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Automatica show will become a 'compact' event in mid-2021

29 September, 2020

Automatica, the German robotics and automation exhibition, originally due to take place in June this year, before being rescheduled to December, will now become “a compact in-person event” taking place in mid-2021. The next full-scale Automatica will be held in June 2022. The show’s organiser, Messe München, is also planning to expand its digital activities.

Messe München says it has decided not to proceed with the December event “due to the current travel restrictions in Europe in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic, which are becoming more stringent”. This decision has been taken in agreement with the show’s sponsor, VDMA Robotics + Automation, and the Automatica Advisory Board. The compact event in mid-2021 “will be adapted to the specific circumstances in times of the Coronavirus”.

Messe München says it had done everything it could to ensure a safe in-person exhibition could take place from 8–11 December, by postponing it to the latest possible date of the year and drawing up a comprehensive protection and hygiene protocol. “However, current developments make it absolutely necessary to rethink these plans.”

Due to the increasing number of infections, travel restrictions have been imposed on an increasing number of European countries and regions in recent weeks. Similarly, the travel situation outside Europe “has barely improved”. In addition, many German and international corporations have issued internal travel bans. As a result, most exhibitors feared that only a small fraction of the visitors originally expected would attend the December event. Under these circumstances, the organisers felt that proceeding with the December plans “would cause lasting damage to the exhibition”.

“An exhibition thrives on its participants,” explains Messe München managing director, Falk Senger. “However, too many of our exhibitors and visitors could not have come to Munich due to travel restrictions. That is why we ultimately had to cancel Automatica 2020. This situation makes it all the more important to look ahead now. We are working hard on new offerings to bring the industry together and move it forward.”

“The original decision to postpone Automatica was correct,” adds Patrick Schwarzkopf, managing director of VDMA Robotics + Automation, which represents German industry. “However, with external conditions having deteriorated sharply recently, a reassessment of the situation is essential. We are glad that Messe München has reacted flexibly and is now breaking new ground together with the industry.”

The Automatica show will become a scaled-back event during 2021 before returning at full scale in 2022

The format for the new mid-2021 in-person event, with digital elements, is still being developed. It has been conceived as a compact “exhibition before the exhibition” and will become an add-on to Automatica.

“The current infection rate developments make hosting a successful world-leading exhibition impossible and would have damaged its aspiration and image,” comments Wilfried Eberhardt, chairman of the Automatica Advisory Board and chief marketing officer for the robot-maker, Kuka. “That is why we will now focus our planning efforts on a new event next summer to bridge the time gap to Automatica 2022—thus providing the necessary positive momentum for the industry.”

Automatica is expanding its digital presence through, for example, an online series called “Let's talk by automatica”, in which experts, suppliers and users will take a closer look at issues and trends in robotics and automation. There are also plans to offer parts of the programme originally planned for December, in a virtual setting. Details will follow in the coming weeks.

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