K 2019: IKV draws a positive balance

The world's leading fair for the plastics industry provided considerable impetus for sustainable management. IKV presented itself with innovative research in the fields of digitalisation, additive manufacturing and circular economy.

All the parts produced at the show were provided with an individual QR code; Visitors were able to directly read out the production data from the respective component | Photo: IKV/Fröls

The inline functionalisation of the demonstrator: an additively manufactured anti-slip strip made of TPU | Photo: IKV/Fröls

Visitors compare the stability of parts with 2D and 3D infills by means of torque measurements | Photo: IKV/Fröls

Plasma unit developed at IKV allowing the interior coating of medical syringes | Photo: IKV/ Fröls

IKV showcases a simple plant technology without any large vacuum chambers – the hollow article itself constitutes the vacuum chamber | Photo: IKV/ Fröls

Visitors from Asia and elsewhere overseas visit IKV's composites pilot plant | Photo: IKV / Fröls

Visit to the pultrusion technology section in IKV's composites pilot plant | Photo: IKV / Fröls

K 2019, the world's leading trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry in Düsseldorf, came to an end on 23 October after a period of eight days. According to initial figures from Messe Düsseldorf, the event was attended by around 225,000 visitors from 165 countries who showed considerable interest especially in recycling systems, sustainable raw materials and resource-saving processes. IKV also attracted plenty of attention with its research projects on digitalisation in injection moulding, the further development of infill structures in additive manufacturing, and the plasma coating of small hollow articles.


Research projects on the IKV stand

With its injection moulding project, IKV addressed one of the hot topics of the fair, namely Plastics Industry 4.0. In cooperation with thirteen industry partners, a fully networked injection moulding production cell with data feedback was implemented in a self-learning system of neuronal networks. With the help of artificial intelligence, the setting-up process was significantly shortened and an objective determination of quality data was enabled.
In addition, an inline functionalisation of the demonstrator – a housing for Raspberry Pi computers – was carried out through an additively manufactured anti-slip strip of TPU. The visitors were able to watch the process live. All the parts produced at the show were provided with an individual QR code readable by mobile devices. It allowed the visitors to directly read the production data for the respective part themselves.

The team from the additive manufacturing project presented a newly developed software program for the design of 3D infills to suit the load path. Visitors to the IKV stand were able to view the production and effect of different infill structures and to test them live. One demonstration focused on an additively manufactured hexagonal spanner. By carrying out a torque measurement, the visitors were able to compare the stability of parts with 2D and 3D infills under the effect of individual forces.

The scientists from the plasma and surface technology research area presented a plasma unit they had developed themselves for the interior coating of small hollow articles such as medical syringes. The coating can increase the barrier effect and media resistance and also reduce friction without the need for silicone oil that was previously used as a lubricant. On the IKV stand, the scientists demonstrated live the automatic coating of plastic syringes, including the handling of specimens. The visitors were able to test the friction-reducing effect on coated and uncoated disposable syringes and compare the two.


Events at the show

Apart from having its own stand, IKV also participated in various events and activities during the show:

On the "Science Campus", IKV scientists were on hand all day to provide information on the topic of Industry 4.0 with a live link to the automated injection moulding process on the IKV stand.

On 18 October, the "Tape Technology Information Day @K", scientists from AZL and IKV presented the results of a large consortium study on tape inserts, which offer enormous potential for injection-moulded parts. The aim was to inform visitors about the technology, bring project partners together, and identify topics for future cooperation.

The subject of circular economy was tackled during the talk entitled "Young professionals in the plastics industry", which was held as part of the VDMA Circular Economy Forum. Lara Kleines, M.Sc., and Lars Kraus, M.Sc., who work as scientific assistants at IKV, were on hand to answer questions. Examples of the questions there were asked included why they had decided to study plastics technology, what made plastic such an interesting material for them, and how they felt personally about the subject of recycling and circular economy. Apart from that, they reported on circular economy projects they had been tackling at IKV and also covered their own career prospects.

Professor Christian Hopmann chaired the discussion on "Digitalisation / Plastics Industry 4.0", which, as one of the events in the special "Plastics Shape the Future" show, attracted a large audience. His discussion partners were Christian Schiller, Managing Director of cirplus GmbH, Matthias Schulz, head of Digitalisation, Albis Plastic GmbH, Dipl.-Ing. Jörn Wahle, Leopold Kostal GmbH & Co. KG, and Michael Wittmann, Wittmann Kunststoffgeräte GmbH.

Upcoming scientists also pay a visit to K 2019

On the morning of 21 October, 108 plastics science students travelled in three buses from Aachen to Düsseldorf. They were delighted at the generosity shown by a number of companies to sponsor the visit by donating entrance tickets. The participating students and IKV would like at this point to thank them very much for their support.

IKV scientists guided the students around the show in small groups. While this was already an impressive experience, the participants were also given guided tours of various stands by the exhibiting companies, and had plenty of opportunity to ask specific questions. Here, too, our thanks go to the 38 companies from a broad cross-section of the industry who took the time to offer guided tours for the students.

International IKV Open Day

In parallel with K 2019, IKV offered on 18 October guided tours of its laboratories and pilot plants, predominantly for visitors who had come to Düsseldorf from Asia or elsewhere overseas. 150 participants mainly from Japan, China and Korea took advantage of the opportunity, including the bus transfer. After a brief introduction of the Institute, they were given guided tours of the pilot plants and laboratories. IKV is delighted with the excellent response and would like to thank the visitors for their exceptional interest.