Fakuma 2021: Future Issues

In addition to the digital transformation, shifting from a linear to a circular economy is also a key issue for the plastics processing industry. And this is why the 27th Fakuma international trade fair for plastics processing, which will be held in Friedrichshafen from 12 to 16 October 2021, is generating special interest. Fakuma is widely recognised as the number one event for injection moulding, extrusion technology, thermoforming and 3D printing.

German plastics processors are in pole position because they’re facing up to the challenges resulting from change at various levels. And thus Fakuma will be an exceptional trade fair experience with forward-looking issues and sustainable solutions. The digital transformation is pressing ahead at full bore – thanks to increasing digitalisation and automation, companies are optimising processes, increasing equipment availability and improving productivity, all of which ultimately secures future viability. The shift from a linear to a circular economy is also highly challenge and by no means trivial: plastics recycling is not just a buzzword – on the contrary, it’s generating opportunities and markets worldwide. Key issues for plastics processors include the recyclability of their own products on the one hand, as well as the use of recycled materials on the other. Performance, quality and hygiene requirements must be fulfilled in equal measure in this regard. At the same time, the industry is struggling in many areas with a lopsided, negative image. Julia Große-Wilde, Managing Director of the German Association of Plastics Converters (GKV) clarifies: “We can’t do without plastics if we want to achieve our climate goals – on the contrary, they’re important to this end!”  

Industry Issues: Carbon Footprint, Sustainability, Recycling

The primary reason for the negative image is worldwide discharge of waste into the environment. As the voice of the industry and its intermediary, the GKV is thus increasingly engaging in dialogue and education, because as Julia Große-Wilde points out, there can be no doubt that plastics also have ecological advantages: “The companies themselves have a vested interest in making their products fit for the future. Minimising and recycling production waste don’t just make good ecological sense, they’re economically meaningful objectives as well. Furthermore, the end of the respective product’s service life is being taken into consideration to an ever greater extent during the product design phase,” explains the managing director of the GKV. She observes that the protective function of packaging is rarely perceived or appreciated. “Packaging contributes a great deal to making consumption more sustainable. Spoiled food which ends up in the bin instead of on our dinner plates is more harmful to the climate than the production of the required packaging. In fact, however, we need to ensure that plastics play a more significant role within the flow of materials by means of design for recycling, consistent collection and sorting, as well as continuous further development where recycling and the use of recyclates are concerned. This is the great challenge for our industry, as well as for our society.”

Plastics are Indispensable and Important Products of the Future

Lightweight design would be inconceivable without modern plastics, and it goes hand-in-hand with the efficient use of natural resources at various levels – in the automotive industry as well as in general machinery manufacturing and systems engineering. And thus Fakuma 2021 from 12 to 16 October will once again be the platform for everybody who’s anybody in the field of industrial plastics processing. New products and technologies will be presented and trending issues will be addressed at the event. As an industry and technology barometer, Fakuma is traditionally the world’s leading trade fair for injection moulding and the first port of call where innovations covering all aspects of materials, machines, peripherals, processes and simulation are concerned. Up through opening day for the on-site event, Fakuma-Virtual can be taken advantage of as a useful tool for exchanging technical ideas and experience.

 Read the complete interview with Julia Große-Wilde, Managing Director of the German Association of Plastics Converters (GKV) here.