A total of 50,712 people from 66 countries attended BIEMH 2008, the 25th international machine tool biennial, which was held at the Bilbao (Spain) Exhibition Centre (BEC) in early March. Domestic visitor numbers were up by 7% and foreign visitors by 10.4% over the 2006 figures.
The increase in foreign visitors is significant, coming as it does after a major rise in 2006. This consolidates the status of BIEMH as an international event. The Bilbao Exhibition Centre describes the figures as “excellent” in view of the current macroeconomic climate.
Throughout the week, the BEC saw a steady flow of trade visitors from both countries with high levels of industrialization and countries that are industrializing rapidly. Numerous representatives of public institutions also visited the 25th BIEMH. Officers of the central and regional Spanish governments and leaders of industrial and economic associations, foreign and domestic trade bodies, and the education sector dropped in on the event.
Koldo Arandia, chairman of the Spanish Association of Machine Tool Manufacturers (AFM), pronounced BIEMH 2008 a success from the viewpoint of the association, saying that the AFM’s expectations for the trade fair were met and exceeded. He went on to state that “our vision of the sector is moderately optimistic, with interest detected in investment at domestic and international levels among leading customers. Combined with the excellent level of the order book for the sector and the reasonably good start to the year, this means that we can expect 2008 to be another positive year.”
The 25th BIEMH featured 1,761 exhibiting companies from 36 countries on 788 stands. The exhibition occupied all six halls of the BEC.
The ninth annual National Machine Tool Design Award was presented during the event. The competition is organized by BAI Agencia de Innovación in cooperation with the AFM and BEC. This year, the jury presented the award in the Cutting Machine Tools category to ONA Electro-Erosión and the award for Large Machinery to Nicolás Correa Manufacturing. Additional companies received special mentions.
No award was given in the Forming Machine Tools category, but the jury did issue a pair of special mentions.