Earlier this week, DWM founder and publisher Tara Taffera shared her thoughts on Fensterbau, the massive biennial trade show for the door and window industry that recently wrapped up in Nuremberg, Germany. Today, I’m cleaning out my notebook from the big event.

Big attendance: According to show organizers, Fensterbau Frontale and Holz-Handwerk, a co-located event for the woodworking industry, together drew 1,329 exhibitors from 42 countries, up from 1,288 exhibitors and 40 countries in 2016. As for attendees, there were more than 110,000 from 123 countries, up from 116 nations in 2016. Of course, the huge Nuremberg Convention Centre could handle the crowds — ten halls were dedicated to Fensterbau alone, spanning nearly 700,000 square feet. (Probably the main reason the step tracker on my phone shows that I covered more than 31 miles during my time in Germany.)

Big crowds are heading in to Day 2 of #fensterbau.

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Happy anniversary: Fensterbau celebrated its 30th year in Nuremberg in 2018 with a special VIP celebration on the show’s next-to-last day.

Entertaining is a priority: Speaking of celebrating, at trade shows in North America, the partying generally happens after the day’s events. At Fensterbau, it begins as soon as the gates open and continues until late in the night, when many companies bring in musical groups to perform. The booths are massive (for example, Veka’s covered about 11,000 square feet), and the biggest ones feature a constant parade of food and drink for clients. We’re not talking snacks and sips, either. I mean full meals of sausages, sauerkraut, potatoes and pretzels, plus gigantic steins of great German beer — all for free. That might be why there is far less “booth swag” such as key chains and tote bags than you see at trade shows on this side of the Atlantic.

This is only part of Veka’s huge booth at #fensterbau.

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Americans in attendance: This is just my second trip to Fensterbau, but it seemed like there were more folks from the U.S. on hand than there were two years ago. I had good chats with James Gelina, the vice president of research and innovation with Andersen Windows, and Rob Garofalo, Andersen’s senior business manager, who were impressed by Europe’s big doors and use of colors. David Decker, president of Boral Windows in Texas, was also a first-time attendee.“What an awesome event,” he said. “Talk about innovation. It’s a lot different than what we see in the States. I’ve seen where windows are evolving. Can’t wait till next time.”

Robotics all around: We covered some companies that had robotic displays at Fensterbau, but by far the most dramatic was put on by Austrian hardware maker Maco. In the front corner of its huge booth, a gigantic robotic arm swung a window around to varying positions quickly and smoothly. It’s a snapshot of what’s happening in door and window production facilities around the world.

Maco showed off its robotic capabilities at #fensterbau.

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Social media advice: I ran into Mitch Lewandowski, the North American vice president of sales for Soft Tech, a couple of times on the show floor. During one encounter, we chatted about social media after he snapped a photo of us together. I told him I was posting a lot on Twitter and Instagram. It turns out that Lewandowski is a huge fan of LinkedIn, which he calls “Facebook for business.” He whipped out his phone and showed me the kind of engagement his posts get on the social-media platform, and it’s impressive. The bottom line: If you’re not using LinkedIn more, you might want to start. “It’s where all of your current and potential customers are,” Lewandowski said.

Cultural differences: We ended up in a couple of friendly yet lively discussions about the differences between the U.S. and Germany during our time at Fensterbau. For a sense of some of those differences, check out this link from a college teacher who has lived roughly half his life in both countries. (Note: There’s a lot of material in there, it has a definite point of view, and some of the information is a little out of date.)

Complete coverage: The DWM team was on hand for everything at Fensterbau from beginning to end. If you missed our videos and stories, here are the links:

See you (the year after) next year: Fensterbau returns to Nuremberg in 2020 from March 18 to 21. We’ll be there. How about you?

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