Water/Wastewater Goes Big: Innovation Showcase in Munich

March 19, 2014
With 125,000 visitors attending and nearly 3000 exhibitors from the around the world, IFAT has earned a name for being the biggest water, wastewater and solid waste show.

With 125,000 visitors attending and nearly 3000 exhibitors from the around the world, IFAT has earned a name for being the biggest water, wastewater and solid waste show. What can visitors expect from the 2014 show? Eugen Egetenmeir, managing director of organising company Messe München, shares some insight.

Two more exhibition halls will be built to help the show expand by 2018

WWi: Why has the name of the event been changed back from IFAT Entsorga to IFAT?

Managing director Egetenmeir says exhibition space at IFAT 2014 will increase by 15,000 square meters

Eugen Egetenmeir (EE), managing director, Messe Munchen GmbH: The name ENTSORGA was included in the show's title in 2010, to communicate to the sector the fact that this event was moving from Cologne to Munich. That message has been understood, and so we went back to our original, succinct name of IFAT.

WWi: What are you going to develop the event this year compared to two years ago?

EE: As far as the product categories and the whole set-up of IFAT are concerned, we stick to the successful concept of the past editions. However, there will be some differences: compared to the last show in 2012, not only the exhibition space at IFAT 2014 will increase by 15,000 square meters, we are also expecting a new record attendance regarding our exhibitors. Furthermore, we expect the proportion of international exhibitors as compared to the previous events will expand still further.

WWi: Specifically, what will be the focus of the water/wastewater sections? Also, for solid waste management what will be the main attractions?

EE: A very well-known but still sensitive issue is the treatment of sewage sludge. In all countries around the world sewage sludge is produced, yet many countries are still struggling with the best way to treat it. So even though this topic isn't entirely new it will be comprehensively covered at IFAT due to its still being up-to-date.

For waste collection vehicles and other municipal vehicles one highly topical subject is the emissions norm Euro VI which has been in force since the end of 2013, beginning of 2014. Many companies have had to find solutions to the higher space requirements of the larger components in the exhaust system as compared to Euro V.

Furthermore, phosphorus recycling is still a hot topic as phosphorus is extremely important for biological organisms and the resource is – as many others – getting scarce. So, recovering the natural and limited resource of phosphorus is one of the biggest challenges in securing worldwide food production in the future.

And last but not least, the recycling of building material becomes more and more important. This topic isn't a new one too. Nonetheless, raw materials are a limited resource. And for years a range of different techniques has been developed for recovering raw materials. The job involves not only recovering valuable materials, but also removing extraneous matter and any harmful substances that may be present.

WWi: What are you doing to make the event appeal to a wider international audience but still attract the domestic German market?

EE: We are constantly developing IFAT, e.g. by including new live-demonstrations or – whenever appropriate – new topics. Thereby we try to keep the show attractive for all different sectors and countries. Moreover, I would like to point out that IFAT is simply the world largest and most important show for the environmental industry and the international meeting place for key-players and decision makers.

This is the place, where exhibitors present their innovations and product novelties. In this context, IFAT reflects not only the latest market developments but also sets new trends. And last but not least IFAT features an exceptionally large share of international exhibitors and visitors.

WWi: IFAT is known for its strong exhibition and high attendance (100,000+). How are you developing the conference to increase its presence?

EE: IFAT revolves around state-of-the-art know-how and features an exceptional events program including two forums – one in hall A5 and one in hall B1. The forums are platforms for company presentations, panel discussions, country specials, technical discussions and special events.

Trade associations and manufacturers will hold practice-oriented live demonstrations of machines and systems at the open-air site.

Besides the already well-known Practical Days organized by the German Engineering Federation (VDMA), the Trucks in Action organized by the German Municipal Vehicles and Equipment Industry Association (VAK) and the Professional Competition organized by the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA), IFAT features several premieres: one of the premiers is the live demonstration on car recycling, organized by a new partner of IFAT, the steel recycling association BDSV.

Egentenmeir is expecting the number of international exhibitors, compared to the previous events, to continue to expand

Another premiere will be the live demonstration on building material recycling organized by another new partner of IFAT, the Verband der Baubranche, Umwelt- und Maschinentechnik (VDBUM).Furthermore, the DWA organizes the special event "Think Green — Think Future" in hall B0. Here, exhibitors can present their companies and talk to interested candidates – young professionals as well as experienced. Topics there are research, education and human resources.

And last but not least – for the first time ever – IFAT will be the host of one of the most important environmental and business awards in Europe: IFAT 2014 will open with the presentation of the 2014 GreenTec Awards.

These awards bring together protagonists from the widest variety of sectors, i.e. from industry, politics, society and the media. It is a platform with a unique network and one where exhibitors and customers can communicate.

WWi: With exhibition space selling out, how will you be expanding the event in the future? Will IFAT be moved to a bigger venue?

EE: No, IFAT will definitely stay in Munich. For 2016, we can only grow in the outdoor area – the halls are fully booked. However, we will be able to provide more space for the show in 2018 for Messe München will build two more halls, C5 and C6. As this can only be done in between the world's biggest show, bauma, we have to wait until 2016 when the next bauma takes place. After that the construction of the new halls begins.

WWi: Would Messe Muenchen consider moving the event from bi-annually to annually?

EE: No. We are constantly in contact with our conceptual sponsors, the members of our Executive and Advisory Board as well as our exhibitors. The two-year-cycle of IFAT and the innovation cycle of the industry are directly connected with each other. Every two years, IFAT is the place where exhibitors present their innovations and product novelties. So, there is no need to move IFAT to annually.

WWi: If people have not visited the show before, how would you describe it in five words?

EE: Inspiring, innovative, sustainable, intelligent and elementary.