Issue: Jan 2018


Plastics industry to focus on “what’s next”



by James Hilton

Automotive engineers and designers will be given the opportunity to identify both new and future plastics technologies that will help reduce weight in March 2018 at NPE 2018.

Hosted by the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS), “NPE2018: The Plastics Show” will run from May 7th to the 11th 2018 in Orlando, Florida. The triennial, international manufacturing exposition is expected to draw more than 65,000 professionals from all segments of the plastics industry and its related vertical and end-user markets.

“NPE2018 is the leading forum for plastics industry leaders to share ideas and see the next generation of innovation and technology driving the plastics industry into the future,” says William R. Carteaux, President and CEO of PLASTICS. “We’re excited to welcome the leading minds in plastics to a contemporary, interactive marketplace for five days of active learning, high-powered collaboration and unparalleled discovery.”

According to the organizers the show provides a major opportunity for automotive manufacturers to find ways to make their vehicles lighter. Increasingly stringent fuel efficiency regulations require that cars — and everything that goes into them — weigh less, without compromising safety and comfort.

The latest in 3D or additive printing technology will be on show, and will also be discussed in a workshop and by keynote speakers. Category-specific zones and targeted pavilions will provide provide focused information and resources, according to the show organizers. There will also be a series of targeted seminars, business development sessions and technical presentations to get the essential information that participants need.

Established in 1937, PLASTICS (formerly SPI), is the only organization that supports the entire plastics supply chain,
Automotive Industries Carteaux what he sees as some of the highlights of NPE2018.

Carteaux: NPE2018 will push the plastics industry from focusing on what’s new to what’s next. Our triennial trade show brings next-generation technology solutions together in an interactive trade show and conference that covers every sector of the plastics industry. By spring 2017 we had sold out our exhibit floor for the first time ever, which is a strong indicator of the industry’s vitality and companies’ interest in being a part of the game-changing innovation on display and networking opportunities that the plastics industry has come to expect from PLASTICS at our show every three years.

AI: How will the 2018 edition of NPE be bigger and better than those held previously?

Carteaux: We are offering nine new or returning specialized education programs, including The Plastics Leadership Summit, a unique series of half-day executive symposia for plastics industry and key end-market industry executives. Other new educational programs taking place at NPE2018 include a 3D Printing Workshop, presented by Additive Manufacturing Media and Plastics Technology, and the third annual Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit (to be co-located at NPE).

Our show floor and exhibitor meeting rooms include more than one million square feet of operating machinery, new product showcases and exciting innovations and emerging technologies. New show floor features include the Bottle Zone, 3D/4D Zone, Re|focus Sustainability Zone, Medical Parts Processing Zone and IDSA Design Center. In total, we will have eleven sector and process-specific technology zones and also international pavilions that will highlight what’s trending in the industry right now.

AI: What are some of the innovative offerings at the expo that are aimed at the auto sector?

Carteaux: Automotive manufacturers come to experience the latest in innovation and design for automotive parts, be it a new process feature that improves manufacturing productivity or a session focused on promoting end-of-life vehicle (ELV) recycling offered at our Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit. Like many of our attendees, the automotive sector will attend to check out the exhibits, materials and technology that cover our show floor. Other areas of interest for NPE2018 could include the 3D/4D Printing Zone, which explores new trends and technologies and the Moldmaking Zone, which will showcase industry innovations in high-speed, high-quantity manufacturing.

AI: How important a role do plastics play in the automotive sector and why?

Carteaux: Plastics are lighter, safer and more eco-friendly than alternative materials. These attributes are attractive to automotive manufacturers who consider using plastics to take advantage of opportunities presented by plastics over their competitors.

AI: How has the surge in the use of additive manufacturing by auto manufacturers impacted the plastics industry?

Carteaux: Additive manufacturing is a bustling addition to the plastics industry, and our Transportation & Industrial Plastics (TIP) Committee was formed as the newest point of engagement for all producers of rigid plastics in automotive, industrial and consumer goods.

AI: How will this be reflected at NPE2018?

Carteaux: To meet the growing sector of additive manufacturing we are offering a 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies workshop that will address short-run production, conformal cooling, end of arm tooling, technology options, bridge tooling and material advancements. This workshop is presented by Additive Manufacturing Media and Plastics Technology. Our Plastics Leadership Summit will offer a production panel on May 10, and include a speaker from Hewlett Packard, Tim Weber, who is the global head of materials and advanced applications.

AI: What are some of the technological breakthroughs that will be showcased at NPE2018?

Carteaux: Attendees can expect major brands and companies to unveil under-wraps technology in machinery, materials and processes at NPE2018. Exhibitors, returning and many new, save their best and boldest designs for NPE2018. Because every link in the plastics supply chain is represented at NPE2018, we will bring together all industries that use or manufacture plastic, providing a collaborative forum to show-off, explore and exchange new ideas. From automotive to electronics, bottling to medical parts to moldmaking – we’ve got it covered.

NPE in numbers

NPE2015 was the largest show in NPE history. Over 2,000 exhibitors showcased their products and technologies at the 2015 NPE.

They were spread over a million square feet of exhibition space. Registered attendance for NPE2015 was 65,810—19% greater than 2012. These registrants came from 23,396 companies—22% more than the 19,198 companies at NPE2012.
International participation also set new NPE records. Nearly 44% of exhibiting companies and 26% of registrants came from outside the United States – 37 nations in all. Some 5,000 registrants were from Latin America alone. The 10 largest participating countries were China, Taiwan, Canada, Italy, Germany, India, Turkey, France, Switzerland, and South Korea.



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