The water and wastewater industry was finally able to meet again, and take a collective look into the future with new knowledge and exciting innovations. This year, it was clearer than ever that VA-mässan is where the development of our most important public utility begins.
The buzz was never-ending. It was as if nobody wanted to stop talking, there was always a new colleague to say hi to, or a new product to learn more about. The 2022 VA-mässan truly demonstrated the value of the face-to-face meeting, and the water and wastewater industry’s drive to constantly move forwards – both in this new beginning and as a mustering of forces for the next 100 years.
“I’ve been starved of face-to-face meetings, so I was like a kid at Christmas when we got here on Monday and met all our industry colleagues. And then on Tuesday we had an invasion of motivated customers. We had day visitors who had driven three hours one way just to be at the fair,” says Marcus Albaeus, Head of Sales at ProMinent Sweden.
There was a palpable joy at being able to meet again, shared by visitors and exhibitors alike. New contacts, old contacts, and above all innovative new products that have been hard to promote in recent years – all of this and more could now finally come together at VA-mässan.
“It has been a great fair, and we pretty much had an invasion as soon as the doors opened. Our stand was full from quarter past nine, and all six of our salespeople were kept busy, which was a delight to see. I think there’s been a pent-up need to meet people, both for us and our customers, and everyone seems to have had a great time at the fair,” says Jan Ångman, Head of Sales for Industry/Plumbing at Georg Fischer. He emphasises the benefit of being able to show new products to many potential new customers in just a few days.
“VA-mässan is incredibly important to us, and it’s by far the easiest way to reach out with information about our products. Even though we have six salespeople, it takes time to get information out on the market. It’s far easier at a forum like this.”
This year, the focus was very much on innovations – innovations that will help the industry, and indeed the whole of society, to meet the challenges of the future. Four important themes came into extra focus in the open programme on the Innovation Stage: Safety & Water, Digital Water, Circular Water Management, and Water Management.
“On the Innovation Stage we highlighted topical issues alongside large and newly started companies from Sweden and internationally. Our ambition was to raise the importance of innovations on the agenda, and to present the issue to the entire water and wastewater sector in Sweden,” says Ola Hansson, Manager at WIN Water and one of the moderators for the daily stage programme.
The importance of innovations was highlighted particularly on the Innovation Square right next to the stage. Among all the crowds of people, around ten innovative companies – from start-ups to scale-ups – exhibited exciting new solutions in a wide range of fields.
“The Innovation Square was very well visited, with a wide variety of stakeholders and some delighted exhibitors. We are facing new challenges and new demands in society, and innovations are necessary to deal with it all,” Ola Hansson explains.
VA-mässan is an arena for new knowledge and inspiration on everything related to the industry. This was particularly noticeable during the seminar programme which ran across all three days of the fair, with more than 700 seminar seats in all. The sessions highlighted the most important issues, assisted by some of the leading experts in the industry.
“There was huge interest in the seminars, and several of them were full to capacity. We raised topical issues along with some of the top names in the industry as speakers, which is obviously one reason the seminars were so popular,” says Erik Winnfors Wannberg, Editor of industry magazine Cirkulation and one of the programme advisors for the seminars. He continues:
“The seminar programme is tremendously important to ensure that the industry can enjoy an open exchange of knowledge. VA-mässan also brings together a wider range of expertise than many other events. The people who come here don’t just work in the public sector, but also the private sector, and it’s important to have that mix.”
Sweden is planning to invest billions of kronor in new environmental technology moving forward. The systems built 50 years ago need to be renewed or renovated, and this is creating huge demand both for new technology and new players in the industry. This year, the Water and Wastewater Fair clearly proved that it is the number one arena for driving the development of infrastructure that can last 100 years into the future.
“The Water and Wastewater Fair is an important meeting-place, both for meeting new customers and industry colleagues. We feel that there’s a real need to meet face-to-face – it was very clear that it had been a while – and it was great to meet so many people,” says Lars Göransson, Site Manager at NCC NoDig.
Solving the challenges of today and tomorrow calls for knowledge and innovations – and of course business. The major expansion of the water and wastewater system requires billions of kronor of investment, which is obviously of interest to companies in Sweden and abroad. The Danish Export Association was at the fair, with nine exhibitors that all had a very busy event.
“This is the first time we’ve exhibited at VA-mässan, and we have more leads than we expected. We have a folder full of prospective Swedish customers. We were planning to travel around and visit each one, but we’ve been able to meet them all here at the fair instead,” says Peter Essendrop Petersen, Sales Engineer at Nissen Energy.
VA-mässan 2022 – facts & figures
Countries represented: 15
Seminar participants: 454
Seminar seats: 701