Filtering of microplastics, more effective recycling of plastics and the digital transformation of the entire industry: for five days, the world’s leading trade fair for environmental technologies IFAT revolved around the issues of the management of water, sewage, waste and raw materials management. The industry’s products are in rising demand all over the world.
“IFAT presents the technologies of the future for clean environment; hence, it is driving the public discourse more actively than ever before. This was reflected in the visits of international politicians, the numerous delegations from all over the world and technology experts who came to share ideas, experiences and knowhow”, says Stefan Rummel, Managing Director of Messe München. “The fair displays the significance of the industry and the issue: the number of exhibitors rose by 7 percent to 3,305, the number of visitors by 4 percent to more than 141,000.”
Consumers drive the industry
It is above all the consumers’ rising awareness and their demand for sustainability that make the industry boom. German Federal Environmental Minister Svenja Schulze said what many people around the globe are concerned about. “We need to use resources and recycle plastics and other materials more effectively and avoid plastic wastes being disposed of into the environment. It is to avoid unnecessary plastics”. Here, technologies have a key role. “The IFAT presents smart and innovative environmental technologies that are already part of a solution to many of our environmental challenges.”
Herwart Wilms, Managing Director of Remondis SE & CO KG was one of the industry representatives to appeal to the public. “Technologies are ready and on standby. To achieve a closed raw materials cycle the makers of products now need to significantly raise their recycling quotas for raw materials”, he said.
Local authorities and industry at the same level
At the same time, representatives of the manufacturing industry visiting IFAT showed a rising interest in resource-conserving and efficient methods. “Demand from industry has increased significantly”, says Falk Olaf Petersdorf, Managing Director of Xylem Water Solutions Deutschland GmbH. IFAT boss Stefan Rummel is convinced: “The 2018 IFAT has addressed both local authorities and the industry.”
Digitally linked pumps, waste containers with sensors, autonomous road sweepers—digital innovation is a feature of many innovations at IFAT. The new hall allocation based of the subjects of water/sewage and waste/secondary raw materials was very much appreciated. Hence, also the issue of drinking water is now firmly established in Munich. Udo Jirmann, Managing Director of Georg Fischer GmbH puts it like this: “Now, IFAT has also become the world’s leading trade fair for drinking water; the record figures achieved reflect its importance for the environmental industry.”
2018 IFAT: Figures
More than 141,000 expert visitors from more than 160 countries came to Munich between May 14 and 18, 2018 (2016: 136,885 visitors). Above all, this means a rise of IFAT’s internationality. The highest growth came from (in this order): Japan, Russia, Australia, China and Slovenia. In total, 3,305 exhibitors from 58 countries presented their products and innovations for the booming environmental industry.
Dr. Johannes F. Kirchhoff, Chairman of the IFAT Advisory Board and Managing Director of Kirchhoff Group drew a positive conclusion: “The 2018 IFAT is another impressive example of an excellent platform for municipal and private disposal companies as well as the water, sewage, waste and raw material industry.”
Picture: New record: The Munich IFAT welcomed 141,00 visitors and 3,305 exhibitors (Image: Messe München)