Hannover, Germany. For trade fairs, success is commonly measured in terms of bringing exhibitors and their specific target visitors together. But this is only part of the picture. HANNOVER MESSE is living proof that you can generate a lot more benefit for all concerned by clustering multiple industries. HANNOVER MESSE’s Industrial Supply show, for example, features industrial subcontractors. And for them, fellow exhibitors from other industries are just as important a target group as trade visitors. As the world’s leading trade fair for innovative subcontracting solutions and lightweight construction, Industrial Supply is the only such event staged under the umbrella of a much larger showcase for industrial technology: HANNOVER MESSE. With its strong focus on industrial automation and IT as well as energy and environmental technologies, HANNOVER MESSE gives its exhibiting industrial suppliers unrivalled access to potential customers from key user industries.
"Across a wide array of industrial processes, the role played by suppliers and subcontractors is becoming increasingly mission-critical," said Jens Fechner, head of Market Communication at ContiTech. "They are shouldering part of the development work for, and are closely engaged with, their customers’ internal processes." Fechner notes that ContiTech is a case in point, thanks to a high degree of networking and collaboration with its customers and fellow subcontractors. "This is essential for the capability to develop solutions on site in all relevant markets and to minimize time to market for new products and systems," explained Fechner. "This means that the close proximity of the Industrial Supply show to the Digital Factory show is a big plus for us as exhibitors."
Located right next door to Industrial Supply, Digital Factory showcases key enabling technologies for Industry 4.0 – everything from computer-aided engineering and manufacturing execution systems to product lifecycle management solutions, right through to the latest additive manufacturing technologies. The multiple thematic overlaps and interfaces between the two shows are supported by the layout of the exhibition halls, with Digital Factory and Industrial Supply merging seamlessly at the southern end of Hall 6 for maximum ease of interdisciplinary dialogue.
Both visitors and exhibitors as potential customers
The industrial subcontracting sector also has close ties with the energy industry, a fact exemplified by the German iron foundry Meuselwitz Guss, which has close links with the wind energy sector. Meuselwitz has been exhibiting at HANNOVER MESSE since 1991. Having started out by leveraging the fair to build its brand awareness within Germany, it has now successfully extended its reach into wider Europe and the USA. "At first, our customer acquisition activities at HANNOVER MESSE were aimed only at trade visitors, but we’ve now broaded our focus to include fellow exhibitors as well," says Managing Director Herbert Werner. "At HANOVER MESSE 2013, our focus on other exhibitors landed us a contract that has since led us to diversify our activities into the production of cast-iron ring gears." The Meuselwitz showcase at Industrial Supply 2016 will include a wind turbine bedplate made of a material which, owing to its extreme strength and ductility, is ideal for lightweight engineering. This lightweight dimension means that Meuselwitz is a good fit for Industrial Supply, given that the latter is billed as the "leading trade fair for industrial subcontracting and lightweight construction." The company also benefits from Industrial Supply’s strong overlap with the Energy show. "We’ve been coordinating our showcase closely with Enercon for some years now," Werner explains. "The two of us may be located in different halls, but we refer visitors and leads to each other, so it’s a win-win for both companies."
When co-exhibitors turn into customers
It’s not uncommon for exhibitors to initiate new business ventures with fellow exhibitors as well as co-exhibitors working alongside them in the same exhibition hall. That’s certainly been the experience of Thomas Melchert from the Münster Chamber of Skilled Trades (HWK Münster). On behalf of the German Confederation of Skilled Trades (ZDH), HKW Münster helps stage two group pavilions at HANNOVER MESSE – one at the Industrial Supply show, and one at the Energy show. Together, these two pavilions are populated by around 40 small and medium businesses. The interesting thing about each of these pavilions is that they position German exhibitors right alongside Dutch exhibitors. "Every year I see a number of amazing synergies and vendor-customer relationships spring up among the co-exhibitors," Melchert says. Examples of these cross-border matches at Industrial Supply include Stevens ide partners (Netherlands) and dkon systeme GmbH (Germany), and Herikon BV (Netherlands) and Geme Mesker GmbH (Germany).
At HANNOVER MESSE 2016, Industrial Supply will once again showcase the full range and diversity of competing and complementary industrial processes and materials. And in so doing, it will provide users with the best solution for each application. This is especially true of the show’s lightweight construction section, given the growing importance of multimaterial design as a way of achieving weight savings in a whole range of applications. The Industrial Supply show’s visitors come from all walks of life, including vehicle engineering (automotive, rail and aviation), mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, wholesale trade and medical technology as well as other key industries such as metalworking, steel, plastics/rubber and chemicals. The show also features all key processes for metal casting, forging, and sheet-metal working, and for producing machined parts and components, nonmetal products and joining and fastening products.