One good indicator that your product is in serious demand is when people are willing to suffer to get it. Such was the case last week when MPW and our colleagues from Injection Molding Magazine made the daily commute to the Fakuma trade show, held just outside Friedrichshafen, Germany, on the shores of Lake Constance.
OK, “suffer” we did not, but the 18-mile commute took us 40 minutes on Tuesday, an hour the next day and finally 1.5 hours on Thursday. Friday we got off easy with a 30-minute drive. My talks with exhibitors and other visitors proved our odyssey was the norm. One upside: all of us had plenty of time to be suitably impressed by the nifty passenger-friendly aspects of our rental van, a Renault, further proof that French carmakers have made huge strides in the past few years.
But I digress...The Fakuma show is a fine one, one of the best there is for seeing the latest in high-end injection molding cells, but it has vastly outgrown the logistics (hotels, restaurants) and infrastructure of that sleepy corner of Germany. Local politicians stated they would be improving the road network and that some major hotels plan to open new facilities in Friedrichshafen; these steps and more could not come too soon.
Once the van was parked and we could get into the show halls, we had a blast. Apropos blast, one of the more novel technologies I saw at the event concerned a process for ‘exploding’ a hologram onto a mold, with energy from the blast focused as per the Munroe effect so that the hologram becomes a permanent part of the mold and is visible on parts molded with it. The Fraunhofer Institute is working on the development, and the mold running at the show—on an Arburg press—had molded 20,000+ Frisbees with no sign yet of wear on the hologram. Experts at the institute reckon the technology may be of use in helping OEMs limit counterfeiting.
Matt Defosse, Editor-in-Chief
Modern Plastics Worldwide