Upbeat Mood at Europe’s Top Moldmaking Event

At the close of Moulding Expo (MEX) 2017 in Stuttgart, Germany exhibitors, visitors and organizers look back at a very successful show, which has once again stimulated new business throughout the German, European and international tool and moldmaking industry.


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The second edition of the biannual show drew 15,000 visitors from 52 countries over the four days of the show (May 30 – June 2) and was more international than the inaugural event in 2015; according to organizer Messe Stuttgart, 15% of all visitors came from abroad.

Gardner’s MMT team contributed to these international figures and was busy browsing the latest machinery, solutions and services for every conceivable aspect of tool, pattern and moldmaking, showcased by more than 760 exhibitors. Messe Stuttgart is very keen to grow international visitor numbers and closely cooperates with ISTMA, the international Special Tooling and Machining Association, which unites 19 associations representing 8,000 companies from across the world. The ISTMA Lounge in Hall 4 hosted various presentations and best-practice examples.

Here, HRI president and CEO Laurie Harbour discussed the state of the North American mold market, which drew the crowds, followed by MMT’s panel discussion on automation. Three industry representatives were discussing about what opportunities automation offers for SMEs, why even small shops with high-mix, low-volume production should consider automation and what level of automation is right for their shops. The following day saw a well-attended MMT panel discussion on additive manufacturing (AM). AM has been a hype topic for years, but especially developments in metal AM are increasingly relevant for the manufacture and design of mold inserts with conformal cooling, for instance.

While there were many AM industry players present at MEX, it was very positive to see AM presented as a complementary technology rather than a dominating topic covering a majority of the show floor. In fact, around 50% of all exhibitors were tool and moldmakers, and Hall 6, which hosted most of the many tool and mold shops as well as the joint booth of VDWF (German Tool and Mould Making Association) and its members, was buzzing. The VDWF has been a long-standing and active supporter of MEX and the show wouldn’t be what it is today without the association’s excellent work and efforts to bring every relevant exhibitor and visitor to the fair.

Of course, a German trade show wouldn’t be a trade show without its after-show parties, where the outstanding atmosphere reflected the overall mood in Stuttgart. Wednesday night saw the VDWF celebrating 25 years together with its members, industry representatives, show organizers and State Minister Winfried Kretschmann. On Thursday night, the exhibitors’ night surpassed itself with not only creating a “real Oktoberfest” atmosphere with great food and music, but with a full-scale indoor amusement park with a chair swing ride, can throwing, darts and other attractions.

MEX was a winner in every respect and we are looking forward to the 2019 show! Read more about the event here.