More than 42,000 people visited the 30th edition of BIEMH in Spain, a figure that exceeds the final result obtained in 2016 by 5%. Xabier Basañez, the General Director of Bilbao Exhibition Centre, called the event an “absolute success” at the press conference, accompanied by Mª Carmen Gorostiza, Director of BIEMH; César Garbalena, President of AFM; Eduard Farran, President of AIMHE and Xabier Ortueta, General Director of AFM. The show brought together a total of 1,751 exhibiting firms from 21 countries.
Regarding the place of origin of visitors, the General Director of BEC highlighted that, “40% of professionals came from autonomous communities outside of the Basque Country, and 5% were from 61 foreign countries. Internationally, he noted that the presence of Portuguese professionals had increased considerably with respect to the previous edition, putting Portugal in first place. Germany and Italy have also increased the number of professional visitors. The list is completed with participants from the United States, Mexico, Peru, Colombia, Cuba, China, India, Kazakhstan, Belarus, Sweden, Turkey, Algeria, Ghana, Egypt, Tunisia, Australia, and many more”.
The sectors of greatest interest have mainly been process automation and manufacturing (14%), machine tool accessories (13.6%), tools (10.4%), components for machine tools (10%), additive manufacturing and 3D printing (7.7%), metal cutting machine tools (6.3%), handling parts and tools (6.2%), digitalisation (6.1%), robotics (4.5%), oxy-cutting and welding machinery (3.7%), metrology and quality control (3.3%) and metal forming machine tools (2.8%). The professional visitors had profiles ranging from directors and managers, to department heads and technicians.
The President of AFM, César Garbalena, also valued this edition of BIEMH very positively. “We have offered a snap shot of a very powerful sector, and of a country that is committed to industry”, he assured. “Over the six BEC exhibition halls we have been able to see the first multi-function machines, a large range of part-process solutions, and outstanding examples of Industry 4.0 with machines connected to production centres far away”, he explained. The General Director of AFM, Xabier Ortueta, provided information from the surveys taken of partners taking part in BIEMH who have given the quality and results of the trade show on the whole a score of 7.9 out of 10. The results of this work have recorded improvements in all the parameters analysed when compared with 2016.
The opening ceremony of the 30th BIEMH was presided over by the President of the Basque Government (Lehendakari), Iñigo Urkullu, who took the opportunity to underline the value of the “Machine-Tool Biennial to showcase the transformation to the new Industry 4.0 to the world”. “This sector leads the way in innovation, internationalisation, and professional, technological and digital training for human resources. And it is the benchmark for our export capacity and presence in the global market”, he assured. The President of the Bilbao Exhibition Centre and the Minister for Economic Development and Infrastructures of the Basque Government, Arantxa Tapia, also welcomed participants in the opening ceremony, highlighting that BIEMH is “by far the greatest professional event in the industrial sector, and the main industrial showcase of the Basque Country to the world, displaying an advanced and pioneering industry where Basque companies represent the forefront of the machine tool industry”.
Hall 4 of the Bilbao Exhibition Centre was transformed this year into “Hall 4.0”, where technologies that are essential to successfully taking on the transformation towards the new industry were displayed live at BeDIGITAL by BIEMH, the first forum dedicated exclusively to the digital technology industry, ADDIT3D, the International Trade Show on Additive and 3D Manufacturing, and IMIC, the Industrial Maintenance Innovation Conference. These three shows have combined their exhibition areas with conference programmes featuring expert speakers of the highest level and 700 delegates.
Within the context of major challenges, many professionals have visited this space to find out about the keys to new manufacturing paradigms emerging from concepts such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things (IoT), Additive Manufacturing and 3D Printing, Collaborative Robotics, and Virtual and Augmented Reality.
Innovation took centre stage at one of the highlights of the event, the award ceremony for the 13th National Award for Innovation in Advanced and Digital Manufacturing. This year, the award winners were the companies Zayer, Correa, Addilan and Savvy. Some of the innovations displayed in the show worth highlighting were: a new smart software for large chip cutting, featuring a system consisting of machine drives used to generate an oscillating movement which produces smaller chips which are easier to remove, thus reducing machine downtime while guaranteeing continuous production; nozzles facilitating faster cutting operation and a new design reducing nitrogen consumption during the cutting process to 70% and increasing sheet production with reduced consumption; the most comprehensive high-power thermal cutting and machining unit on the market today, equipped with a carousel tool changer for 20 tools & an automatic slag and small parts removal system, which makes it ideal for Service Centres; the first pneumatically-driven collaborative robot, that with the help of flexible and delicate movements can work directly and safely together with humans.
“We have found what we were looking for, and we have also discovered products and technology that we didn’t even know existed”, opined foreign buyers visiting BIEMH, who have been positively impressed by the technological level on offer at the various exhibition areas, including spaces focussing on Industry 4.0. A total of 25 delegations were invited to take part in the trade show, in a year in which professionals from the USA, a strategic market for machine-tool companies, have stood out. Portuguese representatives, mainly from the moulding industry, as well as Spanish buyers from the aeronautics, automotive, and mould and die sectors also expressed their keen interest in the event.
The delegation programme was completed with buyers from Germany, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, India, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, Sweden and Turkey among others, thanks to the collaboration of distributors, importers and sector associations, private representatives, SPRI offices abroad and chambers of commerce.
BIEMH 2018 will have generated an economic impact in terms of Gross Domestic Product of over 42.7 million euros. This has led to the creation of 896 direct jobs and revenues for the Regional Treasury of 5.3 million euros. Without a doubt, the International Machine-Tool Exhibition is one of the most significant events for “business tourism” in the Basque Country. The next edition of BIEMH will take place from 25 to 29 May 2020.