“No time for gloom” / A short Q&A with Bettina Schall, organiser of the plastics trade fair in Germany

Despite the economic crisis, trade fair Fakuma is set to take place from 17-21 October 2023 in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Plasteurope.com talked to Bettina Schall, MD of the organiser of the event, P.E. Schall (Frickenhausen, Germany; www.schall-messen.de), to find out why industry trade shows are important in difficult times and what awaits the more than 1,400 exhibitors and 30,000 visitors at Lake Constance.

PIE: The plastics industry is in a difficult crisis. Do the companies still have the time and inclination to attend a trade fair?

Bettina Schall: Yes, even more so, because at the trade fair suppliers and customers can talk personally to one another and discuss current topics on an equal footing. After all, the pandemic showed that trade shows are especially important and even indispensable in the capital goods segment. Also, the present crisis can only be overcome if the industry players jointly evolve perspectives for the future – and for that, trade fairs provide the best opportunity. I am absolutely convinced of this, and not just because we are the Fakuma organisers. 

Are you afraid that exhibitors and visitors at Fakuma will collectively be gloomy? 

Schall: No, I am not worried about that. There are plenty of fundamental challenges to be tackled, and there is no time for gloom. The industry is in a period of transition because there are so many things that need to be done: conversion to a circular economy, reduction of energy consumption, digitalisation of production processes, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Other key issues are the shortage of raw materials, the lack of trained staff, and problems with the supply chain. All of these are massive tasks that the industry must overcome with vigour, commitment, and future-looking solutions. It will not succeed by moping. 

With what tricks is it possible to liven up the mood at trade shows?

Schall: Tricks do not help, because the laws of the market also apply at an industrial fair. As the organisers of Fakuma, we make sure that exhibitors and trade visitors have the platform they need for their business relationships – and one which helps to generate a positive atmosphere. The atmosphere at Fakuma 2023 will be oriented to the future and I am very confident that it will be a positive one. 

Fakuma is regarded as a trade show mainly for the plastics industry in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland). Should it not be more international? 

Schall: The location of Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance naturally means that many exhibitors come from the DACH region – that makes for some of the charm of Fakuma. At the same time, it has long been an internationally established industry event. This year as well, around 40% of the exhibitors are from abroad. The previous Fakuma attracted nearly 1,500 exhibitors from 39 countries. I would say that proves the importance of Fakuma worldwide. 

If you risk a gaze into the crystal ball, what headline will the newspapers give to their reports on Fakuma 2023? 

Schall: “Fakuma 2023, international trade fair for plastics processing, was a celebration for a valuable material that inspires!”. In any case, we as the organisers of Fakuma will do everything we can to ensure that there are headlines like this.  

The KI Group (www.ki.de), with its publications Plastics Information Europe, Kunststoff Information, and K-Profi, as well as other media services such as Polyglobe (www.polyglobe.net), will again be present at Fakuma with its own booth (hallÜO – booth ÜO-02). This year again, there will be a KI Group Summit, on Wednesday, 18 October 2023, from 11 a.m. to 12.30 p.m. in Forum Süd.


23.08.2023 Plasteurope.com [253400-0]
Published on 23.08.2023
„Keine Zeit für Trübsal“: Interview mit der Fakuma-Veranstalterin Bettina SchallGerman version of this article...

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