In 2016, the exhibition had almost 30,000 visitors and 400 exhibitors. FOREXPO’s strength lies in its originality: organised in the forest on a 70-hectare site, at the heart of Europe’s largest cultivated forest, it allows the material presented to be exhibited and developed in real-life working conditions.
FOREXPO 2016 has chosen to focus on innovation, a driver for development and promotion of forests and woods. The South West cultivated forest bears witness to this development.
This progress is revealed in genetic research, forestry, protection (satellites, drones, mechanisation, management software packages, etc.) and in the emergency of new added-value uses conducive to reinforcing the technical and commercial qualities of wood (wood for construction and packaging, pulp and panels, green chemistry, wood composites, etc.).
This desire to promote forest innovation was illustrated in demonstrations of forest materials in situ, conferences and round tables, and business meetings.
A topic that resonates with recent political news from the forestry industry:
The Minister of Agriculture, the Food Industry and Forests and the Secretary of State for higher education and research announced, on 9 May, the implementation of a research and innovation plan for the forest and timber sector by 2025.
This plan has made several recommendations, broken down into three main priorities: improve performance in the sector using systems approaches; develop use of wood and new uses of wood from a bio-economic point of view, and adapt the forest and prepare the forest resources of the future.
It defines the strategic framework for the next ten years in terms of research and innovation, particularly from the point of view of deployment of the new future investments programming (PIA 3).
Presentation of the exhibition through the eyes of Robert Turcev, head of mobile applications for the HYD&AU FLUID Garonne cluster, and Romain Frucco, VERAFLEX Sales Director:
- Where do the visitors come from?Remember first of all that we have been exhibiting at this show since 1988. We are almost an “institution”. The visitors are, for the most part, customers identified as coming from the Aquitaine area, from Charente to Les Landes, already followed by VERAFLEX and HYD&AU FLUID and sponsors of actual projects.We have also been visited by prospects from some of France’s mountainous areas, such as Bourgogne, Savoy and Auvergne or companies looking for after-sales and spare parts contacts.
- Were you happy with the number of visitors?
I admit that I was surprised. FOREXPO is still an interesting exhibition and is popular despite the current stagnation in the industry. The exhibition quickly sold out.
The industry has not yet fully recovered from the 2009 storm. The many forestry operators include technicians who lost their jobs and those who took early retirement, which results in a concentration of direct operators and service providers.
- What are our strengths on this market?
Our main strength lies in the consistency of our offer and our brands. We have a comprehensive offering centred on the supply of components, technical expertise, services and repairs.
We use the PARKER, DANFOSS, HYDRO LEDUC, POCLAIN, PALL and VERAFLEX brands. This idea of cohesion is reinforced further by the synergy displayed on our joint HYD&AU FLUID and VERAFLEX stand.
Furthermore, we have been exhibiting at this show for the last 20 years, we are recognised and we will be ready when the economic activity starts over!
- Romain, this is your first show as a co-exhibitor alongside HYD&AU FLUID. What are your first impressions of it?
The first “Group” exhibition but also the first exhibition for VERAFLEX, a huge success! For a first experience, it has been a success. The synergy between HYD&AU FLUID and VERAFLEX is a winner, both through the exchanges of customer or prospects and by the coming together of the sales teams.
HYD&AU FLUID, as it is experienced in this matter, encouraged VERAFLEX’s access to the forest and forestry market. Robert Turcev had interesting discussions with prospects unknown to VERAFLEX and difficult to access as they only work through knowledge and confidence.
With a high attendance, especially on the Thursday and Friday, VERAFLEX was able to present its expertise and meet customers in a friendly environment and on a brand new stand! Luckily for us, the weather turned out fine, despite a few showers that led to some interesting sudden influxes of visitors to our covered stand.
The VERAFLEX sales team talked to customers, met some interesting prospects and has already started taking large orders. We are happy to report that our cylinders are fitted as standard in the majority of the French-made machines present at this exhibition.