Smarter Shows: Foam Expo Europe 2019 attendance ramps up

The specialist exhibitions and conferences organiser Smarter Shows announced that Foam Expo Europe 2019, Europe’s largest trade fair dedicated to the technical foam industry, expanded its scope this year to welcome more participants from related sectors and recorded a significant increase in attendee numbers. Running in parallel with the event, Composites Europe, organised by Reed Exhibitions, offered synergies for the joint application industries such as automotive, aviation, the construction sector and the sports and leisure industry.

The second annual event, which took place 10 – 12 September 2019, moved to the German city of Stuttgart, renowned worldwide as the home of automotive. The move drove impressive turnout from vehicle OEMs, with the likes of Porsche, Volvo, Volkswagen, Mercedes and Daimler in attendance alongside tier 1 automotive suppliers. They parked up beside buyers and suppliers from the aerospace, construction, medical, packaging, and sports and leisure industries.

“Following a hugely successful 2018 event launch in Hannover, the relocation to Stuttgart for our 2019 event once again delivered strong attendance from across the supply chain and end-user industries,” said event director Jamie Reid, who credited the expo’s success to “global industry support from exhibiting companies, industry associations and of course those visiting to purchase products and services”.

On general attendance, Foam Expo Europe 2019 saw a 42 % hike in visitor registrations and a staggering registrant-to-attendee conversion rate of 71 %. Overall, the event welcomed almost 4,500 visitors – up 35 % on the 2018 show. Exhibitor numbers were up, too, by 17 %. Companies including FoamPartner, Recticel, Woodbridge, 3M, Sabic, Rogers Corp, Eurofoam and Huntsman were among 181 suppliers showcasing their foam products and solutions to an engaged audience. Thousands of foam materials and product innovations featured on the show floor, with the Product Showcase offering an opportunity to catch a glimpse of the first live, interactive demonstrations of new products.

Total attendance for Foam Expo Europe 2019 was up 35 % and exhibitor numbers increased by 17 % on the 2018 show (Source: Smarter Shows)

“Our Product Showcase was really good,” commented Alexander Dewald, Saint-Gobain’s marketing communications manager. “We didn’t know what to expect but many people came, so it was really crowded at our booth and it was perfect for us to show our new innovations. It is the first time we have exhibited at Foam Expo here in Germany and we have had lots of leads here and high-quality contacts as well.”

The Foam Expo Conference also proved popular. Key topics on the 2019 agenda included the circular economy, additive manufacturing and end-user requirements in various industries. More than 50 speakers from companies including Crocs, BMW, Velux and Ikea took to the stage to share their insights and to debate and discuss. New for 2019 was the 360 Sessions Stage – a dynamic programme designed to enable focused peer-to-peer discussion at free-to-attend roundtables, workshops and material jam sessions. The format meant that delegates could tailor their own conference programme to get the most out of the packed agenda – a point that Frederic Sicard, a research lead engineer with Jaguar Land Rover, noted, commenting that the conference “can be upon your choice technical, market or application centric”.

The most popular sessions centred around material innovations and new environmental requirements. The session Examining Material Requirements and Opportunities for Foams in Vehicle Electrification was the most-attended, followed by Shaping Lightweight Parts Based on EPP; Overcoming the Key Obstacles of Recycling in the Foam Industry; a session on Implementing the EU’s Circular Economy Package; and Highlighting End-User Technology Trends, Requirements and Processes for Future Applications.

Elsewhere, the B2B Matchmaking service saw high turnout, with 250 meetings held over the three-day event. Big-name participants included Adidas, Ikea, Honeywell, BASF, Huntsman, and Saint-Gobain. The free service provides an opportunity to pre-arrange meetings with potential business partners. Antonio Paranhos Neto, a senior key account manager with Arkema, said that although the company is present at all the polyurethanes shows, Foam Expo Europe is the only one with such an “interesting innovation” in the B2B meetings. Dow Silicone’s Sophie Perilleux agreed: “B2B was a great face-to-face opportunity to meet potential customers and potential partners and further opportunities to follow up with them!”

Foam Expo Europe will return to Stuttgart, Germany, from 10 – 12 November 2020 alongside Composites Europe with an expanded event reflecting the entire global foam supply chain.