Work environments and society at large will experience great changes in the coming years. automatica, the leading exhibition held in Munich from June 27 to 30, 2023, showcased solution approaches that automation and robotics offer in this context.
A roaring comeback after just one year: 40,000 visitors from approx. 88 countries, 650 exhibitors from 34 countries, and a captivating supporting program. The co-location with LASER World of PHOTONICS and World of QUANTUM has provided significant added value to many participants.
The two Managing Directors of Messe München, Reinhard Pfeiffer and Stefan Rummel, draw a positive conclusion after four trade fair days: “automatica has once again proven its great innovative strength. The participating companies have showcased specific visionary solutions to challenges such as compensating the lack of specialists. In addition, the successful cooperation with the co-located events LASER World of PHOTONICS and World of QUANTUM strengthens Munich’s role as a leading technology hub.”
Exhibition Director Anja Schneider adds: “automatica underlines its position as the leading exhibition for smart automation and robotics with this excellent result: great atmosphere, new players, and a clear leadership position in the industry—all that after just twelve months of preparations.”
Top exhibitor ratings
automatica received outstanding overall feedback from its exhibitors. 94% of exhibitors gave the trade fair an excellent to good rating in a survey conducted by the Gelszus market research institute. They particularly appreciated the visitor quality 91% increase in new customer acquisitions 85%.
Frank Konrad, Chairman of the Board at VDMA Robotics + Automation, CEO HAHN Automation, agrees: “For us as an automation company, automatica has been the most important trade fair for 20 years. Following a somewhat restrained comeback after Covid last year, this year saw increased visitor numbers again, which was a positive indicator for us as exhibitors. We had lots of good conversations and opportunities to maintain our network.”
Kai Udo Modrich, Head of Inline Inspection & Metrology at ZEISS Industrial Quality Solutions, agrees with Frank Konrad: “This year’s automatica got to the heart of relevant topics for the smart factories of the future, thus living up to its claim of being the world’s leading exhibition for robotics and automation.”
Marc Segura, President of ABB Robotics, is another satisfied exhibitor: “Robotics and AI are key technologies for a successful decade of transformation. That makes automatica in its capacity as leading exhibition and trend barometer all the more important for companies making their production facilities fit for the future – i.e. flexible, networked, and sustainable.
Apart from the established key players, Google’s subsidiary intrinsic was a first-time automatica participant this year. Henrike Neulen, Account Executive, explains why the Alphabet company chose automatica to host the first trade fair participation in its history: “Our goal is to make robotics easier and more accessible for both providers and users. That makes automatica the right environment for us to present both our company and products to a large international audience live for the first time.”
Great satisfaction among visitors
The top ten visitor countries after Germany were Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Czech Republic, South Korea, China, Poland, Netherlands, Slovenia, and the USA. There was a 33% share of international visitors.
automatica 2023 delighted its visitors. 98% of respondents gave the trade fair an excellent to good rating. Furthermore, 97% of visitors praised the presence of market leaders, and 95% confirmed the leading role of automatica. 65% of visitors are optimistic about the future and expect automatica’s significance to increase even further.
Finally, Joachim Stieler, Managing Director of Stieler Technologie- & Marketingberatung, said: “The best automatica yet! Got me excited about the future!”
Trend topics emphasise automatica’s innovative strength
While robots were often considered job killers in the past, they have now become a beacon of hope in the battle against skill shortages that affect almost all sectors. The baking robot presented at the FANUC stand is a great example of this: It will automate monotonous work steps in industrial bakeries and supermarkets.
Head of Marketing Nils Terstegen considers the industry event in Munich a must-attend: “For us, automatica is the most important robotics trade fair on both the European and global level. We regularly use automatica as an opportunity to present novelties.”
And automation is also an important lever for reducing CO2 emissions in production. Assembly and handling technology has various approaches to recycling and the circular economy in this context. “Sustainable operations are among the most pressing challenges of our time. Software-based simulation helps us plan and optimise complex automation solutions efficiently prior to commissioning”, says Wilfried Eberhardt, Chief Marketing Officer at KUKA. “automatica has once again been the perfect opportunity for us to present our latest approaches to an attractive target group.”
Artificial Intelligence was another dominant topic during the four trade fair days. This is mainly due to the great speed of developments in this area, ushering in a new era of automation. NEURA is a company that is both a newcomer and an Artificial Intelligence pioneer. Arne Nordmann, Head of Engineering, comments: “You could say that automatica is the Champions League of robotics. It has all the currently relevant robotics exhibits. And we want to be a part of that, present our technology, keep in touch with all our partners, and learn where things are headed.”
Supporting program sets new benchmarks
In addition to the exhibition area spread across six halls, visitors once again had an opportunity to expand their knowledge within the framework of this year’s extensive supporting program featuring forums and special shows. Highlights included the Service Robot City and Mobile Robots in Production showcases.
Klaus Kluger, member of the Mobile Robots in Production special show organisation team, looks back with satisfaction: “Mobile robotics will trigger major changes in production and intralogistics in the coming years. The Mesh-up at this year’s automatica was an impressive demonstration of what interoperable production logistics of the future, involving AMRs from different manufacturers, might look like thanks to VDA 5050 and standardised control stations.”
Thomas Hähn, CEO United Robotics Group, sees great potential in the Service Robot City special show: “We were delighted to see that more service robotics companies and start-ups were represented at this year’s automatica as compared to past events. Intensified cooperation between start-ups and well-established companies has the potential to accelerate future developments. After all, there really is no shortage of good ideas and innovations.”
munich_i Hightech Summit – the Artificial Intelligence Think Tank
The munich_i high-tech platform is a leading robotics and AI format that was hosted at automatica for the third time. The Munich Institute of Robotics and Machine Intelligence (MIRMI) at the Technical University of Munich once again provided orientation in the field of artificial intelligence and robotics this year, and simultaneously placed associated developments within a context of ethics and social responsibility.
Prof. Sami Haddadin, Director of munich_i, sums up: “The Hightech Summit once again was a real highlight this year. Fascinating pioneers from industry, science, and start-ups provided us with a glimpse of the future, and we discussed with our visiting politicians how we want to shape it.”
Prof. Alena Buyx, also Director of munich_i, adds: “munich_i has shown us once again that the future is in our hands today. It provides the necessary platform for discourse between the driving forces from science, politics, and business on how to shape the future in the best way possible.”
munich_i comprises the Hightech Summit, the AI.Society robotics and AI special show, and the hybrid Robothon® robotics competition.
The next automatica will take place from June 24 to 27, 2025. It will again be co-located with LASER World of PHOTONICS—World’s Leading Trade Fair with Congress for Photonics Components, Systems and Applications—and World of QUANTUM in Munich.