Interview MEX 2021 — Bringing the industry together (again)

From Steffen Donath

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In the following interview, Florian Schmitz, organiser of Moulding Expo, talks about the current difficulties, the expectations of exhibitors and the future of the trade fair industry.

Florian Schmitz is a project manager for Moulding Expo at Messe Stuttgart.
Florian Schmitz is a project manager for Moulding Expo at Messe Stuttgart.
(Source: Messe Stuttgart)

Moulding Expo is scheduled to take place in Stuttgart from 8 - 11 June 2021. Top exhibitors will present their newest innovations.

The current situation is especially difficult for trade fair organisers. How do you plan a trade fair in the times of Covid-19?

We are staying true to ourselves and keeping in close contact with the tool, pattern and mould-making sector. Even in challenging times, ideas are coming up in discussions again and again by means of which we can make a contribution to supporting the sector. A nice example is the VDWF (Association of German Tool and Mould-Makers) Theme Days, which is a new digital offer designed to create a bridge to Moulding Expo 2021, which we are glad to support.

A lot of companies have been hit hard by the lockdown regulations. What do the exhibitors want from the next Moulding Expo?

Through the discussions with our exhibitors, it has become apparent that they lack opportunities to present their means of production extensively and including all interfaces. They are now all the more looking forward to Moulding Expo 2021, at which, among other things, the special ‘Road of Tooling Innovation’ show will be held for the first time. Selected international toolmaking companies, together with injection moulding machine manufacturers, will present state-of-the-art tool concepts in action in the middle of the trade fair hall. Without barriers and stand limits, the event will provide a new visitor experience and a further reason to come to Stuttgart in June.

There is a growing effort to bring trade fairs into the virtual realm (keynotes, virtual booths etc.). What are the benefits of “physically” attending a show?

As meeting places, trade fairs bring people together very efficiently in the real world. Decisive factors for success are the personal exchange of ideas and opinions, including chance meetings at the trade fair, and the physical experience of products. Nevertheless, digital offers relating to trade fairs are indispensable and during the Corona pandemic they have come into sharp focus. Even if some providers attempt this, in my view there is no point in presenting virtually what functions well live. Much rather, the aim must be to combine the specific advantages of online and live events.

How will Covid-19 affect the trade fair culture?

The past months have brought many new digital experiences, and I am convinced that many of these experiences will continue after the Corona pandemic. However, in all discussions I can sense the wish and the yearning for personal meetings at eye level. That’s why, in principle, I am not afraid for the future of sector events. However, we will have to examine and evaluate exactly how trade fairs can be optimally implemented at the present time.

Despite the difficult times, what are you most looking forward to with regard to MEX 2021?

After months of preparation, the coming-together of the entire sector and the personal meetings with the many partners, exhibitors and visitors is sure to be an indescribable experience.


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