Productronica adds more visitor value
06 July 2009
There is always a buzz around Productronica – but will a shell-shocked industry manage to lift itself for this years event? I spoke to Messe Munchen International’s (MMI) chief executive Klaus Dittrich about how this year’s show was shaping up.
Productronica is a bit like a World Cup Final – sometimes it is better than others but there is never any doubting that this is the main event – and that creates a buzz all of its own.
From a point of view of the range of exhibitors on show there is clearly a reduction, not only in numbers, which are down from 1400 in 2007 to a predicted 1000 this year, but also in terms of the space that many of these exhibitors are taking. The biggest exhibitor, for example, traditionally is Siemens who has previously build stands that someone once described to me as being so big that they have their own centre of gravity. This year its booth will be reduced to about a third of its 2007 size, but will, given the standing of Siemens in its home city, still have that gravitational pull for many engineers.
Klaus Dittrich told me: “All main players will be represented in all the core fields. We know these people have problems. They might have smaller stands than before but they will be there.” In fact the reduction in exhibitor numbers is, he told me, at least in part a reflection of the number of mergers and closures within the industry and not so much down to companies choosing not to exhibit.
When Productronica does open in November it will occupy ‘only’ seven of the vast halls. Having been there when 12 of the halls were filled there is a certain amount of relief that the show will be of a more manageable size. But it does change the dynamic.
A show filled with big companies who are ‘spending big’ has its own atmosphere and is enough to satisfy the mental and physical capacity of most people. In some ways being the biggest was enough for Productronica – anything more would have been unnecessary. But things are different in 2009. Productronica will still be the destination for engineers with a shopping list, but for those unlikely to start buying until 2010 or 2011 the trip to Munich may be more difficult to justify. This is the problem that so many exhibitions around the world have experienced over recent years – and particularly this year.
The consequence is that Productronica itself has looked at new ways of making the Munich experience more rewarding. As Dittrich said: “Innovation is the most important way to climb out of crisis.” And Productronica has rebranded itself to reflect that focus as well as add new features and focus areas to the show: for example Organic electronics, micronano, photovoltaic, EMS and hybrid. I still slightly question MMI’s definition of a hybrid as anything that combines both metal and plastic, but none the less it will be a feature part of the show. There will be a host of technical sessions that MMI has partnered with other organisations (eg SMTA, IPC, ZVEI etc) to create, and these will all exist under the umbrella term of the ‘Productronica University’ (although I am not sure if they are allowed to award degrees to successful graduates!).
Another high level initiative is the Munich Electronics Summit, designed to be a gathering of CEOs of exhibitors, their customers and OEMs to create a think tank for the industry. This summit will also be held at electronica, therefore making it an annual event.
I will go into all of these subjects, and more, as the time for the event draws closer. Productronica has long been one of my favourite events on the electronics calendar and I look forward to seeing how its new initiatives work in practice and add to the event. I think the message coming out of Munich at the moment is not to dismiss the event, even if your purchasing intentions are not likely to start until next year. So put the dates 10–13 November 2009 in your diary – in pencil at least.
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