From September 8th to 10th, over 27,007 visitors came together in person and online to attend Smart Factory + Automation World 2021, the largest professional industrial exhibition in Asia. Spread across all 4 of Coex’s halls were 1,503 booths by 449 domestic and international companies specializing in the automation industry.

Event Overview

Organized by Coex, KOIIA (Korea Industry Intelligentization Association), Korea Machine Vision Industrial Association, and Chomdan Inc., Smart Factory + Automation World took place on the theme of ‘The Future of the Digital New Deal’. The theme was set for this year in order to emphasize the importance of showing the present and future of the 4th industrial revolution, which has been one of the biggest topics in the industry and ignited by the COVID-19 crisis. Over the three-day event, 32,000 different types of the latest smart-manufacturing technologies were introduced to lead the digital transformation of manufacturing sites in the post-COVID era.
This year’s exhibition consisted of:

  • aimex (Hall A): Introducing innovative items and solutions for industrial automation like PLC, DCS, motion control, FA systems, automation components, and more. Showing the latest trends in the domestic and overseas automation industry.
  • Korea Vision Show (Hall B): Introducing the latest machine vision items and applications like industrial cameras, lens, lighting, and image processing systems. Great opportunities as a business platform for professionals and buyers in the industry.
  • Smart Factory Expo (Hall C, D): Introducing the future of the manufacturing industry, from smart-factory solutions to PLM, MES, IoT, CPS, smart sensors, factory models, and more.


One of the highlights of the SF+AW 2021 was the Thematic Pavilion ‘Smart Manufacturing of the Future’, which consisted of 17 domestic companies in the smart factory field, including SK Telecom, LSIS, and Doosan Factory Machinery. Together, this themed pavilion mobilized and introduced various smart factory technologies that will lead the digital transformation of manufacturing sites. In particular, a high-tech comprehensive equipment manufacturing company named SFA demonstrated a lineup of manufacturing equipment with super-intelligent, hyper-connected, unmanned, and non-disruptive concepts through the pavilion and a robot picking system using AI and big data technology.

Furthermore, the latest smart factory technologies were also introduced at the thematic pavilion, allowing visitors to explore various examples of improved productivity and efficiency using smart solutions combined with industrial AI, carbon-neutral smart factories, and 5G. There were a total of 18 professional conferences, as well as an online business platform with 26 companies from 10 different countries like Japan and Singapore.


The trade show’s virtual edition took place at the same time for those who were unable to visit the exhibition due to the pandemic. SF+AW 2021 opened its online exhibition hall (online edition) in early August, allowing visitors to meet exhibitors, explore products, make inquiries, and conduct 1:1 online business meetings prior to the actual event opening in September. In addition, SF+AW was broadcast live and the participating companies’ interviews were also featured in the virtual edition, offering remote visitors a more in-depth and engaging experience of SF+AW. The online exhibition continued until September 30th, and records of the live stream can be found here.

The Challenge and Safe Solutions

South Korea had been recording over 1,000 daily new COVID cases despite the toughest virus curbs. Starting from September 6th to October 3rd, South Korea decided to keep the toughest virus restrictions in place for the greater Seoul area while increasing restrictions across the country.

“In a situation where the manufacturing industry, one of the key industries, is being hit by the prolonged COVID-19 crisis, SF+AW 2021 was held as scheduled in order to provide a new business breakthrough for manufacturing companies,” said Dong-won Lee, CEO of Coex. “We were fully prepared with strict quarantine measures to provide a safe environment for everyone who visited the exhibition.”

Under Social Distancing Level 4, Smart Factory + Automation World 2021 maintained a strong enabling environment for all participating individuals:

- All participants completed and passed a COVID-19 self-assessment prior to participating in the exhibition

- All visitors completed a QR code check-in and entered the hall through Coex’s sterilization & disinfection gate

- All participants practiced social distancing when queuing, visiting a booth, or sitting in the conference hall

- All participants were required to wear masks at all times

- All exhibition halls maintained a physical distance of one person per eight square meters.


Learn more about Smart Factory + Automation Industry here