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Editorial: feedback from exhibitors indicates upswing in the general mood

by Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext — 22 June 2021

Humankind has always been driven to come up with new developments and make new discoveries. For a prime example, look no further than the latest NASA mission to Mars, where the helicopter Ingenuity recently rose from the surface of the red planet. Past journeys of discovery might not have made it quite that far, but were no less spectacular: Around 3,400 years ago, the famed Greek hero Odysseus experienced so much adventure, hardship, and revelation on his travels from Troy back home that Homer’s account of his story (the Iliad) went on to become an international bestseller.

von Sascha F. Wenzler, Vice President Formnext

Since the people of the ancient world had decidedly less digital processing power at their disposal to plan for every eventuality of their trips, they sought out the wisdom of an oracle. The ruins of the most well-known temple where travelers could solicit such advice can still be found in Delphi today. An oracle’s cryptic prophecies offered clues as to how wars would end and whether entire civilizations would survive.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve essentially been on an uncertain journey of our own for more than a year now. At this point, we wouldn’t be above consulting an oracle ourselves given the choppy waters we find ourselves navigating as trade fair organizers.

Still, there are plenty of signs that augur a return to the fertile economic terrain we’d grown accustomed to. Vaccination efforts are picking up speed in many countries, especially in Israel, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Some international companies want to start allowing business travel again as soon as May. Here in Central Europe, the bulk of the population is very likely to be inoculated by the end of the summer at the latest.

The resulting upswing in the general mood is also evident in the feedback we’ve received from exhibitors regarding this year’s Formnext. We already have almost every key player on board, along with an entire array of small and midsize companies – many of them first-time exhibitors from various countries. With more than 55 percent of our exhibitors set to arrive from outside of Germany on 16–19 November, it’s clear that Formnext 2021 will draw attendees from all corners of the world.

As the organizers behind this event, we will nevertheless continue to keep a close eye on the ongoing development of the pandemic and adjust our concept. Meanwhile, we plan to heed the famous inscription at the temple in Delphi – »know thyself« – by leveraging the experience we have gained from these challenging times to forge ahead with new vigor. After all, the team behind Formnext and the entire AM industry still have a long and thrilling journey ahead of us.

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