President's Corner: Trade Shows Dominate Fall 2022
K 2019 was the last major worldwide trade show before COVID 19 hit and is the largest show in the world for the plastics industry. Since then, all major shows where we normally exhibit (DRUPA, Interpack, NPE, multiple Pack Expos) were canceled.
Another K show line goes to the Sigma Plastics Group!
W&H Management wondered what would happen to K2022. Due to quarantine rules, it was clear that China, a dominant exhibitor and visitor to K, would not be able to attend. Others would be prevented due to the war in Ukraine, so it was a complete crapshoot what the turnout would be.
Nevertheless, the strong spine of W&H leadership recognized that the world would be starved for innovation, interaction, and inspiration, particularly from the worldwide leader in our industry. So, our event team, along with dozens and dozens of contributors started planning while being ready for the various complications that would, should, and could arise. Should we show a running line?
Of course, we are going to show a line … pedal to the metal! We were going to show the industry, that COVID is NOT another word for “stop innovating.” The wonderful German saying “Wenn schon, denn schon” (“if you are going to do it … do it RIGHT,” or in southern vernacular “go big or go home”) proved right on target.
Demonstrations of EASY2 Change ran on a VAREX II three times each day of the K.
W&H not only exhibited a running line at K (unlike many competitors), but clearly separated itself from the rest of the industry with demos of technical innovation being shown 3 times daily. We wowed hundreds of visitors with each show. Clearly, W&H engineers spent the years since the last K, coming up with new and innovative ways to help our customers, showing improvements in waste reduction, productivity, and efficiency that truly illustrated the goal of a circular economy and sustainability.
During the eight days of K, thousands of people watched the demo and saw for themselves that sustainable products can be produced sustainably in real life. That beats individual demos by a long shot.
The Garant and W&H team at Pack Expo International. From left: Vladimir Unruh, Marvin Williams, Axel Duvendack, Mike Reinhardt, Peter Hoffmann, Torsten Berding, Javeed Buch, Catherine Mattson, Mike Gorniak, and Vladimir Utovac.
We obviously would have loved it if international trade show organizers communicated with each other, but due to a SNAFU in scheduling, Pack Expo International in Chicago overlapped with K for the crucial second week of K. A major North American show, Pack Expo did not disappoint with attendance of close to 45,000 visitors and over 2,000 exhibitors. As usual, the W&H booth was full of old friends eager to catch up, and we were really excited about discussing new projects and the technologies from K with customers who had not gone to Germany.
W&H was well represented, including a team from Garant, our paper subsidiary. Garant ran live demonstrations on the ROTADIA that makes paper cone bags, something you don’t see too often on this side of the Atlantic, even though it was sold to a new customer in Florida.
Across the board, it was an exciting, interesting, and exhausting trade show season. I absolutely loved it, and it was so great seeing so many of you again!