Economically, following the COVID-19 pandemic, METAV does indeed fall at a difficult time with major challenges, with supply chain issues and the impact of the Russian attack on Ukraine causing concern. Nevertheless, it comes at the right time to offer new solutions to new challenges. The world’s leading trade fairs wire and Tube, which are taking place in parallel, offer synergy effects and additional incentives for a visit – a hybrid concept also appeals to those interested parties who cannot physically travel to METAV.
METAV has been firmly rooted in North Rhine-Westphalia since 1980. In the midst of Europe’s largest industrial conurbation with diverse production sites in North Rhine-Westphalia, the Netherlands and Belgium, it offers manufacturing companies an important marketplace right on their doorstep. “We had to postpone two events due to the pandemic and, even then, could not prevent METAV reloaded from being cancelled”, says Dr. Wilfried Schäfer, executive director of the organizer VDW (German Machine Tool Builders’ Association) on the occasion of the international METAV press conference in Frankfurt am Main. “So the fact that I am able to give you a preview today of the rescheduled METAV 2022, which is now being held from June 21 to 24 in Düsseldorf, is most gratifying for me”, Schäfer continues.
Following the deep slump during the pandemic, the economic situation in the industry has brightened considerably, particularly in Europe and North America. Schäfer: “As an important indicator of industry development, the purchasing managers’ index reflected the rising confidence in the market as early as mid-2021 and was still at a high level in almost all European core markets in March 2022.“ The order books of German and European manufacturers are now full to bursting again and recently just missed the record level of 2018.
However, bottlenecks in the supply chains pose major challenges for manufacturers and lead to only hesitant growth in production. “92 per cent of German machine tool manufacturers were noticeably or seriously affected by supply chain issues in September and December 2021, according to a VDMA flash survey. In April 2022, the figure remained at 81 percent, “ Schäfer says. The Russian war in Ukraine further exacerbates the situation. Although Russia and Ukraine account for less than two percent of German sales, one in four machine tool manufacturers said in a VDMA flash survey in April that they were directly affected by the consequences of the war. Tool manufacturers, traditionally the second-largest exhibitor group at METAV, also perceived a change in the market situation. Markus Horn, CEO of Paul Horn GmbH in Tübingen, adds: “The upbeat mood has given way to uncertainty about future developments as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. The effects of the war on the tooling industry will be felt, but are out of all proportion to the suffering of the Ukrainian population.“
Against this backdrop, METAV is coming at exactly the right time, Schäfer emphasizes. “We are convinced that the economy must get itself into the best possible shape to cope with the challenges I mentioned.“ In the same vein, Horn says he is looking forward positively to the METAV in June: “Especially in such challenging times as we are currently experiencing, it is particularly valuable for the companies in Europe to have such a joint platform for product presentation. We are looking forward to the personal encounter and dialog with customers and interested parties.“
Market developments that have emerged in recent months also speak in favor of a successful METAV. Reshoring, the shifting of supply chains back into the regional environment, has gained in importance as a result of the pandemic. METAV exhibitors are able to provide supplies in the region and can help to cushion bottlenecks in supply. On the question of energy procurement, METAV can leverage interesting synergy effects with the world’s leading trade fairs wire and Tube, which are held in parallel, for example around the production of high-quality components for the expansion of wind energy, power lines and associated infrastructure. As in the past, once again innovation will be a major theme at METAV, from new solutions around resource-saving production to start-ups, which will have a particularly strong presence at METAV this year. Schäfer: “The number of young and innovative companies has increased from five to 13 since 2018. We offer visitors a showcase for innovation and new thinking, giving them an opportunity to experience innovative solutions and to decide how these can be exploited in their own business.“
Schäfer believes that another highlight of METAV 2022 will be the hybrid concept through which the trade fair will set new accents. Under the banner of “Real & Digital – the perfect match”, the balance between analog and digital components will be newly adjusted for each event in the future. This will enable exhibitors not only to approach visitors on site, but also to offer interested users a technical discussion with a digital presence. An approach that appeals to Horn: “METAV is also moving with the times in digital terms. We support the hybridization of trade fairs as long as the focus is on presence and digitalization offers added value to visitors.“
That’s why, in addition to a stand with live machining, Horn is also relying on the web sessions, which have become the digital flagship of the trade fair with a total of around 200 editions. As part of METAV 2022, starting on May 31, they will offer interested users an opportunity to get an overview of the range of products and services on offer and the exhibitors involved during the hot phase of planning the trade fair. Other digital components this year include the METAV forum, which will be held in the exhibition hall during the runtime and will also be played out online, as well as two moving image formats. Exhibitors can present their stands or products in exclusive videos, or alternatively showcase their expertise in a topic-centric format. All digital offerings are free of charge for users.
“Our expectations for METAV are numerous trade visitors, good talks and a trade fair that meets the spirit of the times with its hybrid structure“, says Horn, explaining his anticipation of the industry event in North Rhine-Westphalia. Schäfer is also looking forward to the upcoming return to the Düsseldorf exhibition halls: “Featuring any amount of know-how and innovation, based on a carefully devised hybrid concept, and scheduled alongside two related world-leading trade fairs, all the preparations are now in full swing for a successful fair. Be it at the exhibition center or at the after-work event on the Rheinterrassen – the time is ripe for a reunion!”