29 October 2021
SIFER 2021 review: thrill to meet again and hope for the future
The 12th edition of SIFER, France’s only B2B meeting entirely dedicated to the railway industry, has just ended. A total of 7,600 key players from the sector, of which 4,100 were visitors, gathered at the heart of Europe’s leading rail region to showcase their technologies, engage in conversations and spark up new business opportunities. Smiles and positivity were omnipresent in the aisles throughout the 3 days of the show, illustrating the joy felt by all professionals to “meet again after 18 months without an event of this stature”, as explained Nicola Hamann, Managing Director at Mack-Brooks Exhibitions, during the opening ceremony. The audience was also reminded of SIFER’s role as the “ultimate networking platform for the industry to imagine and bring to life the rail network of tomorrow”.
Exhibitors satisfied with the quality of visitors and new contacts acquired
“There is a buzz right now when it comes to trade shows: clients, partners and ourselves are happy to meet again. After EXPO Ferroviaria, SIFER is our 2nd show this year. We feel the French know-how is being recognised”. Karin Schinasi, Export Manager at J. Lanfranco & cie
“We are satisfied with this 2021 edition of SIFER. With the recent changes in our activity, new needs have emerged, mainly in terms of maintenance. During the 3 days of the show, we were able to meet new partners and subcontractors likely to support us in the future, most likely with the mid-life revision programme for our Prima locomotives. Our meetings were very promising”. Maxandre Garzino-Fréchot, Purchasing Director of the Akiem Group
ABB, Alstom, Vinci Energies, Harting, Vossloh, Telt, the CCI Bourgogne pavilion, and ETF (official infrastructure partner) were among the many exhibitors who renewed their trust in SIFER. CAF, Akiem and NEVOMO were among the newest participants.
Reinventing the railways of tomorrow in terms of freight development, exploitation of the network, ecological transition: these are among the numerous challenges to be tackled by 2030, and France has many assets to maintain its attractiveness on an international scale. During the opening ceremony, Marc Papinutti, Director General for Infrastructure, Transport and the Sea, explained the need "to accelerate the energy transition and to experiment to that end". Louis Nègre, president of the FIF, mentioned the concept of "France's industrial railway team", adding that there is "a boulevard for the railway industry. We are part of the European vision and a global offensive". Philippe Citroën, Director General, UNIFE, subtly invited the government to listen in on the SIFER conferences “while France is about to take on the presidency of the EU”; he also pointed out that by 2030, “the railway network will need to be interoperable, electrified or hydrogen, and rely on the ERTMS (European Rail Traffic Management System).” Franck Dhersin, Vice-President of the Hauts-de-France region, in charge of mobility, transport infrastructure and ports, sent a strong message to presidential candidates, asking them to work on a better future for the railway sector: “the next president will need to draft a major rail infrastructure plan".
A turning point for the regions of France
Marc Papinutti also pointed out in his speech that the sector should "innovate to win back small railway lines". And it is no coincidence that Railcoop was chosen as a new show partner. Railcoop is the first cooperative company in Europe to re-use existing rail infrastructure in order to recreate proximity between territories that were little or not served in terms of freight and passenger transport. 16 companies from Occitanie specialising in aeronautics were also present to leverage synergies with railway companies.
Numerous transitions at the heart of the rail sector
And among these transitions: digitalisation. Embedded systems are growing more popular to anticipate breakdowns, optimise driving and passenger comfort. The SNCF and AltaMetris both placed maintenance 4.0, data collection, management and optimisation at the heart of their conference.
The railway innovation trophies organised by the i-Trans competitiveness cluster and the ERCI Network have rewarded innovative European projects aimed at shaping the railway landscape of tomorrow.
- « Best large enterprise »: Bozayanka (Turkey) – project « Bozayanka Battery Team ».
- « Best SME »: PJ Monitoring GmbH (Germany) – project « Waggon Tracker ».
- « Innovation heart-stopper»: Everysens (France) – project « TVMS »; PANTOhealth GmbH (Germany) – project « Predictive Maintenance via Real & Synthetic Data »; Te.Si.Fer SRL (Italy) – project « Smart Track ».
Twenty events were scheduled throughout the 3 days
Conferences, round tables, workshops, seminars. Business France discussed "the global rail market and the example of the British market"; UNIFE: "Competitiveness of the European Railway Industry: How to maintain world leadership?"; Uretek: "Filling of a box culvert and treatment of a sump under tracks in La Souterraine (23)". The SIFER B2B Meetings, a business convention organised by the Réseau Entreprise Europe of the Hauts-de-France region and i-Trans, lead to 118 meetings taking place between SMEs, startups, large companies and research centers. 17 countries were represented.
See you on 28 – 30 March 2023 for SIFER’s 13th edition
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