Maastricht, the Netherlands - Despite the economic uncertainty, the 10th UTECH Europe event, held in Maastricht, from March 31 to April 2, was rated a success, with attendance far exceeding the expectations of all exhibitors. Most of the more than 140 exhibitors made the same point at the end of the event: visitor levels had been well above their predictions, and the quality of those attending was high. In fact, more than 2836 industry professionals from 86 different countries attended the show, including the almost 400 registered delegates for the conference running parallel with the exhibition. The total figure mentioned does not include the more than 1500 passes distributed to exhibitors.
The conference, with more than 60 presentations in a dozen sessions over the three days of the event, also saw smaller overall numbers but most sessions had solid attendances. The opening plenary and market sessions, which filled the morning of the first day, played to more than 140 people, while many of the technical sessions also had more than 100 delegates present, even where two parallel sessions were running at the same time.
As with previous events, the UTECH Europe 2009 meeting provided a great opportunity for all exhibitors to talk to a very focused international audience with excellent knowledge and the management seniority needed to sign deals on the spot.
For urethane prepolymer supplier Chemtura, the UTECH Europe 2009 show was, "surprisingly busy." Visitors to the company's stand, and the attendance at UTECH Europe this year generally, had "far and away exceeded expectations," given the current economic climate, said Mathew Hellstern of the company's US operations.
Not only that, but, far from being miserable, the "energy level and passion of customers" was high, he said. Customers wanted to know, "how can you help me grow and be more profitable in the future?" Hellstern said. The people Chemtura saw were looking positively to the future and wanting to discuss serious projects to grow the business, he added.
Huntsman Polyurethanes' impressive stand at the entrance to the exhibition was busy throughout the event, as were the other major stands such as those of Dow Polyurethanes and Bayer MaterialScience and Wanhua Yantai.
But even the smaller companies were pleased. Spanish systems business Plasfi was also quite excited about the contacts it had made at UTECH Europe 2009. This was the firms's first experience of exhibiting at the European event, following its debut with a stand at last autumn's UTECH Asia 2008 event in Shanghai, China. In Maastricht the company spoke with around 50 customers a day, and was particularly pleased with the number of contacts made with Eastern European businesses, said Plasfi's Oscar Garcia.
For Honeywell's Fluorines business, which used the UTECH Europe event to launch its latest blowing agent systems, the company stand was very busy from midday onwards on the first day, and the visitors kept coming, said Rene Mueller. But his view was that, generally, there were fewer visitors than at the last UTECH Europe in 2006, and that perhaps people had spent less time at the show, coming for one day rather than two, or two rather than three.
Meanwhile, for Taiwanese polyurethane machinery supplier Sunkist Chemical Machinery, UTECH Europe 2009 proved to be especially productive: the company sold a $300 000 foaming plant at the event, as well as 10 cutting machines, according to general manager Hwang Ber Fong. And the European show offered a good contrast with the PU exhibition in China which Sunkist was at recently, said Hwang, who was present at the first UTECH Europe back in 1986. Meanwhile in Maastricht, where he had expected a quiet UTECH Europe, "all our customers are here," he said.
The next UTECH Europe show will be held in 2012, but 2010 sees the second UTECH North America exhibition, organised by Crain Communications Ltd publisher of Urethanes Technology International running in parallel with the Polyurethanes 2010 conference organised by the Center for the Polyurethanes Industry as well as PU China 2010. And this, if the economic pundits are correct, promises to see the world's economies again on the upward climb.