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Simmex Spodek

A journey through a decade of change

Simmex Spodek

A journey through a decade of change

In the heart of Silesia, a region proud of its mining and metallurgical history, a unique event takes place every two years, attracting specialists from the world of technology and innovation. SIMMEX, known in the 1990s as the Katowice Fair (and now MT EXPO KATOWICE), was a true testament to Poland’s economic transformation after 1989. It was also the place where the future of industry was shaped by the highest level of technical and engineering thinking. To this day, entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers from all over the world meet here to exchange knowledge, experience and visions for the future.

With each edition of the fair, from its humble beginnings in the 1980s, through its dynamic growth in the decade of the 1990s, to the turn of the millennium, SIMMEX and later KATOWICE have witnessed and participated in transformations – not only technological, but also socio-economic.

The story of the show is one of ambition, innovation and the constant pursuit of excellence. It shows the importance of meeting, exchanging ideas and experiences. SIMMEX/KATOWICE is not just about the latest machines and technologies; it’s first and foremost about people – their dreams, their work and their determination to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Let us take you on another fascinating journey back in time – when Polish heavy industry, faced with the challenges of transformation, was looking for a way to modernize and become more efficient, to the moment when the fair became one of the most important industrial events on the map of Europe and the world. Welcome to the 1990s.

SIMMEX ’91: The beginning of a new era

The year 1991 was a time of tumultuous changes for Poland, not only on the political level, but also on the economic level. In this context, SIMMEX ’91 was not only an industrial event, but also a symbol of hope and courage in the face of new challenges. Katowice, the heart of industrial Silesia, welcomed entrepreneurs, engineers and thinkers, ready for dialog and cooperation across borders.

It was a time when Polish heavy industry, especially mining and metallurgy, was considered a sector in need of deep restructuring and modernization. However, SIMMEX ’91 demonstrated that even industries considered “non-developmental” have enormous innovative potential and can provide the basis for future economic growth. The Katowice “Spodek” brought together a large number of specialists who, despite the skepticism of some critics, believed in the future of Polish industry. Contrary to pessimistic voices, 333 exhibitors from 15 countries, dominated by German and Austrian companies, presented technologies that would change the face of mining and metallurgy. The machines and equipment on display, capable of concentrating mining, were proof not only of global aspirations, but also of the tenacity and innovation of Polish companies.

The “Spodek” hall echoed with conversations about technical innovations, fueled by hopes for a better future. The focus of the exhibition was the presentation of modern technologies, machines and equipment that would revolutionize traditional industries. Among them were two sets of machinery and equipment for concentrated mining, which were to be transported to the “Staszic” and “Marcel” mines after the fair. It was a visual and practical demonstration that Polish industry is ready to implement solutions that will make it more competitive on the international stage.[1]

Boguslaw Zalewski, Commercial Director, spoke optimistically about the show’s records, and the event’s participants, both exhibitors and visitors, felt they were part of something bigger – a forward movement towards modernity.[2]

SIMMEX ’93: Confirmation of Strength and Development

Two years later, in 1993, SIMMEX reached another milestone, demonstrating Poland’s unshakable position as a key player in the European industrial market. It was a time when Polish heavy industry was enthusiastically embarking on a path of transformation, and SIMMEX ’93 became a powerful symbol of this bold journey into the unknown.

With a record 400 exhibitors from 12 countries, the show was living proof that despite global challenges, Polish industry is going from strength to strength. Industry experts highlighted the high level of technology on display, and Polish companies began to successfully compete with foreign giants thanks to tremendous progress.[3]

For five days, the “Spodek” was transformed into a veritable laboratory of the future, brimming with ideas and solutions. From mechanized face complexes that would revolutionize mining to advanced metallurgical and energy technologies, SIMMEX ’93 witnessed presentations that would push the boundaries of what is possible. Many of these technologies, unveiled for the first time in Katowice, ushered in a new era of industrial production with an emphasis on efficiency, safety and sustainability.[4]

However, SIMMEX ’93 was characterized not only by technological presentations, but above all by an atmosphere of openness and readiness for dialog. The fair became a place where Polish engineers and businessmen could talk directly with international experts, exchange experiences and look for new opportunities for cooperation. It was a time when beliefs about the isolation of Polish industry from the rest of Europe began to fade and new horizons of global cooperation opened up for Poland.

Specialists from all over the world shared their knowledge and experience, creating a platform not only for business, but also for international cooperation. It was a celebration of Polish technical thinking, which proudly presented its achievements on the world stage.[5]

SIMMEX ’95: Broadening horizons

This unique edition took place at a time when Poland was making a bold entry into the European economic scene, seeking its place in the structures of the European Union. The fair grew in importance, attracting a record number of exhibitors and visitors, testifying to Poland’s growing role as a center of innovation and industrial cooperation in Europe.

SIMMEX ’95 broadened its horizons not only geographically but also thematically. For the first time, environmental technologies and cutting-edge occupational safety solutions took a prominent place alongside the traditional heavy industry sectors. This thematic expansion of the show underscored the changing priorities of the industry on a global scale, where sustainability and environmental protection began to play a key role.[6]

The fair became an arena of international dialog, where industry representatives from all over the world could exchange experiences, establish new business contacts and discuss the future of the industry. Cooperation with the Katowice International Fair enabled the fair to open up even more to international markets and increase its attractiveness for foreign exhibitors and investors.

