Significantly more than one in two were of managerial status, with top managers accounting for 31%. When asked what the aim of their visit to the fair was, most answered: the search for new products, getting a market overview and finding the right suppliers. Almost a third of them were also looking for best-fit solutions for their companies. The share of visitors coming to the fair with firm investment plans was equally high, while an additional 47% were at least considering making new investments.
Based on the official visitor survey, most visitors came from the metalworking and metal processing industries, closely followed by automotive, mechanical and plant engineering, electronics and plastics. Users from the aerospace, medical technology, semiconductor, precision and precision engineering industries also used the trade fair to find out about the latest solutions, products and services from the surface treatment industry.
Heaviest foreign attendance from Austria and Italy
Three-quarters of the international visitors to SurfaceTechnology GERMANY came from Europe, with 17% from South, East and Central Asia. The top visitor nations in 2018 were Austria and Italy, followed by Switzerland, China, Spain and the Czech Republic. More than two thirds of international visitors visited the fair for the first time. Among the foreign exhibitors, Italy led by a wide margin.
"For us it was our tenth time at the fair and the experience was quite positive. This applies not only to the number and quality of contacts, but also to the fine organization before and during the fair."
Group pavilions ZVO and VDMA
An important area of SurfaceTechnology GERMANY is traditionally the group pavilion of the Central Association of Surface Technology (ZVO). With its 77 companies, the pavilion once again provided an impressive presentation of electroplating technology. “The exhibitors at our pavilion have predominantly rated the experience as 'good' to 'excellent," said Christoph Matheis, CEO of ZVO. "The quality of contacts and discussions with numerous OEMs and TIER1 suppliers was high right from the start. And on the second day of the fair, the anticipated flow of visitors also set in: Almost all of our exhibitors' stands were highly frequented. The international makeup of the visiting professionals turned out highly positive, with 50% of them coming from abroad – many from outside Europe."
Dr. Martin Riester, Head of the Surface Technology Department at the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), also has positive things to say about the show: "Our industry is doing very well. This was clearly noticeable at the fair. We had lots of interesting technical discussions with customers who were looking for the right surface technology solutions. Here we were able to point out a number of suitable approaches. The event’s location in Hall 1 and the new name 'SurfaceTechnology GERMANY' sent exactly the right signal to strengthen Stuttgart as a location for surface technology," he remarked. VDMA member companies showcased resource-efficient surface treatment solutions for a wide variety of user industries at the Stuttgart-based event – and SurfaceTechnology GERMANY was successful in drawing the corresponding broad-based user audience.
High level of interest in SurfaceTechnology Forum and Speakers Corner
The SurfaceTechnology Forum also packed the galleries – especially on Wednesday at the fair. This event served as a key hub for knowledge transfer and industry networking. In 42 lectures lasting 20 minutes each, top-notch speakers informed their specialist audience about the latest surface technology trends. For topics like REACh or new electroplating processes, the 100-seat forum was packed. Another forum highlight consisted of the presentation of the Stuttgart innovations prize "Oberfläche 2018" by Fraunhofer IPA. The 2018 winner was plasotec GmbH, whose engineers developed a process for the contact-free polishing of metallic surfaces. The newly created Speakers Corner proved to be a clear improvement over the past: There, in direct proximity to the forum, listeners were able to engage in further dialogue with forum speakers.
The exhibitors participating in the "Surface Technology Process Chain" pavilion were also satisfied with their success. This special display presented a comprehensive cross-section of the industry, providing insights into the different areas involving surface-technical machining of parts. "Our exhibits were the main drawing card in getting visitors out to our stand," said Herbert Kaeszmann, organizer of the WoTech pavilion. "The companies that appeared here intend to return next time around."