Monday, November 1st, 2010

SPI and NPE2012: Making News at the K-Show

As I wrote about two weeks ago, SPI team members have been out and about over the last few days at the K-Show in Düsseldorf, Germany kicking off  SPI’s own international plastics showcase, NPE2012, in a grand style!  Hundreds of K-Show attendees turned out for the NPE2012 Reception to meet with show leaders and learn more about the new venue — the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Florida.  And there has even been some breaking news made at other SPI-hosted events. 

At a media breakfast, in addition to unveiling the NPE2012 “Breaking the Mold” marketing campaign, SPI officially announced that the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) will co-locate the 2012 edition of its ANTEC® technical conference with NPE2012. ANTEC is the world’s largest plastics technical conference.  NPE2012 will take place April 1-5, 2012.  Both ANTEC 2012 and the NPE trade show will begin on Monday April 2. (SPI’s  own “Business of Plastics” educational program will be held on April 1.)  In addition to the traditional conference sessions, SPE will organize poster sessions on the NPE show floor in the South Hall of the OCCC. 

In a well-attended presentation given on October 28, SPI President Bill Carteaux cited new 2009 statistics released by SPI that indicate that the U.S. plastics industry remains one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the United States and its trade surplus continues to grow. During his presentation, Carteaux told K-Show attendees:

“While our industry’s number of facilities and employees has declined in recent years, U.S. plastics companies today have remained competitive through innovation, more sophisticated technology, smart efficiency and a strategic focus on developing new markets overseas. This explains why, at a time when the trade balance for all U.S. manufacturing was declining, the plastics industry trade surplus continues to increase substantially.”

Immediately after his presentation, Carteaux was interviewed by media outlets — including the K-Show’s own TV reporter (see the video above).

To keep up with all the latest NPE2012 news, photos and videos, check the NPE2012 web site and be sure to also “Like” the NPE page on Facebook!

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

“It’s K Time”…for NPE2012!

Plastics industry companies are gearing up to take part in K 2010 next week. More commonly referred to as “the K-Show,” the  international plastics trade fair will be held October 27 – November 3 in Düsseldorf, Germany.  “It’s K Time” is the show’s official tag line and, ironically, that means it is also time for everyone involved in staging NPE2012 to shift into a higher gear! 

That’s right.  SPI will use the occasion of K 2010 to officially kick-off NPE2012 — the largest plastics technology exposition in the Western Hemisphere and the world’s largest plastics technical conference set to take place April 1-5, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. This is a new location and venue for NPE after more than 40 years in Chicago.

At an October27 press conference at the K-Show in Düsseldorf, SPI will unveil some exciting new plans for NPE2012, as well as its  “Breaking the Mold” marketing campaign for the show. “Breaking the Mold“ marks NPE’s exiting new beginning in Orlando and highlights the new benefits that NPE2012 will offer to exhibitors and attendees — including substantial cost savings, travel advantages, more exhibits of working machinery and a more “user-friendly” experience.  A key part of the campaign message is “Reshape the Future of Plastics,” highlighting the role of NPE2012 as a showcase for technological innovation and a catalyst for industry transformation 

On October 29, SPI will host an “NPE2012 Reception at K-Show” where industry leaders will  gather for refreshments and networking as a celebratory official  kick-off for the NPE2012 show. Guests will have the opportunity to speak with SPI President Bill Carteaux, Senior Vice President of Trade Shows Gene Sanders, NPE2012 Chairman John Effman and other NPE organizers  and learn about the show’s new venue at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.  

SPI is also sponsoring two U.S. Pavilions at the K-Show –  one for machinery and one for materials – that will enable approximately 50 American companies to showcase their technologies to an international audience.  SPI will also have its own NPE2012 exhibit marking the opening of booth space and attendee marketing for its own international plastics exposition.

It may still be 17 months before NPE2012 opens its doors, but since “It’s K Time,” the excitement for NPE2012 begins building in earnest now! Next stop: The NPE2012 Space Draw in January.

Sunday, July 11th, 2010

Flexible Vinyl World Comes to Virginia this Week…and to NPE in 2012

I’m starting out this week in a world of flexible vinyl. Actually, I’m at the Lansdowne Conference Center in Virginia where the flexible vinyl products world is convening July 11-13 for the preeminent conference for the vinyl industry: SPI’s Flexible Vinyl Products 21st Annual Compounding Conference. Combining business and technical programming, this event has attracted more than 125 attendees who will hear presentations from technical experts conducting cutting-edge research, business leaders providing strategy and market guidance and legislative and regulatory speakers with the latest from the nation’s capital and around the world.

And there’s some breaking news already! I had the opportunity to sit in on the SPI Flexible Vinyl Products Committee‘s  Executive Committee Meeting this morning and a very exciting development came about concerning NPE2012. But more on that below…

This week’s conference is hosted by SPI’s Flexible Vinyl Products Committee (FVPC), part of the association’s Material Suppliers Council. The FVPC works for the benefit of all companies within the flexible vinyl industry regardless of end market application – and, because of the material’s many advantages, that is an enormous amount of applications!  Because flexible vinyl is inexpensive, durable, safe, easily processed and recyclable, it is appealing to product manufacturers and ideally suited to myriad uses.  From construction (such as flooring and roofing) to life-saving medical products (such as blood/intravenous fluid bags, cardiac catheters, endotracheal tubing) to packaging (food wrap, container lids) to wire and cable and a vast variety of automotive uses, flexible vinyl makes modern life better.

