My history of attending EuroBLECH (euroblech.com) dates back to its early convening in three halls at the Hannover Messe, where a few companies showed laser cutting equipment. Over the years, I had the pleasure of attending and watching the number of laser sheet metal cutting equipment grow as this event expanded to occupy seven halls at the south end of the massive fairground. So, when organizers canceled the 2020 show because of coronavirus complications and substituted the first EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit (October 27-30, 2020), I had doubts and regrets.
However, more than 5500 registered participants from 91 countries used the opportunity to log on to the platform during the four virtual event days to network, watch webinar content live and on demand, view product demonstrations, and visit virtual stands of exhibitors.
This new event format proved successful in current times, as many participants from all over the world joined to discover innovations, trends, and current solutions in the sheet metalworking industry. The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit provided a much-anticipated trade and networking event for the global sheet metalworking community, which has been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
The event was an online trading, networking, and webinar event for professionals from the entire sheet metalworking technology chain. Visitors virtually met relevant exhibitors in prebooked meetings and drop-in meetings, watched informative product presentations and webinars on current industry trends, followed by live Q&A Sessions. Similar to a live event, there were several options for visitors to get in touch with exhibitors: drop their business card at virtual NEWS RELEASE stands, pre-book meetings with exhibitors, or instantly contact exhibitors as they browsed the virtual stands.
The EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit demonstrated that even virtual exhibition stands, online meetings, and video chats provided new sales opportunities and the possibility for exhibitors to generate business leads. The content presented on the platform was streamed for almost 700 hours during the event. Presentation Theatre and Product Showcases provided visitors with insights into latest technologies and machines. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to get an overview of latest innovations, presented in the Virtual Presentation Theatre by selected EuroBLECH exhibitors that presented a clear focus on product innovations and technologies, followed by live Q&A sessions. Companies that presented their latest developments were Bystronic Laser, Lantek, Lumentum, Mazak, Prima Power, Salvagnini, and the TRUMPF Group. The presentations can still be viewed on demand via the EuroBLECH Digital Platform for another week.
One participant, Daniela Schwarz, Global Product Portfolio Manager at Bystronic Laser AG said, “In these difficult Corona times, but surely also in the future, the EuroBLECH Digital Innovation Summit provides us as supplier of machine tools with a new platform to present our innovations and to get in touch with our customers.” Another, Martin Klewenhagen, Technical Sales Support TruLaser at the TRUMPF Group commented, “The webinar was a great opportunity to connect with potential customers and present current technology trends. I especially appreciated the live video Q&A session.”
That said, I, for one, hope that EuroBLECH will be able to return to the previous format where attendees had the opportunity to interact informally with their peers.