Düsseldorf, Germany — And we're off.
The triennial plastics industry extravaganza known as the K show is up and running in Düsseldorf, Germany, and promises to be the largest ever, according to show organizers.
“The exhibition center is completely booked and all 19 halls are full occupied and even the last square meter was sold, so no complaints,” said Werner Dornscheidt, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf GmbH, organizer of the eight-day show.
As Dornscheidt spoke about the 2016 version of the show on Oct. 18, thousands of people around the show grounds were busy putting the final touches in preparation for the 3,285 exhibitors set to take part this year.
That's about 100 more exhibitors than K 2013, and they cover a total of 173,966 square meters spread over the halls. For those not on the metric system, that's 1,872,166 square feet.
And that's a far cry from the first K Show in 1952 that featured 270 German companies and covered 14,000 square meters.
This time around, the show expects to attract more than 200,000 visitors from all corners of the world to see exhibitors from 61 countries.
Both the visitors and the exhibitors will have an international flavor like never before.
Messe Düsseldorf expects international attendees to account for about 68 to 70 percent of the visitors this year, up from 67 to 68 percent in 2013, Dornscheidt said.
About 60 percent of the exhibition space is being used by international companies compared with about 40 percent for German companies, also a slight increase of about 1,500 square meters. After Germany, Italy has the highest number of companies represented at 423. The United States, meanwhile, has 118 companies making the journey.
In total, 2,246 international exhibitors are on the grounds this year, compared with 2,161 in 2013. German exhibitors total 1,039, down from 1,059 in 2013, show organizers report.
Dornscheidt pointed to two interesting trends he sees in international participation at the K show. Participation from companies in Turkey continues to grow, attracting 113 firms to exhibit this year. Also he pointed out that Iran's participation is up significantly with 13 exhibiting companies this year.
“This is also really fantastic because in 2013 Iran only sent three exhibitors,” he said.
As for the economic impact of the show, Dornscheidt said hotel rooms and private quarters are all booked in the region, including a total of 23 hotel ships that have parked themselves in the Rhine River to house participants. Folks have had to go as far as the Netherlands to find housing accommodations.
“This is really special and this is not done for every trade fair,” he said.
Messe Düsseldorf is home to about 40 trade fairs each year, including a handful that use the entire grounds. Other big shows involve packaging machinery, medicine, printing machinery and boats. But despite the exhibition floor selling out for K 2016, Dornscheidt said there is no desire to build additional exhibition space.
“We don't want to have an expansion. I think it's enough space. In the end, it's too costly. You don't build two or three new halls. Each hall has a cost of 35 million euros approximately,” he said, and that just does not make economic sense. “That is not worthwhile.”
As expected, machinery makers are the biggest players in Düsseldorf for the next week or so.
A total of 1,926 such firms are occupying two thirds of the space.
“Live presentations of complex production units are really unique here. And the unique thing about Düsseldorf is that almost all of the machineries are up in running. They are producing,” Dornscheidt said.
Aside from the machinery folks, another 833 companies are classified as material suppliers and auxiliaries, 313 under semi-finished products and technical parts and 213 for services.
“The whole cross section of raw materials, processing and application technologies can be seen,” Dornscheidt said. “The exhibitors are investing a lot in their presence at K.”