K 2019
World's leading plastics trade fair opens its doors soon / Industry looks to Düsseldorf with anticipation / Sustainability and recycling to be dominant topics / KI Group more active than ever
Trade fairs are known to be the mirrors of the marketplace. Every three years, the plastics industry is able to learn everything that has happened and is happening on the global plastics markets at the world’s leading “K” fair in Düsseldorf / Germany. On 16 October, the gates of Messe Düsseldorf will open up for K 2019. The previous K in 2016 was dominated by the digitalisation of production, but this year’s event will definitely focus on circular economy issues like sustainability and recycling. These key topics are a bigger concern for the world’s population than ever before and are presenting the industry with major challenges.

These issues are not exactly new. Back in 1992, recycling was a major theme in certain regions, especially in Germany. On the introduction of the K-hosting country’s “dual system” for household packaging waste collection at that time, there were special shows and displays at K on recycling and other processes for reusing plastics waste. Anyone present then can ask themselves what progress has actually been made since that time. Technologically, there was already much progress, and little has changed in this respect. Chemical and mechanical recycling of polymers is not particularly new. At any rate, with the ever-present pollution across the globe, including in the oceans, public pressure today is many times greater than it was 30 years ago.
Germany and Italy firmly entrenched in first and second places
At K 1989, exhibitors from Germany accounted for nearly 50% of the 2,174 companies that occupied the exhibition area of 126,330 m². Now, 30 years later at K 2019, Germany accounts for just 30% of the 3,157 exhibitors on the 176,886 m² space. For the first time in 30 years, the number of German exhibitors is below 1,000 – namely 917. The highest number was seen in 2001 with a total of 1,151 registered German exhibitors – but that is now some time ago.

Nevertheless, exhibitors from Germany still dominate, above all, of course, because of plastics machinery manufacturers which – unlike those from polymer production, for example – are still regarded as the global leaders. The number two in terms of number of exhibitors is also a permanent fixture – Italy has consistently made up around a 15% share over the last 30 years. In 1989, the country had 307 exhibitors, and this time around it will have 420 (13.3%).
International shifts since 2004
Besides that, there have been some other long-term developments. Up to 1998, little really changed as far as the western world dominating the top ten was concerned. Apart from Germany and Italy, this included the European countries of France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, UK, Austria and Belgium and, outside Europe of course, the US. Taiwan has also been among the leaders since 1989.

At K 2004, China including Hong Kong appeared for the first time in tenth place, and by the next K in 2007, the number of exhibitors from that country had tripled to nearly 200. Since then, the Chinese have been the undisputed number three, accompanying the rise of the Asian giants. At K 2016, they were on the point of displacing the Italians but then fell back again slightly to 340 exhibitors. The economic slowdown and perhaps the early signs of trade disputes with the US have had an impact.

Two other countries have also emerged since the beginning of the new century in the top ten plastics exhibitors and have firmly established themselves there in parallel with their growing importance in the world of plastics. It was in 2007 that India first came to the event in a big way with 91 exhibitors. At K 2019, it will not only be the visiting public from the South Asian country that will make a big impact – with 133 companies from India, the country will this year also have the fifth largest number of exhibitors.

Turkey has gained importance to an even greater extent. At K 2010, the country appeared for the first time in the top ranks and is now the fourth-largest exhibitor country at the show. In the world of plastics – above all in Europe – this decade has been characterised among other things by the rise of Turkey becoming a key player, especially in plastics processing.
PIE at K – 5th KI Group Summit and virtual basketball
Plasteurope.com is part of the KI Group, which has also grown considerably in recent years and will present an even wider range of activities at K 2019. The second day of the show, Thursday, 17 October, will feature the “5th KI Group Summit”, where experts will speak about “Plastics markets in a circular economy”.

Just before the weekend, the official German-language trade show publication, K-AKTUELL, will invite members of the press to attend the press breakfast at the KI Group stand (C26 in hall 6) on Friday, 18 October.

The team of experts headed by Plasteurope.com sister publication KI – Kunststoff Information’s Editor-in-Chief and Head of Market Research, Daniel Stricker, will present a “daily polymer briefing” twice a day at 11:00 and 15:30 each day except Sunday. Themes will include polyolefins as well as recent developments in styrenics and engineering thermoplastics. Anyone who would like a break can indulge in a bit of sport immediately afterwards – emulate the basketball stars using virtual reality to work on some slam dunks.

The KI Group under K-PROFI Editor-in-Chief Markus Lüling will produce on site, for the second time as official K media partners, the eight issues of the daily German-language trade show newspaper. The print publication will provide the latest news on product launches, exhibitor events, K-organised events, service information and attractions.
Newsletters that filter product reports from the user’s perspective
The KI Group has also developed the concept of the “Topic Newsletter” launched for the first time in 2016 together with Messe Düsseldorf. The nearly 8,000 new product reports from exhibitors that have been received so far have already been largely categorised.

The products are filtered according to the catalogue categories as per the relevant value chains of packaging, construction, automotive, E&E, consumer goods, industrial products, agricultural/garden and medical. This makes it possible to filter products according to different applications.

In addition to the integration of the filter into the range of products at K (www.k-online.com), an additional valuable source of information is provided by the regular Topic Newsletters that focus on the application markets. Dispatch of these has already begun. Click here to register for the newsletters free of charge.

PIE looks forward to seeing you in Düsseldorf!
04.09.2019 Plasteurope.com [242904-0]
Published on 04.09.2019

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