With 3,737 exhibitors from 55 countries, ACHEMA opened in Frankfurt in Monday. The major event of the process industry worldwide shows equipment and processes for the chemical, pharma and food industry. 

The organizers expect around 170,000 participants from all over the world. Important topics in exhibition and congress are flexible production, the use of biotechnological methods and the role of logistics, but also protection of resources, digitization and energy. The focus of the opening press conference was on international cooperation. Industry experts emphasized its importance for global sustainability and prosperity.

From 11-15 June 2018, the producers of lab equipment and processing components, plant engineering companies, automation providers and material developers exhibit their latest products and technologies. With a 56 % share of foreign exhibitors, ACHEMA has yet again become more international. The largest exhibition groups beyond Germany come from China an Italy. The exhibitor numbers from Japan, Korea and Taiwan have grown while the numbers from the European countries remain stable. 

At the opening press conference against the backdrop of recent political developments, the importance of international cooperation came into focus. Jürgen Nowicki, Chair of the ACHEMA Exhibitors Committee, emphasized that international trade is not only essential for the exchange of products and services, but also innovations. A platform like ACHEMA would not be conceivable without a framework of free international competition. Nowicki named flexible production allowing for more individual products, the increasing role of biotechnological methods in the chemical industry and the increasing worldwide cross-linking enabled by logistics as illustrative examples for the innovative power of the industry.

Utz Tillmann, director-general of the German chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie e.V. (VCI), emphasized the continuous positive outlook for the chemical industry in Germany. He warned, however, against new geopolitical risks arising from the protectionist trade policy of the United States as well as from China’s industrial policy strategy. Apart from that, the German chemical industry has excellent prospects in the long term, too, said Tillmann. This is also because the companies see the chances of digitalisation and circular economy and valiantly make them a reality.

However, tasks such as the fight against climate change could only be solved globally and on a level competitive playing field.  

Prof. Dr. Rainer Diercks, Chairman of DECHEMA e.V. that organizes the congress with about 800 presentations, discussed international cooperation in research and development. Science and innovation thrive on the free exchange of information, people and technology. Whowever hinders this exchange without good reason ultimately put the future development of the planet at risk. Diercks said the process industry works on questions that concern every human on the globe, from climate change via healthcare to energy and mobility.

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