With three trade fair days, around 940 exhibitors from 37 nations, 26 world premieres and a good 43,000 visitors - that is the balance of the 11th International Suppliers Fair (IZB) in Wolfsburg.
Highly interesting insights into the vehicle mobility of tomorrow were shown in topics such as autonomous driving, connectivity, e-mobility, software, production 4.0, among others. In line with the motto "Connecting Car Competence", trade visitors were thus able to gain an authentic impression of the current technological and structural changes in the industry.
“Above all the increase in electrification and digitalisation is now giving new supplier companies and partners the chance to join the automotive value chain. As a result, a stronger network needs to be established from the development stage right through to the after-sales processes”, declares Wendelin Göbel, Spokesman of the Board of Wolfsburg AG. “We have explored this transformation within the industry and offered new opportunities for an exchange of ideas and experiences. The consistently positive response confirms our decision to continue to focus on this approach.” The companies Wolfsburg AG and Messe Berlin will continue their cooperation when organising the IZB 2024.
Digital and hybrid events promote networking
In the run-up to this year’s event, many supplier companies already used the opportunity to present their innovations, including 26 world premieres, online. At the trade fair, the Software Marketplace in Hall 1 celebrated its own premiere by offering visitors a stage for casual conversation with exhibitors representing the new key topics of the IZB. The first and second day of the trade fair additionally featured the IZB Live Stage, which hosted exciting talks, presentations and panel discussions by and with manufacturers and supplier companies.
One of the stands offering plenty of opportunity for interesting discussions was that of the Catena-X Automotive Network. The network for the establishment of an open data ecosystem was founded in September 2021 by automotive manufacturers, supplier companies, service providers from along the entire automotive supply chain and scientists, who came together to create a trustworthy, collaborative, open and secure data ecosystem for the entire automotive industry with the aim of facilitating more resilient and flexible supply chain management. “Catena-X implements the principle of data sovereignty: who provides and monitors the data and by whom, when and under what conditions the data are received”, explains Research Coordinator Johannes Diemer from the network partner ARENA2036. “The Software Marketplace is an ingenious idea. Although we initially took a slightly sceptical approach, we are now big fans of the universal concept. The combination with the presentation provided us with enough contacts and new networking opportunities.”
Another company in the Software Marketplace was Dressler Automation GmbH, which presented RoboLive®, a solution for the commissioning, analysis and quality assurance of robotic production processes. “The Software Marketplace was a very valuable experience for us, especially given that we were able to be one of twelve selected software solutions. We held our live presentation on the first day, directly after the Trinity presentation. Our conversations were good, particularly because our visitors knew what we were talking about”, confirms Account Manager Arne Brökers, who plans to share the recording of the presentation with an even wider audience after the event. As one of around 30 exhibitors from the IZB’s host region, the Braunschweig-Wolfsburg location, the company helped demonstrate the achievement potential of the regional automotive industry.
More international than ever before, with exhibitors from 37 nations
This year’s IZB also celebrated an improvement in terms of its internationality, welcoming exhibitors from 37 different nations. Overall, around 40 percent of the exhibiting companies came from locations outside of Germany, with Italy and Spain as the largest guest nations, followed by Turkey with more than 40 exhibitors, including the Vestel Trade Co. As one of the world’s leading manufacturers of entertainment electronics, the company has expanded its portfolio and plans to additionally focus on the design and production of advanced displays and electronics for the automotive industry in the future.
Exhibitors from Australia, Greece, Romania and Serbia attended the IZB for the first time. One of these, the Serbian high-tech company NOVELIC, even introduced a world premiere. Together with Infineon, NOVELIC has developed a radar system for the reliable monitoring of vehicle interiors, and the company presented this innovation in a handmade model of a vehicle cabin. “This is our first appearance at the IZB, and we will definitely be back in two years’ time”, declares Jure Galic, M.Sc.EC., Business Development and Marketing Executive, in his enthusiastic summary. “Our experiences at this show have been extremely positive, and we are delighted about the interest shown by the many trade visitors who saw our live demonstration. We put a lot of energy into our presentation and are pleased to see the fruits of our labour.”
“Classic” suppliers are focusing on sustainability and “green” products
The IZB continues to represent the entire value chain of the automotive industry. Alongside the key topics of Electrification and Digitalisation, exhibitors showed that there is still a huge amount of potential for innovation in the fields of Metal and Powertrain, as well as Chemical Products and Plastics. In these fields, sustainability, “green” products and logistics are also important topics from a long-term perspective.
Albert Handtmann Metallgusswerk GmbH & Co. KG, for example, presented its integral rear axle beam created using lightweight construction with an innovative die-casting method. With its one-piece upper shell, the beam avoids the need for complex and cost-intensive joining technologies. “After the postponement of the event due to Covid-19, it is wonderful for us as an exhibitor to meet customers and visitors in person in this setting and within this trade fair atmosphere. We have received a very positive response from our visitors”, states Marketing Manager Daniel Weiss, pleased with the company’s participation. “The number of exhibitors underlines the value of the IZB and offers us the opportunity to present ourselves to an international audience as a full-service supplier.”
The company Autoneum AG showcased not one, but two world premieres connected to the key topic of E-mobility in the Allerpark in Wolfsburg. One of these premieres was a battery protection plate made from a composite material for electric vehicles. The global market leader in acoustic and thermal management also presented hybrid acoustics, a sustainable concept for the acoustic optimisation of components for vehicle interiors. “We have experienced very intensive days with many visitors and have met important partners from major OEMs, strengthened existing relationships and established important new contacts in various strategic areas”, summarises Luca Mazzarella, Business Development Manager New Mobility. “Our participation in the IZB has enabled us to identify new trends in the supply chain and the challenges with which our customers are confronted when developing electric models. We have also received important feedback on our latest innovations for electric vehicles.”
Sustainability is also the focus of FUCHS, which claims to be the world’s largest independent lubricant manufacturer. The company, which is based in the German city of Mannheim, is working on developing alternative grease and lubricant solutions. “This was our first participation in the IZB since 2008, so we were particularly delighted to have the privilege of welcoming the Management Board of Volkswagen AG on its Management Walk”, explains Philipp Niemax, Head of Global Business Segment OEM VW Group at FUCHS. “Our team informed the delegation led by the Chairman of the Board, Oliver Blume, about how FUCHS is shaping the future transformation of the automotive industry with its new innovative and sustainable products. For us, the IZB 2022 was an outstanding platform for networking with customers and interested visitors and exchanging ideas and experiences regarding shared strategies arising from future mobility in the value chain.”
All in all, the exhibitors were very satisfied with their involvement in the specialist trade fair in Wolfsburg, which gave them the opportunity to establish and maintain many networks and contacts in one location in a very short space of time.