After a two year hiatus from NYC, having the conference and expo in Philadelphia, the show moved back to the Jacob Javitz Center in 2014. The show was moved to Philadelphia to accommodate renovations being made at Javitz, and in all fairness some of the co-located shows were not included in the Philadelphia bookings. However, in Philadelphia the show seemed to this observer to be very slow – both years. I did a pretty comprehensive survey of the laser related vendors and almost in unison the feedback was that the traffic in NYC was much better than the traffic in Philadelphia. Along the way though, a lot of laser related vendors were lost.
This year’s show featured just a few laser job shops and system integrators, with almost no laser vendors and none of the ‘big’ companies like Coherent, Trumpf, IPG, etc. I was even surprised at the small number of laser marking companies. In years past, there would be a proliferation of these small companies in the expo hall, but this year the number was much smaller than 4-5 years ago. In fact, some of the big companies (and many of the smaller companies) did not even send people to ‘walk the floor’.
So, what does this tell us? I think it really tells us that – as I said a couple months ago – it is hard to be everywhere at once and there has been a large proliferation of these medical device related shows (most if not all run by Canon UBM) all over the country. If you go back far enough there were just MDM East and West. This was followed by MDM Minneapolis, and then later by a whole host of other events located regionally in many areas of the country. In addition, the BioMed Device shows are also proliferating (these are basically smaller versions of the MDM shows). So, for regional attendees it is a great thing because many of the in house engineers cannot travel to National venues due to cost or time constraints. For those who travel the country though, it is not possible to be at all the shows and so more judicious decisions must be made as to where to spend precious marketing dollars. Overall the NYC MDM show felt more upbeat than it has been the last two years when not located in NYC and in general vendors agreed that the higher cost of doing shows in NYC is greatly offset by the quality and quantity of the leads received. Also, vendors and attendees agree pretty unanimously that NYC is a better place to spend non-show time than downtown Philly!
What of the two areas of laser growth that I have been talking about over and over – USP and 3D printing? I could not identify a single vendor specifically talking about USP lasers at this show. This is not to say that nobody has them, but just that they were not being highly promoted. 3D printing is another matter and this area was well represented by not only system manufacturers (laser and non-laser) but also by 3D printing ‘Job Shops’ who will make your items quick turn and to spec. Of those on the floor, the most advanced laser related company is surely EOS, a German company that makes high-end, finished to-spec printers using laser based technology.
One company that was, as usual, going strong and busy was DPSS lasers with their UV marking lasers/systems. Everybody knows this company because of the beautiful pens that they distribute, personalized with your name, and handed to you by a beautiful assistant. Company President Alex Laymon told me that they intend to double the number of shows that they do next year from an already high number of over 30 or so. Wow – that’s a lot of pens!
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