Top 5 Manufacturing Trade Shows 2023

12 April 2023
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Image Credit: productschool via Unsplash


In today’s fast-paced and competitive manufacturing landscape, it is invariably a good business move to attend a trade show. Networking opportunities like these only come around a few times a year, and scarcely is there a better opportunity to generate leads through an enormous and diverse audience composed almost entirely of potential customers. And with the autonomous manufacturing revolution fully underway, it’s more important than ever to keep a watchful eye over your competition, particularly when workflows are becoming more and more automated, all while boasting greater environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.

With a plethora of benefits on offer, attending a manufacturing trade show is undoubtedly a wise investment for businesses seeking to thrive in this dynamic industry.

1. Hannover Messe

Image Credit: Deutsche Messe


When: April 17-21, 2023

Where: Hannover Fairground, Germany (the largest exhibition space in the world)

One of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, the top spot belongs to Hannover Messe. In its 2019 iteration, attendance peaked at 215,000 attendees, 40% of whom came from abroad. Exhibitors consistently number in the thousands, and this year is set to be the busiest event since the pandemic.

Expect topics as diverse as machine learning and carbon-neutral production, product demonstrations and speaker events from influential industry leaders, and even a keynote from the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz.

2. International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS)

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Image Credit: IMTS


When: September 9-14, 2024*

Where: McCormick Place, Chicago, USA

The largest manufacturing technology show in North America, the event welcomes attendees from a wide range of industries, from aerospace to medical to energy. You will also see exhibitors showcasing the latest software solutions and automation systems, taking full advantage of cutting-edge technological innovations.

Expect attendance from all the usual industry giants, lending a perfect opportunity for your business to network with other businesses and potential leads. Beyond the usual exhibiting and keynotes, IMTS also offers workshops, meaning attendees have the option to learn about novel developments in the space and stay ahead of the curve. A must-attend for North American outlets.

*IMTS is held every two years, on an even year, in an arrangement with EMO, held on odd years. In the meantime, IMTS provides a digital programme in the form of IMTS+.

3. EMO Hannover

Image Credit: Deutsche Messe


When: September 18-23, 2023*

Where: Hannover Fairground, Germany

While EMO has its roots in and is still largely based around the metalworking industry, the show’s organisers recognise the importance of new and emerging technologies and strive to provide a comprehensive view of the manufacturing industry as a whole. Its pre-pandemic 2019 iteration boasted 2,211 exhibitors and 116,706 visitors, making this a hugely popular and busy event in the trade show calendar and attracting exhibitors from across the globe.

Attendees can expect to find a wide range of exhibits and live demonstrations, as well as a packed program of conferences and seminars featuring expert speakers and thought leaders in the field. This is a must-attend for those in the precision tools and machine tools industries in particular.

Make sure to catch AMFG at the event this September!

4. Canton Fair (Phase 1)

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Image Credit: Canton Fair UK Limited


When: April 15-19, 2023 (Spring); October 15-19, 2023 (Autumn)

Where: Canton Fair Complex, Guangzhou, China

Held twice a year in China’s fifth-largest and major commercial city, Guangzhou, the Canton Fair (or China Import and Export Fair) is world-famous and historic, celebrating its 133rd edition this Spring. The exhibition space is huge (over 1,000,000m²) and the event comprises more than 25,000 exhibitors in total.

Expect a wide range of products and services on display, from industrial machinery to consumer goods to leisure products. Phase 1 of the expo is likely to be most relevant to the manufacturing industry, with a diverse scope of products and services on display, from general machinery and instruments to accessories and software solutions. Attendees from the manufacturing sector will also benefit from the broader range of industries sharing the space, promoting greater collaboration and spontaneous lead generation. It is a must-attend for traders in the APAC region.

5. Advanced Engineering

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Image Credit: Easyfairs Group


When: November 1-2, 2023

Where: NEC, Birmingham, UK

A relatively young event, the UK’s premier engineering event has grown year-on-year and is set to boast over 300 exhibitors and constant footfall, particularly from those in the automotive industry. Last year’s event included Connected Manufacturing as a central topic, and the 2023 edition will add Digital Engineering & Automation and Additive Manufacturing spaces, showing a commitment to innovation by the event’s organisers.

Expect to hear from leading OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers as well as startups in their so-called “Enabling Innovation” zone. Networking opportunities are abound, with the event featuring a proprietary app to facilitate contact, and the event even features “Meet the Buyer” schemes, enabling hundreds of meetings among and between exhibitors and visitors. According to the 2022 Post Event Report, 96% of exhibitors recommend the event and 85% plan to return for this year’s expo.

Honourable Mentions

Attending more specialised manufacturing trade shows can also provide benefits for general manufacturing companies. By exploring more niche areas of the industry, companies can gain new insights and ideas that they may not have encountered at larger, more general events. This can lead to new innovations and approaches that help companies stay ahead of the curve. Additionally, specialized events often attract smaller, more innovative companies that may offer unique solutions and services that can be valuable for businesses in the industry.


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Image Credit: Mesago Messe Frankfurt GmbH / Marc Jacquemin


When: November 7-10, 2023

Where: Frankfurt Messe, Frankfurt, Germany

Formnext is the international hub of Additive Manufacturing, exhibiting the latest advancements in AM including 3D printers and their technologies, post-processing tools and software. Exhibitors include all sizes of business, from household names to innovative startups. As well as the exposition, there will be a programme of keynotes and workshops, featuring industry and R&D leaders.

Expect more than 800 exhibitors and more than 30,000 visitors, with over half the attendees being from abroad. Formnext is an absolute must-attend for anyone working in or researching the AM space.


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Image Credit: Automatica


When: June 27-30, 2023

Where: Messe München, Munich, Germany

This time, the emphasis is on smart automation and robotics. Automatica seeks to establish itself as a forum for how these emerging technologies can help to tackle global challenges (such as supply chain issues, for instance) and manufacturers will be interested in pitching solutions on how to make production more economical and sustainable. The three central topics of the expo will be Digital Integration and AI, Sustainable Production, and Future of Work.

Expect attendance from the usual suspects such as Bosch, Kawasaki, and Carl Zeiss, as well as exciting newcomers. Manufacturers who wish to explore how automation will change their industry should consider the offering from the world’s leading automation fair.

Staying ahead of the curve

Trade shows in the manufacturing industry offer a wealth of benefits for businesses seeking to stay ahead of the curve. Attending these events allows companies to keep an eye on the competition, network with potential customers and partners, and gain insight into the latest technologies and trends. With the ongoing shift towards autonomous manufacturing and the growing emphasis on ESG credentials, staying up-to-date is more important than ever. Whether it’s attending large-scale events like Hannover Messe or more specialised exhibitions like Formnext, businesses in the manufacturing industry can’t afford to miss these valuable opportunities to grow and innovate.


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