Topics to be presented and discussed here in Virginia over the next two days include the latest research on new materials, optimizing product quality using new lab tools, global updates concerning the resin and plasticizer markets, and presentations concerning product de-selection issues and the ways in which science and statistics are used (and sometimes abused) by the media. Rebecca Obniski, a chemistry and music double-major at the College of William and Mary will present a paper on “New Metal-Based Smoke Suppressants and Fire Retardants for Flexible PVC.”  Veteran industry insider William Carroll, vice president for industry issues, Occidental Chemical Company, will reflect on his experiences in the plastics industry and his perspective on the future.  A number of  SPI staff experts will be on hand to deliver the latest news on the legislative front, REACH and Walmart’s retailer sustainability initiatives.

Speaking of news, this morning the FVPC Executive Committee preliminarily signed off on having a pavilion devoted to flexible vinyl products at NPE2012 in Orlando. Similar to successful specialty pavilions staged at NPE2009 that were devoted to fluoropolymers, thermoformers and TPE elastomers,  an “FVP World” pavilion would provide the flexible vinyl products community with a platform to discuss advancements in technology, educate participants and highlight member companies and organizations in a unified and organized format.  “FVP World” would be part of  NPE Technology Central in the Orange County Convention Center’s South Hall.  At this morning’s meeting, SPI President Bill Carteaux brought up this idea to FVPC leadership, saying, “We invite flexible vinyl products companies to host FVP World at NPE2012, and provide this opportunity to your members, suppliers and their customers to see and hear what’s new in flexible vinyl.” Needless to say, the FVPC Executive Committee liked the idea! Stay tuned for more details.

Monday, May 24th, 2010

‘Luck of the PRE-Draw’ for NPE2012

For once—a lottery that is a win-win for everyone! Today, at SPI headquarters in Washington, DC, a special lottery for an exhibit space “pre-draw” was held for NPE exhibitors with a 15 show history or higher.

You may be asking, “what is a pre-draw?” As you most likely know by now, NPE2012 and NPE2015 will be held in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center. NPE2012 will be the first NPE show to be held in this venue, and with that comes an exciting new location, new opportunities and a new floor plan full of possibilities! Moving from a facility that has housed NPE since 1971 has also raised many inquiries on booth locations of industry sectors and longtime exhibitors.

The pre-draw process was developed by NPE’s committees and staff to help work through some of these very questions ahead of time—well in advance the traditional Space Draw that will take place this upcoming January 12-14, 2011, in Orlando. Exhibiting companies with a 15 show history or higher (the same companies that would have selected first in the January space draw) were offered the opportunity to participate, and 64 chose to enter the lottery.

This is not an ordinary lottery, however, since it ultimately rewards all participants! Allowing longtime SPI Member exhibitors to select their official spaces this summer will provide guidance to exhibitors on their booth selection during the January 2011 Space Draw. All other exhibitors will have the benefit of knowing—well before the Space Draw—where these longtime exhibitors are setting up their booths. This means better advanced decision-making for exhibitors and a well-organized floor plan for attendees.

Drumroll please! This morning, SPI’s Bill Carteaux, Gene Sanders and Phyllis Hortie were joined by exhibitor witness John Roberts of Gala Industries to pull these pre-draw participants from a lottery. In the coming weeks, these exhibiting companies, in order from 1-64, will work with SPI to select their booth space.  The first 10 companies are:

  • Sumitomo Plastics Machinery and Demag Plastics Group
  • Farrel Corporation
  • Canon Communications
  • SABIC
  • ITW Instron Corporation + Affiliates
  • Eastman Chemical Company
  • DuPont
  • Davis-Standard, LLC
  • NFM Welding Engineers
  • Gloucester Engineering Co., Inc.

And with this lottery for pre-draw booth selection, NPE2012 is off to an exciting start in a fresh venue.

Monday, February 1st, 2010

WaterBrick: IPDC Winner Helps Provide Clean Water to Haiti

It has been six months since the premier of the International Plastics Design Competition (IPDC) at NPE2009. In the relative quiet since the awards were celebrated and the last exhibits found their way home, I was recently reminded again of the excitement and pride we all felt to learn of so many critical problems being solved through innovation with plastics materials. 

Last week, as  I continued to read through news of the earthquake recovery efforts in Haiti, I thought of one plastic product in particular: the WaterBrick, which won two IPDC Awards last June — in the Sustainability Part/Component and Industrial/Military categories. Two plastics industry companies — FPM Tooling & Automation (designer and moldmaker) and ACM Plastic Products(molder) — were key to producing this life-saving resource. 

The WaterBrick is an industrial container made of HDPE (high-density polyethylene) that is recyclable and approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for water storage. It can be air-dropped into disaster zones to provide 3.4 gallons of clean water per container to people in need.  The use of HDPE renders the WaterBrick less costly than comparable steel containers, and careful design enables the containers to withstand the impact of a fall to the ground from a plane.  Once the water inside is used, the WaterBrick can be refilled with dirt or sand and utilized as a building block for construction of shelters in lieu of expensive concrete blocks (which is the case in Mkuze, South Africa.) 

It occurred to me that if these WaterBricks were not being sent to Haiti, then someone should find a way to get them there.  I was thrilled to discover that WaterBrick International had indeed formed a partnership with GlobalGiving to raise funds to get as many WaterBricks as possible into Haiti.  I encourage everyone  to donate – as little as $10 provides one person with a week’s supply of clean water!  (Currently, WaterBricks are not being used for shelter purposes in Haiti.)

It is gratifying to work directly with people and companies whose products transform lives and help overcome challenges of this magnitude — and we in the plastics industry get to do it a lot.  Let this example be a reminder for us to continue encouraging innovation and supporting one another’s efforts to make the world a safer, healthier place for all.