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Focus on how “plastics move the world”

Held every three years in Dusseldorf, the K plastics and rubber trade fair is a trend barometer and innovation forum for the entire sector. “K 2013 will give us a complete overview of the changing world market, and we can look forward to a multitude of impressive innovations. We know that many of our exhibitors are already working flat out on their new products and presentations. Düsseldorf will be a powerful source of inspiration for the plastics and rubber world,” says Werner M. Dornscheidt, President and CEO of the organizers Messe Düsseldorf.

According to Messe Dusseldorf, the K 2010 show attracted some 220,000 trade visitors from 109 countries. K 2013 will be held from October 16 to 23, 2013. Company exhibits will be supplemented by a special show entitled “Plastics move the world”. This is where aspects of the theme of mobility will be taken up – “everything from lightweight design in the construction of vehicles, aircraft and ships, to individual mobility and modern leisure behavior,” say the organizers. Suppliers from Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and the USA will be particularly strongly represented, while the number of Asian manufacturers from China, Taiwan and India has again risen, according to the organizers.

Automotive Industries (AI) asked K 2013 Project Director Petra Cullman how much bigger this year’s event is compared to 2010.

Cullman: The 19 halls in the Düsseldorf fairgrounds are completely booked. The net exhibition space of K 2013 will be some 168,000 square meters. That is about 4,000 square meters more than three years ago.

AI: What are some of the highlights of the K 2013?

Cullman: The major highlights, of course, will be the innovations of the exhibitors! The manufacturers of plastics and rubber products, as well as their industrial end users, will be able to witness the pinnacle of developments in machine, process and materials technology at K 2013. This multi-faceted offering is being supplemented by a supporting programme that promises trade visitors added benefit. Besides the special “Plastics move the world” show, there will be a Science Campus for the first time. University and research institutes will be presenting the themes of the future. We’re optimistic that grouping these institutions in Hall 7.0 will encourage livelier dialogue between research and industry. Two more topics that will be highlighted are bioplastics and printed electronics.

AI: Tell us about the technologies/ products that are particularly relevant to the automotive industry.

Cullman: I’m sure that, for the automotive industry, the focus will be especially on plastics for lightweight structures, including foams, on functionalized plastics components and surfaces, on fiber composites and their processing and on hybrids. Not to forget about the innovative rubber materials that will be presented at K 2013.

AI: How will the K 2013 motto “K makes the difference” translate into the show?

Cullman: K differs on decisive counts from all other events in the industry around the world – for the benefit of exhibitors and visitors. To mention just the most important aspects:

• K is synonymous with the greatest variety and highest innovation density worldwide
• K spans the industry’s entire value chain – from raw materials production and machine manufacture, including the complete range of peripheral equipment through to processing
• K 2013 is the market place for visionary themes and innovative sustainable solutions • K 2013’s clear layout aids orientation and enables all trade visitors to obtain the information they need for their professional interests without searching or detours

AI: What are some of the new technologies/products that will be highlighted at K 2013?

Cullman: There will be many new machines and technologies for all those processors supplying the automotive and aircraft companies, e.g. machinery and equipment that allows more flexibility and shorter changeover times, faster machine movements, optimized molds, more efficient cooling and even better synchronicity with ancillary equipment for shorter cycle times, lower cost per unit and higher output rates. There will also be process-integrated monitoring of product quality, earliest possible in-line reject separation. Documentation of process and quality data for end-to-end product traceability will be a topic at many exhibitors’ booths. I’m sure that there will be also many new high-performance polymers and rubber materials for under-hood plastics applications with high heat resistance, resistance to oil and other media for heavy-duty dynamic operation

AI: What kind of participation do you expect this year at the K Show?

Cullman: Some 200,000 trade visitors from all continents will again be keen to seize the opportunity that K Düsseldorf is offering. They get to know and directly compare new products and applications of more than 3,000 exhibitors.

AI: What are some of the issues and challenges facing the plastics and rubber industry today?

Cullman: The success strategies of the global plastics and rubber industry are based on two key components: the persistent optimization of the existing potential and the development of new applications. Current figures for the industry clearly illustrate how well this existing potential is already being used. One of the major challenges the plastics industry has to face today is maximizing on efficiency. Efficiency not only in the use, but also in the production of plastic and rubber parts. On the one hand, new markets have been opening up. On the other hand, the competitive pressure has significantly increased. Short production and delivery times are pitted against complex products and exacting quality requirements demanded in ever shorter development times. Added to this mix is a dramatic pressure on prices. All these requirements are to be met with sustainable production methods and with as little impact on the environment as possible. Keeping abreast with today’s market means maximizing on efficiency.

AI: Tell us a little about the panel of experts at K 2013 – what topics and issues will be discussed?

Cullman: For six days, a panel of experts will be discussing how “Plastics move the world”. In sessions in German or in English on alternate days, the panel members will explore numerous aspects of the general theme of mobility. The spotlight will be on climate compatible energy and transport strategies, as well as on the changes in the worlds of work and leisure thanks to mobile means of communication. A day has also been reserved at this K special review specifically for exchanges with the younger generation.

AI: What are some of the major changes made in the way the event is being conducted this year as compared to previous years?

Cullman: We’re constantly working on making K even better! It’s the intense dialogue with our customers, exhibitors and visitors alike that helps us to expand our services and to highlight topics of special interest to the industry. Tickets to K can now be purchased via the Internet and printed at home. We have also redesigned the K App. Other changes include the renovation of the halls and restaurants in the fairgrounds, and an upgrade of our technical infrastructure.

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