Day 1 of K 2016 – 19. October 2016, 3 pm

By the way: Plastics make careers.

The plastics and rubber industry is booming – fuelled not least by the trend to lightweight construction in the automotive and aerospace industries, the demand for highperformance functional polymers for the most diverse application areas, and the increasing substitution of classic materials like metals, wood and glass with plastics. Polymer materials are quite simply unrivalled when it comes to innovative power. But although the material might be the central focus of this development, the successes are made by the people who know how to get the best out of plastics and rubber.

A multitude of applications: Unlike other materials, plastics can be composed and tailored individually for the intended application. This is the reason why polymer materials are in such widespread use – for packaging food, sealing motors and engines, storing blood for transfusion, and producing ultrathin photovoltaic elements. No two applications are alike, and each one demands a special kind of know-how in handling the respective polymer. With a material this versatile, it is no wonder how broadly diversified a field the plastics and rubber industry works in. The development and production of polymers as well as their downstream processing, manufacturing and recovery all require a huge range of different skills and competences: lab technicians, industrial mechanics, mechatronics technicians, plastics technicians, engineers, machine designers, plant electronics specialists, materials experts, chemists, IT and software specialists, product designers, researchers, developers, equipment designers, and many more.

Discovering the possibilities: At K 2016 some 3,200 exhibitors from all over the world will be presenting their product and service portfolios. They will also be giving insights into what kinds of careers are possible. In collaboration with Messe Düsseldorf, the industry – which offers scope for a vast variety of interests and abilities – has launched an educational initiative (kai*), allowing people to experience plastics live. Have we piqued your interest? K 2016 will spark an enthusiasm for plastics and rubber – one that you may well find contagious!

Theme day on Youth and Education Sunday 23 Oct. from 10:30 am to 3 pm Special show “Plastics shape the future” Hall 6, Stand 6/C40

Day 1 of K 2016 – 19. October 2016, 11 am

Let’s talk about industry 4.0. Let’s talk about plastics industry 4.0. Because this is what the special show “Plastics shape the future” (Hall 6/Stand 6/C 40) that PlasticsEurope has organised is all about today. VDI (Materials Engineering) is partnering the special show on this occasion. The special show stand was opened just a few minutes ago. Introductory talks about “Digital transformation – the process chain going through digital change” and “The significance of industry 4.0 in plastics processing” are following between 11.30 and 13.00.

After this (13.00 – 14.00), the robot teams from the CJD School in Königswinter will be demonstrating exactly what “R2D2” and “C3PO” have to offer where rescue operations and football are concerned.

This will be followed between 14.00 and 15.30 by brief presentations about industry 4.0, energy efficiency and sustainability and “Additive manufacturing for the individualisation of series production”.

From 15.30 to 16.00, Dr Gerhard Heywang is presenting interesting and entertaining experiments with plastics.

Between 16.00 and 17.00, members of the K 2016 Scientific Council are discussing opportunities and benefits of plastics 4.0. After this, “Robots in action” are rounding off the end of the first day of the trade fair at the K 2016 special show “Plastics shape the future”.

Tomorrow, Thursday, 20.10.2016, the special show is highlighting the issue of “New materials”. Professor André Bardow from RWTH Aachen will be starting things off at 10.30 with his talk “On materials and sustainability”. Members of the K 2016 Scientific Council will then be discussing this issue between 11.00 and 12.00. The stand will be taken over afterwards by the robots and schoolchildren as well as Dr Gerhard Heywang with his plastics-based experiments.

The programme for the special show “Plastics shape the future” can be accessed and downloaded here: Plastics Shape the Future website.

Special show of K 2016: Plastics shape the future

Day 1 of K 2016 – 19. October 2016, 9 am

K 2016 is starting! About 3,300 companies from 61 different countries are presenting the latest technical and raw material solutions for the plastics and rubber industry on 175,000 square metres of stand space in 19 exhibition halls at Messe Düsseldorf from today onwards. Most of the exhibitors at K this year come from Germany, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, the Netherlands, France and the USA, while companies from Asia (particularly China, Taiwan, India, Japan and South Korea) account for a large proportion of the exhibitors too. It is the biggest event in the industry – Messe Düsseldorf is expecting more than 200,000 visitors.

High expectations, fascinating programme

The people responsible for and exhibiting at K 2016 are optimistic about the days ahead. Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, the Managing Director of Messe Düsseldorf, considers that K 2016 has tremendous potential not only for the plastics- and rubber-processing companies from all over the world, “but also for designers, developers and manufacturing experts from numerous user industries”. Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Director of Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. KG and Chairman of the K Exhibitors’ Advisory Council, is convinced that the industry will setting innovative trends again this year: “The spotlight is on energy, resource and material efficiency, new materials, lightweight structures and – probably the most fascinating issue – industry 4.0”. Visitors to K 2016 are likely “to experience highly interesting offerings on the exhibition stands as well as stimulating lectures and discussions.”

Enormous importance of polymer materials

There is no doubt about the fact that there is plenty to report about plastics and rubber. Polymer materials play a much too important a role in our lives, after all. Although isolated efforts are regularly made to ban polymers from our day-to-day lives – the truth of the matter is: polymers have driven technological progress more than practically any other material in many individual areas, where environmentally sensitive mobility, household and medical hygiene, energy conservation, safety, innovative electronics and energy generation are concerned, to mention just a few. And the significant thing is: polymers continue to have unparalleled and unlimited innovation potential.

This is exactly what fuels the industry and the companies that give K 2016 the profile of one of the world’s leading high-tech trade fairs – right from the start. A closer look reveals that the K success story reflects the development of the industry and the companies which represent it, something that is in turn closely associated with the steadily increasing use of polymer materials.

A tradition of pioneering achievements

During the period between 1950 and 2015, the use of plastics and rubber increased by an average of 8.5 per cent per year; Ulrich Reifenhäuser points out that the figure today is about four to five per cent per year. The secret to this success lies in the material itself.

Polymers can be “composed” and designed for their subsequent application more effectively than practically any other type of material. Thanks to their research into polymer chemistry, such well-known scientists as Hermann Staudinger and others have laid the foundations on which an industry has developed that produces pioneering innovations year in, year out – as is clear to see at K 2016.

The plastics and rubber industry supplies unique solutions that make vehicles weigh less and increase fuel economy, that package food perfectly hygienically and extend shelf life, that improve treatment options and the probability of healing in the medical sector, that save energy and that transport drinking and waste water contamination- and loss-free, even over long distances. The sports community and leisure industry enjoy benefits from the use of polymers as well.

There is a downside to everything

The consequences of the widespread, large-scale use of a material are not exclusively positive. As know-how about the material and the substances it contains has increased, so our understanding has also grown about the impact and effects that polymers can have if they enter the environment in an uncontrolled fashion. We at k-online have already reported about this here at regular intervals. The plastics and rubber industry does not turn a blind eye to this; on the contrary, it contributes actively to the provision of information about the consequences and to promotion of the sustainable use of polymer materials. It is a challenge that everyone involved – manufacturers and beneficiaries – has to tackle. This explains why such issues as ocean pollution by marine litter are included on the agenda at K 2016 too. We at k-online are also keeping an eye on these issues and will be continuing to report about them for you here.