K 2022
Trade fair fulfilled the highest expectations

27.10.2022 The joy of the plastics and rubber industry at finally being able to exchange ideas in person on a global level again after three years characterised the course of K 2022 Düsseldorf and created an excellent mood among the 3037 exhibitors.

The world's leading trade fair K 2022 draws a positive balance.
© Photo: Martin Hirschmann
The world's leading trade fair K 2022 draws a positive balance.

The companies reported extraordinarily good contacts and a clear willingness to invest on the part of the trade visitors, the establishment of promising new customer relationships and numerous business deals, some of them spontaneous.

Strong signals set as innovation drivers for the industry

"K in Düsseldorf once again fulfilled the highest expectations. It remains the most international, complete and innovative trade fair for the global plastics and rubber industry," says Erhard Wienkamp, managing director of Messe Düsseldorf, delighted with the good result, and adds: "The fair has impressively demonstrated how valuable personal networking, chance encounters and physical brand and product experiences are. We are very pleased that K 2022 was able to send strong signals as an innovation driver for the industry and that our exhibitors did business with numerous international customers of high decision-making authority."

176 000 trade visitors from all continents travelled to Düsseldorf for their most important industry event. The proportion of international guests at K 2022 was consistently high at over 70 percent.

Ulrich Reifenhäuser, chairman of the exhibitor advisory board of K 2022, is also very positive: "After hardly any trade fairs were able to take place worldwide, even at national level, in the last three years, K 2022 as the world's leading trade fair was all the more eagerly awaited by the plastics and rubber industry and was able to provide new impulses in all areas of our industry. The many, in some cases unexpected, concrete contract negotiations held at the fair speak for themselves!"

Transformation in stormy times

The current unpredictability of events makes for a tense overall situation in the industry, but this did not dampen the commitment of the exhibitors and the interest of the visitors in any way, quite the opposite: "K 2022 was the ideal place, especially now – in stormy times and while the plastics industry is in the midst of the transformation process towards the circular economy – to actively set the course for the future together," said Ulrich Reifenhäuser.

The trade visitors were particularly enthusiastic about the wealth of new technological developments presented by raw material producers, machine manufacturers and plastics processors for the realisation of the circular economy, resource conservation and climate protection. Ulrich Reifenhäuser commented: "It is clearly noticeable that the need to face up to social responsibility and to think about plastics in a sustainable way from the beginning of the process chain has reached all companies. The variety of solutions, machines and products on display at K 2022 for the transformation to a circular economy was incredible."

Trade visitors to this year's K came to the Rhine from 157 nations. Besides Germany, the nations strongly represented on the visitor side from Europe were the Netherlands, Italy, Turkey, France, Belgium, Poland and Spain. With a share of 42 percent from overseas, the K's reach among international trade visitors is as strong as usual. While visitors from the East Asian region in particular were less strongly represented than at K three years ago due to the currently more difficult conditions in these countries related to quarantine regulations, numerous visitors from the USA, Brazil and India were welcomed at K 2022.

Machinery and plant construction sparked most interest

The machinery and plant construction sector was the main focus of interest for around two-thirds of all visitors surveyed. Fifty-seven percent, five percent more than at K 2019, said they were interested in raw materials and auxiliary materials, with recycled materials and bioplastics being particularly popular. For 28 percent, semi-finished products and technical parts made of plastic and rubber were the main reason for coming (multiple answers possible). More than 70 percent of all visitors belonged to top and middle management.

Top marks were given by visitors to K 2022 for the completeness of the range of products and services and the mapping of the entire supply chain. 98 percent of all professionals stated that they had fully achieved the goals associated with their visit.

During the eight days of the fair, it became clear that this year's K was right on target with the selection of its hot topics, circular economy, climate protection and digitalisation. In terms of investment intentions, machinery and equipment for processing and recycling stood out with 43 percent. The focus was particularly on sustainability, but also on the circular economy and energy/resource efficiency in production. Around 40 percent of the decision-makers said they were looking into the topic of decarbonisation.

The K specials, which also focused on the three hot topics, were also very well received. The official special show, Plastics shape the future, focused on the economic, social and ecological challenges and approaches to solutions around the K key themes in top-class discussions and lectures and was consistently well-filled. The Circular Economy Forum, in which the VDMA and 13 of its member companies impressively illustrated the importance of technology in the implementation of the circular economy in the plastics industry, scored points with the international audience with live demonstrations and a great deal of sound knowledge and detailed information on the subject.

The next K in Düsseldorf will take place from 8 to 15 October 2025.