At the recent staging of K, the World’s No. 1 Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber, 3,330 exhibitors from 63 nations impressively demonstrated that plastic continues to be an innovative, indispensable and future-oriented material. At the same time, the exhibitors unanimously underscored the necessity of having operational circular economies along the complete material chain and presented concrete solutions. The approximately 225,000 visitors from 165 countries were especially interested in recycling systems, sustainable raw materials and resource-saving processes. K 2019 was also characterized by a high willingness to invest. It was evident that the international trade visitors were ready to prepared for the future with the latest technologies.
“K 2019 came at precisely the right point in time. Its enormous importance for the sector is underscored by its high acceptance from all over the world. Nowhere else is the industry represented as internationally and completely as here in Düsseldorf every three years,” said Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. “Especially in times of great challenges, a platform like the K is indispensable. It provides guidance and perspectives, sets sustainable economic impulses, shows forward-looking trends and concrete approaches. The industry and its professional associations enjoyed the unique opportunity here to present sector-specific solutions and to discuss socio-politically relevant issues on a global basis. And they made excellent use of this opportunity.”
Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the K 2019 Exhibitor Advisory Board, was also pleased with the K 2019 results: “The plastics and rubber industry succeeded in proving once again that plastic is not only very valuable material with outstanding properties but also that this industry assumes responsibility along the entire value chain. The buzzwords at K 2019 “Reflect. Re-Think. Think Laterally. Think Afresh.” were reflected at the exhibitors’ stands. Never before has the industry addressed a topic so unanimously and worked so consistently on solutions as it has now done in the areas of environmental compatibility, resource conservation and avoiding waste. There is a real sense of optimism in the industry, the current dynamic is overwhelming.”
The positive atmosphere at K 2019 was also evident by concrete demands at the stands. “It became clear that global demand for innovative machinery and raw materials is particularly high right now, despite the current tensions in world trade or the business climate in some consumer sectors. This year’s K has by far exceeded our expectations and was able to generate key impetus for sustainable governance and new business models,” added Reifenhäuser.
After Germany, the majority of the visitors came from Italy, the Netherlands, India, Turkey, China and the U.S. A marked increase in the number of trade visitors from the Russian Federation, Japan and Brazil was also registered. The number of executives among K visitors increased slightly: about 68% had middle or top management positions. With over 90%, visitor satisfaction was again at a high level. While for German trade visitors increased efficiency was the most important issue, the priority for European and non-European trade visitors was the expansion of product and service portfolios.
The U.S. was also well represented on the exhibitor side: 108 exhibitors showed their products at K 2019, including 38 companies within the two successful U.S. Pavilions, organized by Messe Düsseldorf North America and supported by The Plastics Industry Association.
K was again the premiere platform where many trend-setting products and applications were presented for the first time. The innovations were not only admired but also many concrete negotiations were conducted and contracts signed. “The willingness to invest was extremely high and across all nations. In particular, business with new customers was very positive this year. We are also confident about very strong post-show business,” commented Reifenhäuser. For the attendees from around the world investment in expansion ranked particularly high, especially in extruders and extrusion lines. The visitor survey also showed that the interest in machinery and equipment for plastics reclamation and recycling is noticeably higher abroad than in Germany.
Flexible materials – rubbers and thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) – were also an important part of K 2019 again. Although the elastomer segment has traditionally been smaller than the plastics range at K, there was a surprisingly high number of companies presenting elastomer-specific products and services – ranging from raw materials, additives and compounds to special machinery and equipment for reclamation and converting.
The K 2019 exhibits were complemented by an extensive ancillary program consisting of keynotes and high-caliber discussions on topics such as renewable energies, material efficiency and zero-waste. A highlight was the Special Show K 2019 “Plastics shape the Future”. This year the innovative power of the material and the industry in terms of resource-saving processes, digitalization, functionality, renewable energies, circular economy and sustainability were the leading subjects. Also on the agenda were critical themes such as marine litter, the throw-away mentality associated with plastic packaging and the use of finite resources for their production. Another highlight was a humanoid robot built during K 2019 by young researchers from FabLab Lübeck e.V. to show where developments are headed in future when additive manufacturing and robotics are combined with cutting-edge materials such as plastics.
The Science Campus provided exhibitors and visitors a condensed overview of scientific activities and results in the plastics and rubber sector. Numerous universities, institutes and funding agencies provided opportunities for direct dialogue.
The next K trade fair will be held from October 19 – 26, 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany. For further information on visiting or exhibiting at K 2022, contact Messe Düsseldorf North America, Telephone: (312) 781-5180; E-mail: [email protected]; Visit www.k-online.com and www.mdna.com; Follow us on twitter at http://twitter.com/mdnachicago.