The German Rubber Conference 2012 (DKT 2012), which was organized and sponsored by the German Rubber Society (Deutsche Kautschuk-Gesellschaft e. V–DKG), was held July 2-5 at the Nuremberg Messe in Nuremberg, Germany. The German Rubber Conference takes place on a three-year cycle. Although it is sponsored by the German Rubber Society, the conference is really a pan-European event with attendees from more than 30 European countries, plus participants from the U.S., Israel, China, Taiwan, Japan, India and South America.
The primary industry focus is the non-tire sector of the industrial rubber industry. This year’s program featured three main themes: globalization, sustainability and mobility. The conference also featured a technical program, poster sessions, a two-day educational symposium and a supplier exhibition. A first-time event for the DKG sponsors included a mini-symposium within the symposium that featured thermoplastic elastomers.
A large number of presentations covered a variety of topics. Most of the new developments included responses to various legislative activities—REACH, LEEDS, etc. The TPE elastomers were a hit at both the mini-symposium and in the exhibit hall.
The exhibit hall included a wide range of vendors covering synthetic elastomers, adhesives, compounding ingredients, and molding and mixing equipment. The layout of the exhibit hall was organized with wide conservative hallways between opposite booths.
An interview with Boris Engelhardt, managing director of DKG, revealed that the program sessions had 800 registrants, and the supplier exhibits expected 3,500-4,000 attendees. In addition, over 200 companies exhibited on the show floor. An original expectation for the TPE mini-symposium was a maximum of 80 attendees, but more than 130 had registered by opening day.
Attendees discussed the current state of the industrial rubber industry in Europe. Molded rubber products, which make up a large portion of the commodity, have been outsourced to sub-contractors in the eastern part of Europe. More technical products have remained within the western sector.
A problem with quality has persisted; therefore, some of the production is returning to Germany. Alternatively, some companies are outsourcing to Brazil, Mexico and China. The economy in Europe faces some uncertainty, as there are no firm confirmed projections for growth.
The presentations list and brief abstracts are available on the DKT website at www.dkt2012.com. For more information, contact DPNA International at 126 Allendale Circle, Troutman, NC 28166; call (704) 528-3985; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.