Formnext revealed more details about their precedent-setting in-person 3D print event this fall.
The event has been operating annually since 2015, when it effectively took over the market previously held by the now-defunct Euromold after 20+ years of exhibitions. Today, or at least until pre-pandemic days, Formnext has grown to become the largest in-person 3D print held worldwide, with tens of thousands of attendees and nearing a thousand exhibitors.
Of course, like all other events in recent months, Formnext was caught up in the pandemic and was forced to make changes. Fortunately, their event is normally held in November, which left them time to re-jig the show to an all-digital format.
Our team took part in the digital event, and while it wasn’t quite the same experience we’ve come to expect, it was a reasonable show and we learned quite a bit from those we did meet online.
After Formnext digital 2020, the question was whether Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH, the company behind Formnext, would again digitize the event in fall 2021. Surprisingly, the company indicated it was their intention to host an in-person event.
This week we learned a bit more about Formnext’s strategy, as the pandemic is most definitely not over. We’re all unfortunately at this difficult point somewhere between “the vaccine ends it all” and “variants rage in a third wave”, and Formnext is no exception.
Odds are things will be vastly better by November, but planning must take place well before then, particularly for an in-person event that depends on sales of space to exhibitors.
Mesago’s VP of Formnext, Sascha Wenzler, said:
“The feedback we’ve received from exhibitors, attendees, and the exhibitor advisory board has made it clear that a genuine in-person event is essential to this industry. Everyone is longing to visit some real booths and have some face-to-face conversations. Digital elements can definitely complement Formnext, but they’ll never replace the real thing. Like in years past, Formnext 2021 is scheduled to take place at the state-of-the-art facilities on the western premises of Messe Frankfurt.”
Mesago is definitely depending on conditions improving as the weeks roll by. By November things could be in much better shape. Yet commitments have to be made now, or at least soon.
Mesago has made some changes to the program to account for all this:
- They’ve extended the early booking discount until April 16th
- Exhibitors can cancel free of charge until June 30th
- Simplified “turnkey” booths are available to reduce effort and cost to participate
Mesago is also keeping the digital component they first launched in 2020. Their “Digital Days” will take place not at the same time as the in-person event, but two weeks later. This would allow exhibitors to participate both physically and digitally. And it also allows physical attendees an opportunity to catch exhibitors they missed during the in-person event.
This is a very intriguing concept that perhaps other events could consider: physical and digital, but on separate dates.
Formnext takes place November 16-19 in Frankfurt.