After three years, the stage is set again: the K trade show is about to start at the exhibition grounds in Düsseldorf. Building started on 2 October, stands are being erected and exhibits are delivered by day and by night. What has now entered its final stage began many months previously at the exhibitor companies: preparation and developments for the premiere platform of the plastics and rubber industry and its largest international trade show. This is where all renowned suppliers show real innovations, because they will meet an international audience of specialists.
The economic situation in the run-up to the K 2013 is not all rosy. Particularly the situation of many southern European countries and the subsequent developments in important consumer segments of the plastics and rubber industry such as automotive and construction have given rise to concern. Nonetheless, the general conditions for K 2013 are significantly better than three years ago, when the industry was just starting to recover from a deep recession. All nineteen halls at the exhibition grounds in Düsseldorf are completely booked out. It is obvious that the exhibitors have invested a lot of time and effort in their presentation at the exhibition.
The variety of brand new products presented at the K trade show is of major interest for manufacturers of plastics and rubber products as well as for industrial consumers. The K trade show has evolved into the most important information platform for developers, engineers and manufacturing experts from many segments of the industry such as the automotive, consumer goods, E+E, aerospace as well as the construction industry. From 16 October on, they will be presented with the leading edge of machine, process and material engineering. Again, a total of 200,000 experts from all continents will take this opportunity, and about half of them will come to Düsseldorf from abroad. For them, the K trade show is a must, as the research and developments of raw material producers, manufacturers of plastics and rubber machines, processors and related science and competence centres will set the standard for the years to come.
At this year’s K trade show, a total of 3,218 exhibitors will present their latest developments in all segments of the industry – 121 more than in 2010. The suppliers range from global corporations right through to small start-up companies and the product portfolio covers the entire spectrum, from standard raw materials to tailor-made moulds. The variety and internationality of companies ensure that major issues confronting the industry such as energy, resource and material efficiency are covered extensively as special segments.
K 2013: Reflecting the global market
The K 2013 exhibitors come from 59 countries. Among them are companies from Europe. As before, most of them come from Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and France. One significant aspect of this turnout is the fact that compared to the K 2010, the countries of southern Europe that are most critically affected by the Euro crisis such as Italy, Spain and even Greece have stepped up and consolidated their exhibition presence at K 2013. It is one major benefit for international specialist visitors that they do not have to miss out on developments and products from these countries.
The strong German plastics and rubber industry has booked almost 40 % – 66,497 sqm – of the overall net exhibition area of 171,326 sqm. After Germany, Italy has traditionally become established as the largest non-domestic exhibiting nation, and this year, Italian businesses have reserved more than 26,000 sqm of net exhibition area for displaying their products and services.
At the same time, the situation presented at the K 2013 provides a clear indication of the ongoing changes in the global market: since the last K exhibition in 2010, the number of exhibitors from Asia and the overall area booked by Asian businesses has increased significantly. The net exhibition area of the largest five Asian exhibiting nations of China, Taiwan, India, Japan and South Korea has grown by almost one third (almost 25,000 sqm in 2013 compared to 18,800 sqm in 2010).
Having recovered from the industry’s crisis years, US exhibitors are back in force, with an overall net exhibition area of more than 5,350 sqm (2010: 4,402 sqm). The growing plastics industry of Turkey will display its products and services on almost 4,000 sqm of net exhibition area, which is 1,000 sqm more than three years ago.
Unique live presentations in the exhibition halls
Traditionally, the machinery and equipment suppliers represent the largest exhibitor group of the K trade show. This year, they will take up 119,000 sqm, more than two thirds of the overall exhibition area. Halls 1 to 4 and 9 to 17 are reserved for exhibitors of machinery and equipment. They will show the most extensive range of trend-setting production, processing and machining technologies world-wide. The live presentations of complex production units shown in Düsseldorf’s K exhibition halls are unique.
Manufacturers of raw materials, semi-finished goods, and industrial components will present their products and services in halls 5 to 8a. The raw material producers will take up a net area of 37,900 sqm. Important subjects include the optimization of standard plastics, biopolymers, specialties and reinforced plastics as well as the latest developments in the structural plastics and functional polymers segments for the production of pioneering applications.
The segment representing semi-finished goods, industrial components and reinforced plastics products will present its products and services on a net area of 11,000 sqm. Energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly product solutions will be at the centre of interest. Thanks to optimized raw material and composites selection, specialists can look forward to a wide selection of novelty products and applications.
The K trade show will present the industry’s complete value-added chain, from raw material production right through to machine engineering, including a comprehensive overview of downstream equipment and processing systems. At the K trade show, rubber is also a firm and indispensable element. Compared to the plastics industry, the rubber segment is rather small, but it is highly innovative and plays a major role for important consumer industries. The rubber mile of hall 6, a firmly established part of the K trade show in Düsseldorf, will be comprised of ten exhibiting companies. Visitors interested in elastomers will be offered a Rubber & TPE Pocket Guide which was compiled in cooperation with Dr. Gupta publishers for the first time. This new feature will provide specialist visitors with a comprehensive overview of the relevant exhibitors.
