Published On: Thu, Aug 25th, 2016

Are You Ready for K 2016?

We’ve got you covered with five feature stories and an entire new-products section devoted to the October show in Dusseldorf.

We take the K Show seriously. Our sense is that plastics processors all over the world do as well. Over the years, many have told us that they hold off on capital-equipment investments until they find out what new technologies will debut at the giant fair, to be held Oct. 19-26 in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Plastics Industry News

Are You Ready for K 2016?

That’s why we’ve devoted so much editorial editorial coverage to K 2016 news.

We’ve organized features by process (injection molding, extrusion/compounding, thermoforming, blow molding) and product category (materials) to help you easily find information on new technology pertaining to you. And in the new products section—what we call Keeping Up With Technology—you’ll find more news on tooling, drying/conveying, other auxiliary equipment, and more.

And we’re not done reporting on the show with this issue—not by a long shot. We’ll have more news from exhibitors as they release it in both the October issue and here on our website. We’ll have our first report from the show in our December issue, as well as online, before we kick off 2017 with our K 2016 Show Report issue in January.

Among new-product news, there are a couple of consistent themes that cut across all process and equipment types. As you tour the machinery halls at the Messe Fair, you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid references to Industry 4.0, or some variation thereof. Machine builders of all types will be talking about the “fourth industrial revolution,” or how equipment is being wirelessly interconnected to create so-called Smart Factories. As my colleague and Executive Editor Matt Naitove put it in a blog he recently wrote, there will be a “welter of different labels that individual machine suppliers give this new industry direction: Plastics 4.0, Injection 4.0, Wittmann 4.0, Electrified 4.0, Extrusion 4.0, Recycling 4.0, and even Packaging 4.0.” So don’t get confused. And Matt should know a thing or two about industry trends, as this will be his 13th K Show. I’d venture to guess no plastics industry  journalist has even been to more of them.

Other trends? Speed—meaning faster cycles in molding and thermoforming and higher throughputs in extrusion—flexibility, sustainability, energy efficiency, and more.

And let’s not overlook additive manufacturing (AM). By most accounts, the show stopper at K 2013 was Arburg’s global launch of its Freeformer additive manufacturing (3D printing) machine. While we’ve been given no advanced notice of such, I suspect you’ll be seeing more new AM equipment at K. I would not be the least surprised if at least one other injection machine builder used K 2016 to debut its own AM machine. (Sandretto introduced its Delta line of FDM-type industrial 3D printers at last year’s Milan Plast show.) There will certainly be a lot of news among material suppliers on new grades formulated specifically for AM.

So are you ready for K 2016? Don’t forget to pack comfy shoes.