We’ve just been informed that AMShow Europe has been cancelled, but what does this tell us about 3D print focused trade shows in general?
AMShow Europe had been scheduled to take place at the end of June this year in Amsterdam, but spokesperson Laurent Lemire informed us of the update:
Over the past few weeks, it has become apparent that our exhibitors preferred this year to be part of its sister show instead, Additive Manufacturing Americas 2017, to be held on 6-8 December in Pasadena. Many of our exhibitors said they could only do one of our shows every year, so we have decided to respect their choice.
Curiously, last year’s AMShow Americas was also cancelled, but it appears the company behind AMShows, Tarsus, is consolidating their efforts towards California, at least for 2017. I get the feeling they’re going to attempt AMShow Europe again in 2018.
Tarsus is one of the largest trade show events in the world, so they certainly have the resources to pursue any strategy they envision.
This cancellation adds another chapter to the topsy-turvy world of 3D print-focused trade shows over the past few years. The new technology first “invaded” existing trade shows on related topics before a few new shows dedicated to the technology itself.
One of them was 3D Printshow, which ran a more-or-less successful series of shows from 2012-2016 in various locations. That event was acquired by Tarsus, who then transformed it into AMShow, although the difficulty in doing so is apparent.
Another show that’s struggled – and may even disappear – is EuroMold, which had a very successful run in Frankfurt over a couple of decades. This show, focused on prototyping and molding technologies, adopted 3D printing as a portion of their show, which eventually took over an entire exhibit hall. However, in 2015 it unexpectedly moved locations to Dusseldorf, leaving many of their long-time vendor clients facing a decision on whether to continue.
3D print vendors have limited budgets for participating in events, and they must very carefully choose where to spend their money. It’s surprisingly expensive to participate: at CES, an empty 10 x 10 spot might cost you USD$8,000. Then you must pay for a booth structure. And someone to install it. And ship your equipment. And ship your staff. And pay for the staff’s hotel and food. And pay for daily WiFi at the event. And so on. A simple booth at CES might result in a USD$50,000 project or more.
Those limits are what doomed EuroMold, as the major vendors (who spend vastly more than USD$50,000 for an event) could not justify TWO events in the same period, as FormNext suddenly appeared to fill the vacant hall in Frankfurt. My understanding is that the big vendors decided among themselves where they were going and not going in order to limit their expense and synergize public attention. As a result, FormNext appears to have taken the market away from EuroMold.
Another factor works against dedicated 3D print events: the focus on applying technology. Today many 3D printer manufacturers have very capable equipment that can be used in a variety of industries and professions, but the problem is that most of the professionals don’t understand that they CAN use 3D printing. How can the vendors gain attention among potential users?
To address this I’ve seen a bit of shift where 3D printer vendors choose not to exhibit at a dedicated 3D print show, but instead show their products at events where their application is most relevant. For example, a high-resolution resin 3D printer manufacturer might want to exhibit at a dental technology show, or a 3D metal printer manufacturer may appear at an aerospace show.
AMShow Europe’s cancellation is thus not a big surprise, as it’s increasingly difficult to attract vendors to such events.
But if they’re taking place, we try to be there to check out the equipment.