Plast – the triennal International Exhibition for the Plastics and Rubber Industries – is the preeminent event sector in Europe and the major Italian trade fair after Salone del Mobile of Milan. The eighteenth edition, which took place at FieraMilano fairground in Rho-Pero from 29 May to 1 June 2018, recorded the impressive numbers of 63,000 visitors and about 1.500 exhibitors from 55 countries. In addition to the large influx of professional operators, there was an unexpected participation of many school groups and young people, thanks both to the opportunity to hold in their hands the technologies related to the plastics and rubber industries, and to the presence of some artists in the thematic area Arts & Plastics, like Lady Be, who has exhibited celebrities’ portraits with a contemporary mosaic technique, using recycled materials and small plastic ordinary objects, such as toys, pens, cosmetic wrappers, corks and buttons instead of pegs.
For the first time, this year’s issue has integrated The Innovation Alliance project, aimed to set up the largest European event about solutions for manufacturing industry. This project hosted at the same time at FieraMilano other four international exhibitions – IPACK-IMA, MEAT-TECH, PRINT4ALL and INTRALOGISTICA ITALIA – and over 3,500 companies, to offer operators the technological excellence of the whole supply chain.
Plast 2018 has been a very positive experience in many respects. It has been a unique opportunity to take a picture to the mechanical evolution of the international plastics and rubber industries, and to get a complete overview of the latest in materials, processes, machinery and services. Plast 2018 has been a full-spectrum technological showcase that covered the entire production process and applications. The section of the show dedicated to the plastics and rubber processing machinery, equipment and moulds industry, which we visited, has been the core of the exhibition also because of the leading position of the Italian industry in the global market sector. According to figures from the AMAPLAST trade association, in 2017 national production reached the new record of € 4.67 billion (+ 10% compared to 2016) of which 70% made by exports, and the domestic market too shows signs of recovery. The topic on the pavillon’s agenda was the technological offers in terms of Industry 4.0, subject of much discussion during the many conferences scheduled by the show to involve the production world in the changes taking place by automation, digitalization and sustainable innovation, that are changing very fast the way of production. The competitiveness and the future of companies will depend on the ability to adapt business to these transformations that are changing very fast the way of production.