The joy of the plastics and rubber industry at finally being able to exchange ideas in person on a global level again after three years characterised the course of K 2022 Düsseldorf and created an excellent mood among the 3037 exhibitors. The companies reported extraordinarily good contacts and a clear willingness to invest on the part of the trade visitors, the establishment of promising new customer relationships and numerous business deals, some of them spontaneous.
„K in Düsseldorf once again fulfilled the highest expectations. It remains the most international, complete and innovative trade fair for the global plastics and rubber industry,“ says Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, delighted with the good result and adds: „The fair has impressively demonstrated how valuable personal networking, chance encounters and physical brand and product experiences are.“ 176,000 trade visitors from all continents travelled to Düsseldorf for their most important industry event. The proportion of international guests at K 2022 was consistently high at over 70 %. The trade visitors came to the Rhine from 157 nations. In addition to Germany, the nations strongly represented on the visitor side in Europe were the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, France, Belgium, Poland and Spain. With a share of 42% from overseas, K‘s reach among international trade visitors is as strong as usual. While guests from the East Asian region in particular were less strongly represented than at K three years ago, numerous visitors from the USA, Brazil and India were welcomed at K 2022.
Abundance of new technological developments
It was especially the wealth of new technology developments that raw materials producers, machine manufacturers and plastics processors presented for implementing the circular economy, resource conservation and climate protection that thrilled the trade visitors. “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,” sums up Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the Exhibitor Advisory Board of K 2022.
Focus on machinery and plant construction
For around two thirds of all visitors polled machinery and plant construction ranked first in terms of interest. 57% and, hence 5% more than at K 2019, said they 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 (multiple responses possible). Over 70% of all visitors come from top and middle management.
Top marks were given by visitors to K 2022 for the completeness of its ranges and its mapping of the entire supply chain. 98% of all professionals stated they had fully achieved the goals associated with their visit.
Selection of top themes hits the mark
During the eight days of the fair it became clear that this year‘s K was right on target with the selection of its hot topics, circular economy, climate protection and digitalisation. In terms of investment intentions, machinery and equipment for processing and recycling stood out with 43%. The focus was particularly on sustainability, but also on circular economy and energy/resource efficiency in production. Around 40% of the decision-makers said they were looking into the topic of decarbonisation.
The K specials, which also focused on the three hot topics, were also very well received. The official special show, Plastics shape the future, focused on the economic, social and ecological challenges and approaches to solutions around the K key themes in top-class discussions and lectures and was consistently well-filled. The Circular Economy Forum, in which the VDMA and 13 of its member companies impressively illustrated the importance of technology in the implementation of the circular economy in the plastics industry, scored points with the international audience with live demonstrations and a great deal of well-founded knowledge and detailed information on the subject.
Also much discussed at this year‘s K in Düsseldorf was the world language of production, OPC UA, with which the processing parameters of the machines and equipment involved can be coordinated more precisely and in a more targeted manner. This in turn is considered an important prerequisite for optimised cycle management. 40 companies from eight countries participated in an OPC UA demonstration project at the fair.
The next K in Düsseldorf will take place from 08 to 15 October 2025.