Thoughts on ICE Europe 2013 and future editions


ICE Europe logoICE Europe 2013 (aka “officially” the 8th International Converting Exhibition) is now firmly established as the world’s largest, dedicated converting trade fair after breaking another series of records last week in Munich, Germany. Visitor attendance at 6,600 was up 16% over the 2011 event; exhibitor numbers grew 5% to 401 total; and display space inched up a little to about 109,000 net sq ft. UK-based Mack Brooks Exhibitions should be commended for once again putting on a successful trade fair, while the co-located, three-day AIMCAL technical conference premiered with 65 attendees–a respectable figure for that first-time program.

But what about the next show in 2015 and beyond? What will it take to continue a strong upward trajectory for future ICE Europe events? How about a lot more running machinery on the show floor.

Ed Montalvo, president of web-control components maker The Montalvo Corp., made the point crystal clear to me when he stopped by the CONVERTING QUARTERLY stand during the show, and asked, “What do you hear?” A lot of conversations going on, I replied. “Yes, but where’s the machinery noise?” Ed asked.

It was true that about 20 suppliers had slitter/rewinders on display; still almost none of them were actually running. And granted, even fewer companies have the time and money today to bring in a working coater/laminator. But…hmmm…that’s what attendees come to tradeshows to see!

John Godbold, sales mgr. with Ashe Converting Equipment, offered a solution. He suggested Mack Brooks give away exhibit space to a handful of major OEMs to allow them to do just that: Bring in larger-scale machinery and run product through it. All other exhibitors might have to chip in an few extra Euros per sq meter to help pay for it, he says. But they’d be better off in the long run because suppliers such as Kroenert, Polytype, W&H and Comexi featuring live machinery demos at their stands would draw plenty of raw materials, accessories and components providers–as well as even more attendees for everyone else.

A successful tradeshow depends on a laundry list of factors, of course, and it didn’t help that ICE Europe ran amid a continent-wide economic malaise just about everywhere but Germany. Yet, for the show to keep growing its exhibitor count and display space while keeping those visitors visiting, it’ll take more of what you can’t get on a supplier’s Website: The touch, the feel of running machinery churning out laminated and slit product.

ICE USA Intl. Converting Exhibition LogoICE Europe can take a lesson from
ICE USA 2013, its American cousin next month in Orlando, FL. Right from its premiere two years ago, ICE USA emphasized running machinery, and the next event will only expand on that approach. I can’t help but think that this is the single, strongest way that that show has grown by 100 exhibitors and by about 25% more display space.

PS: While you’re at ICE USA, stop by CQ in Booth 949. We’re always open to your suggestions for new technical papers and topics to cover. See you in sunny Florida.

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