The plastics industry pulsated with a positive investment mood at K2016. Susi Moore and Nici Solomon were in Düsseldorf and filed this first-hand report.
IT was with high expectations that exhibitors and visitors came to Düsseldorf for K2016, the world’s biggest international trade fair for plastics and rubber, and they weren’t disappointed.
Exhibitors reported numerous deals and enquiries from visitors around the world, signalling a positive outlook in the international plastics market driven by a growing end-user market. Chairman of K2016’s Exhibitors Advisory Board, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, was delighted with results: ‘I have never before seen such a vast number of decisive customers willing to buy at a trade fair. The quantity and magnitude of deals, some of which were concluded here spontaneously, as well as the many concrete enquiries about new projects far exceeded our expectations. This activity signals strong investment in all our customer industries across all regions of the world.’
This view was echoed throughout the fair and shared by the 3 285 exhibitors, many of whom commented positively on the number of international visitors and the presence of senior decision-makers with almost 60% having the final word on, or being decisively involved in, their company’s investment decisions.
According to 60% of these decision-makers, they visited K2016 with concrete intentions to buy, while 58% were looking for new suppliers. They reported that new purchases had to meet three objectives: expand their product portfolio, extend production capacity and increase efficiency.
Of the 230 000 trade visitors (up by 12 000 on the 2013 show), 40% of the foreign contingent came from outside Europe. Asia accounted for the largest group as expected, with visitors from India leading the pack and numbers from China, South Korea and Iran rising significantly.
Energy, material and resource efficiency were the dominating themes at K2016. New application areas for organic plastics and additive manufacturing also garnered avid interest. Smart, quick and flexible lines and services were in high demand among customers; resulting in Industry 4.0 dominating discussions and being demonstrated hands-on at many stands.
With more than 1 900 exhibitors, the machinery and plant construction sector was a prime focus for 66% of polled visitors, while 46% were interested in raw and ancillary materials, and 25% directed their attention to semi-finished goods and technical parts made of plastic and rubber.
Overall, visitors to K2016 gave top marks to the breadth of products on show in the 19 halls, with 97% confirming they’d achieved their goals. ‘It is known the world over that K is the innovation platform for the entire sector,’ commented Werner Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf. ‘A visit here is simply indispensable for everyone wanting to stay ahead of the competition. The sheer number and exceedingly high standard of trade experts visiting K2016 impressively reconfirm its appeal and importance.’
Visitors were also impressed by the special show entitled ‘Plastics shape the future’, which illustrated the impact plastics have on shaping modern living environments. This show in hall 6 acted as a central forum for swapping information, thoughts and opinions on sustainability, resource efficiency, new materials, lightweight design and marine litter.