First feedback on Day One and Onward to Day 2 at Formnext Connect

I think we will all agree with the fact that although we miss the annual trip to Frankfurt, the next week-end will not be one of recovery for our feet.

Yesterday started with a mix of feelings from both the organizers, the exhibitors and the attendees. The live opening note was well-thought and refreshing as it allowed those who watching to really dive into the realm of the virtual event and to feel the vibes of a physical event.

From the organizers’ point of view, we fell both the relief and the excitement to make it happen – finally.

Today is a kind of relief. We have spent eleven months of ups and downs. We’ve started preparing this event as a physical event. The trade fair concept has changed several times over time – as we were closely monitoring the evolution of the Coronavirus crisis. We went from the organization of an in-person event to the organization of a hybrid event and we finally had roughly eight weeks to organize a complete digital event”, Sascha Wenzler stated.

Despite the digital format, Petra Haarburger, President of Formnext assures that Formnext aimed to keep its goal of “connecting bright minds” hence the name “Formnext Connect”.

By choosing “Grip” as platform of exchanges, AI matches interests of both visitors and exhibitors, and enables people to meet virtually. We hope that everyone will experience a little bit of the Formnext magic during these two and half days”, Petra Haarburger, President of Formnext, said during the live opening note.

From the exhibitors’ point of view

With 204 exhibitors, Formnext Connect is making a real splash in terms of exhibitors for a digital premiere.

On the exhibitors’ side, feelings are for now, mitigated. Those that shared their feelings with us have experienced a certain traffic during their presentations, but most of them would rather prefer to wait for the end of the show before giving their overall feelings.

The truth is, companies are holding their presentations either through the Grip platform (the event agenda or the main stage) or independent platforms like Siemens on its own website, Zoom, Microsoft Teams – to name a few of them – for others. Since everything is not centralized on one location, we can easily miss a good product but that’s one constraint of the digital format. Another one being the fact that, a visitor will not necessarily remain behind his screen for a whole day.

From the attendees’ point of view

From the attendees’ point of view, Formnext has kept its promise and has been able to maintain a wide range of activities for their digital event.

It’s been a few months that we have been trying to adapt ourselves by participating in virtual events from the comfort of our homes. I really felt it yesterday while watching the live streaming with Petra Haarburger & Sascha Wenzler on the main stage and the Formnext TV. Added to that, the Advertising videos from AM companies and music in the evening, I felt like I was watching TV “for AM”.

But for companies, let us keep in mind that despite these great activities, Formnext is also about leads. So let’s speak figures. Petra Haarburger announced yesterday during the opening note, that they recorded around 8000 pre-registrations for the show. That’s a lot for a virtual event in our niche industry. Today, during the launch of this second day, she confirmed that over 6400 were active yesterday, and among the 12 400 connections made – found together – 2000 meetings really happened.

How does it really translate for each company? Unfortunately, we can’t really tell now. “There is no benchmark for Formnext Connect. We are learning on the spot, and the good news is that we will take some of the lessons learned here for the organization of the in-person event”, the President of Formnext said this morning during the launch of Day 2.

Focus on AM topics and onward to Day 2

Apart from this organizational aspect, Day 1 focused on sustainability (obviously!), engineering and aerospace challenges. We also get to know further winners of the start-up challengeMolyworks, Addiguru,  AM-FLOW,  NematX AG & TOffeeAM).

Day 2 will see a focus on automotive challenges within AM; the user case area will highlight real industrial cases.

You might also be keen to discover the way AM changes financial services and what’s happening on the AM market in Israël. We have already shed light on a few companies of this market (XJET, 3D Alliances to name a few of them).

TU Darmstadt will also hold a symposium on construction 3D printing and we will finally know who are the winners of the Purmundus Challenge. Furthermore, to make it easier for US-based attendees to listen, conferences organized by TCT will start this afternoon, and for the first time, will be completely free of charge.

As far as product launches are concerned, let’s remind that Stratasys and nTopology have announced a collaboration, SLM Solutions has finally revealed its new jewel, a 12-Laser machine, Ultimaker launched Ultimaker Connect 2+, Materialise gets CE marking certification, and Solukon launches its automated powder removal for polymer 3D printed parts.

There is a lot more to say here. More info will follow during the upcoming days – based on press conferences, webinars and interviews with AM companies. #StayTuned

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