Global Automotive Components and Suppliers Expo 2017 hailed a huge success
The array of technology and innovation on display during the three days was expansive, with over 350 exhibitors from more than 25 countries showcasing more components than ever before. The show, which also hosts Engine Expo and Automotive Interiors Expo, welcomed over 3,000 attendees and numerous product innovations.
For example, the Trattamenti Termici stand was full of visitors across the three days, keen to find out more about the company’s heat treatment offering. “What we’re showing is everything from the first phase, which is the manufacture of the gears, to the second, where a heat treatment process is required to harden the gears,” explained Dr Rosario Biunno. “But we also aim to provide whatever the customer requires [for their application] and to reduce any imperfections – burrs and so on – by playing around with the pressures in the oven, or clamping. Basically, whatever the customer wants.”
On display at the stand was a huge selection of example gears, including cutaways to demonstrate the sectioning and quality control process that Trattamenti Termici undertakes to avoid impurities in the metal and imperfections in the design.
“The people who want the gears made, from forging companies to end users, are coming to us at the stand,” added Biunno. “The enquiries we’re getting have real potential. Some people are even coming to us to offer their services – new technology to do with heat treatment that could increase hardness.”
Elsewhere on the expo floor, the team at Haver & Boecker, a global manufacturer of wire mesh for industry, technology, architecture and design, were fielding questions on the company’s metal wire cloth, which is made of materials including steel, stainless-steel alloys, and special materials such as titanium or Hastelloy as well as non-ferrous metals such as aluminium, brass or nickel. From small series to mass production, Haver & Boecker offers a range of products tailored to meet its customers’ requirements, and the stand was full of numerous examples of the levels of customisation available.
“We only display specialised products,” explained Klaus Sklorz, head of the filters and fabricated parts business unit. “We have no catalogue – everything you see here is a one-off.” The stand led to some interesting conversations, Sklorz added, with a variety of different parties. “[We’ve spoken to] engineers who are developing things and designing things who are looking for solutions to challenges they are facing, designers interested in interior parts meshes, as well as process developers who have a final product but who are looking for solutions as to how they implement special processes.”
Over at the Sintex stand, manager Jan Graff was keen to talk about how metal injection moulding is 'the new black gold': “We’ve been explaining to people the advantages they can get by knowing the process before they do the design. Today, the opinion is that metal injection moulding is very expensive, because if you compare one-to-one then that is the case. If you design the products, knowing what you can get out of the process, then you can design something you cannot achieve any other way.
"If the complexity is extremely high, then when you reach volumes of 5,000 or 10,000 pieces, the cost comes down – because you cannot achieve this any other way [in one single piece]. Everything you can make a plastic injection mould for, we can do in metal.”
Throughout the three days of the show, visitors were impressed with the array of companies that were attending, and with the level of expertise on display.
“We are very interested in finding out more on different types of sensors, because our company produces sensors,” explained Marc Coenen, regional sales manager for Therm-O-Disc who visited the show for the first time. “Here we can find out what the trends are, which sensors are used, where, and how many – these are the kinds of things we want to find out about.”
For Dejan Gocevski and Goran Georgievski of Brako, the expo is key to the success of ongoing projects. “We are looking for alternative suppliers for our applications,” said Gocevski. “We’re here to find out if there are people we could be working with, and also what technologies are on offer. We’re interested to see what we can improve in our vehicles, but the primary purpose is to find alternative suppliers in all component areas.”
“I am here to look for what suppliers are working on the industry – ones that are closer to us in Macedonia,” added Georgievski. “Here there are a lot of different companies from all over the world, so it’s a good place to look at what is available.”
Global Automotive Components and Supplier Expo continues to attract visitors looking for the latest in technical innovation, as Steffen Maurer from Germany company Automotive Lighting explained: “We want to find new ideas for automotive parts. We have been to see many of the expos, but this exhibition is the main reason we are here, and is the most interesting for us. We’re interested in solutions rather than making new contacts because we work directly in research and development, and there is lots here to see.”
The range of companies on display also struck a chord with visitors. “I’m a non-woven manufacturer and I’m looking for new contacts and new customers,” said Oriol Roma, an automotive sales manager for Tefisa in Spain. “It’s been really good. There are many medium-sized companies here, the ones that are difficult to find. The big groups are known by everyone, but many medium-sized companies, working in niche markets, are really interesting to me.”
Exhibitors were quick to praise the calibre of the visitors to this year’s expo. For Dr David Quinn, director of research and development at Penn Engineering, the show allowed the company to not only make new contacts, but to interact with current clients too.
“We’re absolutely interested in meeting new customers, but we have also invited some of our existing customers,” Quinn explained. “Ultimately we’re looking to find new customers because, the way the automotive market is going and the huge proliferation of electronics, there’s uncertainty about propulsion systems and so on. My read on the market is that a lot of the big players are getting into this, so we’re absolutely looking to meet new customers, and to show them and our existing customers that we’ve got 75 years of experience in this area. We’re a one-stop shop, not a one-trick pony. This is a good place to meet those types of people.”
Thomas Hochstrate of Bulten was equally impressed with the expo: “This is our first time here, and I must say, we are astonished at how well the show has gone. In just the first three hours we made a lot of contacts. I am astonished how many people are interested in what we have to show.”
For regular attendees Vaughtons, Global Automotive Components and Suppliers Expo has shown a visible growth over the years, and the company was keen to return to the show in 2017 to demonstrate its wide range of bespoke automotive badges, promotional items and examples of electroplating finishes.
“This is our fourth year, and we’ve evolved with the show,” explained designer Dave Harper, who has seen the expo go from strength to strength. “It’s got better and better – I mean, it’s always been good. We find it’s just a really good clientele that you get here. Everybody here is a professional, and everybody here is the kind of person that we need to be meeting. When people do come with an enquiry, whether it's big or small, it’s the correct kind of enquiry. We enjoy ourselves here, which is important, but it’s a strong show for us. We’ve spoken to a gentleman from McLaren, who we have worked with in the past, but it was great to revive that. We’ve spoken to a gentleman doing work with JLR who wasn’t happy with the company he’s working with at the moment, so that’s really great too. And there was a gentleman from Iceland with a project that’s absolutely amazing, and could be really interesting for us to work on.”
The show was summed up by Todd Hooker of the West Virginia Department of Commerce: “It’s been great to see some of our existing customers at the show. But we are making new contacts too. We’re very happy.”