Monday, September 17, 2012

InnoTrans 2012 set to open

Written by  William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief

On Tuesday, Sept. 18, InnoTrans 2012 opens in Berlin, and over a period of four days, a record 2,515 exhibitors from 49 countries will be presenting their railway products and services—272 exhibitors more than at InnoTrans 2010.

For the first time, the exhibition grounds are fully booked. No less than 313,000 square feet of indoor display space, which occupies 26 halls, is a new record—a 17% increase over 2010—and 115 rail vehicles, from track machines to locomotives to complete high speed trainsets, will be exhibited in the 600,000-square-foot outdoor display area consisting of nearly 12,000 feet (more than two miles) of track.

Messe Berlin, the organizers, expect over 100,000 trade visitors from more than 100 countries to attend InnoTrans 2012. At 57%, non-European participation in InnoTrans is a new record.

“This year the global rail industry is represented in greater numbers at InnoTrans than at any previous event,” says Matthias Steckmann, Director at Messe Berlin. “Vehicle manufacturers from all over the world are gathering here. In addition to full-range suppliers and medium-sized enterprises, numerous transport companies and associations from Germany and abroad are also in Berlin.”

Railway suppliers from all parts of the world are represented at InnoTrans. Companies from Malta, Singapore, Estonia, and Mexico are making a first-time appearance. The number of U.S. companies (about 40 total) has risen sharply, and for the first time, they will host a combined national display, at the American Pavilion. The level of non-European participation is strong, with 57% of exhibitors and 54% of the display area occupied by non-European companies. The number of companies from Asia is way up—58% higher than at InnoTrans 2010. China and Japan have increased their presence. Display space occupied by Chinese exhibitors has grown by 90%, that of Japanese companies by 84%.

Full-range suppliers such as Alstom, Bombardier, and Siemens, and General Electric as well as small and medium-sized enterprises from around the world are taking part. The Railway Technology, Railway Infrastructure, and Public Transport and Interiors (PTI) areas occupy considerably larger display areas than in 2010. The Tunnel Construction area has maintained the same high numbers it recorded at the prior event.

InnoTrans “continues to build on its standing as the platform where products are shown for the first time,” says Messe Berlin. “A total of 147 product premieres have registered; 104 are world premieres, 25 are European premieres, and 18 are German premieres. The number of world premieres has doubled since 2010. They include ticketing systems, innovative communication technology, and high speed trains.”

Among this year’s premieres are the TRAXX F140 multi-engine diesel locomotive from Bombardier, and high speed grinding technology from Vossloh Rail Services. Siemens is also exhibiting a world premiere—the Metro Inspiro, built for Warsaw public transport. One of two world premieres from Deutsche Bahn AG (German Rail) will be a model of its cab car for the ICx high speed trainset. The online InnoTrans 2012 Innovation Report contains a selection of InnoTrans 2012 product premieres.

Besides expanding the industry growth segments of Public Transport and Interiors, the PTI Hall Forum also combines buying and designunder one roof. The focus at the PTI Hall Forum is on the DB Suppliers’ Forum and the International Design Forum. Organized by Deutsche Bahn AG, the DB Suppliers’ Forum is where head buyers from DB will be interfacing with suppliers from around the world. At the International Design Forum, the focus is on vehicle exterior and interior industrial design, and the use of innovative and sustainable materials. The forum is organized by International Design Centre Berlin.

InnoTrans 2012 is also a place to launch a career in the railway industry. The subjects of careers, training, and science are combined under a single roof for the first time at the new Career Point Hall. For students, trainees, and even those with a background in railway technology, the Career Point Hall at InnoTrans “provides a wide-ranging platform to assist them in pursuing a career in the railway sector,” says Messe Berlin. “Inside the Career Point Hall, job seekers and career planners will be able to get individual advice from the personnel managers of leading companies. At the Career Point pavilion, among others, personnel officers from Siemens, Bombardier, Vossloh, and Spitzke will be on hand with details about career prospects. The German Railway Industry Association (VDB), the VDV Academy, and the European Railway Agency are also staging presentations.”

Simmons-Boardman Rail Group Publisher Jonathan Chalon and Railway Age Editor-in-Chief William C. Vantuono join their colleagues from International Railway Journal at InnoTrans 2012. Stay tuned to this website for periodic reports from Berlin. The October 2012 issue of Railway Age will feature a special InnoTrans 2012 roundup.