Last updateSun, 27 Nov 2022 2pm

Sustainability in focus: LEONHARD KURZ with pioneering solutions at K 2022

In just a few weeks, the world's largest trade fair for the plastics industry will take place - K 2022. Between 19 and 26 October 2022, the industry will meet in Düsseldorf to present its latest products and innovative processes. This year, one topic in particular is in focus: sustainability. How can the circular economy work in the plastics sector? Which materials and which technologies improve the CO2 balance of products? These and other questions are on the minds of the exhibitors at K 2022.

LEONHARD KURZ, an industry pioneer in sustainability, has been committed to a responsible approach to the environment and resources for decades and, as a UN Global Compact member, has committed itself out of conviction to compliance with the strictest standards. At its production sites in Germany, KURZ uses 100 per cent renewable energy and aims to achieve CO2 neutrality by 2040. In addition, the company continuously invests in efficient processes for recycling, exhaust air disposal, energy saving and recuperation. Numerous innovative concepts for sustainable product development originate from KURZ. At K 2022, the thin-film specialist will be presenting forward-looking solutions for the automotive, home appliances, consumer electronics and health & beauty sectors at Stand A19 in Hall 5.

Resource-saving innovations in the field of decoration technology

At the fair, KURZ will demonstrate the sustainable in-mould decoration (IMD) process, which combines several processes in just one step. The application of the wafer-thin transfer products is dry and emission-free - and the use of recycled materials such as Oceanplastic or bio-based materials is also possible without any problems. Currently, finishes with a share of bio-based raw materials of around 30 percent can be implemented - and the trend is rising. KURZ has also already succeeded in producing decorative products with CO2 savings of up to 25 percent, which are in no way inferior to conventional products in terms of design and quality. Moreover, components decorated with KURZ products are already 100 percent recyclable.

Efficient processes and recyclable components for the automotive industry

The desire for more sustainability is already shaping the automotive sector today. Concepts for CO2 reduction go hand in hand with advancing e-mobility via recyclable components that are manufactured using efficient and resource-saving processes. LEONHARD KURZ will be demonstrating how this can be achieved with various exhibits at the trade fair. From the component for the rear area to the emblem for the front or rear of the vehicle to the control console for the roof lining, all concepts are produced, refined and equipped with intelligent functions in a single work step using IMD. The "one shot" process thus saves resources and energy. In addition, all exhibits are finished with the recyclable KURZ thin-film decorations, which have no influence on the recyclability of the components in the recycling process. "The innovative and ecologically compatible solutions as well as the attractive designs of the KURZ Group increase sustainability along the entire value chain and give manufacturers and brand owners from the automotive industry clear competitive advantages," explains Rainer Süßmann, Head of Business Area Plastic Decoration at LEONHARD KURZ.

Design and sustainability merge in the home appliances sector

On the one hand, household appliances should be visually appealing, on the other hand, they should be equipped with state-of-the-art functions. In addition, consumers nowadays also expect appliances to be manufactured in a resource-friendly way and to be finished in a sustainable manner. Manufacturers can meet these demands by relying on the forward-looking solutions from KURZ. These combine a significant reduction of the carbon footprint with the highest design standards.

At K 2022, KURZ will be presenting various washing machine components that also use recycled materials. Control panels are manufactured with the help of In-Mold Electronics (IME). "The efficient process combines injection moulding, moulding, decoration and integration of smart touch controls in one step," explains Nick Wagner, Head of Business Area Plastic Decoration Sales and Marketing at KURZ, and continues: "This saves energy and resources. At the same time, the innovative, long-lasting finish takes into account the increasingly important concept of sustainability, because the decoration has no influence on the recyclability of the components, and recycled materials can be used without any problems."
Consumer electronics with sustainable added value

In the field of consumer electronics, end consumers are placing more and more value on environmentally friendly concepts that save energy and resources. KURZ supports manufacturers in meeting this demand. Thus, the sustainable IMD and IME processes are also used in consumer electronics. With the help of various design-oriented computer prototypes, proof will be given at the fair of how recycled materials can be decorated in a high-quality and appealing way and thus are in no way inferior to virgin materials. Even backlighting and various lighting effects are possible without any problems, just like the use of partial metallisation as a sustainable alternative to galvanisation. KURZ product designs thus provide inspiration for the consumer electronics of tomorrow.

Innovative solutions for the cosmetics industry

The demands on packaging in the cosmetics industry are high and complex. On the one hand, they have to catch the eye with outstanding design and stand out from the crowd at first glance; on the other hand, consumers want sustainable solutions. Visitors to K 2022 will find out how both aspects can be harmoniously combined. KURZ will demonstrate machine and process technologies for the direct finishing of containers such as tubes and jars. This makes labels superfluous, which leads to resource savings. In addition, the machines demonstrated by KURZ subsidiary ISIMAT make it possible to implement the finishing process - regardless of how many steps it involves - as part of a hybrid solution. This reduces the overall energy requirement. At the customer's request, ISIMAT equips the machine with LED technology, thus further reducing energy consumption. Last but not least, the transfer products from KURZ have no negative impact on the recyclability of the packaging.

Sustainability that can be seen

Across industries, more and more manufacturers are striving to increase the proportion of recyclates used in their productions. LEONHARD KURZ is also a pioneer in this field and was the first company in the plastics industry to introduce a PET take-back system: KURZ RECOSYS®. This allows residual carrier materials from KURZ decorations to be recycled and reused as high-quality compound granulate - RECOPOUND® - in injection moulding. "RECOPOUND® is a sustainable alternative to existing materials that can be used flexibly while maintaining consistent quality," explains Johannes Romming, Project Manager Innovation & Sustainability at LEONHARD KURZ. "Moreover, the post-industrial recyclate can be decorated just as attractively and elegantly as virgin material. At K 2022, visitors can see this for themselves at our partner companies Deckerform on Stand B77 in Hall 13 and ARBURG on Stand A13 in Hall 13 - where we have prepared an exciting live demonstration."

KURZ is part of the VDMA Circular Economy Forum

As an additional highlight, KURZ is participating in the Circular Economy Forum of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA). In ten pavilions on the open-air site of Messe Düsseldorf, VDMA members such as LEONHARD KURZ will be presenting their projects and technologies that enable the recycling of plastics. At the joint stand P10, KURZ will be demonstrating how well the use of recyclates in injection moulding works, using its in-house recycling granulate RECOPOUND® as an example. In addition, the thin-film specialist, together with its machine subsidiary BAIER, will be demonstrating live on-site the finishing of recycled materials by means of hot embossing on a BAIER BECORUN.



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