Registering 20,400 visitors from 100 nations the world’s leading trade fair ALUMINIUM in Düsseldorf has reported back after a four-year break - and exceeded expectations.
However, the 730 exhibitors from 50 nations also demonstrated at ALUMINIUM that the potential this material and the industry as a whole hold is enormous.
“ALUMINIUM 2022 has exceeded our expectations,” says Barbara Leithner, Chief Operating Officer at RX Austria & Germany, the organiser of ALUMINIUM. “The more challenging the times the more important is communication within, and the unity of, the industry. Against the backdrop of the current framework conditions ALUMINIUM 2022 was the most important event in its 25-year history,” says Barbara Leithner with conviction.
ALUMINIUM 2022: Confidence prevails despite energy price crisis and material bottlenecks
The mood in the sector is between serious and hopeful. The high energy costs have indisputably become a threat to the aluminium sector. “The situation is serious,” says Rob van Gils describing the position of the aluminium industry in Europe. The President of Aluminium Deutschland stresses: “The energy ‘insanity’ endangers our competitiveness. And this is something industry on its own cannot solve. So we need political support and solutions. At the moment, we really have to rank security of supply in the first place,” sums up van Gils.
This is also echoed by Paul Voss, Director General of the industry association European Aluminium: “We need a combination of short-term measures to stop the ‘bloodletting’ and a system that allows industries to source the required energy at acceptable prices. I am not saying at the same prices we had before but a price we can live with.”
Enabler on the path towards a climate-neutral society
By means of “aids and brakes” the Federal Minister of Economic and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck, intends to retain energy-intensive industry such as the aluminium sector in Germany, as he explained in his video message at the opening of the trade fair. Habeck sees possibilities here via the announced aid programmes and the gas price brake, to name but two. “To bring down prices at the basis will cost a lot of money; but if it helps to conserve the substance of the German industry, it is money well invested,” said the Federal Minister.
The relevance of the aluminium sector was also emphasised by Mona Neubaur, Minister for Economics, Industry, Climate Protection and Energy of North Rhine-Westphalia: “Aluminium can be understood as an enabler on the path towards a climate-neutral society and industry”, said Neubaur in the video she addressed to the visitors of ALUMINIUM at the opening. “The next five years will decide whether the transformation of the industry succeeds. Crucial to this will be that we ensure planning safety and competitiveness for extensive investment in technology and infrastructure. The next investment cycle must be used for the conversion of the industry,” the Minister said.
Paul Voss made it clear that the aluminium sector was prepared to do just this, summing up the prevailing optimistic mood: “I see people who are preparing for a bright future rather than trying to cope with the decline. This truly gives me hope.”
The trade fair provided the setting for the dialogue that goes with it. “What we have seen here at ALUMINIUM is a very open platform, a very high quality of dialogue and we hope that we were able to send out the right signals to all stakeholders who can support us in the short and medium term,” said Michael Hahne of Novelis summing up the three trade fair days.
Sustainability is booming
ALUMINIUM exhibitors also reported investment and significant business deals being concluded here. The SMS Group, for example, signed a contract for not one but several extrusion lines at the trade fair – including one of the world’s biggest extrusion lines with a press force of 150 MN. “Our customer from Turkey is therefore one of the first manufacturers of such large-format aluminium sections for rail vehicles in Europe,” delights Tobias Brune. “Our customer’s investment decision reflects the growing market for lightweight construction applications in the mobility sector and a clear trend: sustainability and investment in infrastructure are booming.”
The expert programme that was received very well over all three trade fair days also illustrated that the mobility sector, sustainability and recycling themes as well as digital manufacturing are the topics of the future for the industry as a whole. For the first time, the ALUMINIUM Conference – organised by Aluminium Deutschland – was held in the heart of the exhibition space itself. In addition, two Speakers’ Corners on “Sustainability & Recycling” and “Additive & Digital Manufacturing” celebrated their premiere.
Face-to-face towards success
Besides knowledge transfer personal exchange was centre stage, as Yavuz Arkun of Assan Alüminyum stressed. “The most important thing is to care for your customers, understand their needs, build good relations and jointly shape the future. Trade fairs like ALUMINIUM are the opportunity to meet face-to-face. It really gives us pleasure and we benefit from it.”
Ilias Papadopoulos of Trimet also rates ALUMINIUM 2022 as a success: “The right time, the right place, the right partners – we have customers here, we have suppliers here. We really had fruitful and in-depth discussions with the right people. We can say: for us it was a resounding success and we look forward to being back in 2024.”
The coming ALUMINIUM will be held from 8 to 10 October 2024.