“The World’s No. 1 Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber” – K 2019 makes no secret of its status as the largest and most important event for companies involved in this industry but, as any visitor will confirm, its scale can only really be appreciated first-hand.

This was certainly the case for our team, who joined over 3,300 companies in welcoming over 220,000 visitors from 165 countries to Düsseldorf Messe on the banks of the river Rhine.

Our home for the event was an impressive booth shared with our parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical (MCC), and a range of fellow group companies – the first time we’ve presented ourselves this way under one roof to reflect the idea of ‘One MCC’ unity.

Over its eight days, the focus on sustainability and making progress towards a Circular Economy was clear to see, and it was encouraging to see companies of such diverse markets and applications united behind the cause.

Dick Hoogerdijk, Director of Marketing and New Business Development at Mitsubishi Chemical Europe, says:

“The success we saw shows the approach to bring the whole MCC portfolio under one roof is the right one. Many customers who came to the stand and just wanted to learn about one product, discovered many other interesting products on display and hence new business opportunities developed.”

Pictured: the busy MCC booth.

On the subject of products, it was great to see the products we displayed spark so many conversations. Our Diakon®, TufCoat™ and Acrypet™ PMMA polymers showed their excellent suitability for medical, automotive and lighting markets, while 3Diakon™ – a joint development between Lucite International and Mitsubishi Chemical Performance Polymers, showed how PMMA acrylic can perform in the world of 3D printing.

Pictured: Diakon® PMMA shown in cuvettes used for medical diagnostics, TufCoat™ and Acrypet™ PMMA shown in automotive and lighting use and 3Diakon™ PMMA filament for 3D printing.

Raoul van Mullem, Marketing Manager for EMEA Polymers, says:

“As a newcomer to Lucite International and Mitsubishi Chemical, K 2019 was a great opportunity for me personally to explore the business and meet a lot of colleagues. The EMEA Polymers team saw the show as very successful, allowing us to present our products; TufCoat™, Acrypet™, Diakon® and 3Diakon™ at a beautiful and central location at the stand. In addition, we were able to make new contacts, meet our existing clients and enrich our knowledge of the market with current and upcoming trends.”

While our booth at K 2019 was a great place to showcase our products, its ‘Careers Corner’ gave visitors (including many interested students) an insight into the career opportunities available within our company and the MCC group.

Angela Hoey, EMEA Recruitment Manager, commenting on her time at ‘Careers Corner’, said:

“It was really interesting meeting people from all walks of industry and sharing our career opportunities. I feel very proud to be part of such an amazing team at MCC and Lucite International.”

Pictured: Angela Hoey (right) welcomed many visitors to ‘Careers Corner’.

Arguably the most striking feature of our booth was the stunning ‘KAITEKI wall’. KAITEKI is a philosophy created by MCC which sees us strive towards “the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.”

With a flourishing ‘living wall’, we were able to bring the message to life and spark plenty of conversation about how we operate with KAITEKI in mind, in line with many principles of sustainability and the Circular Economy.

Pictured: the KAITEKI wall which, quite literally, brought the message to life.

Away from our booth, K2019 offered so many opportunities to explore the wider industry – seeing what other companies have to offer, the issues most important to them and the work they are doing as a result.

Carol White, Marketing Manager for EMEA Monomers, says:

“It’s hard to convey the sheer size of K – if you spent the whole show just walking the halls you still would not see everything. And it isn’t just the show that is massive, some of the stands and exhibits themselves are huge… and so impressive!

“When there is so much to see, each exhibitor must go the extra mile to stand out from the crowd, leading to some fantastic displays and interactive exhibits. I was especially drawn to any display that provoked debate or simplified a tricky concept – to that end, the MCC stand was a great success with the living KAITEKI wall and huge video screen explaining the principles of KAITEKI in a very easy-to-understand way.

“It was encouraging to see so many exhibiting companies embracing the challenges of sustainability within the plastics and rubber industries, with MCC again at the forefront of progressing towards a circular economy.”

As the show drew to a close, our booth hosted something a little bit different – a traditional Japanese drumming performance to celebrate MCC’s Japanese heritage. This was a great opportunity to host a range of customers and visitors and build upon the relationships we have with them.

 

In summary of the eight days, Alan Gallagher, EMEA Monomers Sales & Marketing Director, says:

“Attendance at K this year has been a fantastic experience. You get a real feel for the direction of the plastics industry and can clearly see the immense importance that sustainability is having and the progress being made.

“It was really encouraging to see how the industry is proactively dealing with challenges. There were a number of initiatives present, from providing bio-based solutions to the collation of scrap and end-of-life product for recycling purposes.

“The MCC booth clearly emphasized how we have embraced these challenges with the KAITEKI theme being the over-riding message. As we confidently move forward, it is clear that methacrylate-based products can make a great contribution to the well-being of society and the standard of living enjoyed by all. It is exciting to contemplate what else methacrylates can bring to this changing world.”

With the dates for K 2022 already pencilled in, the focus on sustainability and achieving a Circular Economy will only intensify in the coming months and years. We look forward to seeing how this develops and how Lucite International, as part of Mitsubishi Chemical, can make real progress towards it.