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K Goes Platinum in 2022

K 2019 wrapped up on Oct. 23, having hosted 3327 exhibitors from 63 countries covering more than 177,000 m2 of space. Some 141 days later on March 12, K show organizer and host Messe Düsseldorf announced the cancellation of all events until April 2021 as the coronavirus pandemic took hold.

This June, the fair organizer hosted more than 60 members of the international plastics trade press from 25 countries, in addition to representatives of key machinery and material exhibitors, for its K Preview event, just four months ahead of the show returning to Düsseldorf this Oct. 19-26. In the intervening years since K 2019, the global plastics industry watched its biggest events, from NPE to Chinaplas, be cancelled as COVID-19 made large, indoor gatherings logistically difficult if not legally impossible.

In her remarks, Petra Cullmann, Messe Düsseldorf’s global portfolio director for plastics and rubber events, celebrated the coming together of people for the press event and pointed hopefully to a “normal” K this fall.

“I can assure you that this meeting is proof that people are longing for face-to-face meetings again,” Cullmann said. “Fortunately K is making its usual cycle. After K 2019, there were no international trade fairs happening, and we know people are really longing to be in person, and they are very eager to see technology and products and touch them and to discuss with partners.”

While the K looks to have largely dodged COVID-19, the global events business as a whole felt an acute impact. In 2020, Messe Düsseldorf reported turnover of Euro 119 million. That figure was down sharply from 2019, which registered turnover of Euro 378.5 million. In 2021, the organizer held eight events in Düsseldorf with turnover of Euro 96.1 million

Compared to those figures, things are looking far more positive in 2022. Cullmann noted that K 2022’s 19 halls and open spaces are completely booked, with exhibitors locking down 175,000 m2 of exhibit space. Messe Düsseldorf restarted trade shows in May and by the time of the K preview, had run four international fairs in 2022, including the Wire and Tube show, which happened concurrently with the K sneak peek. “So far, the response has been very positive,” Cullmann said. “International trade fairs are back on track—we have the restart—and we are looking forward to organizing.”

Cullmann also said that unlike some shows it held in 2021, which had strict limitations on things like mask usage and catering, there were no restrictions in place for K at the time of the press event. Also, during its shutdown, the show organizer focused on making its grounds safer for attendees, installing HEPA filtration, among other moves.

Since I’ve covered the event, I can think of two times where the show was negatively impacted by global events—manmade and otherwise—including taking place one month after the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and literal fallout in 2010 from the eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano, which impacted air travel. It’s fitting that as it marks its platinum anniversary in 2022, that it appears—fingers firmly crossed with one eye on Ukraine and the other on COVID-19 variants—that its streak of good luck will continue.

The triennial K plastics show marks its platinum anniversary in 2022. 
Photo Credit: Messe Düsseldorf


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