Satisfied Exhibitors and Visitors at K 2022’s Circular Economy Forum

At the Circular Economy Forum held as part of this year’s world-leading trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, K 2022, mechanical and plant engineering companies presented their technical innovations for integrating the circular economy into this industry. The platform was an inspiring example of how this important future topic can be given a stage – exhibitors and visitors agreed on this.

K, the world’s leading trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, once again presented the “Circular Economy Forum” as a special forum at its trade fair this year. The Circular Economy Forum was dedicated to the significant role of technologies in the implementation of the circular economy in the plastics industry. Organized by VDMA (Mechanical Engineering Industry Association of Germany), 13 member companies from the plastics machinery and system manufacturing sector presented their projects and technologies to enable a functioning circular economy while saving raw materials and CO2 emissions in action.


To find out how this year’s Circular Economy Forum was received and what conclusions can be drawn, we consulted Thorsten Kühmann, Managing Director of the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, Ulrich Reifenhäuser, Chairman of the K Exhibitor Advisory Board and the VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association, and drupa President and CEO of Koenig&Bauer Dr. Andreas Pleßke for their impressions.

“The Event Was a Great Success for Everyone”

Thorsten Kühmann

“We sent out a clear statement with the Circular Economy Forum and made a strong declaration of our commitment to the circular economy. This was received very well by the visitors. Exhibitors even were a little surprised by the great interest shown by the trade audience,” 

said Thorsten Kühmann at the close of K in Düsseldorf on 26 October.


By being able to hold K on site, exhibitors and visitors had more opportunities for interaction and communication. When industry experts get together at one location, every source on the latest trends and issues gets examined. That’s what the exhibitors at K benefited from. They presented their latest technological innovations to a broad audience from the industry and had the opportunity to discuss them with their target groups while still being on the spot.

Ulrich Reifenhäuser


“It was very important for the industry to finally come together again. The relief at being able to meet and exchange ideas in person was evident everywhere throughout the eight days of the trade show. The event was a great success for everyone,” 

said Ulrich Reifenhäuser.


Experiencing Circular Economy First Hand


Of course, the exhibitors’ live presentations also were a point of attraction for the visitors. They were able to experience the machines and projects first hand. For example, running machines showed how high-quality re-granulate is produced from plastic waste and how recycled plastics are turned into highly functional and recyclable products in various processing methods


This approach of providing potential customers with real experiences with the products so that they can convince themselves of them, and thus create an incentive to buy is what Dr Andreas Pleßke sees as a big opportunity for exhibitors in the post-pandemic world, also with a look towards drupa 2024:

Andreas Pleßke

“2024 still sounds far away, but drupa is already very close for Koenig & Bauer. The anticipation to be able to experience exciting innovations first hand again at the world’s most important industry trade show is great. Much has changed compared to the planning of previous years. The aim is to bridge the gap between the digital world and machines in action. This means new worlds of experience for the visitors.”


No Circular Economy Without Digitization


Also for our next edition, circular economy will be made tangible as an important aspect of sustainability, one of drupa 2024’s two main topics. But the role of digitization as our second main topicis not ignored either. 

Not only is sustainability not possible without digitization, but it will also be an integral part of our industry’s long-term development. The printing industry is aware of this and therefore sees it as its responsibility to constantly foster this topic, as Dr. Andreas Pleßke states:


“As an exhibitor, we are doing everything we can to make the key themes of digitization and sustainability tangible. Digital solutions are the enabler for sustainable products, services and processes. The printing industry has a special responsibility here, and fortunately the entire industry is pulling in the same direction.” 


It is great to see that the Circular Economy Forum at K enabled exhibitors to reach many visitors with this highly significant topic. Now, we are all the more excited about the innovations and solutions in the areas of circular economy, sustainability and digitalization featured at drupa 2024.


Are you already curious to see how drupa will address these important topics in two years? Stay tuned!

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