German Mold Event Organized “by Industry, for Industry”

Organizers of the upcoming Moulding Expo in Germany emphasize that the event will be shaped largely by exhibitor’s wishes.

As the countdown continues for the inaugural edition of Moulding Expo Stuttgart, project managers Florian Niethammer and Florian Schmitz have repeatedly stressed the importance of "organizing an exhibition based on the requirements of the exhibiting companies".

Scheduled for May 5-8 in Stuttgart, Germany, Moulding Expo is a new, biennial event for the toolmaking, model-making and mold construction industries. Technology on display will range from injection molds and casting dies to the latest model-making, prototyping and additive manufacturing processes. The event targets mold manufacturers, product developers and their customers in the automotive, medical, engineering, plastics and other industries. According to organizers, more than 20 percent of exhibitors will hail from abroad. More than 390 exhibitors have already signed up. By the beginning of May, organizers expect to have secured more than 400 exhibitors occupying 31,500 square meters.

Statements from select exhibitors that have already signed on demonstrate that the event is truly “by the industry, for the industry,” organizers say. Here are a few examples:

The first exhibitor: pioneering work
In mid-April 2014, AHP Merkle from Gottenheim in the district of Breisgau-Hochschwarzwald was the first exhibitor to register in the history of Moulding Expo. Managing Director Christen J. Merkle wasted no time for good reason: "The new exhibition is something really thrilling. We wanted to be there right from the start, so we booked 120 square metres. We feel that as the first exhibitor we are something of a pioneer. Of course that also makes us quite proud." AHP Merkle has developed, designed and manufactured high-quality hydraulic cylinders since 1973. With its 160 employees the company produces block cylinders as well as core-pulling and slider units for tool-making and mould construction.

As the first company to register, Merkle naturally kept an eye on the growth in exhibitor figures. "At the start, it always needs some pioneers to establish a basis of trust. It became clear by July at the latest, when Messe Stuttgart published the exhibitor list, that the exhibition was in no way a one-hit wonder," explained Merkle. For the entrepreneur, it is a "tangible sign" that Moulding Expo is a new event concept that is capable of grabbing enormous attention. "I'm convinced the exhibition will continue to grow in the coming events," said Merkle. After the première in May, the company will then decide whether Moulding Expo could even become the most important exhibition platform for Merkle. In any case, anticipation is mounting: "I hope the general mood is good since positive energy is important at such exhibitions, especially in our sector." But Merkle is not at all worried that the German tool and mould maker will feel good "in its new home". "The exhibition centre in Stuttgart is simply the ideal venue to exhibit the company."

No. 100: Presenting to customers from all over Europe
As the 100th exhibitor, Wolpert Holding GmbH from Bitzfeld near Heilbronn will also be attending Moulding Expo with a stand measuring about 110 square metres. Group Managing Director, Josef Wolpert, saw a unique opportunity for his company since the last time it attended an exhibition was four years ago: "We wanted to take the chance to use this exciting new platform to present our company in the best possible light." In 1991, Wolpert went self-employed as qualified model-making master craftsman. Today, his company has around 450 employees at four locations – three in Baden-Württemberg and one in Poland. In the meantime, Wolpert Holding has expanded from a prototype maker to a tool-making and mould-making company, a full-service provider for complete welded assemblies and a manufacturer of punched and formed series production parts.
"Our company focus is to offer as much as possible along the process chain," said the managing director, emphasising his corporate objective.

 Although the company regards Germany as its prime market, it wants to use the new exhibition to forge customer contacts throughout Europe and also to participate in an exchange of views within the sector. "Due to my position at the Wolpert Group, I wear two caps – one is the tool-maker looking for customers and the other is the purchaser on the look-out for high-tech tools," explained Josef Wolpert. Since the exhibition is supported by the exhibitors themselves and it is their wish to tailor the exhibition to the desires and needs of both the mould, model and tool makers as well as their customers, the 50 year old entrepreneur regards Moulding Expo as an ideal platform for his requirements.

 Exhibitor 200: Among like-minded companies at a high level
Gebrüder Ficker GmbH from Saxony has similar reasons for attending Moulding Expo. The 200th exhibitor is a family-run business which is in its fourth generation and headed by Markus and Martin Dietze. It is only recently that this company also decided to exhibit on the joint VDWF stand at the Stuttgart exhibition centre. "The more we talked about the new exhibition concept, the clearer it became that Moulding Expo was the exhibition we had long been waiting for," explained Managing Director Martin Dietze. And this is what many companies in the tool, model and mould making sector are also thinking, according to the 32 year old entrepreneur. Dietze continued, "In any case we are looking forward to being among peers and showing all our competencies despite the high calibre of the industry."

 The company from Marienberg has been engaged in mould and tool making for over 100 years. As suppliers to various branches of industry as well as automotive and medical engineering, the 70-man company manufactures pre-series and series moulds for the injection moulding, casting and multi-component sector.
 

Dietze explained that the trade fair landscape had changed over the past few years and marketing now focused on direct customer contacts.
 

"The joint VDWF stand at Moulding Expo is now the first step forward for us to show more trade fair presence. The essential thing for us at the industry meeting point is to exchange news and views with colleagues and customers." For Dietze, a look at the excellent registration figures means that all Moulding Expo partner associations are pulling in the same direction – which is certainly in the interest of the entire industry.

The 300th exhibitor: bringing in innovative ideas
The three hundred barrier was broken at the end of 2014 by Käfer Werkzeugbau GmbH. The company from Besigheim-Ottmarsheim has specialised in sheet metal forming and thermoforming since 1995. "The opportunity to talk to the organisers of Moulding Expo in advance and actively include our demands in the organisation of the event was definitely a decision milestone for us," explained Jörg Hofacker. For the commercial director at Käfer, the main point as exhibitor was to assume responsibility for the sector. "The exhibition organisers were extremely open to dialogue and that impressed us very much. In fact Moulding Expo is intended to be a hit right from the start and will become a long-term success whatever happens." Dieter Käfer expected concrete results from the exhibitor and advisory committee meetings. The declared objective of the managing partner is to "provide a 'breeding ground' to expand industry networks by promoting the gathering of OEMs, suppliers and service providers".

 In addition the main concern of the 30-man firm is, "to display the entire diversity of the process chain since the tool and mould maker wants to present itself to its customers as an all-round problem solver," explained Hofacker, whose main customer base mainly comes from the automotive sector.

 In Käfer's opinion, Moulding Expo is exactly the right platform to promote synergy for the best possible co-operation between exhibitors and customers. This was also one of the reasons for Käfer to actively encourage other companies to register for the exhibition by way of example. "We were already awarded with the title 'Brand Ambassador'," said Hofacker with a smile, looking ahead to the future. "What was important for me was to address the right target groups – and that includes the youth in our country. They must be reached and inspired to join our profession. This will be the way to drive forward quality in training."

Käfer Werkzeugbau is therefore working intensively on the success of the exhibition in order to achieve these objectives. And this is also why everyone in the company is eagerly awaiting the première of Moulding Expo.