K Show to set plastics industry agenda

Dubbed the world's premier trade fair for plastics and rubber, K 2013 has just about every industry player present and promises to set out the future developments, trends and challenges facing both material manufacturers and users.

For those that have not been before, the K Show is huge. Due to take place next month in Dusseldorf, Germany, it is a massive and comprehensive event. Run every three years the show attracts over 3000 exhibitors from 56 countries, with visitor numbers last time reaching 222,486 from 109 countries. There are 19 exhibition halls and it is easy to get lost and overwhelmed.

Alongside the exhibitors are numerous topics and overriding themes discussed under the banner of the 'Innovation Compass'. The aim is to set up a forum that both exhibitors and visitors can take part in and add to.

The Innovation Compass points the way to the most pressing issues surrounding the use of plastics and rubber, and gives the chance to exchange views, opinions and ideas on the various topics. There are numerous categories addressing industry issues from the environment to business optimisation.

The Innovation Compass
A group of eight renowned polymer research and technology experts known collectively as the Scientific Council have published eleven keynote articles (available online from the K Show website) on the trends that will drive market developments over the next few years. These topics include views, analysis and prediction in the following areas of interest.
Automation: how to improve efficiency and produce more variants from a single production line.
Integrated production processes: bringing together resources like manpower, raw material and energy to produce more cost efficient products.
Shaping surface properties: how to optimise a surface from both an engineering (mechanical properties) and design point of view (aesthetics) with minimum compromise.
Commodity plastics: with global plastic production increasing by 5% per year and China considered the most important production region, what does it all mean?
Energy efficiency: as firms come under increasing pressure to reduce costs, this topic discusses how the production of materials and products will change over the next decade.
Material efficiency: how to minimise cost using product geometry, avoiding excess material, overweight parts and any kind of waste. Included in this topic is recycling of waste and re-use of plastic materials.
Reinforced plastics: this topic discusses why reinforced plastics are the material of choice for lightweight products.
Elastomers: essential for many sectors and applications, this topic looks at how elastomers can be further utilised and the opportunities for the technical development of the material.
Bio-plastics: despite being a hot topic, bioplastic can be seen as an umbrella spanning the notions of "biodegradability" to "of organic origin" and not necessarily both. Attractive as the prefix "bio" might be, what benefits does it actually bring?
High performance and functional polymers: materials that support innovative breakthroughs and are essential for the enduring economic growth of many key industries.
Manufacturing for lightweight design: here the issues of lightweight design and manufacture are discussed and outlined.

Finding what you need
Due to the size of the show it is probably a good idea to identify what you want to see and achieve before you arrive. Here are a couple of useful tips and tools to help you get the most from event.

Information on new products and systems being presented at K 2013 is available online from the show's website.

Visitors can also find out which exhibitors and daily activities – such as discussion panels and lectures – are best for their needs by filling out a simple grid, again via the website.

The grid shows two axes with material type – such as standard plastic, additives and elastomers – against industry specific sectors and applications – such as aerospace, medical or packaging. So, if you're looking to use a bioplastic for a packaging process or want to know the latest additives available for medical devices, simply click the appropriate box to see who and what is available.

There are two of these interactive grids available – 'Materials' and 'Machines, Equipment & Processes' – to give you all the relevant information you need.

Plastics Move The World!
Selected exhibits will be presented at a conference called, 'Plastics move the world'. The conference takes place in hall 6 and has a broad-brush approach. It outlinines the direct contributions of plastics in different areas of mobility as well as some softer aspects such as improving aesthetics and ergonomics.

It will also highlight how plastic materials can help solve future problems such as demographic growth, increasing energy consumption and climate change. It will argue that plastics are the material of the 21st century and will help to sustainably conserve the world's resources.

The focus of the presentations and discussions will cover mobility and issues such as the lightweight construction of electrified vehicles such as cars, aircraft and ships. With reference to selected exhibits, the show will demonstrate how plastics can continue to make 'life on the move' possible and how the material will facilitate future leisure behaviour.

The event will see presentations given by exhibiting companies to provide a fascinating insight into the pioneering and innovative projects that are being undertaken.
It promotes the unique position of the K Show as a trend indicator and innovation forum for the entire global plastics and rubber industry with the complete programme available online.

Download the 'K-App' to your mobile
The free to download 'K-App' is a must have for those with a smartphone. It allows offline searching of exhibitors, products and news, GoogleMap links and an interactive hall map to make your visit as efficient and pain free as possible.

The K-App gives visitors all the relevant information to hand to get the most from the show and, hopefully, never get lost. The interactive hall plan shows you all the booths in detail. You can also zoom in for additional information on exhibitors, their products and area of expertise.

Other features include trade fair selection tools, the ability to search exhibitor and products on and offline, the latest trade fair and exhibitor news, bookmarking of exhibitors and products, and general information on the show.

Author
Engineering Materials

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