K 2022: IKV with innovative research well represented

Eight days, 3037 exhibitors from 60 countries, 176,000 trade visitors from 157 nations: K 2022, which ended in Düsseldorf on 26 October 2022, showed that the plastics industry has intensively addressed the topics of circular economy, sustainability and climate protection. After three years marked by Corona restrictions and trade fair cancellations, the need for personal exchange at international level was particularly strong. IKV gave an impressive insight into its activities at its own stand and at numerous other locations at the fair.

ADAM shows new ways and possibilities for additive manufacturing: the process enables variable layer heights. | Image: D. Fröls/ IKV

Visitors were able to see three running processes at the IKV stand: on plasma technology, additive manufacturing and injection moulding with recycled materials | Bild: D. Fröls/IKV

INJECTIX showed an innovative injection moulding process with 100% post consumer recyclates. | Image: D. Fröls/IKV

Industrif.ai stands for digitalisation in plastics technology. The platform developed in the "internet of Production" cluster of excellence offers machine management, data acquisition and monitoring as well as intelligent process optimisation. | Image: D. Fröls/IKV

The IKV was also represented at the Science Campus with two projects | Image: Constanze Tillmann

At the Plastics shape the future forum, Prof. Chr. Hopmann spoke on the topic of digitalisation and circular economy | Image: Plastics Europe

The IKV stand attracted numerous visitors who were interested in research and development and became a place of exciting and inspiring exchange. With three ongoing processes, the renowned research institute presented innovative solutions and results on recyclate processing, circular economy and digitalisation.

The additive manufacturing of stools proved to be a real visitor magnet. The Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing (ADAM) developed at IKV expands the possibilities of additive manufacturing by means of non-planar path planning. It allows even large objects to be manufactured additively in a relatively short time in line with the load path and is an example of new applications made possible by digitalisation.

In addition to the stools, IKV produced coloured stacking boxes with a high recycled content by injection moulding, which also proved very popular. The quality of the boxes - checked on site in a downstream measuring cell - was convincing proof of the performance of the intelligent Injectix process control developed at IKV, which can compensate for the effects of batch fluctuations in the recyclate on component quality by controlling the cavity pressure across phases.

The injection moulding process is an example of how recyclates can be brought into large-scale application through digitalisation in processing. Another important prerequisite is comprehensive characterisation and classification of the recyclates. In this context, the IKV Centre for Plastics Analysis and Testing (KAP) showed an excerpt from its portfolio for material characterisation using the example of PP used in the injection moulding process.

Furthermore, the start-up IonKraft, which grew out of IKV, presented its prototype system for the plasma coating of large-volume hollow bodies to the public for the first time at the trade fair stand and thus showed how fundamental research can ultimately be turned into convincing design-for-recycling solutions.

Numerous activities beyond the exhibition stand

However, examples of IKV's innovative research were not only to be found on the stand. Through numerous activities of its staff and various projects, IKV was present in many places at K 2022. For instance as exhibitor on the Science Campus, which offered a concentrated overview of scientific activities and results in the plastics and rubber sector as well as universities, institutes and funding organisations in Hall 7.

IKV was also part of the Plastics Education Initiative (kai), which was launched by GKV (Gesamtverband Kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie - German Plastics Processing Industry Association) together with other associations and institutions as well as Messe Düsseldorf back in 2010 and which, for the fifth time at K 2022, brought together all relevant events with a special educational background at the industry's leading trade fair.

In the Circular Economy Forum on the open-air site, IKV was represented as part of the R-Cycle Initiative in its pavilion. R-Cycle is the open traceability standard for sustainable plastic packaging. By providing a digital product passport, R-Cycle enables a true circular economy and highly efficient value chains. As a member of the R-Cycle community, the institute provides essential scientific advice. The frisbee discs made of recycled material that were available as giveaways in the pavilion were manufactured at IKV.

In his opening speech on the theme day "Digitalisation - Strengthening digital tools to accelerate a Circular Economy" at the special show "Plastics shape the future", Professor Dr.-Ing. Christian Hopmann, Head of IKV and Managing Director of the IKV Association, made clear how closely the circular economy and digitalisation - two of the hot topics at K 2022 - are connected. The special show “Plastics shape the future” is a project of the German plastics industry under the auspices of PlasticsEurope Deutschland e. V. and Messe Düsseldorf, which not only addresses exhibitors and trade visitors at K 2022, but also aims to provide insights and outlooks to the media and interested members of the public.

With a family day at the K for the institute's staff, a guided tour to the fair for RWTH students and an open day for trade fair visitors at the institute's own technical centres and labs, the IKV forged further links between Düsseldorf and Aachen during K 2022.