TW Special Report
Typically, once every three years Belgium-based EDANA — the international association serving the nonwovens and related industries — and show organizer Palexpo bring together the entire nonwovens industry at the INDEX™ trade show. The event, with its unique nonwovens focus and highly vertical format, offers four intensive days of insights, networking and rewarding business activities, according to EDANA.
But the year 2020 was anything but typical, and INDEX 20 did not escape the upheaval and uncertainty caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Originally planned for March 31-April 3, 2020, the show was initially postponed and tentatively rescheduled.
The Swiss Federal Council authorized large-scale public events and trade shows to take place again beginning in July. This allowed EDANA and Palexpo to reschedule and plan INDEX 20, albeit much later than planned and with strict health measures in place to ensure the event is enjoyable and exhibitors and attendees will be able to conduct business in a safe atmosphere.
Therefore, after three reschedules, organizers are excited to confirm that INDEX 20 — the 13th consecutive edition of the show to be held in Geneva, Switzerland at the Palexpo Exhibition and Conference Centre — will take place October 19-22, 2021.
At the event held in 2017, 666 exhibitors from 41 countries showed their wares to a total of 12,758 visitors who made their way through the doors of the exhibition center. Participation in the October show is harder than usual to predict, however.
“This year’s edition is going to be difficult to gauge, owing to the unpredictability of the pandemic and its effect on the attendance figures,” said Magali Fakhry Dufresne, INDEX exhibition director. “Under normal conditions, we would expect in the region of 12,000 to 12,500 visitors over the four days, and more than 750 exhibitors.”
Can’t Attend In Person?
The organizers understand that with some international travel restrictions still in place, corporate travel bans in effect and reluctance from some people who are not yet ready to travel, not all willing participants will be able to go to Geneva for the show. To combat this problem, for the first time INDEX will include an interactive virtual platform where visitors anywhere in the world will be able to watch more than 80 presentations, arrange live video meetings and chats with speakers, as well as interact with exhibitors and other participants using the digital tool to gain a taste of INDEX. “We are confident that this will further increase our visitor numbers and help extend the awareness and reputation of the event to new audiences,” Fakhry Dufresne noted.
On Site Happenings
The event focuses on six sectors: Filtration; Geotextiles & Civil Engineering; Hygiene & Cleaning; Medical: Infection Prevention; Transportation; and Packaging.
INDEX 20 will feature a Sector Seminar Programme on-site comprising six half-day seminars on topics including Infection Prevention, Smart Nonwovens, Nonwovens and Sustainability, Geotextiles, Filtration and Transportation. The free seminars will be held live in person and also broadcast in parallel on the virtual platform. All participants will have an opportunity to interact with speaks and ask questions during the Q&A sessions.
In person visitors also have the opportunity to explore the INDEX Innovation Lab. The lab is dedicated to showcasing the level of innovation and imagination residing in the nonwovens industry, aimed to inspire. The Innovation Lab includes research poster displays, demonstrations of experiments and testing equipment, and a display with samples to illustrate the benefits of nonwovens in daily life and their myriad of uses.
The exhibition is open October 19-21 from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and on October 22 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Organizers are offering a four-day ticket option only at a cost of 100 euros ($118). No daily tickets will be available. Participation in the virtual event will be free to all.
Facemasks are not required, but visitors will need to prove they are fully vaccinated; provide proof of a negative PCR test conducted within the preceding 72 hours, or an antigen test performed within 48 hours of attendance; or provide proof of immunity.
“We were indeed much relieved when the Swiss Authorities decided to end the restrictions on public and trade fairs at the end of June this year, following the uncertain times which we have all been through over the past 18 months,” Fakhry Dufresne said. “We are all very much looking forward to holding INDEX™ again, and to extending the event’s offer with the addition of a rich virtual offering too!”
For more information about INDEX 20 including details about the seminars, events and virtual options, please visit indexnowovens.com.