The 9th International Suppliers Fair (IZB) - Europe's leading showcase event for the automotive supplier industry is continuing to grow

The three days of the 9th International Suppliers Fair have now come to an end. Both exhibitors at and trade visitors to the event declared that they were pleased with the trade fair and its results. With around 800 exhibiting companies from 32 different countries, this year's summit for the automotive supplier industry was more international than ever before in its 15-year history. The IZB has therefore confirmed its importance as a globally recognised information, communication and business platform. Alongside alternative engines and materials, this year's event placed a special focus on the future-oriented topic of "Mobility Goes Digital", which was paid special attention in the presentations and discussions at the trade fair. Approximately 49,800 trade visitors from all over the world made the most of the opportunity to explore the market and innovation potential provided by this megatrend in the automotive industry.

"Fully networked self-driving cars are completely re-defining the world of mobility", declared Julius von Ingelheim, the Spokesman of the Board of Wolfsburg AG, confidently as the IZB came to a close. "By choosing ' Mobility Goes Digital' as the focus of this year's event, we have shone the spotlight on the topic that is currently taking the supplier industry by storm. When developing product concepts, planning production activities and, of course, training staff, digitalisation is sure to play an absolutely essential role in the future."

The future topic of digitalisation

A popular feature of this year's IZB was its special exhibition, at which leading global players in the field of consumer electronics such as Sony, Asus and Sharp showcased innovative applications demonstrating how microelectronics using intelligent sensors, processes and actuators make new mobility solutions possible.

The IZB also welcomed an exhibiting company from Taiwan for the first time in the form of E-Lead Electronic. "This show is a very good opportunity for E-Lead Electronic to meet people from Volkswagen and Audi. It was an honor for us to present our innovative products to Mr. Müller and the Volkswagen team. We already service Volkswagen in China and are in good contact with the German headquarters”, stated the company's Marketing Manager Steve Yang. With its "Premium High-Resolution Projector HUD", the company also brought a world premiere to Wolfsburg. The high-resolution head-up display with a projection distance of 2.5 metres features a convenient optical design without any visual distractions for drivers. It is just one of a total of 46 world premieres featured in the IZB Innovations Report.

The IZB also welcomed Samsung, one of the world's leading manufacturers of semiconductors, telecommunication devices and digital media, as a first-time exhibitor. “It is a great honor for us that Volkswagen invited Samsung to participate in the IZB. Samsung is well known for consumer electronics or IT technology products. By participating in this exhibition we want to show Volkswagen, also industry influencers and related people, that Samsung is also committed to automotive applications", said the company's Marketing Communications Manager Nana Park. She went on to state that: "The theme of the IZB 2016, 'Mobility goes Digital' fits Samsung very well. Going digital is what Samsung is good at".

More international than ever before

The leading trade fair for the European supplier industry also yet again recorded impressive growth in terms of its popularity on an international level. In fact, approximately a third of its around 800 exhibitors came from locations outside of Germany. The countries represented by supplier companies at the IZB for the first time this year not only included Taiwan, but also Slovakia, Moldova, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

Scandinavia, which has already welcomed many more than 100,000 electric cars to its roads, plays a pioneering role when it comes to the topic of "electromobility". In fact, no other country promotes and supports electric car purchases as consistently as Norway, where electric cars comprised 18 percent of new vehicle registrations in 2015. The global market leader for aluminium solutions, the Norwegian Sapa Group, also exhibited at this year's IZB. "The fact that we are an extremely important supplier company for cooling systems on a global level enables us to state that no vehicle rolls off the assembly line without containing a product from our company”, explained Klaus J.B.W. Sandfeld, the Business Development Manager of the Sapa Group, which showcased a world premiere in Wolfsburg in the form of particularly lightweight brake pressure tubes made from a high-strength aluminium alloy.

Sweden also presented itself as a strong partner of the automotive supplier industry thanks to a cooperation between Business Sweden, the official organisation representing the Swedish business community in Germany, and the Swedish supplier association FKG. Swedish companies presented their future-oriented innovations at two joint stands: one of which featured companies from the metal processing industry, in which Sweden traditionally has strong foundations, while the other enabled exhibitors such as the network equipment and services company Ericsson and the surface specialist Applied Nano Surfaces to showcase their products and services.

