My colleagues at Plastics News who had been there before had warned me: Wear comfortable shoes. The K Show, they said, held once every three years in Duesseldorf, Germany, is probably the biggest show you will ever attend.
I heard what they said. I heeded their advice. But to paraphrase Julius Caesar: I came. I saw. I was conquered.
That's what happens when a bout of plantar fasciitis nips at your heel as you maneuver through 19 halls filled with visitors and exhibitors alike, trying to get from Hall 2 to Hall 16, then to Hall 4 and back again.
I returned from what is billed the world's largest plastics and rubber show, held Oct. 19-26, with a newfound respect not only for the industries and companies that serve them, but also for the organizers and exhibitors who make the show the spectacle that it is.
If you haven't been there, it's difficult to describe just how big it is, but here goes:
- The eight-day show attracted 230,000 visitors from more than 160 countries. That's a 5.5 percent increase since the last time the show was held in 2013.
- Daily attendance peaked at 45,000 on the second day, then reached 38,500 on day three.
- The number of exhibitors grew to 3,285, an increase of 65 from the previous show. One organizer said the K Show has a waiting list of exhibitors. If a company doesn't confirm its return soon after the show ends, another will swoop in to take that space.
- More than 70 percent of visitors came from outside Germany, including nearly 30,000 from Asia, illustrating the strength and growth of that market.
- Some exhibitors brought in machinery, spanning two and three stories high, to demonstrate their company's capabilities. One firm churned out plastic containers; others showed how they recycle plastic waste.
While plastics dominated the event—it was estimated that 90 percent of exhibitors focused solely on plastics—rubber suppliers certainly were on hand.
Arlanxeo, the seven-month-old synthetic rubber joint venture between Lanxess and Saudi Aramco, had an impressive display, located across from Lanxess in an area named “Rubberstreet.” Officials said Lanxess gave up some of its space so Arlanxeo could have a strong presence.
Momentive, meanwhile, churned out egg holders at its exhibit to highlight the benefits of its elastomer products for injection molding. The firm was showcasing two-component Silopren-brand liquid silicone rubber for LSR molding, using a dosing system designed by Elmet and Arburg's injection molding machine. The system accommodates two-component molding on a one-component LSR standard machine with one LSR dosing system.
I left the show content I had walked most of the halls, but I also felt somewhat overwhelmed, knowing I had seen just a small fraction.
Maybe in three years, I'll get the opportunity to experience it again. And if so, I promise I'll bring more comfortable shoes.
Detore is managing editor of Rubber & Plastics News. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @ddetoreRPN.