K 2019—The Show Before the Show
Multiple events were held at the Messe Düsseldorf immediately prior to K 2019's opening, including press conferences for Arburg, Covestro and the VDMA.
Under the overarching theme of Pushing Boundaries for a Sustainable and Digital World, Covestro’s CEO Markus Steilemann, addressed a sizable media group the day before K 2019’s official start. This was followed by a tour of Covestro’s booth with innovations in automotive; E&E; construction; health and medical; furniture; and sports & leisure.
Covestro CEO Markus Steilemann addresses the media in a press conference held the day before K 2019’s official opening.
Among the materials innovations were:
— The unveiling of a prototype of a vehicle of the future—a multifunctional, mobile living and working space. It includes a seamless, integrated three-dimensional display—a large-format visual experience for the user—made with high optical quality Makrolon PC and Makrofol PC film.
In its opening press conference, Arburg’s Michael Hehl noted that his company, like the industry at large, is facing some challenges, including a difficult economic environment, particularly for automotive, and public backlash against plastics. Although he declined to say by how much, Hehl noted that the company was unlikely to match the financial performance of 2018 when it generated record sales revenue of Euro 754 million.
Hehl (second from left) says Arburg is expanded its presence in North America by adding on to its Rock Hill, Conn. facility.
North America is a bright spot for the company with an ongoing expansion of its facility in Rocky Hill, Conn. underway. The addition, which will increase the size of the facility by roughly 50%, will be focused on the creation of turnkey systems, a key market for the company in the U.S. The company also announced the introduction of the arburgxworld platform, which includes the ability to configure and order a press online.
The VDMA and Plastics Europe used a press conference to share some economic statistics—global rubber and plastics machinery production rose 1.3% in 2018—as well as some initial findings from a global plastics recovery study.
Ulrich Reifenhauer, president of the eponymous extrusion technology firm, as well as lead of the VDMA, was joined by other officials in discussing the negative impact the perception of plastics has taken in recent years. “Our image is really suffering, so let’s do something,” Reifenhauser said. “The tendency to replace plastics is very strong, and I don’t like that.”