K in Düsseldorf will celebrate its 70th anniversary this year! Its USP is the thematic leadership as the No.1 Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber. With 3037 exhibitors offering the widest range of innovations along the entire value chain, K 2022 will provide a complete overview of where the sector is headed. K 2022 will occupy all 18 exhibition halls as well as large outdoor areas. The ranges on display will include machinery and equipment, raw materials and auxiliaries as well as semi-finished and technical parts and reinforced plastics products.
K 2022: 3037 exhibitors from 60 countries
The exhibitors will represent 60 countries. with strong participation from Europe, particularly from Germany, Italy, Austria, Turkey, the Netherlands, Switzerland and France as well as from the USA. K will clearly reflect the changes on the world market: the number of companies from Asia has remained at a constant high level for several years. Especially China, Taiwan, India, South Korea and Japan will make an impressive appearance - and this despite the current difficult conditions in these countries due to quarantine regulations in their own countries when returning from overseas or major delays in issuing visas.
The German plastics and rubber industry will be represented with 871 exhibitors on 66 940 m² (about 38 % of the space).
Erhard Wienkamp, Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, looks forward to K with anticipation: “K 2022 is our first major trade fair since the pandemic. With 179 000 m² of net exhibition area our fairgrounds is completely booked.” And Wienkamp adds: “Not only is K in Düsseldorf the performance barometer of the industry and its global marketplace for innovations but also sets sustainable economic impulses. Especially after the pandemic-induced changes and in a difficult global economic climate it will provide orientation.”
Commenting on the situation in the global plastics and rubber industry, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the exhibitors’ advisory board at K 2022, said: “Polymer materials are indispensable and omnipresent in nearly all sectors of our living environment today. In 2021, global plastics production reached approximately 390.7 million tonnes; in Germany alone, 21 million tonnes were produced in 2021. However, the entire industry faces a variety of challenges such as supply chain issues and exploding energy prices. The need for personal exchange on a global level at K 2022 is enormous, all the more as the plastics industry is undergoing a transformation process towards a circular economy.”
390.7 million tonnes of plastic were produced worldwide in 2021, 352.3 million tonnes of which were derived from fossil raw materials, 32.5 million tonnes from recycled plastic, and 5.9 million tonnes from bio-based plastics. According to analyses conducted by the International Rubber Study Group (IRSG), almost more than 29,88 million tonnes of rubber were manufactured and consumed within the same time period. Asia is now responsible for more than 50 % of all global plastics production. Rubber production is also traditionally dominated by Asia.
According to Plastics Europe, 21 million tonnes of plastic were produced in Germany in 2021. The turnover of plastics producers totalled 31 billion €. German plastics processing achieved revenues of 69.4 billion € in 2021. Rubber processors were able to show revenues of 9.95 billion €.
When it comes to the application area of plastics in Europe, the packaging sector holds the largest share with around 39 %, construction follows in second place with 21 %, and the automotive sector is in third place with almost 9 %. (Source: Plastics Europe, figures from 2021)
Production of machinery for plastics and rubber
The current situation of machinery and equipment suppliers, the largest exhibitor group at K, is as follows: The production value of plastics and rubber machinery reached a volume of 38.6 billion € worldwide in 2021 (2020: 34.2 billion €). In terms of production value, the largest single nation in plastics and rubber machinery manufacturing in 2021 was China with a 35 % share, followed by Germany with 19.6 percent and Italy with 7.1 %. In terms of world trade, German mechanical engineering, with a share of world exports of 22 %, ranks directly behind the new export champion China with 23.9 %, Japan with 9.1 and Italy with 8.6 %. The demand for processing machinery and equipment is present in all important sales markets and will continue to grow.
Manufacturers from Germany closed the year 2021 with a production value of 7.55 billion € for core machinery and thus 7.6 percent above the values of the previous year.
The Hot Topics of K 2022
At the last edition of K three years ago, exhibitors already unanimously emphasised the need for operational and closed cycles along the complete material chain. Never before had the industry been so unanimous in addressing an issue and working so cohesively on solutions for environmental compatibility, resource conservation and waste reduction. This development has accelerated since then. K 2022 will provide impressive proof that this industry assumes responsibility and that plastics will in future be part of the solution rather than a problem. And this is precisely why the three hot topics of K 2022 will be Circular Economy, Climate Protection and Digitalisation.
Without plastics, careful management of the world climate will not be possible. Plastics are enablers for lightweight construction, e-mobility, the use of wind and solar energy. And here the Circular Economy is of vital importance, while digitalisation is an indispensable enabler for transparency and resource efficiency. All three hot topics will also be highlighted in the Specials at K 2022.
The Specials of K 2022
Official special show Plastics shape the future
The special show "Plastics shape the future" in Hall 6 will demonstrate how crucial plastics are for a sustainable future. It will show which fascinating developments are already taking place today and that the visions for tomorrow are just on their way to becoming reality. Seven focus days will be held - with discussions on innovative technologies, impulse lectures, entertaining demonstrations of lighthouse projects and exciting experimental shows. The special show will also address economic, ecological and socio-political aspects and present solutions to problems the plastics industry has to deal with. The special show will be a project of the German plastics industry under the auspices of PlasticsEurope Deutschland e. V. and Messe Düsseldorf.
Circular Economy Forum
A Circular Economy Forum will again be held at K this year. In the outdoor area between Halls 10 and 16, the VDMA (German Engineering Federation) as organiser and 13 of its member companies will demonstrate the pivotal importance of technology in the implementation of circular economy in the plastics industry. With machines running, visitors can see how plastic waste is converted into high-quality regranulates or how recyclates are processed into attractive, highly functional and recyclable products through various processing methods.
The Start-Up Zone will celebrate its premiere at this year's K. Start-ups are young, creative, flexible and particularly stand out with their innovative solutions. So what better fit for K 2022, The World’s No. 1 Trade Fair for Plastics & Rubber, than to offer a dedicated presentation area to newcomers specialised in the development of innovative products and solutions revolving around plastics and rubber? And this is precisely what K 2022 will be doing with the new Start-up Zone in Hall 8b of the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre at K from 19 to 26 October 2022. Eleven companies will participate in the Start-up Zone.
Firmly established at K is the Science Campus. This year, everything will revolve around the direct dialogue between research and industry. There will be 25 exhibitors with exciting innovations and research results for the plastics and rubber industry. Among them will be renowned universities, colleges and scientific institutes, such as various Fraunhofer Institutes, the Technical University of Dresden, Tomas Bata University Zlin, Czech Republic and Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands.
Plastics Business Breakfasts
The Bio Plastics Business Breakfasts will be held in form of are three mini-conferences from 20 to 21 October, each from 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., with different focus topics concerning bioplastics.
K 2022 Düsseldorf will be open daily from Wednesday, 19 October, to Wednesday, 26 October, from 10.00 to 18.30.