“At www.metav-digital.de we will be focusing all our energies on generating leads from 23 to 26 March,” says Dr Wilfried Schäfer, Executive Director of the VDW. “The areas in which our exhibitors still need most support include the lack of contact with customers and the very few opportunities they have to generate business,” Schäfer continues. There are three main ways in which trade visitors can interact with the companies exhibiting at the METAV digital in order to obtain information, ask questions, engage in discussions and simply network. The visitors will be treated to a varied programme which includes Matchmaking, 3D trade fair stands and roughly 35 specialist talks on products and solutions related to manufacturing. They can devote their full attention to finding out what the exhibitors have to offer.

Making the 3D METAV a genuine experience

The exhibitors are currently making their final preparations for the METAV digital, setting up their stands and planning their event communication. “Because it is more important than at a conventional face-to-face trade fair to captivate the visitors, to surprise them and to bind them to your range of products and services,” says Schäfer of the VDW. The METAV digital will feature many tools for this, such as moving or 3D product images, product and process films, live demonstrations from the machine room – all supplemented by product information, media libraries, press releases, job advertisements and other useful downloads. “Trade visitors should definitely prepare to be surprised by the creativity and the offerings of the METAV exhibitors,” says Schäfer, promoting the event.

umati Demonstrator bringing data connectivity to life

Alongside the exhibitors’ own stands, a further highlight will be the joint umati stand. Twelve companies (Deutsche Telekom IoT, Emco, IFW Hannover, IT-Engineering, ISW Stuttgart, Heller, Kapp, Okuma, Orchestra, Profiroll, Vollmer, Xetics) will show how the standardised interface will work live. The centrepiece is the umati Demonstrator. It consists of a data hub with live connections for machines, and a dedicated dashboard. “The appeal of umati lies in the fact that users can experience the data connectivity directly,” explains Dr Alexander Broos, Head of Research and Technology at the VDW. “This allows the virtual exhibition stands and actual machines to be linked together via the dedicated umati dashboard. The data can be monitored live by clicking the link symbol on the exhibition stands. This will allow visitors at the fair to follow the machining process in real time,” says Broos, describing the presentation. Interested parties can move backwards and forwards between the main umati stand and the partner stands to pick up detailed information from the manufacturers. They can get in touch with the relevant individuals and exchange contact details in the business card portal.

The umati presentation will be rounded off by a series of web sessions on Thursday, 25 March 2021 from 15:00 p.m and from 10:00 am on Friday, 26 March 2021. In addition, “Meet the Experts” discussions will be offered on the umati central stand.

Reaching out to teachers and trainers with digital presentations

The Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering with its various offerings for companies and vocational colleges will also be represented in the virtual METAV digital exhibition halls. Its main focus will be on the MLS (Mobile Learning in Smart Factories) learning platform. Around 180 trainers and 270 teachers have already received training on the latest Industry 4.0 technologies as part of the “NRWgoes.digital with MLS” project. “The Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering is thus promoting the transfer of knowledge from researchers, scientists and industry to vocational training and supporting the future-oriented training of young professionals,” says André Wilms, manager of the Youth Foundation branch in Bielefeld. Visitors, especially teachers and trainers, can check out the progress of the training offensive, the technological highlights of the programme and the colleges where the additional “Digital Manufacturing Processes” qualification is already being offered – and much more besides on the virtual trade fair stand of the Youth Education and Development Foundation for Mechanical Engineering.

Web sessions – an established format

The VDW has successfully run over 170 web sessions since June last year. The format has proven successful and works very well for both speakers and participants. That is why METAV digital is also offering web sessions to exhibitors as an additional platform to their own 3D trade fair stands. Visitors can expect a packed programme, including roughly 35 presentations on the four days of the fair. The topics will include automation and handling, services, digitalisation, components and accessories, precision tools, software, controls and sensors, machine tools and systems, and umati. Each 20-minute presentation will be followed by a ten-minute session in which participants can ask questions and discuss various aspects. In addition, they can also arrange appointments and contact the speakers bilaterally.

“Visiting METAV digital is the easiest and most efficient way for manufacturing experts to keep up to date with the latest production solutions,” says Schäfer of the VDW, summing up the advantages for METAV visitors. “Our aim is to reproduce the normal trade fair experience as realistically as possible on the web, thereby giving customers, visitors and exhibitors all the benefits of a face-to-face event,” he concludes.