The Formnext exhibition is set to be by far the world’s largest on 3D printing technologies.
With all the interest in 3D printing technologies, it is not surprising trade shows are growing, but the rapid growth of Formnext has us quite surprised.
This year the organizers are forecasting an enormous increase in vendors and attendees. They say:
“Having taken off to become the world’s leading exhibition for additive manufacturing and modern industrial production in recent years, Formnext continues this development at a record pace in 2019. In March, 518 exhibitors have already registered for Formnext this year. This is another significant increase compared to the same time the year before. As such, the amount of space that Formnext 2019 will cover has already exceeded the final size of Formnext 2018.”
Note they say “amount of space”. This suggests that the participating companies are booking much larger spaces, spending more money on this event.
Last year when we attended there were something slightly over 600 exhibitors. This was by far the largest collection of 3D printing vendors at the time, with the next largest show likely being RAPID + TCT, which in 2018 had a number of exhibitors in the 300s. This year RAPID + TCT will perhaps reach 500 exhibitors.
But that’s nothing compared to the expected Formnext increase. Their organizers have already added an entire building to their exhibition space for the 2019 show, which doesn’t take place until this November in Frankfurt.
Formnext organizers say, as of March 2019, they had attracted an additional 147 exhibitors that had not been at previous shows. I think they will gather a great deal more, as they are now putting an emphasis on post-processing technologies.
This is a very good idea, because post-processing is as much part of the production steps as the 3D printing part. Everyone needs to post-process prints, and thus these new vendors will add greatly to the experience of attendees.
How big will this event be? We heard rumors that the ultimate number of vendors could be as high as 1200! That is almost twice the size of their 2018 show. I have no idea if this rumor is true, but if they are already adding buildings, it may have some credibility.
There are a couple of thoughts from this development.
First, it is very clear that industry has finally latched onto 3D printing as a viable technology for use in business. I recall years ago attending 3D print shows where some engineering attendees inspecting the 3D printers of the day were overheard literally saying, “It’s just a fad.” For many in those days, 3D printing was a novelty that wasn’t a “real” technology one could actually make useful items with.
Those days have certainly changed, as shows like Formnext now attract very big names in the industry, and beyond. Most of the major chemical companies will be present, as they have determined 3D printing is a strategic move for their companies.
The second observation is that 3D printing companies need to be present at these shows to gain visibility. I speak with smaller vendors at other events and strongly suggest they should consider showing their products at major shows. Some take that advice, and others do not.
It’s now hard to get noticed in the space as there is a great deal of competition. That’s even harder if you cannot be seen.
Finally, if you are in the industry and want to see everything — and I mean everything — then consider attending this prominent 3D printing event.