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Science & Technology

May 22, 2006
Volume 84, Number 21
pp. 36-37

Analytica Meets For 20th Time

Attendance drops at biennial instrumentation trade show but still exceeds organizers' expectations

Celia Henry Arnaud

An international cast of characters converged on the Munich International Trade Fair Center last month for the 20th Analytica international trade fair on instrumental analysis, laboratory technology, and biotechnology.

© AlexSchelbert.de

Starting Gates The crowds line up at the turnstiles to get into Analytica 2006.

The trade fair, which focuses on the laboratory and life sciences sectors, is held every two years in Munich. For this year's show, 908 exhibitors from 32 countries and 26,000 visitors filled five halls at the trade fair center. Attendance was down from the 2004 meeting, which drew 1,118 exhibitors from 35 countries and more than 30,000 visitors. This year's exhibition may have suffered from the fact that ACHEMA, another large trade show, was scheduled a scant three weeks later in Frankfurt.

Only 25,000 people had been expected to attend Analytica this year, according to Klaus Dittrich, managing director of Munich International Trade Fairs, the group that organizes Analytica, so the organizers were pleased with the turnout. They celebrated the occasion with a birthday cake for Analytica's 20th and a special exhibition that looked back at Analytica through the years.

Over the years, Analytica has grown from a relatively small gathering to a mammoth exhibition. At its first meeting in 1968, 90 exhibitors from nine European countries and 4,000 visitors, including about 20% from outside Germany, gathered at the old Munich trade fair ground.

Despite the strong international presence, Analytica remains primarily a German show, with 70% of the visitors coming from Germany and many of the exhibitors being the German subsidiaries of multinational companies. Most of the international attendees come from other European countries, although approximately 300 visitors from the U.S. and 1,000 from Asia attended this year, according to the organizers.

Given the demographics of the audience, Analytica is particularly significant for German companies. "Analytica is clearly the major trade show in Germany," said David W. Singer, national sales manager in the U.S. for Gerstel, a privately held German company that focuses on gas and liquid chromatography. "It's important to support things in Germany."

Speaking at a press conference, Sven Behrens, chief executive officer of Spectaris, the German Industry Association for Optical, Medical & Mechatronical Technologies, said the German analytical industry is "thriving." Sales of laboratory equipment in Germany are expected to reach $6.5 billion this year, he said. He also noted that significant growth in German exports is expected as well.

Analytica did extend its international reach this year by welcoming companies from Australia, Russia, and the Czech Republic. The German representative of the organizers of a similarly themed trade show in Moscow???the AnalyticaExpo???shared a booth with two Russian companies making their first appearances at Analytica. Yvonne Treppenhauer, the German representative, had originally planned for four or five companies to join her, but only two were able to come. The shared booth increased visibility and traffic, compared with previous times when AnalyticaExpo exhibited in Munich without Russian companies, Treppenhauer said.

One of the firms joining Treppenhauer was Snol-Term, which specializes in laboratory and industrial furnaces and thermal insulating materials. Snol-Term was looking for partners and for trends in the laboratory equipment market, said Svetlana Ghiryavenko, the company's director of marketing.

© AlexSchelbert.de

Hit The Floor Eager crowds check out the wares that vendors have on display.

Analytica also served as the venue for an activity designed to bring together European and Latin American companies. The AL-Invest III meeting for the analytical and laboratory equipment sector, organized by Spectaris, was held in parallel with the trade show. AL-Invest is a program of the European Commission, the administrative arm of the European Union, designed to benefit small and medium-sized businesses in both regions in various industry sectors. The current AL-Invest program was launched in 2004, with a four-year grant of more than $51 million from the EC.

The AL-Invest event focuses on "matchmaking" between European and Latin American companies. Companies register in advance and provide profiles, which participants browse on the Web to request meetings. At the event itself, the Latin American companies had their own tables and the Europeans came to them. "Approximately 200 individual business-to-business meetings between European and South American companies were held. To us, that confirms that this way of initiating business in conjunction with key exhibitions like Analytica is very successful," said Behrens.

