All of the Americans who took part in EMO 2001, the huge machine tool fair in Hanover, Germany, will remember it as the show that took place right after the terrorist attacks on September 11. Although the terrible events in the United States did not disrupt the show, they left a mark.
Many would-be attendees from the United States had to cancel their visits because of disruptions in flight schedules. (This year 1,300 U.S. metalworking professionals attended compared to 4,000 in 1997, the most recent year the show was held in Hanover.) Those Americans who had already arrived had to deal with the stress and apprehension that comes from being far away from home when terror and tragedy strike in one's own land.
The day of the attack found the team from Modern Machine Shop scattered in different parts of Europe. Senior Editor Chris Koepfer was en route to Germany from the Czech Republic. Publisher Dan Luciano and company president Rick Kline were in Germany. I was in Switzerland. All of us had the same experience, however. Wherever we were, our overseas hosts shared our shock and pain over the incidents. Their expressions of sympathy and support were heartfelt and genuine.
We all managed to convene for the show in Hanover as planned. There we found a growing sense of solidarity and resolve directed toward America and its citizens. This was evident both in many private comments from individuals and in public expressions such as the minute of silence observed on the second day of the show in memory of the victims. By then, it was clear that the events on September 11 would have repercussions around the world, although the nature and scope of the effects could only be surmised.
There was never a question that the show should proceed as normally as possible. And so it did. Total attendance ultimately hit the 200,000 range as expected. More important, the new products on display showed that metalworking technology is advancing around the world, including in Europe and in Germany in particular. (A broad summary of our observations from the show begins on page 162, but selected highlights will be featured throughout our upcoming issues.)
For the short term, business conditions will be rocky in many parts of the world. For the long term, a spirit of optimism and good will must prevail. There can be no retreat from the commitment to improving quality, boosting efficiency and reducing costs. In this, nothing has changed.