International Suppliers Fair (IZB)
6th to 8th October 2020
Wolfsburg | Germany
The International Suppliers Fair is clearly continuing its excellent course of growth, with more exhibitors, more internationality and more world premieres. At this year’s event, over 800 satisfied exhibitors from 29 different countries and boasting a total of 30 world premieres helped the 8th International Suppliers Fair to yet again live up to its name as Europe's leading trade fair for the automotive industry. Over the past three days, the IZB, which took place in an exhibition area covering a total of 36,000 square metres, and the forums, specialist events and congresses with top-class speakers accompanying the trade fair all provided a comprehensive insight into the automotive value chain and offered around 51,000 visitors from Germany and abroad ideal conditions for efficient and successful networking activities.
"The constantly good or very good response received by exhibitors and trade visitors shows us that we clearly did a lot of things right. More than 90 percent of exhibitors were satisfied or very satisfied with their time at the trade fair, and they particularly appreciated the opportunity to make new contacts", stated Julius von Ingelheim, the Spokesman of the Board of Wolfsburg AG, in his extremely positive summary at the end of the trade fair. "In this light, the fact that we accommodated requests made by exhibitors by hosting the trade fair from Tuesday to Thursday was also very well received."
Nearly 51,000 visitors from all over the world, including a large number of decision-makers from vehicle manufacturers and supplier companies, came to Wolfsburg to gain an overview of the latest trends and developments in the industry. “The IZB has established itself as an ideal communication and business platform that provides reliable information, features future-oriented discussions and supports networking activities on a long-term basis”, declared Stephan Böddeker, the IZB Project Manager at Wolfsburg AG, the company behind the event. “In our increasingly digitalised world, in which communication between products and production is becoming more and more prominent, it is more important than ever that all partners are in good contact."
The Partner Region of ASEAN
The opportunities and challenges in the dynamically developing markets of Southeast Asia were a hot topic at this year’s IZB. After all, an increased involvement in value creation in the field of automotive production means that it is becoming more necessary for supplier companies to actively work together with manufacturers in these new growth markets. The states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in particular, which, unlike China and India, were often ignored in the past, have now been attracting attention to themselves with increasing purchasing power and solid growth rates for many years. As a result, ASEAN, which is home to more than 620 million residents, is an extremely interesting emerging market for the international automotive industry.
As the partner region of the IZB 2014, the ASEAN states formed a special focus of the trade fair and its accompanying congresses and specialist events, which featured a number of high-ranking speakers. The International Automotive Congress - ASEAN, which was fully booked long before the start of the event, for example, informed visitors about the political, social and economic heterogeneity of the ASEAN region and the special market requirements resulting from this diversified situation on the Monday before the IZB and in doing so, paved the way for more in-depth discussions. The more than 50 companies from the ASEAN region at this year's IZB, most of which were appearing at the event for the first time, offered plenty of opportunities for the exchange of ideas and experiences.
Hamizan Osman, the Head of Operations, Manufacturing & Engineering in the Automotive Distribution & Manufacturing Division at DRB-HICOM, stated that: “Firstly, we have shown the Volkswagen delegation our commitment to being a VW business partner on a long-term basis. We are a CKD assembler for Volkswagen in Malaysia and have been running production activities for the Polo, Passat and Jetta since 2011. Our second objective is to introduce our component business, i.e. plastics, casting, metal stamping and chroming. We are able to produce a wide range of components in Malaysia and have the opportunity to export our products to VW assembly lines worldwide. We are therefore using the chance to establish contact with other suppliers during the fair.”
Datuk Dr Wan Mohamed W.E., Chairman and CEO of the WSA Group, explained that: “This is our first time participating in a trade fair in the European automotive market and we are very positive about it. We are here in the capital city of Volkswagen to get to know our customer (VW) better, especially those involved in project and business development. We also plan to meet and communicate with as many suppliers as possible and provide them with first-hand information on Malaysia and ASEAN, I hope that our presence and exchange of experiences will effectively help to convince German and European automotive suppliers of the positive growth potential and benefits of investing in Malaysia and ASEAN. I believe that the VW Group is making the right decision to invest in Malaysia and serve the ASEAN market.”
A Boost for Small and Large Companies
This year's IZB yet again welcomed eight of the world's ten highest-volume supplier companies and in doing so, underlined its importance as a trade fair for automotive experts and professionals all over the world.
The company Robert Bosch GmbH, for example, has already established production facilities in the ASEAN states. As Norbert Brosi, the Executive Vice-President of BOSCH Automotive (Thailand) Co. Ltd., explains: “At the IZB, we presented products and service from Bosch that are tailored to meet the local needs and requirements of the markets in Southeast Asia. The focus of these products and services are drive and safety systems from Thailand, navigation systems from Malaysia, drive systems from Indonesia and our services such as eCall from the Philippines. Our work in the ASEAN states to date has continued to follow a classic safety strategy. We have ascertained that the fields of car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication are not as advanced in ASEAN as they are in Europe. Our sites in the ASEAN region have enabled us to prepare ourselves to meet the needs of our international customers in a way that continues to uphold our worldwide standards. We hope that the strengthened commitment of our main customers in Southeast Asia will enable us to intensify our business relations.”
