5 ways the plastic industry is going sustainable: a look back at K-fair 2019
K-fair 2019 set four main areas of focus: Plastics Industry 4.0, Plastics for Sustainable Development, Systems Integration and Young Professionals. As this year’s event has drawn to a close, we thought we’d take a look back at some of its biggest takeaways. We compiled the 5 most important sustainability topics and trends this year’s fair brought to the industry and to society as a whole.
As the World’s No.1 Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber, the K presents a unique opportunity for industry- wide discussion and collaboration. K-fair 2019 guests and exhibitors covered the entire value chain, from science and research, technology and production all the way to manufacturing and recycling. As such, the meeting brought excellent prospects for building networks, pioneering ideas and implementing comprehensive solutions.
Until recent years, the plastics industry has been heavily focused on material functionality during its lifecycle. As a result, we have at our disposal truly versatile and high-quality materials which enable us to create innovative products to make our lives easier, more efficient and affordable. But, despite all the progress, the industry hasn’t spent as much time designing ways to maintain material value at the end of the lifecycle. That time has come now. K 2019 revealed that plastic processors are increasingly choosing materials which are susceptible to effective recycling.
Sustainable industry models require efficient, effective processes. That means process optimization. That’s precisely why K- fair featured several exhibitors from the machinery manufacturing sectors. The newest manufacturing processes promise lower energy consumption with increased product output, AI integration for higher precision and efficiency, light-weight material manufacturing for the automobile industry and zero-waste recycling solutions for the future.
4. AI, Robotics and Plastics Industry 4.0
The plastic industry has always been on the cutting edge of innovative hardware production equipment. As times are changing, however, production software is poised to take center stage. As K-2019 showed us, increased emphasis on process optimization, streamlined functionality and sustainable manufacturing means that any company wishing to stay relevant in the near future must not underestimate the importance of incorporating AI and robotics into their production model.
5. Young Professionals
Just like any industry with an eye toward the future, the plastic business strives to stay on top of hiring and retention trends. This year’s event left no doubt that to attract young professionals, the plastic industry has to stay innovative, focus on true long-term sustainability and keep up with digital trends.
K-2019 showed, that although the plastic industry is undergoing numerous, often fundamental changes, it is more than up to the challenge. With over 3000 exhibitors from more than 60 countries, some exceptional innovation, collaborative efforts and sustainability developments are sure to follow.