What if it was not all that bad?

Well, that was really unexpected

Loyal readers of this site (hi there, bots!) already know that the author of these posts has not been a fan of trade fairs for a long time. So it’s all the more irritating that I really have little bad to say about productronica 2023. Yes, on these cool, rainy fall days, we even had several lucky rays of sunshine.

It started with the fact that the premiere of the new fab2 machine generation – which had been kept a secret till then – really came together, literally at the last minute. It continued with the fact that all the machines – including our newcomer – behaved in an exemplary manner for the whole duration of the trade fair. We’ve had seen quite differently with our other prototypes…

Finally, the whole thing was crowned by a surprisingly high frequency and quality of visitors, who kept the four-person stand crew busy virtually all the time. And Messe München had probably also learned from the disaster of 2021 and did a lot to make the event a success for the exhibitors.

The SMT-pcim disaster

Unfortunately we were not disappointed

In the second week of May 2023, we set off to Nuremberg – with a small team, a small booth and very low hopes – to exhibit at our leading trade fair SMTconnect. And unfortunately, our extremely low expectations were not disappointed.

We have exhibited at really every single SMT since 2001 – first with a pitifully poor prototype of the SAM42, soon with series machines, with fab, amac, emu and cat, sometimes with three machines and five people at the booth, but those times seem to be gone for good. After last year’s dismal experiences, we had decided to send only two machines and three people to Nuremberg – and for the most part, that was two machines and three people too many.

Again, the aisles were wider and the halls emptier, and especially on Tuesday and Thursday the deserted aisles seemed wider than ever.

Various competitors, on the other hand, could not complain about boredom. After all, they were lucky enough to have moved their stand to pcim Europe, which took place at the same time at the same exhibition center, after the dull SMTconnect 2022. Not only was this trade show far better attended, but this castling meant that the manufacturers of one product category (i.e., um, for example, “assembly systems”) were now scattered not just across two halls (this is said to have happened in the past) but across two trade shows. This caused confusion and frustration for exhibitors and visitors alike.

As a cherry on top, the fair organizer had managed to communicate the actually good idea of being able to visit both fairs with one ticket in such a sparse and unspeakably complicated (German?) way that very few visitors could or wanted to use this feature.

For us, there is now an even bigger question mark behind this trade show, our hopes are now fully focused on productronica 2023 from November 14 to 17 in Munich, where we will once again appear with considerably higher commitment. Whether we will see each other in Nuremberg in 2024, however, is still written in the stars.

May 2022: SMT disconnect

Thank you again…

…for your visit at SMTconnect 2022 – if you were one of the few who found their way to Nuremberg in this early summer week in May. We really, really appreciated every single visitor.

As you can read a little bit further down on this page, we were not overly enthusiastic about Productronica 2021 already, although the high quality of the few customers compensated us to some extent. The same can certainly not be said of SMTconnect now. In one sentence, this week was a total waste of lifetime.

Everywhere it was clearly noticeable that practically everyone involved (exhibitors, stand builders, trade fair company, even the visitors) had forgotten a great deal of their routine in the two years of absence.  Rarely has a trade show been so disorganized all around as this one. It started with the unspeakable construction and dismantling passes, which were quite difficult to obtain and then were not even checked. It did not end with the chaos that broke out when visitors wanted to use their free passes to visit one of the partner trade fairs (or even to return to their own event afterwards).

The mostly empty aisles then rounded out the picture to such an extent that even we (as hard core trade show aficionados from day one) decided to serve the next SMTconnect (should it take place) with a significantly smaller team and booth.

As the now exploding business travel traffic shows, we all have obviously learned less in the last two years than what would be good for our planet. Many obviously still see a business trip as an incentive the prestige of which cannot be matched by a plain video conference. As far as attendance fairs are concerned, however, the pandemic could perhaps have been the last nail in the coffin of a dying breed that has really been driven into obsolescence by the Internet.

I wouldn’t cry too hard about it.

November 2021: Showdown at the show

Thank you very much for your visit…

…at what was most likely last on site trade fair of this year, the Productronica 2021! We hope that everyone has returned safe and sound by now.

Yes, it was a heck of a ride – and it was (see below) really anything but boring. However, the actual trade fair events only had a fairly manageable share in this and the political chaos surrounding the further escalation of the pandemic in Germany had a dominant one. That may explain why in the beginning the organizer, Messe München, looked quite helpless implementing the safety measures decided and demanded by themselves without causing even more chaos and unhealthy situations.

Apart from that, the enormous hurdles that were put in the way of potential visitors (“i.e. proof of vaccination or recovery for international customers”) were very beneficial to the quality of the audience. No one faced this stress unless they were traveling with a serious plan.

And so it happens that we are surprisingly satisfied with the result of the fair and would again like to take this opportunity to thank our visitors who defied all adversities for the chance of a good talk (and an apple).

October 2021: Winter Is Coming...