EUROGUSS Executive Circle: Exclusive meeting of the leading lights from the die casting industry
On 4 and 5 October, NürnbergMesse GmbH will host the EUROGUSS Executive Circle for the first time. The new format is specifically and exclusively designed for the influential leaders from the entire die casting supply chain: C-level executives, decision-makers and some young managers. We talked to Christopher Boss from NürnbergMesse GmbH and Johannes Messer from Johannes Messer Consulting GmbH about the event.
Mr Messer, before we address the topic of the EUROGUSS Executive Circle, we’d like to ask you for your assessment of the current situation in the aluminium die casting industry in Germany.
Johannes Messer: Since the end of 2018, the die casting industry has been trying to manage a complex, multi-dimensional balancing act. The initial trigger was the climate discussion about CO2 emissions that came under increasing scrutiny. The automotive industry, the die casting segment’s most important customer, was quickly made out to be the “main culprit”. This was followed by political unrest, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the war in Ukraine.
This resulted in dramatic declines in sales, from which the industry has still not recovered. In 2022, the aluminium casting production tonnage in Germany was 703,000 metric tons, still almost 40 percent lower than the peak 2016 value of 1.1 million tons. In the short term, i.e., 2023 or 2024, I don’t believe we will see any significant improvements.
At many companies, the unusually long duration and plurality of events like reduced revenues, transformations (ICE to BEV) and increased energy costs have led to a substantially lower quality of results, and consequently, to genuine financial distress.
That sounds very sobering.
Messer: Yes, but there also positive signs. The trend towards lightweight vehicle construction is unabated. Experts even predict that the trend towards the transformation of electric mobility will continue to increase. This has also been facilitated by current technological developments like Giga casting. In a recent study, consulting firm Ducker assumes that by 2030, the average use of aluminium castings in vehicles in Europe will increase by 22 kg to 145 kg.
But others have also recognised the benefits and trend towards aluminium. In China, for example, lightweight automotive construction is part of the country’s long-term “Made in China 2025” strategy, and therefore receives special “funding”. This is also part of the reason why the Chinese aluminium casting industry is developing extraordinarily quickly, with positive technological and economic outcomes.
International competition from China, Mexico and in future, India as well, is becoming increasingly important. Germany and the rest of Europe, but also the customers – OEMs and Tier 1 – located in this region, need a strong national foundry industry. I regard the outstanding foundry network in Europe as a success factor, and therefore as a guarantee of success.
Mr Boss, there is a lot going on in the industry. How do you respond to this in your capacity as a trade fair organizer?
Christopher Boss: Firstly, I’d like to underline what Mr Messer has said. We too see this trend and are reacting to it quickly and specifically. We operate and support comparable trade fairs like EUROGUSS in China, Mexico and India – and therefore also make it easier for European suppliers and manufacturers to access emerging markets. At the same time, we are naturally also covering the current issues in the supporting programme for the next EUROGUSS.
For example, CHINA DIECASTING took place in Shanghai from 12–14 July 2023. This trade fair is organised by NürnbergMesse in partnership with the Foundry Institute of the Chinese Mechanical Engineering Society. This year, the previously mentioned Giga casting played a special role in Shanghai as a key topic with its own exhibition hall. Given that we were last in China four years ago, it was especially interesting for us to see how the market and technology have evolved in China.
The “home-grown” EUROGRUSS fair in Nuremberg will take place from 16–18 January 2024 and is a firm date in the calendars of companies operating in the die casting sector. Can you give us an idea of what to expect?
Boss: The preparations in Nuremberg are in full swing. Over these three days, Nuremberg will once again become the No. 1 gathering of the international die casting industry. Following the one-off “summer edition” last year, we are now reverting to our traditional schedule in January. The anticipation is huge not just among the exhibitors – the halls are currently pretty much fully booked.
Once again, we have invited a lot of interesting speakers and are working on the supporting programme, the 23rd German Die Casting Congress, the Talent Award, and the European Die Casting Competition. We have a lot planned and the excitement is building.
We are looking forward to once again seeing your plans put into practice on site. Let’s jump straight from one event to the next, Mr Boss: How did the new format for the EUROGUSS Executive Circle come about?
Boss: The origins of the EUROGUSS Executive Circle lay in the question: What do we have to do for the sector to remain successful in the long term, and what role can we play in this context as a traditional trade fair organizer?” This question keeps coming up when we talk to people from the die casting foundry network.
Existing formats like trade fairs, symposia and conferences are very well established, offer high quality content, and meet the preferences and goals set for the event. They play a key role in the success of the industry. However, what is missing is a focus on dialogue and the issues and needs of C-level executives. These are also the people who must face the questions of future viability and have solutions at the ready to build long-term prospects for their companies.
What does that mean specifically?
Boss: Everyone is familiar with this scenario: Sometimes, the coffee breaks and conversations with other industry participants on specific issues provide the most valuable resource. We want to do our part with a format that brings together the decision-makers from the entire die casting supply chain and puts the focus on dialogue and interaction. The EUROGUSS Executive Circle is an exclusive meeting of the leading lights and managers from the entire supply chain, who come together to share ideas about long-term future scenarios.
Messer: The event does not deal with the issues of today and the immediate future, but as my colleague Boss says, those of the long-term future.
You are planning the Executive Circle in conjunction with the renowned Zukunftsinstitut (futurology institute) and are calling the programme “Future Day”. What’s it all about?
Boss: The Zukunftsinstitut is one of the leading institutes when it comes to developing scenarios for the future or megatrends. As is standard practice with engineers, when designing the event, careful consideration was given to the following: What form should the Future Day take to meet the requirements of the sector, and which partner will enable us to achieve that? Following close consultation with the die casting foundry network, we ultimately opted to work with the Future Institute. Our previous collaboration with this organisation makes us confident that this was the right decision.
Messer: As it prepares for the event, the Future Institute is engaging intensively with our sector. Among other things, a one-day workshop is planned with experts from the entire supply chain.
Mr Boss, can you talk again about the participants you are targeting?
Boss: Personal invitations are being sent out to the C-level and decision-makers from the die casting foundry network. In addition, the invited executives can also register young managers and top talents from their companies, although numbers are limited. However, if we get a positive response, the EUROGUSS Executive Circle will take place regularly and should provide a permanent forum.
Mr Messer, Mr Boss, why should people take part in the event?
Messer: At this point in time, I have complete confidence in the planned format. But I am also convinced that in Europe, we have the best die casting foundry network worldwide compared with all other regions. The bottom line for me is that the timing, format and participants guarantee a successful event with high value for the people taking part and/or the companies they represent.
Boss: I don’t want to repeat what Mr Messer has just said, but I’d like to add to the following points: Everyone who takes part benefits from the discussions with other decision-makers from the die casting supply chain. This is incredibly valuable in times in which so much is changing so quickly. The discourse about future scenarios and our responses to them are more important than ever, to strategically prepare the sector and the individual companies operating in it. And this discourse will never end. This is what we are gearing up for and it is precisely the reason why the format and taking part in it are so important.
Mr Boss, Mr Messer, thank you very much for speaking with us.
Also, read the interview with Johanns Messer and Raphael Shklarek about the EUROGUSS Executive Circle. A format for the C-level of the die casting industry that addresses questions about future viability. To the interview.