Bologna fairly quiet12 July 2007
When attempting to gauge the success or otherwise of the latest Tanning Tech in Bologna it is first necessary to put the various exhibitions into context. Traditionally Tanning Tech has been held alongside the autumn edition of Lineapelle which is by far the bigger of the two biannual events. The two shows combined led to a full fairground with gridlocked car parks, traffic jams, long taxi queues and a shortage of hotel accommodation. The spring edition of Lineapelle has always been smaller and is currently running at a reduced level over past years. It is still a sizeable show, however, and tanneries exhibiting at Lineapelle are also customers for the suppliers in the technology halls. Visitor numbers at Lineapelle were almost certainly down on the previous spring edition. Despite the last afternoon being quiet in visitor terms, the exhibitors are strongly discouraged from packing up early so this is a full three-day fair. Simac and Tanning Tech followed along on traditional lines, staying open for the morning of the fourth day. Both were also greatly reduced and occupying roughly the same space together as each fair would have managed on its own in the good old days. Another problem experienced by this particular group of shows is that there was a clash of dates with Fimec in Brazil. This meant that a number of companies had to either show in both places at once or take the tough decision and opt for just one. One such company is Equitan who supply conveying equipment. The owner, Antonio Antoniazzi could not attend both so opted for Bologna out of loyalty to his home country. He was well rewarded. He was busy all day every day and it was extremely difficult to catch him between customers to exchange a few words. The only real venue for full scale tanning machinery is in Bologna where some heavy duty decision makers from major league tanners could be seen visiting the machinery manufacturers in Hall 35: Elmo, Boxmark, Mastrotto to name but three. In addition to the tanners who were interested in seeing the machinery on show, there were also a number of Chinese looking for joint ventures or hoping to get a look at European technology. One aspect of the show which became apparent was the very understandable concern over being copied. One exhibitor said that in the past the first people on their stand to look at new machines was always their competitors; another, Bergi was showing a successful model of a machine which they had never before exhibited publicly because of the issue of copying. Erretre took the decision to have a completely enclosed stand keeping competitors guessing as to whether there was a machine on their stand or not (there was not). They created a luxurious interior showcasing the type of finished goods which could be created from the leathers made with their finishing equipment. A number of exhibitors tried to take a more light-hearted approach to the serious subject of heavy machinery: CM published a comic style brochure for their new through-feed sammying machine, featuring Dr Tannery and a caveman and Bergi's latest publicity campaign is based on cartoon figures playing a round of golf. All in all, however, the machinery hall was little changed in overall appearance from previous years. This was not the case with regard to the chemicals' sector, most of whom had decided to boycott the fair altogether. Simac filled Hall 34 which would once have contained a mix of tanning machinery and chemicals suppliers. At this edition of Tanning Tech the chemical sector only managed to fill around half of Hall 32. It is hard, therefore, to envisage a long term future for the chemicals supply sector at this show but only time will tell. There is no doubt that the chemicals industry has the power to topple a show. They have done it before. What we have to ask ourselves is: can we prevent them from doing it again? I think the industry needs Tanning Tech. It may not be possible to run a technology show only but allied to Lineapelle and Simac, and with the correct frequency and number of days, there is no reason why the show should not succeed.