Spotlight on digitization and efficiency

As the de facto networking event for the entire industry, SurfaceTechnology GERMANY is the place where promising new customer leads are generated and the latest technology trends addressed. Although there is still a year to go until the fair takes place, preparations are already in full swing to ensure that coating technology users are treated to the full range of surface technology solutions, products and services – from 16 to 18 June 2020.

“In 2020, SurfaceTechnology GERMANY will be a magnet for both the surface technology industry and its users,” remarked Olaf Daebler, Global Director of SurfaceTechnology GERMANY at the Deutsche Messe group of companies, adding: “The electroplaters are just as perfectly situated here as the end customer’s design engineers, who come to find the right coating solutions for their products.”

The top themes at the fair will continue to be energy efficiency and energy conservation, material and resource efficiency throughout the coating process and environmentally friendly pre-treatment.

On the whole, the surface technology industry appears to be in good shape. “Taking into account the tough economic climate, the surface technology industry is generally expecting positive sales and is consolidating itself at a high level,” said Dr. Thomas Schräder, Managing Director of the General Air Technology Association within the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), adding however that experts were “more cautious in terms of growth expectations for the automotive and supplier industries in the second half of 2019, compared to other surface technology target markets.”

The VDMA Surface Technology Association is planning another group pavilion at SurfaceTechnology GERMANY in Stuttgart. VDMA’s involvement will revolve around the digital integration of surface technology machines and equipment. “Surface technology companies are increasingly concerned with digitizing their products,” said Schräder. “The joint initiative of VDMA Surface Technology and the OPC Foundation offers interested companies an opportunity to help define the interfaces for surface technology machines. The goal is to use non-proprietary interfaces to facilitate the easy, flexible integration of surface technology machines into future production – while reducing effort and overhead in the process.”

An integral part of Surface Technology GERMANY includes the German Surface Technology Association group pavilion (ZVO), which will once again provide an overview of the diversity and efficiency of the electroplating and surface technology process chain. “In 2020, we’ll be showing on almost 4,000 square meters of gross display space,” said ZVO Managing Director Christoph Matheis. “Demand is high, and we’re expecting more than 75 co-exhibitors to present their products, services and innovations at our group pavilion.” This is also seen as a positive sign in the face of German and European energy and environmental policy, which is seriously damaging the industry from the point of view of ZVO. “The EU chemicals regulation known as ‘REACH’, the seemingly endless authorization processes associated with it and the lack of planning security for investment decisions are the key problems facing electroplating and surface technology,” explained Matheis. “In addition, there are other global threats to the economy – for example international trade disputes, Brexit uncertainty, weak sales in China, the debt crisis in Italy and the still unclear consequences of the so-called ‘diesel-gate’ affair in Germany. However, despite or precisely because of all these obstacles and imponderables, the industry has not lost any of its innovative strength, which will once again be impressively underscored at SurfaceTechnology GERMANY. The trade fair will definitely put wind in the sails of the currently struggling surface technology industry.”

SurfaceTechnology GERMANY is a horizontal trade fair covering all areas of surface technology. The most strongly represented topics include electroplating, industrial plasma surface treatment and micro-material processing. Other services include blasting technology, thermal spraying, coating materials, surface treatment, environmental protection, services, pre-treatment, cleaning, measurement, testing and analysis. One advantage of the trade fair is its all-embrcing, cross-material approach: It features coating processes for metal, plastics, wood, glass and ceramics. SurfaceTechnology GERMANY also boasts an array of established special events on numerous topics and the cross-industry user forum as the first port of call for knowledge transfer and industry networking at the fair.

Under the new name of “SurfaceTechnology GERMANY”, the fair celebrated its debut in June 2018. Formerly known as “O&S”, the event boasted a record amount of display space, with the event’s approximately 300 exhibitors occupying a total of almost 8,300 square meters. More than 6,000 trade visitors attended SurfaceTechnology GERMANY 2018 in Stuttgart during its three-day run.

A sizable percentage of decision-makers at the fair are on the lookout for innovations, suppliers or concrete solutions for their own companies. Most trade visitors come from the user industries of metalworking, automotive, mechanical engineering, electronics and plastics. The Stuttgart-based event also draws surface technology users from the aerospace, medical technology, semiconductor and precision engineering industries. 86 percent of professional attendees are involved in decision-making at their companies, with a 31 percent share of top executives.