ACHEMA 2024: World Forum for the Process Industries Has Opened its Doors

With over 2,800 exhibitors from 56 countries, ACHEMA has opened today (10 June 2024) in Frankfurt. The most important event of the process industry worldwide shows equipment and processes for the chemical, pharma and food industry.
ACHEMA 2024: World Forum for the Process Industries Has Opened its Doors

Image source: DECHEMA Ausstellungs-GmbH

With the six innovation themes Process, Pharma, Green, Lab, Digital and Hydrogen, which are reflected in both the exhibition and the lecture programme, ACHEMA focuses on the key challenges facing the process industry today and in the coming years.

The focus of the opening press conference was on international cooperation and innovation. Industry experts stressed their importance for achieving climate goals and addressing challenges such as security of supply and stable supply chains.

From 10 to 14 June 2024, producers of lab equipment and processing components, plant engineering companies, automation providers and material developers exhibit their latest products and technologies. Almost two thirds (63%) of exhibitors come from abroad. This makes ACHEMA 2024 more international than ever before. Exhibitors from Asia are making a major contribution to this: After the number of Indian exhibitors at ACHEMA 2022 had already reached the pre-corona level again and this year amounts to 185 exhibitors, the Chinese participation this year even reaches an all-time high with 438 exhibitors.

Against the backdrop of the current economically challenging times – especially in Germany – the opening press conference focussed on the topics of sustainability and international cooperation.

Dr Wolfgang Große Entrup, Director General of the German chemical industry association (VCI), does not yet see a turnaround despite initial signs of an economic recovery: “Our industry’s engine is still far from running smoothly. Our companies are primarily generating profits abroad. Politicians must not sugar-coat the situation but take decisive action to tackle problems that are largely of their own making, such as excessive bureaucracy, high energy prices, and a declining willingness to invest.” Große Entrup calls on the new EU Commission to reboot industrial policy: “We need to strike the right balance between ecology, economy, and social aspects. Only successful companies will be able to maintain and create jobs, pay taxes, and achieve ecological goals. Our goal must be an economically strong Europe. This will also give the EU political weight, which will be more important than ever in the future.”

As Chairman of the ACHEMA Committee, Jürgen Nowicki highlighted that, innovations in the field of apparatus and plant engineering are crucial to making the process industry more sustainable. Digitalization, automation and new materials offer enormous potential for using resources more efficiently and reducing emissions. However, the introduction of these technologies requires considerable investment and therefore close cooperation between industry, research, politics and the capital market.” Where this fails, the momentum on the subject of sustainability appears to have slowed – despite all the progress made. “The road to sustainable production is long and rocky, and there must be no standstill. Especially now, when the challenges are greater than ever, we must continue to consistently drive forward the transition to sustainable production”, Nowicki urged. The process industry has proven to be a driving force for innovation in recent decades. This is precisely why it is aware of its responsibility to continue investing in research and development and to develop pioneering technological solutions. “This will enable both the process industry and many other industries that rely on our innovations to successfully embark on the path to a climate-neutral future”, concluded Nowicki.

“As the organisers of ACHEMA, we also dare to be innovative – and it is paying off: At the last ACHEMA, we fully integrated the congress into the exhibition programme for the first time. This brought us a lot of positive feedback and a notable increase in visitor numbers”, emphasized Dr Klaus Schäfer, Chairman of DECHEMA e.V., who is responsible for the ACHEMA Congress. The congress programme is of the highest calibre and perhaps more comprehensive than ever before: in up to 25 parallel tracks, ACHEMA visitors can expect over 900 lectures, discussion panels and workshops by more than 1,000 speakers. “I would particularly like to emphasise that we are seeing a 50 per cent increase in the number of foreign speakers at the congress – ACHEMA is becoming much more international in this respect as well”, said Schäfer. The topic of innovation is not only central to the congress and the well-established exhibition: “ACHEMA 2024 will once again provide a central meeting point for young companies in the process industry and start-ups with the Start-up Area and, with its wide range of activities for young professionals, students and school pupils, makes a concrete contribution to combating the shortage of skilled workers, which is also becoming an increasing challenge for our industry” concluded Schäfer.

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