After a year of events taking place digitally across the globe in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, Formnext, the 3D printing industry’s leading European trade show, is set to combine both digital and in-person elements in its 2021 event when it returns to Messe Frankfurt between 16-19 November this year.
The event, organized by Mesago Messe Frankfurt, will enable exhibitors and attendees from across the additive manufacturing sector to come together for face-to-face interactions once more, in light of testing and vaccination efforts being made around the world.
For those that can’t make it to Frankfurt for the in-person trade show, a digital event is planned two weeks later, from 30 November to 1 December, called Formnext Digital Days.
“The feedback we’ve received from exhibitors, attendees, and the exhibitor advisory boars has made it clear that a genuine in-person event is essential to this industry,” said Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President of Formnext at Mesago Messe Frankfurt. “Everyone is longing to visit some real booths and have some face-to-face conversations. Digital elements can definitely complement Formnext, but they’ll never replace the real thing.
“Like in years past, Formnext 2021 is scheduled to take place at the state-of-the-art facilities on the western premises of Messe Frankfurt.”
Looking back at Formnext Connect 2020
In light of the pandemic, last year’s Formnext event went completely digital between 10-12 November 2020, in the form of Formnext Connect. The online event was deemed a success by the organizer, hosting 203 exhibitors with more than 2,000 representatives who collectively showcased 1,412 products.
8,541 active participants from over a hundred nations attended the event to make use of the platform’s virtual matchmaking function, which generated some 450,000 recommendations for products and participants over the course of the three days. The video chat function enabled 4,733 business meetings to take place during the event, while 45,000 spectators tuned into the stage events and sessions with experts from across the 3D printing industry.
The event’s annual purmundus challenge also took place online, where designers and engineers from around the world were invited to participate in a theme-based 3D printing contest. Last year’s theme was “Geometry and Material in Harmony” and saw 3D printed mountain bike manufacturer Huhn Cycles awarded first place for its 3D printed Moorhun Bike. A bionic hand from HKK Bionics claimed second, and third place was awarded to 3D printed footwear designer Svet Abjo for his recyclable 3D printed sneaker.
Winners of the annual Formnext start-up challenge were also announced during the online event, including process system monitoring developer Addiguru, Molyworks, a US-based company focused on the circular economy for metal, high performance polymer 3D printing firm NematX, topology optimization enterprise TOffee AM, and Netherlands-based 3D printing software company AM-Flow.
While the digital format was largely successful in meeting demand from the additive manufacturing community for an online exhibition and global meeting place during the pandemic, it is clear the main focus will be very much on an in-person format for Formnext 2021.
A hybrid concept for 2021
With the health and safety of attendees remaining a priority for Formnext 2021, the plans for this year’s event are being made in line with corresponding legal requirements, with room to adapt the overall event concept to reflect the latest developments in the pandemic.
As testing and vaccination efforts ramp up around the world, Wenzler is hopeful that this positive trend will enable more people to travel for business purposes as the year goes on.
To account for potential developments throughout the pandemic, Formnext is offering exhibitors flexible planning and reservation options and has adjusted deadlines and the event’s general terms and conditions. An early-bird discount is available until 16 April and exhibitors are able to cancel their bookings free of charge until the end of June.
Regarding content, Formnext 2021 will continue to focus on the entire industrial 3D printing process chain.
“An array of highly innovative companies from the various sectors of this industry can’t wait to present their latest developments to our audience in person,” added Wenzler. “In this way, Formnext can also aid the economic recovery of a lot of areas by serving as a catalyst.”
The event will also include an accompanying conference organized by Formnext content partner TCT, providing an educational platform focused on additive manufacturing, 3D printing design, CAD/CAE, metrology, and inspection. Here, experts from across the 3D printing sector will share their views and expertise on applying new technologies across design, development, engineering, and manufacturing.
Formnext Digital Days
Formnext Digital Days will take place a couple of weeks after the in-person trade show between 30 November and 1 December, in order to offer a digital alternative for those that cannot attend the live event.
Wenzler said: “We’re hoping that these two days provide an intriguing digital platform, especially for attendees and exhibitors who can’t make it to Frankfurt in November due to travel restrictions.”
Further information on how Formnext will work this year, and options for exhibitors, can be found on the event website.
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Featured image shows Formnext 2021 will return as an in-person event between 16-19 November, followed by Formnext Digital Days online event from 30 November-1 December. Photo via Formnext.