Control Show, Stuttgart – the biggest QA show in the world, by far.


Just recently, the 30th annual Control Show was held in Stuttgart, Germany. The show is by far the largest trade show in the world which showcases metrology, materials testing, weighing, counting and QA systems.

This year the show had net floor space of almost 300,000 square feet, had 914 exhibitors and was visited by almost 27,000 visitors from 31 countries.

To put this in context, let’s compare the show size to a show we perhaps all know better in the USA; IMTS in Chicago. IMTS, measured by floor space and visitors is 4 times larger than control, but don’t forget that the QA part of IMTS occupies only around 1/16th of the floor space. So the Control show is at least 4 times the size of the quality zone of IMTS!

The size of Control is even more staggering when you compare it to the only similar show in the USA, the Quality Show. All of us in the industry were pleased to see relaunch of this once very large show, but in terms of show size and visitor numbers it is only 10% of that of Control.

So why is Control so big? It must be the low cost of the floor space in Germany compared to McCormack Place or Rosemount in Chicago, right? Well actually no – the floor space in Control is around $27/ft² compared to $30/ft² in Chicago.

Wenzel Booth at show

So how come vendors like Wenzel have such huge booths at Control in comparison to IMTS or Quality? In my opinion it comes down to value like everything else in life. 114,000 visitors come to IMTS but what percentage of those visitors are interested primarily in the Quality Zone? 20%? 10%? I suspect 10% is closer to the mark, so we can say that the people manning the Wenzel booth are hoping to meet 11,000 people. ALL of the 27,000 visitors to Control are potential customers for the exhibitors.

Robot at trade show

So it’s really worth vendors like Wenzel investing in a huge booth where they can show off all of their new technology. Because of this, the visitor has much more probability of seeing a solution to his quality problem and because of this he will not only return to the Control show the following year, but he will share the success of it with colleagues and business associates.

This has been the key to the growth and sustainability of Control. Big booths, lots of solutions to see, appreciative visitors, return visitors, recommended visitors and so on.

So, in addition to the normal demonstrations of Wenzel’s range of CMM’s running the latest Renishaw probing technology, gear testing machines, CT machines and high speed optical scanning machines we launched our Styling Studio Solutions as a separate product line and showed some cool new stuff.

It’s all the rage to talk about Industry 4.0, the fourth incarnation of the industrial revolution, and in support of the idea of the future automated factory we showed a Wenzel LH65 being robot loaded in a simulation of an unmanned cell.

Another notable highlight on the Wenzel booth was the introduction of our new R-series

Robot arm and small model car

horizontal arm machine. The R-machine had undergone a number of technical improvements and has also been dressed in the Wenzel black and white livery as seen on the other CMM machines on the booth.

The RAF machine was also carrying and demonstrating the new version of the popular Wenzel Shapetracer Laser Scanner; the Shapetracer II. The second incarnation of this sensor is faster, has a wider stripe, collects more points and is less sensitive to part surface finish than previous modal.

The standard model boasts a new blue laser light source but other wavelengths will shortly become available. This other laser source colors will allow Wenzel to incorporate the light source most appropriate to customer needs rather than pushing a particular color. The Shapetracer II also sports the new Wenzel livery.

Wenzel banners at show

On the end of the booth five booth-high, translucent banners were hung, each showing one of the 5 distinct product lines now offered.

So Control was, as usual, super-successful and a WIN-WIN for visitors and exhibitors alike. This show should surely be the model for the shows that have a QA component here in the US and around the world.

Andy Woodward
Wenzel America.