Innovations and Insights: Hofmann Expo 2023 Shaping Road Markings’ Future

Brussels | 1 December 2023

The European Union Road Federation (ERF) proudly participated in the Hofmann Expo 2023, the must-be event for the Road Markings industry in Europe. The 24th edition of the exhibition took place on the 30th of November in the Hofmann’s premises in Rellingen. Around 40 enterprises from different countries had the opportunity to show their ideas and technologies to approximately 800 guests who gathered for the occasion. Among them, many ERF members had a role in the event, as sponsors and as exhibitors. 

The ERF contributed to the debate with a lecture about the current EU regulation on microplastics and its possible future impact on the road markings industry. Like virtually the whole European economic system, the road markings industry will need to reduce its carbon footprint to contribute to the ambitious target set by the European Green Deal. Faithful to its role as a bridge between the industry and the EU institutions, the ERF works every day to make the road industry’s voice heard in this transition. The core message of the ERF’s lecture was that if no one denies the necessity to cut emissions for a better future for our continent and our planet  the very peculiarities of road markings need to be taken into account, and regulation must not bring more bureaucratic burdens for enterprises and SMEs.

On the occasion, the position paper “Road markings and microplastics” released in 2022 by ERF was presented. The paper aims to debunk some false assumptions running around on road markings, such as exaggerated estimates of the contribution of road markings to the overall microplastic pollution or the idea that the paint applied dissolves entirely in the environment once the functional life of the markings comes to end. Conclusions like these can be found in various studies online. The ERF’s campaign highlights how these ideas originate from a substantial ignorance of the road markings’ characteristics and how in this kind of research the industry’s viewpoint is rarely taken into account. In conclusion, the ERF position paper recommends the use of high-quality and durable road marking material and the implementation of proactive maintenance programs. This is the only sustainable way to reduce microplastic release in the environment and to deliver road safety.

The morning debate was animated also by Jan Hofmann (Hofmann, Germany), Robert Dingess (Traffic Marking Manufacturers Alliance, USA), and Professor Thanh Bui-Tien (University of Transport and Communication of Hanoi, Vietnam), who brought a high-level and tough-provoking contribution to the table. In the afternoon, a demonstration of some of Hofmann works machinery took place, while in the evening most of the guests participated in the networking dinner.

As every year for 24 years, the Hofmann expo has been a unique occasion for exchanging experiences and ideas and further unifying the European road markings family towards common goals. Already looking forward to the 2024 edition!