FAKUMA, the leading international trade fair for plastics processing, took place in Friedrichshafen from 17 through 21 October. The trade fair, which was held this year under the motto “Digital Meets Circular Economy”, offered an exciting insight into the transformation taking place in the plastics industry and focused entirely on the topics of sustainability, digitalisation and the circular economy with plastics. Every step in the value added chain is currently actively adapting to the challenges of the future. In Friedrichshafen, it became very clear how the principles can be successfully put into practice, scaled up and automated to maintain the performance of plastics while improving the impact on the environment.
Examples and case studies: Ingemar Bühler, the CEO of Plastics Europe Germany, sums up the importance of the motto “Digital Meets Circular Economy”. For plastics manufacturers, the developments mean three crucial things:
Nico Kühls, managing director of technotrans, a long-standing exhibitor at FAKUMA, emphasised the practical relevance of the trade fair: “The trade fair always convinces us because it has a very strong practical orientation. We’re on hand here with a great many devices, so that our customers can really touch the devices and see the application live. That’s one reason why we’re at FAKUMA.” Ben Schäfer from Deifel Buntfarbenfabrik adds: “FAKUMA offers us a super platform for networking with our customers, making new contacts and expanding our network.”
It became very clear at this year’s FAKUMA that the right steps in the direction of a circular economy are being taken very dynamically, and that all sections of the value added chain are being adapted simultaneously. The manufacturers of plastics used hundreds of product examples to demonstrate that very high-performance engineering plastics can already be produced today, even with a high level of recyclate use and with alternative carbon sources. The applications for these range from sports and entertainment products to the automotive and construction sectors to medical technology. Among the leading machine manufacturers, electrification but also process and control digitalisation play a major role, through which, for example, injection moulding machines learn algorithmically and perform calibrations automatically. The degree of automation enables significantly better control, much lower errors and thus saves time and material during processing.
We can look forward to seeing how the industry will continue to develop in the coming years. The emphasis on sustainability and the circular economy, the use of digitalisation and AI, as well as the importance of personal exchange make FAKUMA a cornerstone of the plastics industry which will become even more important in the years to come. Christoph Schumacher, division manager for global marketing at machine manufacturer Arburg, sums up the trade fair’s relevance for many manufacturers: “For us, FAKUMA is the most important trade fair event in Europe this year”.
Header image: FAKUMA press photo