Special show “Plastics Move the World”
The highly diversified product and service range presented by K exhibitors will be enhanced by a range of accompanying events, which promises additional benefits for visitors. A special highlight is the almost traditional show “Plastics Move the World“ in Hall 6, which provides an insight into the contribution contributions of plastics and rubber to our “lives on the move”. The special show takes a broad approach to the meaning of the word “to move”. It includes not merely the direct contributions of plastics to different areas of mobility, but also emotional aspects, e.g. their effect on art and design, and their potential for solving future problems such as demographic growth, increasing energy consumption and climate change.
The special show features a series of lectures with a panel of VIP speakers, who will approach the subject from different perspectives. The stand will be opened on 17 October by Joschka Fischer, who will be speaking on the subject of sustainability. On 17 October, Bertrand Piccard, whose solar-powered craft “Solar Impulse” crossed the USA from San Francisco to New York using only solar energy will start the series. On 18 October, Cybernetics expert Yoshiyuki Sankai will present a robot suit, which will provide disabled people with more freedom of movement. On 21 October, John Elkington, one of the most renowned pioneers of corporate social responsibility and sustainability will complete the series.
A special sporting highlight will be presented on 18 October by Olympic athletes and world champions, who are all members of the most successful canoe association in the world, the German “Team Kunststoff”.
The show is hosted by the German plastics industry under the aegis of PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V. and Messe Düsseldorf.
Premieres of Science Campus, PEPSO and Design Chain@K
At Science Campus, universities and research institutes will together present pioneering subjects together for the first time. The common presentation venue in Hall 7.0 provides an even better overview of the activities and results of scientific organizations and promotes an active discourse between science and the industry At the communication and discussion forum hosted at the centre of the Science Campus, the hosts will discuss topical issues that concern the entire industry.
Printed electronics are important innovative products for the industry. Hence, current developments in this area will also be presented at the K trade show. Both printing technology and plastics for functionalised surfaces such as RFID solutions, flexible displays and OLEDs will be presented to specialist visitors from the processing and consumer industries. At the first conference on “Printed Electronics – Chances for the Plastics Industry”, which will be hosted on the 22 October, a panel of renowned speakers will address current issues that concern this segment of the industry. This event was organized by the OE-A (Organic and Printed Electronics Association) in cooperation with Messe Düsseldorf. The conference is enhanced by the PEPSO Pavilion (Printed Electronics Products and Solutions) situated at the northern entrance (“Eingang Nord”) and a special brochure will help visitors to find all exhibitors that are active in the printed electronics segment.
Another premiere is the Design Chain@K Conference. This event provides designers and material producers with a platform for presenting and discussing the use of polymers in highly innovative design objects from different product areas. The conference is hosted by Crain Communications from 21 October until 22 October.
A major challenge
The next days will be very exciting for the Messe Düsseldorf team, service partners and exhibiting companies. Organizing an event of this size with a high number of high-tech exhibits is a major challenge. Many months before the first day of the trade show, the machines and stand elements are delivered and planned. During the building days, transporters come to the exhibition ground almost 12,000 times and up to 6,000 40-ton lorries pass through the entrance. A total of 286 employees plan and supervise the delivery of exhibits and materials, they are supported by a specially developed mobile computing system. This guarantees a smooth operation and ensures that exhibitors do not get in each other’s way.
The members of the event technology department also start as early as their colleagues from the logistics team. Event planning requires extensive expertise and commitment. Electricity, water and communication outlets must be prepared and implemented with utmost care. A special challenge is the range of different technical equipment provided by the exhibitors from all continents. A total of almost 7,000 different electronic supply outlets for the stands and machines have to be installed, which require cables with a total length of 175 kilometres. The total electrical capacity provided on any day of the trade show can amount to about 60,000 kilowatts, which corresponds to the capacity of one million 60 watt bulbs.
Exhibitors and visitors invigorate the city
A global trade fair such as K 2013 does not pass unnoticed by the city and its immediate vicinity. More than 200,000 visitors and about 40,000 employees attending the K trade show stream into the city. Particularly staff working at hotels and restaurants, but also airport and train station staff, bus, train, taxi drivers as well as people working in retail will notice this massive influx. Hotel beds and private accommodation in Düsseldorf are almost fully booked, but visitors of the K trade show have traditionally found accommodation even further afield, in the vicinity and nearby cities, in the Ruhr area as far as Leverkusen, Cologne and Aachen, in Bergisches Land and on the Lower Rhine near the Dutch border. A total of 23 hotel ships will be providing additional accommodation on the Rhine.
In order to relieve the city traffic, exhibitors and visitors have been urged to use public transport. For the first time, visitors of the K trade show can purchase their ticket online. The online ticket is available at a special reduced price and provides free bus and train travel provided by the local transport authorities Rhein-Ruhr (VRR) and Rhein-Sieg (VRS) – a significant benefit! Experience has shown that about 25% of exhibitors and about 40 % of visitors will use the public transport system.
Retailers in Düsseldorf are also preparing for the international guests: on Sunday 20 October, all shops will be open.
The K 2013 team has been preparing for this trade show for almost three years and taken all necessary measures to ensure a successful event. Messe Düsseldorf is ready for all challenges and is looking forward to its guests!