Italy had the most exhibitors at the event third only to Germany and Spain. One of these Italian exhibitors was Teamwork from the Lombardy region, which represents a group of seven companies with a total of approx. 800 members of staff. The complementary product portfolio of these supplier companies includes products such as hinges, orbital pumps and other automotive components. According to Dr Mauro Mottola, the founder of Teamwork: "The specialist trade fair is a business platform that offers excellent opportunities to establish contact with Volkswagen and other OEMs and companies in the industry. As highly specialised supplier companies, this is the ideal event for us. Our joint presentation under the motto of 'Think, Develop, Solve' enables us to appeal to our customers in a target-oriented manner and we are even making our way home with several successfully concluded business transactions."

A hotspot for global players and start-ups

This year's IZB yet again welcomed a multitude of leading suppliers from Germany and abroad to its exhibition grounds in the Allerpark in Wolfsburg, which have now been extended to cover a total area of 37,000 square metres. These companies included the Japanese global corporation Denso, which has already been exhibiting at the IZB since 2001. "The International Suppliers Fair is an important platform for Denso, especially when it comes to maintaining and extending our relationships with the Volkswagen Group in order to not only support new trends in the automotive industry with our products and technologies, but also to expand our network by welcoming new sub-suppliers", concluded Christian Grusz, the head of VW Group Sales at Denso.

Small and medium-sized enterprises, including start-ups, which are currently providing new ideas and incentives for the digital transformation alongside the disruption of traditional business models and value chains, particularly made the most of the innovative and value-adding networking opportunities available at the IZB.

In order to take a new approach towards their usual business activities and combine innovative solutions to create completely new applications during the transformation of the automotive industry, suppliers and IT companies are focusing on cooperation and networking. At a joint stand covering an area of 150 square metres, 17 selected companies from the supplier clusters in the umbrella organisation "Automotive Nord e.V." presented a broad spectrum of products and services reflecting the efficiency and performance of the automotive industry in Northern Germany.

The German federal state of Lower Saxony was represented as a business location for the automotive industry by a total of 60 supplier companies. The company c4c Engineering GmbH from the city of Braunschweig, for example, showcased its "RedBox", a simulator that enables people to already experience Car2X communication in different scenarios in the present day.

GE-T, a spin-off of the company ES-Tec GmbH in Wolfsburg, demonstrated how a new corporate culture leads to new innovative products during the digitalisation process: "We are a classic medium-sized company that dared to bring together its most creative employees to form a highly independent spin-off that works on innovative projects. One of the results of this spin-off has been the creation of customisable steering wheels, which could be used to significantly reduce the wide variety of different models currently available", explained Marc Wille, the Managing Director of ES-Tec GmbH, when talking about the world premiere showcased by the company from Wolfsburg. "We consider the trade fair to be an extremely positive event because it shows that Volkswagen is becoming more flexible as an OEM and therefore enables us to discover new opportunities, think out of the box and maybe even work together with other medium-sized suppliers to develop problem-solving strategies."

The Job Fair: the top event for up-to-date job and career information

As was the case at previous IZB events, a JobWall informed visitors about the current job vacancies of the supplier companies at the trade fair. "The fact that we have posted a variety of job advertisements on the JobWall, for example, is mainly due to the fact that we require qualified and motivated employees for our growth strategy, which features developments such as the construction of a new factory in Mexico", explained Cord Witkowski, the spokesman of the company BOGE Rubber & Plastics. "The IZB is an ideal platform for us to draw even more attention to BOGE Rubber & Plastics as a brand. As a globally operating company based in Lower Saxony, we also want to use the IZB as a chance to demonstrate the wide variety of career opportunities that we offer for interested candidates in the field of vibration technology and plastics on a global level."

On Thursday, the third day of the trade fair, more than 2,500 school pupils, students, graduates and young professionals grabbed the opportunity to establish direct contact with representatives from the human resources departments of the exhibiting companies. The Job Fair, which has now been a traditional feature of the IZB for quite some time, was therefore yet again an extremely popular highlight of this year's event.