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K 2022: KURZ and partners present solutions for the circular economy at the VDMA Circular Economy Forum

Fürth/Germany, September 19, 2022: From October 19 to 26, 2022, the world’s largest trade fair for the plastics and rubber industry, K 2022, will take place in Düsseldorf. In addition to the latest technologies and solutions in the field of industrial plastics and rubber processing, the topic of the circular economy is set to play a decisive role at the leading trade fair. The concept of a circular economy has gained immense importance in recent years and presents the entire industry with the challenge of obtaining new material types at least partially from recycled materials and making them usable for every processor - while maintaining the same high quality as new material.

The Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e. V. (VDMA) is the ideal sponsor of the trade fair and puts the focus on the circular economy at K 2022. With around 3,500 members, the VDMA is the largest network organization and important representative of mechanical engineering in Germany and Europe. The association poses the central question: How can circularity work in the plastics industry? The VDMA Circular Economy Forum answers this question in the open-air area of Messe Düsseldorf. In a total of ten pavilions, VDMA members including LEONHARD KURZ will present their projects and technologies that enable the recycling of plastics.


‘The machine’ brings the circular economy to life

The VDMA Dome in the middle of the open-air area not only serves as a meeting place for exciting presentations and discussions, but also houses ‘The machine,’ an installation where a total of 40 VDMA members present their technology highlights on the circular economy in video clips. Among other things, high-performance systems and processes that produce recycled materials from plastic waste, which in turn can be processed into high-quality products, will be shown. Visitors can also view these plastic products made from recycled materials first-hand in an exhibition. KURZ will present its In-Mold Decoration process (IMD) here.


Highly efficient IMD process combines injection molding and decoration

“In the IMD process, the injection molding process and decoration process are combined in a single, highly efficient work step, which not only leads to cost and time savings, but also to a significant CO2 reduction,” explains Martin Hahn, Head of Application, Technology & Innovation of the Business Area Plastic Decoration at LEONHARD KURZ, and continues: “This makes the IMD process significantly more economical and environmentally friendly than competitive processes such as varnishing or physical vapor deposition - PVD for short.” There are no limits when it comes to design creativity. A wide range of color variants and backlighting effects are possible - and customer-specific specifications, for example with regard to the surface structure, can also be implemented.


Successful sustainability

The IMD process from KURZ also impresses with other environmentally friendly aspects. Here, the decorative layers are transferred as a dry-paint system, which is why - unlike varnishing - there's no risk of wet-paint contamination or post-drying energy. Environmentally harmful electroplating is also completely replaced thanks to metallization in the decoration. The components produced and decorated in the IMD process, including the decorative layers, are also recyclable. And recycled materials can be used in component production depending on customer requirements. These are both factors that are particularly important for LEONHARD KURZ in light of the company’s commitment to a holistic recycling cycle through ‘Lifecycle Thinking.’


Illustrative demonstrations at the VDMA Circular Economy Forum

KURZ will be demonstrating how the efficient and sustainable finishing of components for various industries can be implemented live at Stand P10 at the VDMA Circular Economy Forum. The thin-film specialist demonstrates the use of hot-stamping technology on the innovative BECORUN machine from its subsidiary BAIER. Hot stamping can be used to create even the smallest lettering and delicate strokes, but also multi-colored designs, strong full colors, and the finest color gradients. BAIER BECORUN guarantees efficient and economical finishing in series production as well as for small orders. Thanks to thin-film technology, products finished with hot-stamping decoration remain 100% recyclable. At the K2022 Circular Economy Forum, KURZ and BAIER will use the example of the post-industrial recyclate (PIR) RECOPOUND® to show how well the use of recycled materials works and how KURZ, as a pioneer in the field of sustainability in industry, is helping its partners and customers to advance. During the live demonstration, a watering can designed as a designer object and made entirely of RECOPOUND® is finished using hot stamping. Visitors can take the decorated watering can with them as a handy give-away.


A glance into the future:

With every concrete solution that KURZ develops for its customers, the company always has the holistic picture in mind and focuses on future developments. “Anyone who spearheads a movement invests in opportunities. Those who, like us, are involved early on have design options,” explains Dr. Andreas Hirschfelder, Senior Vice President & Member of the Managing Board at LEONHARD KURZ. “We expect that people will continue to value esthetics and high-quality surfaces for durable products in the future. Here, we can point out sustainable opportunities and have to stop talking about nothing but sacrifices when it comes to sustainability.” KURZ’s declared goal is to focus on the entire product life cycle in all planning and activities - from the manufacture of the components to their use and their return to the recycling cycle at the end of their useful life.


At a glance

K 2022 from October 19-26, 2022
LEONHARD KURZ Stiftung & Co. KG: 
Hall 5, Stand A19 // VDMA Circular Economy Forum P10
Product group: Machines and equipment for finishing, decorating, printing, and marking
Trade fair presentation focuses on: Automotive interior/exterior, consumer electronics, home appliances, sustainability

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