Thursday, June 25th, 2009
Design involves problem-solving and creativity. The American Heritage Dictionary defines design as: “To conceive or fashion in the mind; invent,” and “To formulate a plan.” It also means that someone not only had to conceive of all the amazing products, tools and “things” that we take for granted every day, but also had to collaborate with engineers and manufacturers to ensure that the final deliverable could function effectively, safely and be reproduced at a reasonable cost. Judging by the innovations that I’ve seen at NPE2009, the plastics industry does design very well.
Much of the content of NPE2009 is of direct interest to design engineers and anyone else involved in product design and development. An increased emphasis on plastics design at NPE2009 came about because SPI has expanded the trade show far beyond its traditional core. The first International Plastics Design Competition (IPDC) was concluded last night with awards handed out in 15 categories, including “The People’s Choice Award, which attracted 10,203 online votes at the IPDC website. Here is a list of all the winners, but better yet, visit the Winner's Gallery on the IPDC web site to see and read more about the winning product entries. If you are at NPE, go see all the entrants up close — they are still on display in the West Hall of McCormick Place.
ANTEC 2009, the Society of Plastics Engineers’ massive conference, is co-located at NPE this year and has more than 750 original peer-reviewed presentations, including multi-paper sessions on product design and development, mold design and moldmaking.
Also of note to those interested in product design and development is the inaugural Time Compression Expo, co-located with NPE2009 and produced by Gardner Publications. “Time compression” means cutting time to market by accelerating product development through the use of new design, software, prototyping and direct manufacturing techniques. Another co-located event produced by Gardner is the MoldMaking Expo, which is devoted to technologies and strategies in mold design, moldmaking and rapid manufacturing.
Not to be overlooked are the hundreds of NPE2009 exhibiting companies that supply design engineering, tool design and moldmakingproducts and services; raw materials that deliver new customer values ranging from molded-in functionalities to decorative effects and shelf appeal; fabricating systems that extend product development capabilities by increasing design freedom and expanding the scope for parts consolidation and light-weighting; and custom processors who supply full service, from design to molding to final assembly.