DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY — At a press briefing at the fairground Oct. 10, just several days before K 2013 opened its doors, Messe Düsseldorf's press department manager, Eva Rugenstein, put the event into historical context.
Rugenstein described how the first K fair took place in 1952 in Düsseldorf to the south of the present fairgrounds in downtown Düsseldorf, alongside the Rhine in the premises of the Ehrenhof museum. There were just 200 exhibitors then at Kunststoffe 1952, all of them from Germany.
With 3,218 exhibitors from 59 countries with roughly half of the expected 200,000 visitors from abroad, this year's K dwarfs the original K show. But it also beats K 2010, with 121 more exhibitors and all 19 halls booked, said Werner Mathias Dornscheidt, chairman of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH.
The business situation is "not without clouds everywhere," Dornscheidt said, citing the situation in southern Europe, in particular, and its resulting effect on the plastics industry's customers in the automotive and construction industries.
"But the background conditions for K are much better than three years ago, when the industry was just picking up speed again after a deep recession," Dornscheidt said. He pointed out that countries severely suffering from the euro currency crisis, such as Italy, Spain and even Greece, "are showing a stable or even greater presence compared with 2010".
While the strong German plastics and rubber industry accounts for 40 percent of the overall 171,326 square meters of exhibition space, Italy maintains its traditional second place, taking 26,000 square meters. Net space taken by the five largest Asian exhibitors of China, Taiwan, India, Japan and South Korea has grown about 30 percent from 2010, to almost 25,000 square meters this year.
While US exhibitors, with 5,350 square meters (vs. 4,402 in 2010), are again well-represented, Turkish exhibitors have boosted their 2010 presence from about 3,000 to nearly 4,000 square meters in 2013.
Machinery and equipment suppliers (Halls 1-4 and 9-17) number 1,922 and continue to take their traditional first place by occupying more than two-thirds of the entire exhibition space, Dornscheidt said.
They are followed by 782 materials producers and 354 producers of semi-finished goods, reinforced plastics and technical parts.
Dornscheidt said that K is an essential information platform for designers and production professionals from many industries, including automotive, consumer goods, electrical/electronic, aerospace and construction.
"For them, the K is a must, with producers of plastics and rubber machinery, processing companies, scientific and competence centers all setting research and development yardsticks," he said.
"Nowhere else in the world can the breadth of raw material, processing and application technology be experienced so completely," Dornscheidt said, noting that all important suppliers have prepared innovations for the international audience.
"I am sure that more than 200,000 industry specialists from all over the world will not let the chance go by to experience at K 2013 the trends of today, the developments for tomorrow and the visions for the day after tomorrow," he said.