Personal contact with customers, partners and interested parties at trade shows cannot be replaced by digital formats. This clear statement by Sandra Füllsack, Managing Director of Motan Holding Gmbh in Constance, is representative of many exhibitors and trade visitors who are looking forward to Fakuma 2021.

What are the current and future challenges facing the plastics processing industry?

After digitization in particular has been the focus of attention in recent years, the discussion about the image of plastics has gained in importance. Energy efficiency, the use of recycled materials and the circular economy are coupled with issues of economic efficiency and increased demands on quality.

How do you see German plastics processing companies positioned with regard to digitalization and automation?

The German plastics industry has done its homework and already offers many solutions in the area of digitization. The shortage of skilled workers is also forcing the industry to increase automation in the area of production. However, the potential of digitization is far from exhausted. We are only at the beginning of a development that will certainly continue for years to come. To this end, there is a need to catch up in the area of infrastructure and the standardization of interfaces. Germany must continue to make progress in this area if it is not to be overtaken by other regions that are also highly technologized or very ambitious. There, for example, standardized interfaces for communication or climate protection targets with regard to CO2 footprint are already specified by the governments (example IE3), this again additionally accelerates in product development with regard to automation and digitalization in these regions.

The industry is intensively engaged in the transformation from a linear to a circular economy. How far are we here?

In principle, there is agreement on where the journey must go. Initial solutions have already been developed and are in operation, but the potential of the circular economy is far from exhausted. Synergy effects from other trends are not yet being used holistically and fully or are still in their infancy – such as digitization, alternative materials or processes, renewable energies. It is important for success that all stakeholders work together and that the roadmap is also coordinated with policymakers.

Plastics are ubiquitous in every area - and often do not have a good image. How do you think we can raise the profile of plastics?

It is important to explain when plastic is good and necessary in its use, for example in medicine, and where it is not absolutely necessary to use plastic, keyword single-use plastics. In parallel, the circular economy should be promoted in order to use plastics for as long as possible. But education about recycling is also important, because only if plastics remain in the cycle can they be reused and everyone can make their contribution.

How important is it for you personally or for your company to be present at trade shows and to exchange ideas with customers in person - specifically at Fakuma 2021?

A digital trade show is indeed very efficient and sustainable in terms of time, costs and energy consumption (travel, booth). However, our digital trade show participations also showed us that personal contact with customers, partners and interested parties at presence trade shows cannot be replaced by digital formats. We are aware of this importance of customer contact (not only at trade fairs), and we want to continue to build on this. But in parallel, we also have to think about alternative formats or a combination of both, with which we can additionally reach our customers and interested parties.

With which product highlight will you come to Fakuma 2021 in Friedrichshafen?

Our company will show several product highlights at Fakuma in autumn: The MINICOLOR SG V – Volumetric dosing and mixing unit with new control system, the dryer with new control system and new product design LUXOR SG 50 with dry hopper 150l, GRAVICOLOR 110 with new product design and optimizations as well as the Moisture Minder for online moisture measurement.

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