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Automechanika Frankfurt 2022: A Strong Show

Autosphere » Mechanical » Automechanika Frankfurt 2022: A Strong Show
CEO Breakfast: (l-r) Jens Schüler, (CEO Automotive Aftermarket Schaeffler AG, Ilka Groenewold (Host), Philippe Colpron (CEO ZF Aftermarket, Executive Vice President ZF Friedrichshafen AG), Detlef Braun (Member of the executive board Messe Frankfurt), Olaf Henning (Vice President & General Manager Aftermarket MAHLE), Mika Häkkinen (Two-time Formula One Champion), Rolf Sudmann, (Vice President Continental AG Division ContiTech), Mark Gallagher (One of the best-known Formula 1 managers and TV experts). Photo Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH, Jens Liebchen, photographer

Automechanika 2022 held in Frankfurt, Germany is over for another two years, but by all standards, it was very successful and was greatly missed when COVID-19 hit.

But this year it was back—the number one trade fair for the automobile industry. Exhibitors once again showed up in vast numbers—2,804 of them from 70 countries plus it was very well attended—78,000 visitors from 175 countries!

An exciting part of the Fair is the Innovation Awards and companies from the automotive market were able to submit their innovations in the following categories: E-Mobility, Data & Connectivity, Workshop & Service Solutions, Parts & Technology Solutions, Body & Paint, Car Wash & Care, Accessories & Customizing, and Commercial Vehicles. The winners were chosen from 133 candidates.

This year’s award-winning products revealed a clear focus on digitalization, new mobility and sustainability. Winners included smart solutions for workshops and automotive technology, including an app that allows spare parts to be found and ordered quickly and reliably, online-supported systems for damage diagnostics, and a Bluetooth colour scanner that can identify colours and use a datable to supply the correct formula for matching paint in a matter of seconds. A recovery system for damaged e-cars, a rapid charging station with a maximum output power of 240 kW, and a system for reducing braking torque were also among the award winners.

A new kick-off event—the CEO Breakfast with Formula One pros Mika Häkkinen and Mark Gallagher was launched on the first day of the trade fair. It was designed to promote networking and dialogue between the industry’s key players. The racing professionals shared insights about technological innovations and how they adapted to them. The event was sponsored by ZF Aftermarket.

In addition, there were many live presentations plus an extensive training program. Another focus was on new products for the car chassis like air springs for passenger cars and air suspension compressors. and of course, many exhibitors were concentrated on EVs. Software and digital networking were also a part of the 2022 Frankfurt Automechanika. The focus this year was on electromobility, remanufacturing, alternative drive systems, more digitalization and in fact more than 350 events, free workshops and presentations were held during the Fair.

One of the things that was very relevant was the complete room with a networking area and live stage—there was no need to visit three to four halls around the Fair. Most interesting for Canadians were the Collison Talks with CEO panellists on body and paint. In ‘Collision Talk’ the topic was “The repair market in a time of crisis – who are the winners and losers?’. The moderators Christian Simmert, Editor-in-Chief of schadennews.de, and Konrad Wenz, Editor-in-Chief of Fahrzeug & Karosserie, will be talking with leading automotive insurers, claims managers, workshop groups, operations and associations about fundamental shifts in the market. At issue is what companies have to prepare themselves for—and who will survive as the market consolidates. Michel Malik, CEO of Bodyshop News International, got together with international guests as part of ‘Collision Talk ‘to discuss how body and paintwork shops can maintain profitability during an economic crisis. Two days later, Malik talked with international manufacturers and suppliers about ways in which innovations in body repair technology can be used to improve both the performance and profitability of body shops. The IBIS Conference was also in this sector and starred CEO Jason Moseley who spoke with leading industry players on the topic of ‘A global perspective on the ever-changing body and paint landscape’.

New solutions & technologies for the transition

The ‘Innovation4Mobility’ showcase presented pioneering solutions for connected vehicles and climate-neutral mobility. Olaf Mußhoff explained: “As a neutral innovation platform, our mission is to shine a spotlight on new trends and talk about these. That is why I am particularly delighted about the many well-known experts who will be sharing their ideas on the topics of electromobility, alternative drive systems, digitalization, connectivity and sustainability and engaging in informative talks with automotive professionals.” There were informative keynote talks from some 30 companies including ABB, ADOBE, Audi, BASF, Bosch, Google Cloud, Fraunhofer ISE, NOW, Keyou, Schaeffler, Skoda and the Toyota Mobility Foundation. One of the programme’s highlights is a presentation entitled ‘Commercial vehicles with H2 fuel cell drive systems’ being given by ENGINIUS and the FAUN Group; the latter company recently received the first official approval for a hydrogen-powered truck, and this will soon enter full-scale production. ‘Vehicle-integrated photovoltaics – their potential and implementation’ was the topic of a presentation being given by Fraunhofer ISE and OPES.

The Future Mobility Park in the Agora is dedicated to e-mobility. Škoda was offering test drives with its 295 hp (299 PS) ENYAQ COUPÉ RS IV in road traffic and will be at the event with a roadshow stage. me energy is presenting ‘Rapid Charger 150’, a bioethanol-powered rapid charging station, and there will be a test circuit on which a range of e-scooters and e-bikes can be taken for a spin.

