The Germans really know how to host a tradeshow.
Last month I was fortunate enough to attend the Interpack show in Dusseldorf, Germany. Since Nelson Company is always looking for fresh product ideas, I was charged with checking out what is said to be the world’s leading trade fair.
2,700 exhibitors from 60 countries were providing inspiration and ideas for the packaging industry and all related process technologies. While there I saw everything - equipment and machinery for packaging and processing, production tools for packaging materials, services for the industry and of course, plastic pallets and containers.
Having been a regular at several of the US based material handling trade shows, I generally see 4-6 plastic pallet manufacturers at each show. After walking the 17 - that’s right, 17 exhibit halls - I saw more than 15 companies that produce plastic pallets and bins. It was truly a “one stop shop”.
It was great to meet with so many plastic pallet industry leaders and I enjoyed seeing their product samples and displays. However, the one “novel” idea I found was a component plastic pallet that allows you pick how much or how little support your unit load needs. Based on your unit load weight, you can add or subtract deck boards thus controlling your cost. With a basic stringer and deck board assembly, this pallet could make a splash here in the US.
Other than the amazing amount of products and machinery at the show, the most impressive thing was the sheer production of it all. Some of the exhibiting companies had booths that were comparable to entire city blocks. They assembled and ran some extremely complex, large machines. These machines were literally pumping out fresh cookies, cakes and chocolates to be handed out to passersby.
My favorite was the cascading, chocolate water fall! It was like a Willy Wonka dream come true. Really, that’s chocolate flowing down the wall in the picture below. Fun fact: the original 1971 movie, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, was filmed in Germany!
Prior to my visit everyone had always told me that at European shows, exhibitors thrive on entertaining those who visit their booth. By entertain, I mean they offer refreshments. That said, I had no idea there was going to be full blown bars complete with omelet stations, fresh danishes, meats and cheeses. The picture below is a bar inside a booth… I'm not kidding! If you look closely, you can see people sitting at the bar in the back.
Needless to say, at the end of the trip not only was I impressed by the Interpack show itself, but I was thoroughly impressed with the city of Dusseldorf, its public train system, the Old Town section and the neighboring town of Korschenbroich, which is where I stayed. As far as new and exciting products, I was satisfied that Nelson is still on the “cutting edge” of what is new and improved in the plastic pallet market.
How about you, are there new plastic pallet designs that you are looking for? Please let us know by commenting below.
Post by: Mike Cunneen, Director of Sales and Marketing
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