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K 2022 MEETS HIGHEST EXPECTATIONS

The joy of the plastics and rubber industry to finally be able to
exchange ideas in person on a global level again after three years
characterized the K 2022 trade fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. The 3,037
exhibitors reported extremely good leads and a marked willingness of the
trade visitors to invest, promising new customer relationships and numerous
business deals, some of them spontaneous.

“K in Düsseldorf has once again fulfilled highest expectations. It
continues to be the most international, complete and innovative trade fair
of the global plastics and rubber industry”, said Erhard Wienkamp, Managing
Director of Messe Düsseldorf. “The trade fair has impressively demonstrated
just how valuable face-to-face networking, chance meetings and physical
brand and product experiences are. We are very satisfied to see that K 2022
succeeded in sending out strong signals as an innovation driver of the
industry and that our exhibitors did business with a high number of
international customers with strong decision-making authority.”

A total of 176,000 trade visitors from all continents travelled to K
2022. At over 70%, the proportion of international attendees at K 2022
remained at a consistently high level.

Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the K 2022 Exhibitor Advisory Board,  is
also very pleased about the show: “After hardly any trade fairs could take
place worldwide also on a national level over the past three years, K 2022
was all the more eagerly anticipated as the world’s No. 1 trade fair of the
plastics and rubber industry and succeeded in providing fresh impetus in all
sectors of our industry. The many, in part, unexpected concrete contract
negotiations held at the trade fair speak for themselves!”

The current unpredictability and uncertainty of events makes for a tense
situation in the sector overall, but this did not dampen the exhibitors’
commitment and visitors’ interest, quite  the opposite: “Especially now in
turbulent times and where the plastics industry is undergoing transformation
towards the circular economy, K 2022 was the ideal place to jointly and
actively chart the course for the future,” stated Ulrich Reifenhäuser.

The trade visitors were especially inspired by the wealth of new
technology developments presented by raw materials producers, machinery
manufacturers and plastics processors for the realization of the circular
economy, resource conservation and climate protection. Ulrich Reifenhäuser
commented: “It can be clearly felt that all companies have embraced the need
to take on social responsibility and think about plastics in a sustainable
way from the beginning of the process chain. The variety of solutions,
machinery and products for transformation towards a circular economy
presented at K 2022 was incredible.”

The trade visitors at this year’s K came from 157 nations. In addition to
Germany, European countries strongly represented included the Netherlands,
Italy, Turkey, France, Belgium, Poland and Spain. With 42% of the visitors
coming from overseas, the international reach of K was as strong as usual.
While less visitors from the East Asian region were at K 2022 compared to
three years ago due to the currently more difficult conditions in those
countries as a result of quarantine regulations, many visitors from the
U.S., Brazil and India attended K 2022.

According to a survey, about two thirds of all visitors were primarily
interested in machinery and plant construction. 57% (5% more than at K 2019)
were interested in raw and auxiliary materials, with recyclates and
bioplastics being particularly popular. For 28%, semi-finished products and
technical parts made of plastics and rubber were the main reason for coming
to the show (multiple answers possible). Over 70% of all visitors were from
top and middle management.

Visitors gave K 2022 top marks for the completeness of the ranges and the
presentation of the entire supply chain. 98% of all professionals stated
they had fully achieved the goals associated with their visit.

During the eight trade fair days it became evident that this year’s K was
right on target with its selection of hot topics: circular economy, climate
protection and digitalization. In terms of investment intentions, machinery
and equipment for processing and recycling stood out at 43%. The focus was
particularly on sustainability, but also on circular economy and
energy/resource efficiency in production. Around 40% of decision-makers said
they are dealing with the topic of decarbonization.

K 2022 again featured  two U.S. Pavilions with 35 exhibitors, organized by
Messe Düsseldorf North America (MDNA) and co-sponsored by PLASTICS, The
Plastics Industry Association.  Overall, 105 U.S. companies showcased their
products at K.

The K specials, which also focused on the three hot topics, were also
very well received. The official special show, ‘Plastics Shape the Future’,
addressed the economic, social and ecological challenges and potential
solutions around the K key themes during high-caliber discussions and
lectures and was well attended throughout. The Circular Economy Forum, where
the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) and 13 of its member companies
impressively demonstrated the importance of technology in the implementation
of the circular economy in the plastics industry was also popular with the
international audience.

Also much discussed at this year’s K was the global production
language, OPC UA. This standard allows the processing parameters of the
machinery and equipment involved to be coordinated more precisely and in a
more targeted manner. This, in turn, is considered an important prerequisite
for optimized circular management. 40 companies from eight countries
participated in an OPC UA demonstration project at the trade show.

At the Science Campus, both exhibitors and visitors were provided with a
concentrated overview of scientific activities and findings in the plastics
and rubber sector. Numerous universities, institutes and funding
organizations offered opportunities for direct dialogue.

Many trainees and students took advantage of the Plastics Training
Initiative’s (KAI) offer to get information about career opportunities in
the plastics industry.

The next K will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany from October 8 – 15, 2025.
For further information on visiting or exhibiting at  K 2025, contact Messe
Düsseldorf North America; Telephone: (312) 781-5180; Visit www.k-online.com

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