The 25th Fakuma also marks an anniversary for ENGEL. The Austrian injection moulding machine builder and systems solution provider was one of the very first exhibitors at the 1981 premiere of the trade fair. "Fakuma has evolved from a very regionally focused exhibition to a trade fair of high international relevance", summarises Dr. Christoph Steger, CSO of the ENGEL Group. At the same time, it has managed to maintain its familiar character, which is precisely what provides a particular flair to the industry meeting at Lake Constance until this very day. "At the Fakuma, one can communicate with customers and partners in a relaxed manner. The quality of conversations was very high again this year", says Steger.
At ENGEL's exhibition booth, several hundred visitors per day informed themselves about innovative machines and automation concepts, groundbreaking processing technologies and the new possibilities which Industry 4.0 is opening up for the plastics industry. Many fair visitors used the opportunity to specifically discuss current and future projects. As a result, ENGEL is able to register a higher number of confirmed sales than expected, with orders coming from existing customers as well as new customers.
The fact that processing companies around the world are focusing their attention on the innovative ability and experience of technology companies in Central and Western Europe was once again emphasised by the increasingly international profile of visitors to Fakuma 2017. The Fakuma is widely regarded as trendsetting for the international trade fairs that follow it, such as the upcoming NPE in Orlando, Florida, in May 2018.
Trade fair visitors thrilled by new customer portal e-connectThe conversations at Fakuma confirmed that Industry 4.0 has arrived in the majority of companies. "The inquiries are becoming more and more specific", reports Paul Kapeller, Product Manager of Digital Solutions at ENGEL. "By now, most of our customers have a distinct idea of the advantages brought to them by digitalisation and networking, and are inquiring about specific products and solutions."
In several Expert Corners, ENGEL presented its entire inject 4.0 programme. Numerous products, such as the intelligent assistance systems of the iQ series, have by now proven themselves in practice over many years in several thousand installations throughout various sectors. They generated as much attention as the new products that were presented at a fair for the first time in Friedrichshafen. e-connect, the ENGEL customer portal which was launched in a completely revised version at the Fakuma, turned out to be a genuine visitor magnet. "In future, the customer portal will be an important linchpin in the cooperation with our customers", says Kapeller. "The new version supports our inject 4.0 products and accompanies our customers on the path to the smart factory." Trade fair visitors were especially impressed by the possibilities to clearly virtualise the machine park, including all machine conditions. "e-connect allows taking an easy first step towards a networked production", states Kapeller.