Sunday, July 11th, 2010
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.