It’s been a while, but it appears the first major 3D print trade show to take place in-person during the 2020 pandemic has succeeded.
At Fabbaloo we’re intensely interested in 3D print trade events as they are places we can very rapidly connect with manufacturers of equipment, materials and providers of services. We also discover new players we haven’t previously seen, and that’s often how we get their message out to you, the readers.
Unfortunately, 2020 has been a distinctly crappy year for in-person events for some reason.
One by one, events we had planned on attending have been cancelled over the last five months. Well, some say they have been “postponed to next year”, which in my book means something like “cancelled”, but perhaps there are legal or contractual reasons for portraying the cancellation in that way.
Nevertheless, we’ve been able to keep gathering news, albeit in different ways, over the past few months. We’ve been eagerly awaiting the safe return of physical events to allow us contact with the industry at large.
Now we’ve heard that one such event has actually occurred.
TCT Asia 2020
TCT Asia just completed its sixth edition in Shanghai.
The event featured some 220 exhibitors, making it rank with the larger events worldwide like RAPID and Formnext. TCT Asia apparently had 8,469 attendees, which is significant.
I don’t know about your region, but a gathering of over 8,000 people would be slightly against the rules here and in most places. However, it seems that at least in China they have withstood the pandemic and have shifted mostly back to normal mode, allowing the conference to take place in near-normal mode.
However, there were clearly new procedures in place, as you can see in the image above: attendees are all masked, thus dramatically reducing the transmissions of any viruses present.
It’s likely similar procedures and more will be in place for any future 3D print events, regardless of the region. And if there are no such procedures, you won’t be seeing our team there.
We’ve been closely watching Formnext, by far the largest dedicated 3D print event on the planet, with the most recent edition seeing 800+ exhibitors and more than 34,000 attendees. It’s not clear whether they will hit (or even have) those expectations again this year, even though they still plan on holding the event in Frankfurt this November.
We’ve make some enquiries among our contacts and as far as we can tell, Formnext is still planning on going ahead with a physical event, although they will introduce a number of new procedures to ensure attendee safety and minimize risk. These would include wash stations, much broader walkways to separate people, and even patrols to track down misbehaving attendees. They also are planning on a larger digital offering for those unable to make it in person to Frankfurt.
Hopefully we’ll be able to attend, but as with everything else in the world, little will truly be back to normal until a vaccine is properly deployed.