Next week will be very special for us at Fabbaloo, as we will attend the world’s largest trade show dedicated to 3D printing technologies, Formnext.
Held annually in Frankfurt, Germany, the fair is by far the largest such event with perhaps more than 700 exhibitors presenting, with around 30,000 attendees present.
Not only is this event far larger than its nearest competitor, Rapid in the USA, the stands themselves are far, far larger. While most trade shows involve a mere fold-out table per vendor, Formnext’s stands are enormous, sometimes being structures of two stories high, built with glass, carpet and shiny metal. Because of the size, Formnext is to occupy no less than four entire floors of a large exhibition complex in Frankfurt.
This will certainly be the largest 3D printing event ever held in human history.
As you might imagine, this is rather challenging for our team. In theory, we have only 34 opening hours to somehow visit, speak with, photograph and document all 700 vendors. If you do the arithmetic that works out to approximately 2 minutes and 55 seconds each.
And I’m afraid that doesn’t count breaks, lunch, walking time, sit down press conferences, casual banter in the aisles and other distractions.
In other words, we have approximately zero minutes per vendor. If we somehow don’t see you there, our apologies in advance, but as you can see, it is now near-impossible to see everything at such an event.
I suppose this is a bit of a milestone. There were days many years ago early in this business when I wondered whether 3D printing would ever have its own dedicated trade show. That day finally came true for me when I attended the 3D Printshow in London in 2013. I recall standing in the center of the now-small-in-comparison show floor, looking around and thinking, “It’s finally happened!”
Jump forward to today and we now have a highly sophisticated, planetary-scale 3D print event at Formnext that is so enormous it cannot even be completely seen. That’s progress, dear readers.
Nevertheless, we will attempt to visit as many vendors as we possibly can manage over the four-day event. We’ll be gathering information to fuel future stories on products, services, materials and business activities that will no doubt take several weeks to get through. Stay tuned to our site and you’ll see it all, eventually.
Meanwhile we’d be pleased to meet with any readers that happen to be attending – and if you’re not, please do if you can: There is nothing quite like Formnext to rapidly see the entire state of 3D printing all at once.
If you’d like to connect with us, please feel free to shoot us a message at [email protected] and we can make arrangements.
Brief arrangements, I might add.