PT_Plastics Today

Plastics Today, September 2015

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50 Global Plastics rePort 2015 Fakuma Preview O n paper, Fakuma shouldn't work. Friedrichshafen, Germany, and environs, which include nearby Switzerland and Austria, is a lovely spot for a relaxing three-day weekend, but an international plastics trade show? Situated on the northern shore of Lake Constance, with Austria a short trek east and Switzerland due south, Friedrichshafen is surrounded by a beguiling tapestry of apple orchards and picturesque villages. It has earned a his- torical footnote as the place where Fer- dinand von Zeppelin built his dirigible factory at the end of the 19th century. The Zeppelin Museum recounts the rise and fall, if you'll pardon the expres- sion, of this erstwhile form of air travel. Like all German cities of a certain size, Friedrichshafen has a messe (the English equivalent of convention center does not do justice to these often expansive spaces), but Düsseldorf, Hannover or Stuttgart, this is not. Hotel rooms in town fill up well in advance of Fakuma, so exhibitors and visitors scatter throughout the country- side in a radius of several miles to find lodging. Again, these gasthouses can be quite charming, but not what one might classify as accommodations for the busi- ness traveller. Getting to and from the show can be an hours-long ordeal. The word Stau, German for congestion, will become part of the show visitor's vocabulary along with Grüss Gott and Prost. And yet, not only has Fakuma sur- vived for 30 years and 23 shows—it goes dark on K years—it continues to thrive. Fakuma 2014 was a record-breaking year, with nearly 1800 exhibitors and 46,000 visitors from 117 countries. This year's show has been sold out since Feb- ruary 2015 and looks set to equal, if not surpass, that record. As these numbers attest, Fakuma is not a small, regional show by any means, but compared with industry behemoths K and NPE, it is a more intimate affair—more conducive to conducting business. And that's one of the things many people like about it. "At K, Chinaplas and NPE, it is about showing off our products and demonstrating our commitment to inno- vation," says Konrad Hellmann, Sabic Country Leader, Germany, for the com- pany headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. "Fakuma's value lies in it being a place for trade and business develop- ment. As a 'working fair,' it enables us to engage with our customers on a per- sonal level, helping them find the right solutions to their business challenges," explains Hellmann. The event's intimacy also appeals to Rémi Daneyrole, who handles EMEA marketing and communications for DuPont Performance Polymers (Gene- va). "It is a convenient venue for the key players in the value chain with a strong focus on processing within an intimate number of halls, compared with NPE or K," says Daneyrole. Dr. Christoph Schumacher, Depart- ment Manager, Marketing and Corpo- rate Communications, at Arburg takes it a step further, saying that the geographi- cal proximity of the event to Arburg's headquarters in Lossburg, Germany, makes it "feel almost like an in-house event for us." K is all about vision, adds Schumacher, "but Fakuma is a place Fakuma goes from strength to strength The international plastics event has been sold out since February 2015. NORBERT SPARROW

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