Brno hosted the largest engineering fair in Central Europe

The engineering fair in Brno, photo: CTK

Brno, the second largest city in the Czech Republic, recently hosted the 46th international engineering fair at Brno's historic exhibition centre. The fair brings together over 2000 firms from 33 countries. Last week, over 100,000 people from not only the Czech Republic but as far as Asia and North America have came to the fair to see what the leading Czech, as well as other international engineering firms have to offer. Martin Hrobsky spoke to Jiri Erlebach, spokesperson for the fair.

The engineering fair in Brno,  photo: CTK
"The international engineering fair is the largest Central European fair. The first fair was in 1959, it is the oldest fair in the Czech Republic and as well in Central Europe."

Why does the fair take place in Brno, why not in Prague or any other region of the Czech Republic?

"Because Brno was granted in 1927 the first Czech fair, it was an exhibition of Czech companies and towns. It is a tradition here."

The Czech Republic has a long and rich history in engineering and industry. Before the First World War the Czechs lands became industrialized, and between the world wars the country had one of the largest economies in the world. Today, Czech engineering is again making its mark around the world. Martin spoke to Tomas Zrostlik who is the managing director of Skoda Gear, based in Plzen. Radio Prague asked him first to tell me a little bit about his company.

"Skoda Gear is a producer of gearboxes and gears. We have 120 employees and we focus on very special designs of gearboxes and gears for different industrial applications. These include metallurgical, chemical, semi-industrial energy parts."

Would you say the majority of your business is done in the Czech Republic, or is more business done abroad?

The engineering fair in Brno,  photo: CTK
"We do 80 percent of our sales in the Czech Republic and 20 percent is done abroad. But from the business we do in the Czech Republic there is a significant amount of resale directly to companies abroad. So basically we do 50 percent of our business in the Czech Republic and 50 percent abroad."

The accession of the Czech Republic to the European Union has opened many new markets for Czech firms. This also means that Czech firms must be competitive if they are to survive on the European, as well as the global market. We asked Mr. Zrostlik what he thinks of Czech industry and engineering today.

"The complete structure of our business, the gear box business, it is a little bit of a different business than for IT or other ones. I would say that designers and engineers are very well known in the world and our people are traveling around the world and gaining a lot of experience. In our business there are a couple of companies around the world who are our competitors, and some of them are very close to us and we try to share information with them. We participate on the same projects and we try discussing how to solve the same problems. I would say our people in the engineering sector have very good experience and they have very good knowledge. I would say that it is growing up."