Preview on AIRTEC 2015 in MunichMeeting point of the supplier industry

This year, in November, AIRTEC will be held in Munich for the first time. It offers exhibitors and visitors from all levels of the supply chain an excellent platform for new contacts. The conference programme is also top-class.

AIRTEC 2015 - Standfoto 2014

Zahlreiche Zulieferfirmen zeigen auf der AIRTEC ihre Fähigkeiten (Foto: AIRTEC).  


Everyone is familiar with industry giants like Airbus and Boeing, but behind the dominant aircraft manufacturers are countless suppliers. They contribute all those systems and components down to sundry small parts and materials, without which airliners, helicopters or fighters would never get airborne. The success of the companies from the supply chain, which extends down to small and medium-sized companies, depends on securing a role for themselves on the successful major programmes.

“The civil supplier industry (in Germany) grew by 5.5 percent in 2014, so that total sales rose to 9.83 billion euros,” says Bernhard Gerwert, President of the German Aerospace Industries Association (BDLI). It “is participating in the ramp-up of the Airbus programmes. The growth in sales by half a billion euros is also down to the fact that this industry, which is centred around medium-sized companies, is increasingly winning workshares on programmes for aircraft manufacturers outside Europe. Our companies, residing as they do in a high-wage country, achieve this success in a tough international competition in which they hold their own due to their strong market position in technology and quality. These competitive advantages must be retained and selectively expanded,” says Gerwert.

But how does one make new contacts and gain new orders for products as diverse as 42 mm long brushless electric motors, intelligent cutting machines for composite multi-ply weaves, prefabricated control panel frame structures or software that enables one to view and control the status of deliveries globally? One opportunity is AIRTEC, described by organiser Diana Schnabel as “a world meeting point with pre-organised B2B meetings, at which new business contacts can be forged in a targeted manner, resulting in new business opportunities and project partnerships.” At the last AIRTEC 450 companies attended no fewer than 10,000 B2B meetings, representing a 60 percent increase over the previous year, 2013.

For manufacturers and system suppliers it was all about seeking out suppliers. “We had the opportunity to meet over 70 companies,” said Pierre Oligny, European Procurement Director of Pratt & Whitney Canada, who was extremely positive about the event. Laurent Gautier, Marketing-Manager of LATelec GmbH in Hamburg, which manufactures cable harnesses, for example, for the Airbus A380, reported a similar experience: “We had almost 20 meetings and were able as a result to step up discussions with four potential customers. With three of them we are now in further discussions regarding new business in the near future.”

AIRTEC offers the opportunity to make contacts all over the world. In 2014 experts from 45 countries were represented, some 70 percent of them from abroad. The spurt in interest was especially noticeable in the case of Brazil, but Italy, Spain, the USA, the United Kingdom and France have traditionally also been strongly represented at AIRTEC. The exhibiting companies cover the entire supply chain of the aerospace industry, from engineering to test and simulation, the production of components and systems to life-cycle support and security requirements. This will be the case once more in Munich in November, where 600 exhibitors from 35 countries are expected.

In addition to the exhibition and business discussions AIRTEC also offers a top-class conference programme featuring 230 presentations on topics of central relevance to aerospace. For example, current trends will be discussed at the Global Supply Chain Summit. Other topics include the use of composite materials and the focus of research on the aircraft of the future. The megatrend of “Additive Manufacturing” will naturally be covered in depth once again. Amongst other things there will be presentations on 3D printing of moulds and the manufacture of ceramic components using this methodology.

At the space congress there will be a discussion on increasing commercialisation, with Dr. Gerd Gruppe of the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) giving one of the keynote speeches. Issues currently attracting excitement include the development and operation of unmanned aerial vehicles in the civilian domain. In particular there is a need for collision avoidance systems. In addition, experts will speak about trends in helicopters and in avionics.

In this way AIRTEC will offer a complete programme at its new location. At any rate Ilse Aigner, Bavarian Minister for Economic Affairs, Media, Energy and Technology, who will open the event, is convinced that the trade show “will reinforce the high-technology region of Bavaria as one of the outstanding aerospace locations in Europe. In addition it fits perfectly into the Bavarian strategy of raising our international presence and strengthening our links with international partners.”

First published in FLUG REVUE, November 2015

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Karl Schwarz

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