, pattern and mould making. "The seminars, talks and workshops were ideal occasions to exchange information, carry out further training and hold constructive discussions on technical topics. Experts from many different business areas in the industry met here," said Florian Niethammer.

Another highlight was the MEX special exhibition on the promotion of young people with detailed information on training and advanced training. "I am very satisfied and grateful for this event. I am especially pleased with the positive feedback on the Young Professionals' Forum," said Peter Gärtner from the Information Centre for Company Management in the Federal Association for Pattern and Mould Making (BVMF). Under the motto "Get your future into shape!" the industry associations presented the most important training occupations in tool, pattern and mould making. School classes exchanged information directly with trainers and apprentices, and became acquainted with the work areas in the industry during guided tours.

The career starters and every trade fair visitor were fascinated by the live production processes during the trade fair give-aways, i.e. the eating tool "3-2 eat", and the Polyman learning component or the presentation of the Innonet plastics processing chain. "That was hands-on tool, pattern and mould making," concluded Ulrich Kromer von Baerle, President of Messe Stuttgart.

Outlook: after MEX is before MEX
No sooner had MEX 2017 finished at Messe Stuttgart, than the preparations for the third edition of the trade fair started. The trade fair organisers have resolved to continue establishing Moulding Expo as the leading European trade fair for the industry. "We are pleased that our still young trade fair is now already a permanent fixture in the calendar of European tool, pattern and mould makers," said Ulrich Kromer von Baerle. He also clearly defined the next steps: "MEX 2017 has strengthened our conviction that we are on the right path together with the industry. However, organising trade fairs also means that we must continually develop and learn. We will therefore meet with the advisory board in autumn and determine the key topics and date of Moulding Expo 2019.“

Overview of the Moulding Expo 2017 figures:

763 companies, of whom 530 came from Germany and 233 from abroad, occupied a net exhibition area of 21,620 m² (gross: 42,000 m²).
61% of exhibitors generally rated Moulding Expo 2017 as good to very good. 94% of exhibitors rated the location of Baden-Württemberg as good to very good (average mark 1.6).

Exhibition areas:
Tool, pattern and mould making (39%)
Contract manufacturing and services (25%)
Machine tools, measuring technology and special machines (24%)
Components and accessories (19%)
Software (13%)
Systems for additive manufacturing (3%)

Trade visitors:
14,015 visitors, 14% of whom came from abroad. 84% of visitors generally rated Moulding Expo 2017 as good to very good. 93% of visitors were intending to come back again. The average length of stay was 5 hours or 1.3 days.

Visitors came from 52 countries. Main countries:
Austria (15%)
Switzerland (13%)
Italy (10%)
Turkey (7%)
Czech Republic (6%)
France (5%)
Portugal (5%)

Economic sectors of visitors:
Industry (73%)
Craft trades (14%)
Services (11%)
Universities, technical colleges, vocational schools (6%)
Commerce (5%)
Training, consulting (3%)
Authorities, civil service, associations (2%)

Industries of visitors:
Automotive and automotive component supply industry (41%)
Tool construction and mould making (29%)
Mechanical engineering and plant construction (23%)
Plastics industry (15%)
Pattern making and prototyping (11%)
Metal working and processing industry, and metal production (11%)

Visitors were involved in the following task areas:
Manufacturing, production (18%)
Development (14%)
Business, company and operations management (10%)
Design (11%)
Sales and distribution (12%)
75% of visitors said they had an influence on purchasing or procurement decisions.

Investment or purchasing intentions of visitors (multiple nominations possible):
In the next 6 months (46%)
In the next 12 months (26%)
In the next 24 months (17%)
At the trade fair (7%)
In the next 18 months (6%)
You can find selected comments by exhibitors, videos and other highlights of Moulding Expo 2017 at

Photo captions:
MEX_17_P_001: Moulding Expo 2017: More than 14,000 visitors from Germany, Europe and many other countries of the world travelled to Stuttgart between 30 May and 2 June 2017.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_019: Moulding Expo 2017: The growing international interaction at Moulding Expo produces inspiration for innovation and the necessary cooperation network for the success of the industry.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_065: Moulding Expo 2017: With 763 exhibitors and more than 14,000 visitors, the trade fair is becoming established as the most important European meeting point for the tool, pattern and mould making industry.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_076: Moulding Expo 2017: In addition to traditional tool, pattern and mould making companies, every leading supplier in the industry also presented their products and services.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_099: Moulding Expo 2017: Different forums, seminars and workshops were an ideal opportunity to exchange information and opinions on future trends and developments, and also undergo advanced training.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_116: Moulding Expo 2017: Messe Stuttgart was an ideal meeting point for an international industry network.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_124: By industry trainees for industry trainees: the "Polyman" learning component which was produced live during the trade fair.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart
MEX_17_P_202: Moulding Expo 2017: During his visit to the stand of the Association of German Tool and Mould Makers (VDWF) Winfried Kretschmann, Minister-President of Baden-Württemberg, praised the "impressive inventive and creative spirit" of the industry.
Picture credit: Messe Stuttgart

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