Issue: Mar 2009


AUTOMOTIVE FOCUS AT NPE2009 WILL BE ON INNOVATIVE DESIGN, SUSTAINABILITY, AND PRODUCTION ECONOMY



NPE2009, Far Broader in Scope than Previous NPEs, Will Present Technologies for Cutting Costs Today while Developing New Values for Tomorrow

by James Hilton

The way forward for automotive industry professionals confronted by today’s harsh economy is to reduce costs while creating new values for car buyers. At NPE2009, they will discover a wealth of technologies to help them achieve these goals, according to The Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI), producer of the triennial NPE.

Taking place June 22-26 at Chicago’s McCormick Place, NPE2009 will be far broader in scope than any previous NPE and provide more technological content of value to the automotive industry, noted Gene Sanders, SPI’s vice president of trade shows.

“NPE has always been an international plastics trade show, but this year it will be that and much more,” Sanders said. “SPI has created the world’s largest concentration of plastics expositions and conferences, including many events providing innovations and solutions for component designers, toolmakers, manufacturers, OEM specifiers, and other automotive professionals.”

The SPI trade show at NPE2009 will include hundreds of exhibiting companies displaying new and established plastics technologies that can be used in the production of automotive components and assemblies. The accompanying table “Automotive at NPE2009” categorizes a number of these technologies. In addition, NPE2009 will include seven conferences and expositions co-located with SPI’s trade show, the first International Plastics Design Competition (IPDC), and a number of multi-exhibitor pavilions focusing on specialized technological sectors.

Three themes dominating this array of events are of special interest to the automotive industry:

Economy. New processing and material technologies will enable component manufacturers to cut costs or increase productivity through parts consolidation, energy efficiency, light-weighting, reductions in machine downtime, lower reject rates, and other improvements.

Innovation. New molding techniques incorporating advanced polymers, for example, make it possible to replace glass in windows—even windshields—with lightweight, shatter-resistant plastics whose greater design freedom makes possible dramatically new vehicle styling. One source of such technology at NPE2009 will be exhibitor Sabic Innovative Plastics, whose subsidiary Exatec, LLC develops polycarbonate glazing systems for the automotive industry.

Sustainability. “Automobile manufacturers recognize that one way forward from today’s difficult times is to develop new vehicles that compete effectively by consuming less fossil fuel, using more renewable resources, and reducing the impact of vehicles on the environment,” said Sanders. “The plastics industry has committed itself to these sustainability goals, and this commitment will be evident throughout NPE2009, in the form of new technologies, innovative designs, and strategic initiatives.”

Co-Located Events Are Relevant to Automotive Manufacturing

Among the multi-exhibitor pavilions on the NPE exhibit floor, at least three, the TPE / Elastomer Pavilion, the SPE Thermoforming Pavilion, and Fluoropolymers World, will focus on technologies widely used in automotive manufacturing. The Emerging Technologies Pavilion will be organized around four critical developments that will also command attention in co-located conferences and meetings: sustainability, bioplastics, nanotechnology, and energy. Other pavilions of interest will contain exhibits by contract manufacturers and moldmakers.

Here are some of the other events and programs taking place during NPE2009 that have content of importance to auto-industry professionals:

ANTEC 2009, the world’s largest plastics technical conference, will have a multi-paper session dedicated to automotive applications, as well as sessions on bioplastics, injection molding, blow molding, extrusion, thermoforming, nano/micromolding, TPEs, other thermoplastics, thermosets, moldmaking, and product design and development. Produced by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), ANTEC each year presents around 700 original, peer-reviewed technical presentations.

“The Business of Plastics.” More than 90 presentations are scheduled for this educational program, which SPI has organized to address marketing, human capital management, finance, environmental issues, regulation, global economic trends, and other matters of strategic importance to business management. Included will be sessions on sustainability and bioplastics.

International Plastics Design Competition (IPDC). This first global version of a longtime SPI event will include an award category for automotive applications, plus categories for use of emerging technologies and for advances in sustainability.

MoldMaking Expo Trade Show and Conference, produced by Gardner Publications, Inc. The educational program will include technical presentations, panel discussions, workshops, and keynote speakers.

Time-Compression Conference & Expo will be a new technical event produced by Gardner Publications for professionals looking for technologies to accelerate product development.

Latin American Plastics Conference, produced by B2B Portales, Inc.’s Tecnología del Plástico and Conversión magazines and conducted entirely in Spanish. It will include half-day programs on sustainability and production efficiency and on injection and blow molding.

‘Coatings for Plastics,’ a conference produced by the Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT) for professionals who specify and use coatings on plastics.

The NPE2009 international plastics exposition will take place June 22-26, 2009 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The event is produced by the Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI). Co-located with the NPE trade show will be seven other SPI- and partner-sponsored conferences and expositions, including SPE’s ANTEC 2009 technical conference. Visit www.npe.org

Founded in 1937, SPI is the plastics industry trade association representing the third largest manufacturing industry in the United States. SPI's member companies represent the entire plastics industry supply chain, including processors, machinery and equipment manufacturers and raw materials suppliers. The U.S. plastics industry employs 1.1 million workers and provides nearly $379 billion in annual shipments. www.plasticsindustry.org  

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