Katowice ’97: A new era and a new challenge

The year 1997 marked the beginning of a new stage for SIMMEX, which entered the international arena with even greater dynamism under the new banner of the International Fair of Mining, Power Engineering, Metallurgy and Chemistry KATOWICE ’97. The name change symbolized the growing importance of the event, which has surpassed its previous scope to become one of the most important industry meetings in the world.

KATOWICE ’97 not only continued the tradition of SIMMEX, but also expanded its scope to include new sectors and topics in response to the rapidly changing world of industry and technology. Changing the name to “Katowice” was a step towards emphasizing the role of the city and region as an important industrial center in Poland and a major player on the international market.

The 1997 edition of the fair attracted almost 900 exhibitors, including almost 300 foreign ones, which proved its continuing international prestige. The participation of companies from such far-flung corners of the world as the United States, South Africa, as well as from all over Europe, showed that KATOWICE ’97 had become a global forum for the exchange of knowledge, experience and innovation.[7]

The fair focused not only on traditional sectors such as mining, metallurgy and energy, but also on areas related to environmental protection, clean energy technologies and occupational safety, which had already appeared in the previous edition. This was in response to growing environmental awareness and the need for industry to adapt to sustainable development.[8]

KATOWICE ’97 was full of technological demonstrations. From advanced mining machinery to modern solutions in metal production and environmental protection technologies, the fair provided an overview of the latest developments in the industry. Some of the solutions presented there were ahead of their time and showed the direction in which the global industry will develop.

KATOWICE ’99: The future began here

In 1999, KATOWICE opened a new chapter not only for the Silesian region, but for Polish industry as a whole, demonstrating its readiness to enter the 21st century with an ambitious plan for technological and ecological transformation. It was a time to reflect on the achievements of the century that was coming to an end, and a moment to set the course for the future.

“Katowice ’99 attracted nearly 800 companies from more than 20 countries, making it one of the most international industry gatherings in the fair’s history. With exhibitors from such far-flung places as Japan, Brazil and the United States, the fair became a truly global arena where the latest developments in mining, energy, metallurgy and chemistry were presented.[9]

The ’99 edition emphasized the importance of sustainability and ecology in an industrial context. This reflected changing global attitudes and the growing demand for environmentally friendly technologies. Among the innovations presented were solutions to reduce the negative impact of industry on nature, including recovery and recycling technologies, as well as modern methods of energy production.

KATOWICE ’99 sent a clear signal that the future of the industry will be inextricably linked to technological innovations that not only increase production efficiency but also ensure worker safety. Exhibits such as mechanized longwall systems, which promise to revolutionize mining, and advanced industrial process control systems underscored this trend.[10]

The fair was accompanied by the 7th International Economic Forum, which became a platform for discussions on the economic future of the region and the country as a whole in the face of the new millennium. The Forum brought together experts, entrepreneurs and decision-makers from different countries to discuss the challenges and opportunities arising from globalization, European integration and the need to adapt to rapidly changing market conditions.[11]


The SIMMEX/KATOWICE Fair’s journey through the 1990s is not only a story of technological innovation and transformation in Polish heavy industry. It is a story about people, their passion, determination and belief in the possibility of building a better future – a safe and green one. “Katowice ’99 closed one chapter, but it also opened a new one, full of optimism and readiness to take on new challenges. The SIMMEX fair and its subsequent editions in Katowice are proof that even in the most difficult times there is room for innovation and striving for excellence, and thus for extraordinary achievements.


[1] Trybuna Śląska, nr 196 (15.434), 1991 r., „Każdy liczy na profity”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/78242

[2] Trybuna Śląska, nr 216 (15.454), 1991 r., „Nie wszyscy zadowoleni”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/78262

[3] Trybuna Śląska, nr 206 (16.032), 1993 r., „Targi Simmex ’93. Specjalistyczne i profesjonalne”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/75833

[4] Trybuna Śląska, nr 216 (16.402), 1993 r., „Rekordowy Simmex”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/75843

[5] Śląska Gazeta Targowa, SIMMEX Międzynarodowe Targi Górnictwa, Energetyki i Metalurgii, 1993 r., „Każdy liczy na kontrakt”, dostęp na 26.03.2024:

[6] Śląska Gazeta Targowa, SIMMEX Międzynarodowe Targi Górnictwa, Energetyki i Metalurgii, 1995 r., „Panorama Techniki”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/257885

[7] Trybuna Górnicza, nr 35 (168), 1997 r., „Ujawniony potencjał”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/106693

[8] Śląska Gazeta Targowa, Międzynarodowe Targi Górnictwa, Energetyki, Metalurgii i Chemii Katowice ’97, 1997 r., „Supertargi!”, dostęp na 27.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/258380

[9] Trybuna Górnicza, nr 36 (269), Wydanie Specjalne, 1999 r., „Targi wielkich maszyn”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/68858

[10] Trybuna Górnicza, nr 25 (258), , 1999 r., „Targi gigantów”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/68847

[11] Trybuna Górnicza, nr 36 (269), Wydanie Specjalne, 1999 r., „Rysowanie perspektyw”, dostęp na 26.03.2024: https://www.sbc.org.pl/publication/68858

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