K 2022 Opens at Critical Time
With a packed personal agenda and the confidence that while the halls might be less full in terms of total attendees they will be more filled with more decision makers, Ulrich Reifenhäuser is confident K 2022 (Oct. 19-26; Düsseldorf, Germany) will be a commercial success and perhaps even more, once the event is looked back at in hindsight.
“Since the last K show, the plastics industry has seen tremendous challenges,” Reifenhäuser, chair of the K’s exhibitor council and managing partner of the eponymous supplier of extrusion technology said at K 2022’s opening press conference held Oct. 18, one day before the show opened. Reifenhäuser noted not only the the impact of the global pandemic and the ongoing war in Ukraine, but the public and political pressure on plastics. “I think K 2022 is the most important K that we have ever seen.”
Reifenhäuser said his sense of the importance is fed in part by exchanges with customers ahead of the show, many of whom are eager to consult with companies like his own to address the challenges of producing plastic products more sustainably. Many of these same companies have been waiting for an event like the K to see what technologies are available to introduce more recycled materials to their goods or use less energy in production.
Reifenhäuser’s comments came one day before the show halls open their doors for eight days of plastics spread across 17 halls, 3037 exhibitors and 179,000-m2 of space. While the total number of exhibitors is down almost 9% from K 2019’s 3327, the square meters is up, albeit only about 1%. Messe Düsseldorf expects there to be roughly two-thirds of the normal attendees on hand. For Reifenhäuser, however, as he was translated in the press event, “Class is better than mass,” with his expectation being that there will be less people in total but more individuals in a position to buy equipment.
U.S. representation is in some ways representative of the overall trend. There will be slightly fewer exhibitors from the states—104 versus 109—but they will occupy slightly more space. Four countries will not be represented by exhibitors in 2022 after turning out in 2019—Indonesia, Colombia, Kuwait and Russia. Overall, out of the 63 exhibiting countries from 2019, 37 had fewer (including the four opt outs) companies present, while 10 maintained the same number of exhibitors and 16 brought more. In terms of space from those exhibiting countries, 32 grew their space, 29 saw it decrease while two stayed at the same level.
K 2022’s Eastern entrance one day before the show’s open and under blue skies.