Outlook upbeat as Achema showcases chemical industry

Paul Boughton

Some 4000 exhibitors from 50 countries and nearly 200000 visitors from 100 nations including 40000 decision makers are expected to attend Achema 2006.

As usualpumpscompressorsfittings and values and laboratory and analysis equipment will be the largest groups of exhibitors followed by thermal processesmechanical processesengineeringinstrumentation control and automationand pharmaceuticalpackaging and storage techniques. The exhibitors will display their latest developments and products on around 140000m2 of net exhibition space in 10 halls and on the grounds outside.

This year’s special showService Providers for the Process Industry will show the largest growth in exhibition space and number of exhibitors. This reflects increased demand in the industry for holistic solutions and integration of external service providers into company operations.

Professor Gerhard KreysaCEO of DECHEMA and event organiserexplained that “the range and depth of these completestate-of-the art solutions for all sectors of the process industry and the excellent synergy effects for exhibitors and visitors alikewhich result from interaction between the different exhibitor groupsunderline the leadership position of ACHEMA”.

Emerging industrial nations

The proportion of international exhibitors continues to grow at Achema. Emerging countries from the Asian region including ChinaIndia and South Korea along with Eastern European countriesfor example the Czech Republicare showing an increased presence at Achema. Foreign exhibitors now account for 42percent of the total (as of December 2005)which exceeds the quota at of the any previous events (2003: 40.9percent2000: 37.7percent). Apart from Germanythe largest contingents come from ItalySwitzerlandthe UKthe USA and France. The total number of German exhibitors is down somewhat (due to concentration in the industry following insolvenciesmergers and acquisitions). South KoreaChinaIndiathe Czech RepublicItaly and Holland showed the strongest growth in percentage terms (for countries with at least ten exhibitors).

As the flagship event for equipment suppliers to the process industrythe show expects to benefit from a favourable economic climate. OECD forecasts remain optimisticand growth outside of Europe has given a boost to Germany industry which is a major exporter to the rest of the world. Figures released by VDMA point to increased turnover and business expansion in drive engineeringfluid engineeringpumps and systemslarge projects and water and waste water systems. This trend is expected to continue as the economic recovery in Germany gains momentum.

A dialogue with potential users and customers at an early stage is a vital step which can help turn excellent research results into innovative products. Around 800 talks on topics that cut across the whole range of exhibitor groups and a carefully planned series of talks on current R&D trends in all sectors of the process industry (chemicalspharmaceuticalsbiotechnologyfoodstuffsetc.) reflect the current dynamism of the industry. The topics include microreaction technologynanotechnologythe use of alternative solventsindustrial biotechnologythe increasing intelligence of process machinery and systemsresponsible and economical use of airwater and energy resources and renewable or recyclable raw materials.

Four panel discussions will look at sensitive economic and social issues. The topics are Certificate Trade: Experience and Outlook from the Perspective of the Chemical Industry; REACH – Chemical Approvals in Europe; Elite Universities – Vision and Reality and Across the Petrochemical Frontier which will look at what is likely to happen when the oil age ends.

Environmental protection and biotechnology are recurring themes which are found throughout Achema. Both of these industries use engineering solutions which are borrowed from the chemical process industry. There will be 1500 exhibitors from the environmental protection industry and 1100 exhibitors from the biotechnology industry at Achemamaking it the world’s largest platform for embedded environmental protection solutions and for equipmentprocesses and services in the biotechnology industry. One third of visitors at Achema cite environmental protection engineering as their main focusand there is a similar level of interest in biotechnology.

A two-day partnering conference focusing on Industrial Biotechnology with participation by international research organisations and companies will highlight the growing importance of “white” biotechnology. The latest results and products from the R&D sector along with services and the bio business will be at the top of the agenda. A large workshop programmme will provide an insight into the global potential of industrial biotechnologywith particular emphasis being placed on the high growth markets in ChinaEastern EuropeIndiaJapan and the US. International incentive programs will be presented which are intended to promote the formation of networks in this sector.

Automation solutions are becoming an increasingly important factor throughout the process industriesfrom the chemical industry to biotechnology and environmental protection. NAMUR (association of users of process control technology) will provide impetus for the automation engineering sector at Achema.

For the first timearound 20 discussion panels will take place in close proximity to the exhibitors. Experts will lead discussions on topics ranging from instrumentation and process control systems to plant managementprocess managementcommunicationsexplosion protection and instrumentation.

Hasso DrathenNAMUR Business Manager for Achema worldwideexpressed the view that “economicorganisational and technological trends will lead to changes in automation systems in the near future.”

At 8–12percent of turnoverlogistics and supply chain costs represent a significant portion of production costsand this makes them an attractive target for cost savings initiatives. The biggest potential lies in optimised logistics flows which can be fine
tuned to meet specific process and production requirements. 

For more informationvisit www.dechema.de