According to exhibit organisers, K 2016 had a record number of visitors this year. The Hamburg-based plastics distributor K.D. Feddersen’s booth also experienced a significant up‑tick in visitor traffic over the previous year, with many interesting, high-level technical discussions.

As the meeting point for industry professionals, the K trade show has always drawn interested visitors from around the world. This year nearly half the visitors to the Feddersen Group’s exhibit booth came from outside Europe or overseas. And colleagues from every one of the corporate Group’s international branch offices were represented at the booth.

Lightweight design in the automotive industry was again the main theme at K 2016. OEMs and their suppliers continue to invest large sums to implement new concepts for lightweight design ‒ and CO2 reduction. From its broad distribution portfolio, K.D. Feddersen presented a wide selection of materials which meet the industry's requirements, including reduced‑density Hostacom® grades from LyondellBasell; AKROMID® ICF, AKROMID® Lite and XtraLite from AKRO-PLASTIC and AF-Complex® foaming masterbatches. 

“To remain competitive today, cost and efficiency improvements are key factors for all plastics processors. Materials which combine multiple properties, thus saving or simplifying processing steps, are a welcome alternative to current materials and processing methods”, says Wolfgang Wieth, Director Business Development at K.D. Feddersen.

The distributor presented LyondellBasell’s Softell® softtouch PP compound, a material which achieves superb matte surfaces with extremely pleasing haptics and requires no additional paintwork. Due to its outstanding surface finish, this material also offers significant potential as a cost-effective alternative to textile insert moulding and lamination of A/B/C columns in the vehicle interior.

The Hamburg-based company also presented a sophisticated POM material from Celanese – Hostaform® XGC – which combines high strength, stiffness, creep resistance and dynamic resilience irrespective of the moisture content of the surrounding atmosphere. Its low anisotropy and dimensional stability, combined with outstanding slide/friction and low‑emission properties, make it the ideal material for manufacturing functional components for the automotive industry, including highly stressed actuators, gearbox housings and cogwheels.

Hostaform® SlideXTM from Celanese made its appearance as a mutlifacted POM with increased durability and lifespan for demanding slide/friction applications. Distinctive features of this material include its particularly low coefficient of friction, low wear rates when paired with a range of different plastics and absolutely noiseless performance under load.

Metallic components are gaining popularity. With its MetaLXTM moulded-in color compounds, Celanese provides the basis for MIC applications in the car interior and in household appliances. For use in the exterior area – specifically for bumpers, spoilers and radiator grilles – the distributor recommends LyondellBasell’s Hifax® PP compound, which can also be made metallic and fast to light, or free of after-yellowing. “So it’s possible to achieve a realistic metallic look at lower process costs, without painting or other production work”, Wieth adds. 

"An important topic of the many exhibit discussions involved an assessment of future business trends. Many customers reported full order books and continued growth. Certain business partners, however, also noted signs of economic gloom due to the current political upheavals and the resulting insecurities. On average, business expectations for 2017 were evaluated with a solid 'B' mark. For many companies, the following motto still applies: maintain a strong position to be prepared for highly dynamic changes and short-term events – unexpected ones in particular”, says Dr Stephan Schnell, Managing Director of K.D. Feddersen GmbH & Co. KG. 

Figure 1: Attendance was high at the Feddersen Group’s exhibit booth.