FachPack is turning 40! Anniversaries provide a good opportunity to look back over the intervening years. FachPack started in Nuremberg in 1979 as a regional trade exhibition for the packaging industry, with 88 exhibitors and about 2,000 visitors. At this year’s event, from 24 to 26 September, it can look forward to about 1,600 exhibitors and some 45,000 trade visitors. As a trade fair for packaging, processes and technology, it has become the meeting point for the European packaging industry.
It all started in 1978 with an idea by the then director of exhibitions, Dr Hartwig Hauck and Walter Hufnagel Director of Marketing. He noticed the increase in individual enquiries by representatives of the packaging industry who were leasing the new, state-of-the-art exhibition venue in Nuremberg for in-house exhibitions. These included the packaging company König – Illig, now a global player – and commercial agent Gert Erhardt. Discussions with industry experts and a period of market research confirmed the impression that a specialised packaging exhibition was needed. A plan was drawn up, along with a letter to potential exhibitors, and because time was short, the organizers met at the Oktoberfest venue on the verge of a business appointment in Munich. “Just 100 postcards were sent out in 1979 to bring in the exhibitors,” says CEO Peter Ottmann, who heads NürnbergMesse alongside fellow CEO Dr Roland Fleck. “And 88 exhibitors were there for the first trade fair in the series a few months later.”
What customers appreciate
FachPack has enjoyed excellent growth since. The number of exhibitors crossed the 400 mark in 1995, and the figure reached 1,000 in 2003. In 2015 the organizers recorded more than 40,000 trade visitors for the first time. And by 2018, 38 percent of exhibitors at FachPack and 25 percent of the trade visitors came from other countries, mainly from elsewhere in Europe. What is FachPack’s appeal? “FachPack has always been a trade fair for the movers and shakers,” comments Cornelia Fehlner, who has been in charge of FachPack since 2017. “There are three things that exhibitors and visitors particularly appreciate about FachPack: its duration, always three days, which keeps it short and snappy; the fact it covers almost all the products and services relating to the packaging process chain, from machines and logistics to packaging materials and accessories, printing and finishing; and the attractive supporting programme with the popular PackBox and TechBox lecture forums, the trendy special shows and the exciting award presentations.”
The secret of success so far
Asked to look back at the secret of FachPack’s success, Ottmann replies: “We have always observed the market closely, and respond to developments in real time.” Take the corrugated board industry, for example. It needed a base, and found one in Nuremberg in the 1990s – which includes the popular Corrugated Board Forum. Flexible packaging and the many labelling specialists have also put in an increasingly strong appearance at FachPack over the years. In the late 1990s a partner entity offering a highly regarded packaging award, the German Packaging Institute (Deutsches Verpackungsinstitut, dvi), joined in the activities. And lastly, Nuremberg – located at the heart of Europe – has become a mecca for the industry in the eastern parts of the continent. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Iron Curtain, Nuremberg became a lot easier to reach. Now, one in four visitors to FachPack comes from outside Germany, mainly from Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Italy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, Slovenia, Great Britain/Northern Ireland, and Belgium.
Faithful exhibitors from the very beginning
Although FachPack has changed greatly over time, growing larger and more broadly European in its exhibitor and visitor make-up, there are still companies that have been a part of the fair since the very start. Of the original 88 exhibitors in 1979, 11 will still be there for the 40th anniversary in 2019. Fehlner is particularly proud of this group: “Participating in every FachPack trade fair for 40 years without missing a single one is quite something. We are particularly grateful for this extraordinary level of commitment.” The exhibitors from Day 1 include beck packautomaten GmbH & Co. KG – Verpackungsmaschinen; Bluhm Systeme GmbH; Breitner Abfüllanlagen GmbH; Collischan GmbH & Co. KG; HADE Heinrich Dornseifer KG; Hugo Beck Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG; Illig Maschinenbau GmbH & Co. KG; Kartonveredlung Knapp GmbH; KOCH Pac-Systeme GmbH; Mezger Heftsysteme GmbH; and MSK Verpackungs-Systeme GmbH.
FachPack 2019: “Tomorrow begins when you create it”
Another reason companies do not want to miss a single FachPack trade fair is that these events reflect the markets and are an indicator of upcoming trends. That also goes for FachPack 2019, with the slogan “Tomorrow begins when you create it” and the key theme this year of “environmentally friendly packaging”. This theme will be reflected in the lecture forums, special shows and award ceremonies, and at the stands of many exhibitors. FachPack views itself as a platform for forward-looking initiatives. It is already demonstrating that the packaging of the future will benefit both consumers and the environment, and that it will be designed with the entire cycle in mind. www.fachpack.de/en
Anniversary edition of “Packaging for the Future”
For the 40th anniversary of FachPack, NürnbergMesse and Keppler Verlag have produced a special edition of “Zukunftsmacher Verpackung” (Packaging for the Future). Its 36 pages look back at the foundation and development of FachPack, and also contain industry articles on the trends that are setting the course for the future in the packaging industry. Here you can download the anniversary edition in German.