Alongside the market leaders, it is above all the small and medium-sized enterprises in the automotive supplier industry that are able to benefit from the international orientation of the trade fair and the opportunity to establish contact in line with the IZB motto of “Connecting Car Competence”. One of these enterprises at this year’s event was the company rapid manufacturing GmbH (rpm) from the German city of Helmstedt, which presented a world premiere at the trade fair in the form of its polyamide casting process, which will facilitate semi-automated small-series production at mass-production prices in the future. “The new and special highlight of our production technology is the fact that we are able to mould both glass fibres and carbon fibres in small-series production, which then, of course, have an impact on the weight of individual components and in turn influence fuel consumption and other factors. Our material development activities have received a positive response where these impacts and influences are concerned. We have decided to focus on the niche market of pre-production and small-series production and supply our functional prototypes and small-series products to virtually all European automotive manufacturers”, declared Dirk Meyer, a member of the Sales team at rpm GmbH. A total of 40 exhibitors from the Braunschweig-Wolfsburg region of Germany, which hosted the event, attended this year’s IZB.
Sustainability and Safety Are Still Megatrends
This year, sustainability and safety also played a prominent role in the 8th International Suppliers Fair, which used its focus areas of lightweight construction, resource-efficient production and intelligent networking to show that the industry continues to boast a huge amount of potential for innovation. When it comes to the production of car bodies and interior components, lightweight components with growing amounts of renewable raw materials that are manufactured using hybrid construction are playing an increasingly important role in reducing the weight and consumption of vehicles. Alongside lightweight materials made of glass-fibre and carbon-fibre-reinforced plastics, BASF also, for example, showcased a radiator coating that works as a catalyser to convert ground-level ozone into oxygen. Christian Zeintal from BASF Global Automotive Communications declared that: “On the whole, we are very pleased with our time at the trade fair. As one of the largest chemical companies involved in the automotive supplier industry, BASF focuses on providing sustainable solutions for the mobility of the future. Chemistry will continue to play an increasingly important role when it comes to the topics of lightweight construction, reducing emissions, electromobility and design. Alongside our Volkswagen contacts, the IZB also enables us to meet a multitude of suppliers and customers with which we are in close contact when we carry out our day-to-day work.”
This was also confirmed by Robert Suvak, the Managing Director and Senior Vice-President of the DRÄXLMAIER Group, which has been an IZB exhibitor ever since the very first event and used this year's trade fair to showcase a world premiere in the form of a centre console that is 30 percent lighter than conventional middle consoles: “On the second day of the event, we had already arranged around 30 meetings with purchasers and developers from VW, Porsche, Audi and Daimler. The IZB completely exceeded our expectations. The company DRÄXLMEIER stands for sustainability, meaning that we want to reduce CO2 values and manufacture lighter products in a more efficient manner. Our console enables us to demonstrate how we can meet these objectives. When producing the console, we use an integral construction that incorporates less plastic and more natural fibres. The fact that the component can simply be clipped into place means that customers do not need to use screws or bolts and therefore save both time and material."
Another event held alongside the IZB was the "Resource-Efficient Automotive Production” Symposium, which took place on the second day of the trade fair. The symposium was hosted by Wolfsburg AG and the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology (IWU) and provided visitors with information on possibilities for and approaches to energy-efficient and material-efficient production. One of the features of the third day of the trade fair was the Lightweight Construction Forum, which presented new manufacturing technologies for hybrid lightweight construction and further innovations for reducing vehicle weight. After all, cars will become both lighter and safer in the future. Although autopilot functions are still a long way off, car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communication will help to improve the flow of traffic and avoid accidents in the foreseeable future. In line with these developments, Continental presented its aluminium version of an exhaust turbocharger, which boasts a light weight that helps to increase efficiency in terms of fuel consumption, and its AutoLinQ Mobile docking station, which enables smartphones to be easily and safely integrated into vehicles. “As always, Wolfsburg is well worth a visit. We have mainly come to the IZB in order to intensify our contacts. We consider the trade fair to be an excellent platform and ASEAN to be a very important growth market. We have already been present in the ASEAN region for many years and have recognised the need for individual mobility”, stated Enno Pigge, External Communications Interior Division at Continental AG.
The 30th VDI/VW Joint Congress on “Driver Assistance Systems and Integrated Safety”, which was held during the trade fair in Wolfsburg, provided guests with an overview of current topics and trends for active and passive safety in vehicles. Alongside the topic of vehicle safety, the participants at this event intensively discussed the issue of data security.
On the whole, the programme of events accompanying the IZB 2014, which attracted a great deal of interest among the trade visitors, boasted more than a dozen congresses, conferences and forums.
The Interns of Today Are the Experts of the Future
The IZB Job Fair, which took place on the last day of the trade fair under the motto of "Competent Companies Looking for Young Talent", yet again received an extremely positive response. More than 2500 pupils, students, university graduates and jobseekers all made the most of their free admission to the event on Thursday and used the chance to talk to representatives from the human resources departments of both German and international companies exhibiting at the IZB about career entry and employment opportunities.