Analytica is not typically a show where companies debut products. Instead, companies concentrate on showing customers a broad range of offerings. But there are always exceptions. Thermo Electron unveiled several products at Analytica, including a new recirculating chiller, two gas isotope-ratio mass spectrometers, and new data collection software for its Orion Star electrochemical meters. Bruker Optics launched the Vertex 80V, a vacuum Fourier-transform infrared spectrometer for research applications based on the company's new UltraScan interferometer.

Analytica always follows close on the heels of Pittcon. In fact, for many companies, the show serves as the European introduction of products that were launched at Pittcon. "Pittcon is the big event that people look to for big product introductions," according to Alessandra D. Rasmussen, the chromatography systems business unit manager at PerkinElmer. "At Analytica, people come to go shopping. They gather information and even place orders. It's a customer event rather than just showing your wares."

The vendors appear to prefer the two-year frequency of Analytica over the yearly schedule of Pittcon. "Product life is long enough that it's better to have new products every other year," said Martin Resch of Shimadzu. He pointed out that a lot of the traffic at Pittcon is business-to-business or meetings with suppliers rather than with customers. At Analytica, that ratio is flipped.

This year, in addition to Pittcon, Analytica faced a second competing trade show in its own backyard and not even a month later. The triennial ACHEMA trade show was held three weeks later in Frankfurt. Analytica and ACHEMA are held the same year only every six years. Several firms told C&EN that they planned to scale back their presence at ACHEMA, although they were still attending both shows. For example, a Varian representative said the company planned to have a smaller booth at ACHEMA where they would present only the latest technology, rather than the broad range they showed at Analytica.

Attendance at Analytica was "better than expected," said Hans-Hermann Drews, European marketing manager for Bruker Optics. "With ACHEMA here this year, we didn't have high expectations. For our typical customers, this is the main show, followed closely by ACHEMA." Bruker will also be exhibiting at ACHEMA, Drews said.

Small companies as well as large ones put in an appearance at Analytica. For example, Mesophotonics, a small company in Southampton, England, exhibited its Klarite substrate for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS). The company also announced at Analytica that a collaborative research project among the company, the University of Southampton, and Gloucestershire Hospitals National Health Service Foundation Trust has received a $1.4 million grant from the U.K. Department of Trade & Industry for research into using SERS with tear samples for diagnosis of viral conjunctivitis. David Reece, sales manager for Mesophotonics, said that his company had found the show very quiet, which he blamed on the upcoming ACHEMA.

Over the years, there has been a shift in emphasis at Analytica, with biotechnology growing in importance for the trade show, Dittrich said. In 1998, 71 biotech exhibitors were at the fair. This year, 383 exhibitors focused exclusively on biotech attended, according to Dittrich. Other companies, of course, are involved in the sector as only one of their areas of business. At Analytica, one of the five halls was entirely dedicated to biotechnology and the life sciences.

© AlexSchelbert.de

Happy Birthday Thomas Tuschl (left), professor at Rockefeller University and recipient of the Prize in Molecular Bioanalytics 2006, helps Dittrich cut Analytica's birthday cake.

That shift in focus means that the type of customers has changed over the years, too. Rainer Wollenhaupt of Beckman Coulter said that more of the customers at his booth are molecular biologists, which may be partly in response to changes in the company's product range. In addition, he sees more customers from Eastern Europe and the Middle East at the show. He said Analytica remains the most important European fair for Beckman Coulter, although Biotechnica, held in Hannover, Germany, in alternate years, is also important.

Analytica isn't content to remain a German, or even a European, show. It has branched out through a network of trade fairs called Analytica World and organizes similar shows in other parts of the world. AnalyticaChina will be held in September in Shanghai, and Analytica-Anacon India will take place in mid-November in Bangalore. The goal of both these shows is connecting the European and Asian markets. AnalyticaChina had about 300 exhibitors in 2004, Dittrich said. Analytica has chosen to focus on China and India because the organizers expect the countries will experience high growth in the instrumentation market.

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