The talk and the buzz. The desperate need for face-to-face meetings was clear during Metal Inspiration Days at the end of November. And highest on the agenda? The increasing trend in investment in robotics and automation - something that looks set to continue well into 2022.
Physical meetings have returned Metal Inspiration Days in Jönköping. A collaboration between Stenbergs, Edströms and ABB Robotics with over 30 exhibitors - many of them also exhibiting at Elmia Produktionsmässor next May.
- It was really noticeable that there is a need to get together again after two years of working from home. I don't know exactly how many visitors were there, but the Stenbergs stand was buzzing on both days and we met a lot of new and existing customers, says Tommy Strand, CEO of InLead.
The two days felt almost like a reunion and a new start for the industry, according to Tomas Reimer, CEO of Bonthron & Ewing, who sees an increased willingness to invest - especially in automation - and he sees this willingness continuing well into next year.
- There was a lot of talk of robots and automation during Metal Inspiration Days and we are seeing a trend in automation. There are some excellent robots out there which are suitable for small and medium-sized companies and that lower the threshold for investment. It really feels as though the automation revolution has become accessible to the small company, he says.
Mikael Jigbäck from PMA Automation highlights the opportunity to once again meet customers and colleagues in the industry. Digital meetings are all well and good, but they can never replace the physical meeting and the opportunity to see the machines in operation, he says.
- We achieved a lot of great leads and ideas from the Metal Inspiration Days, and it was a great feeling to finally be able to meet physically again. Now that we know what these meetings achieved, we are really looking forward to Elmia Automation this spring, he says.
In previous years, PMA Automation has only shown products from the RoboFeeder range for machine operation at Elmia Automation - next year the full breadth of the company will be on display.
- It will be the first time that we exhibit the company and its products so widely at a trade fair and we want to show how diverse we are.
InLead is also looking forward to Elmia Production Fairs in May. Tommy Strand says that they have always come home from the fair "with great results" and are already planning what new products to show next year.
- We'll be there again in 2022 to help companies make more money and work smarter - but exactly what we'll be showing we'll be keeping secret for a while longer, he says.