The subject of E-Commerce was also given a place in the Automechanika programme. eBay has a stand for the first time and will be hosting the E-Commerce Networking Lounge and plus a presentation programme. In collaboration with their partners Bosch Cognitive Services, Unaice, canis lupus, Asellerate, Speed4Trade, TecAlliance and eBay Logistics Solutions, eBay will show how to successfully enter the online retail market and how to optimize existing online operations. On 16 September, the amz Talk explored the question: ‘Digitalisation and ecosystems in the automotive parts aftermarket—can e-commerce and online marketplaces improve the procurement process?”

The Supply Chain Management Day presented by Alibaba.com looked into how supply chains can be made more resilient in future. One of the key areas of focus is battery logistics. The move from low-voltage to high-voltage batteries is not just a new step—it marks an entirely new approach. The increasing importance of alternative drive systems being driven by the mobility transition and the resulting demand for new batteries pose immense challenges for logistics and for the entire supply chain. This is true for procurement and transport, as well as for production, installation, and maintenance, and is also the case for processing the batteries. The demand for supply chain management and logistics and associated requirements, today and in future, was presented and discussed from the standpoint of the battery industry by Dennis Gallus from Roland Berger, and from the standpoint of logistics services providers by Marc Oedekoven, SCAN Global Logistics. ‘Supply chain made by Alibaba.com’ is the title of a presentation in which the eponymous Chinese online giant offers fascinating insights into supply chain management.

In a time where climate change, an energy crisis, unstable supply chains and resource scarcity are of such concern, the focus is turning towards the circular economy and remanufacturing. That is why Remanufacturing Day was organized in conjunction with the Automotive Parts Remanufacturing Association (APRA). Participants took in presentations on such topics as ‘Ready for an electric future–from remanufacturing conventional powertrains to EV batteries’ and ‘Doing well while doing good–creating value for everyone involved and for our planet with sustainable, low CO2 remanufacturing’.

All sectors of the automotive industry were covered… a huge area of the fair was dedicated to Parts & Components, and the Future Workshop drew many. This programme included current workshop topics such as accessing connected vehicles, electromobility, fire protection in the workshop for electric vehicles, troubleshooting with artificial intelligence, and social media communications for automotive companies. Frank Schlehuber from CLEPA (European Association of Automotive Suppliers) and Hasmeet Kaur and Maximilian Wegner from Roland Berger discussed the impact of electrification on the aftermarket, ADAS, and other challenges facing the automotive aftermarket. Another highlight: brief presentations on the Future Workshop 4.0 in which some 30 partners offered fascinating insights into the workshop of the future. This innovation showcase presented tomorrow’s technologies, processes, and business models.

A strong show

All in all, it was a strong show—the international automotive aftermarket is definitely back in Frankfurt. There was a high level of visitor satisfaction—92% and many exhibitors had very good things to say about this year’s Trade Fair.

Ray Moubarak, Sales Manager for CAM Auto, showing the company’s paintless dent repair tools, said, “We have a good footprint in the Quebec and Canadian markets but if we want to expand, we have to establish contact with important European distributors. And we made a lot of interesting contacts here at Automechanika.”

Philippe Colpron, Head of ZF Aftermarket, Executive Vice President ZF Friedrichshafen AG said, “After four years without a global industry gathering, it was great to finally meet again in one common place with our customers and partners from around the world.

“In particular as our industry is in such a state of transformation, it was important for us to be able to exchange on the latest developments around CASES (connected, autonomous, shared, electric, sustainable) and to share with our customers how ZF can contribute to helping them servicing the next generation of mobility.

“While our technology is becoming smarter and more connected, Automechanika was an excellent reminder of how beneficial analog quality time can be to drive ideas forward, together.”

As Markus Kohten, Technical Director of GelKoh GmbH—a specialist manufacturer of UN-approved dangerous goods packaging solutions and safe workplace systems for lithium-ion put it: “The trade fair went really well for us. We were able to meet a lot of our customers here, including major corporations like insurers, car dealers, recovery companies, and even people from the fire brigade – 90% of our target groups, in other words. We are very particular about which trade fairs we take part in, and we are already considering participating in the next Automechanika.”

So how would Automechanika benefit Canadians—exhibitors and visitors? The collision talks were extremely good, and everyone could have learned something from the information that was given. All the Auto Forums had much to say and information to take from them no matter where you lived and worked. Communication was ever-present. It was seen as an excellent place to do business, to make new international contacts, to have your products seen by many people from around the world, and to talk with people from many different regions you would usually not be able to interact with.

Said Lenny Levac, Director of Sales, Canada for Liqui Moly, “Automechanika is very friendly, it is easy to make deals at this Fair and it is a lot more informal than either AAPEX or SEMA. There is a special vibe about Automechanika Frankfurt!” A profound statement which shows the great advantages for people to attend or exhibit at Automechanika Frankfurt.

The next trade fair for the international automotive aftermarket will be taking place from 10 to 14 September 2024 on the Frankfurt exhibition grounds.

 

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