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A World of Innovation, on Display in Germany

An interview with Lars Wismer, director of glasstec 

Lars Wismer
Lars Wismer, director, glasstec

From Oct. 22-25, glasstec, the leading international trade fair for the glass sector, returns to Düsseldorf, Germany, where it will host about 1,000 exhibitors in all segments of the industry, from glass manufacturing to processing to façade systems to tools, technology and more. During the recent BEC Conference in Nashville, I sat down with Lars Wismer, the new director of glasstec, to discuss his impressions of the glass industry and the highlights of the 2024 edition of the expo. 

glasstec is organized by Messe Düsseldorf, and Wismer’s new role at the show marks his return to the organization, where he worked for 16 years as senior project manager. In 2016, Wismer joined a sporting, concert and events firm in Düsseldorf before returning to Messe Düsseldorf in 2022 to serve as director of glasstec.

New look at a dynamic industry

The 2022 glasstec, which took place prior to Wismer’s official return to Messe Düsseldorf, was his first introduction to the glass industry. “It was quite impressive. … It’s an industry show, a machinery show. You have the heavy machinery working. It’s loud, and I love it,” he describes. “Basically every day, I learn something new about glass. … There are so many developments and technological advancements. It’s wonderful to get the first impression [of the industry] at glasstec.” 

During our conversation, I asked Wismer what he would like to bring from his experience in sports and entertainment to glasstec 2024. “These are totally different approaches,” he says. “A fair has so much more to offer than a concert. … However, what I’d like to do—what we need to do—is add value. Part of that is entertainment. It’s not only about making business but enjoying yourself.” 

Technology and sustainability

The 2024 glasstec features three “Hot Topics:” decarbonization, digitalization and circular economy. Wismer and his organizing team are working to bring those themes not just to the conference program, but to the exhibition hall as well. “It’s important that these topics can be found on the show floor, not just on the website. Maybe not complete solutions, but you’ll be able to get ideas and inspiration,” he says. 

The themes will also come to play in the expo’s glass technology live innovation center, on the show floor. A new element of glass technology live will be “CircuClarity One,” an initiative featuring displays, conference programming and other features focused on product reuse and recycling. 

Serving a new generation

The audience for trade shows is changing, with organizers now serving everyone from Gen Z to Baby Boomers. “The trade fair industry has to evolve,” says Wismer. One element of that evolution is technology, he says. “Digital has to play more of a part in trade shows. We have to find ways of combining face-to-face interactions with digital technologies.” 

However, Wismer notes that face-to-face networking and community building continue to be top priority for exhibitors and visitors. “If you want to buy a piece of machinery, you can get all the specs online, or in PDF, or in [virtual reality]. But seeing the machine running, talking face to face, sealing the deal with a handshake. That is building trust,” he says.

glasstec 2024

What: glasstec 2024, International Trade Fair for Glass Production, Processing, Products 

When and where: Oct. 22-24, Düsseldorf fairgrounds, Düsseldorf, Germany 

Scope: The previous edition of glasstec, held in 2022, drew 936 exhibitors from 47 countries and 30,000 trade visitors from 119 countries. Organizers say they expect the 2024 event to be even larger.  

Why attend: glasstec offers the entire value chain of the glass industry in one venue, stretched over nine halls at the Messe Düsseldorf fairgrounds. North American visitors will be able to see the latest in glass machinery and equipment, digital technologies, and product innovations.  


Register and learn more about glasstec


Katy Devlin

Katy Devlin

Katy Devlin is content director for the National Glass Association and editor in chief of Glass Magazine. E-mail Katy at