In a survey of around 200 German and international foundries and forges carried out in July by Messe Stuttgart, 73% confirmed a marked or serious influence of the corona pandemic on their business activity. Approximately half of the companies were struggling with liquidity constraints, and for two thirds the issue of short-time working was relevant. "Against this background, we rate as a specially positive sign the fact that we can today report that Grohmann Aluworks, one of the leading foundries in the market, is the hundredth exhibitor to register," says Gunnar Mey, Department Director Industry at Messe Stuttgart.
Andreas Zweifel, Sales and Marketing at Grohmann Aluworks, confirms the trade fair location and concept: "As a foundry, we feel that the event is 100 per cent relevant to us, because there is no other comparable trade fair that offers this content aimed specifically at the specialist public." According to companies, Stuttgart is one of the main regions in Germany for customers of cast and forged parts. Andreas Zweifel continues: "We see CastForge as a kind of new start after the corona crisis and the opportunity to meet again in person for an exchange of ideas and opinions, which is why we have decided to take part in 2021 for the first time."
Also Schmiedeberger Gießerei will take part at CastForge for the first time. "The concept, but also the good feedback from partner companies at the last CastForge, has encouraged us to participate in the trade fair," explains Michael Mitto, Sales at Schmiedeberger Gießerei. As an objective, he says: "We want to be present and look after our regular customers, but also specifically make new contacts."
Schmiedeberger Gießerei thus confirms the results of the survey carried out by Messe Stuttgart for CastForge, according to which for only 30% of the companies surveyed a purely virtual replacement offer would come into consideration. A clear majority want events with physical attendance, ideally complemented by supplementary digital offers.
"From conversations, we know that, in connection with trade fairs, many companies are seriously concerned about the health of their employees and customers," explains Gunnar Mey. "Messe Stuttgart reacted really early to the problem, and developed a comprehensive hygiene concept under the keyword "Safe Expo", which is coordinated with all the relevant authorities and continually adapted to the current situation." The first successful test of the hygiene concept was provided by the AMB Technologieforum in mid-September. The findings will be used to support the concept for the following events and trade fairs. Thus, in the meantime an information sheet for exhibitors on corona-compliant stand design has been devised.
The foundry Heunisch was one of the first companies to register for CastForge 2021. Why the company is convinced by the trade fair concept is summarised by Christian Ebert, Head of Internal Sales. "The birth of CastForge 2018 was a real stroke of luck for us. All our expectations of the première of the trade fair explicitly for our products were completely exceeded. The cooperation and organisation on the part of Messe Stuttgart were perfect. Our participation in the follow-up event is a matter of course. The disappointment at the cancellation in 2020 was accordingly high. So we are now all the more looking forward to being able to present our broad and highly complex production range to the specialist public at CastForge 2021 next year."
Marcus Kramer, Head of Sales Department at Höver & Söhne, is also convinced by the concept of CastForge. "CastForge offers us a high rate of potential high-quality new customers, and will thus be our main trade fair. Here we can make targeted contacts and receive concrete enquiries over three trade fair days. The professional organisation by Messe Stuttgart, as well as the optimum transport connections and the modern trade fair centre, were additional factors in convincing us."
The fact that everyone now urgently wants a restart is also confirmed by Ezio Zanotti, M. Eng. Sales & Marketing Manager at ARIZZI Fonderie San Giorgio in Italy. "Precisely in times of crisis, it is important to understand who we are and what targets we want to achieve. Participation in CastForge not only means access to new markets or reinforcing our presence in a geographic region, but above all also the opportunity to become aware of one's strengths and the borders that need to be overcome. CastForge takes place in an economically important environment, because, for a company headquartered in northern Italy, here we can achieve excellent visibility and meet potential partners from all over Europe."
Cornelia Schlingelhoff and Anna-Karolina Röckel, responsible at Messe Stuttgart for the organisation of CastForge, are overwhelmed by the positive signals from the sector: "We are delighted already now so many companies from Germany and abroad are clearly committing themselves to the still new CastForge. We are working with great pleasure on being able to offer both exhibitors and visitors a safe and successful trade fair."