Issue: Dec 2014


Latest plastic technology on show



by Clinton Wright

Plastics are helping car makers to meet ever-tighter fuel economy standards, while at the same time improving safety and reducing the end of life footprint of vehicles.

“Thanks to constant innovation, plastics offer increasingly safe, cost-efficient alternatives to aluminums, magnesiums and other metals,” say the organizers of NPE2015. The triennial shows are produced by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association.

The technology of plastics or composite materials is evolving so rapidly that it is difficult for many automotive designers to keep up. “As always, simply knowing the possibilities is half the battle—and plastics provide more of them than perhaps any other material. Any company that makes an effort to come together with other business and technical thought leaders to discuss challenges and opportunities—and transact meaningful business in the process—will benefit,” says SPI.

The International Plastics Showcase, which will take place March 23-27, 2015 at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) in Orlando, Florida, is the “only forum dedicated to connecting auto and auto parts manufacturers with the plastics processors who can provide the materials, know-how and flexibility to stay ahead of the competition in the 21st century marketplace,” say the organizers.

“Auto and auto parts manufacturers require new, lighter, higher-performing plastics. A mutual, up-to-the-minute understanding of the needs and capabilities of the market is essential for all players to sustain profits in spite of more stringent regulations. Those companies that can innovate while keeping costs in check stand to profit. In this instance the incentive is doubled, as smart processors will have more opportunities, and smart manufacturers will have no additional costs to absorb despite higher consumer sticker prices”.

One of the centers of attention at NPE2015 is expected to be the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA) Design Center. The IDSA Design Center pavilion will feature booths by design firms, processors, software developers, and other companies providing design services to the plastics industry.

Another area of interest to the automotive industry will be the Zero Waste Zone. “The reuse and recycling of plastics, as well as the reduction of plastics waste, are top priorities in our industry and for SPI and its industry partners,” said Gene Sanders, SPI’s senior vice president of trade shows and conferences. “The Zero Waste Zone and the surrounding Recycling and Sustainability Pavilions will provide attendees with concentrated access to companies and technologies that have made it their business to address these themes and develop workable solutions.



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