NPE ’12: Some 60,000 plastics officials expected at Florida event

30 March 2012 20:12  [Source: ICIS news]

Pre-formed plastic bottles at Coca Cola factory in FranceWASHINGTON (ICIS)--As many as 60,000 registered participants are expected at next week’s international NPE plastics conference and exhibition in Orlando, Florida, event officials said on Friday, the largest turnout for the resins industry since before the US recession.

The 27th triennial National Plastics Exhibition (NPE) will mark its 66th year in operation as the sponsoring organisation, the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), reaches its 75th anniversary.

NPE spokesman Bob Martino said that this year’s conference also will involve the largest number of resins producers in ten years and a large-scale revival of plastics machinery manufacturers.

“That’s one of the overriding features of this NPE,” Martino said, “what is being called ‘the return of the machines’”.

The last NPE event, held in Chicago, Illinois, in 2009, saw reduced participation by both resins manufacturers and producers of plastics applications machinery as the 2008-2009 US recession took its toll.

But SPI officials, said Martino, report broad participation this year by resins producers and machinery manufacturers.

The 2012 NPE also is the first to be held since US shale gas production has emerged as a major cost-savings feedstock factor for domestic resins manufacturers and their downstream applications customers.

Among major areas of interest this year, said Martino, is bioplastics.

“We have dozens of bioplastics exhibitors this year, among them bioplastics producers or manufacturers of related additives and bioplastics applications machinery,” he said.

Other top issues likely to dominate exhibition and conference seminars and presentations, he said, include sustainability, energy conservation and alternate energy sources for producers.

Martino said that emerging technologies, such as nanocomposites, also were expected to play a major role along with specialised industry sectors such as thermoforming, rotational moulding and elastomers.

He said the cavernous NPE trade show floor in the Orange County Convention Center will host more than 1,900 exhibitor companies, larger than both the 2006 and 2009 NPE conferences and perhaps higher than the total of 1,922 companies that displayed their industry wares at the record pre-recession 2003 NPE.

Martino said that more than 50,000 plastics industry officials have pre-registered for the NPE event, and that on-site registrations could well boost the turnout to above 60,000.

The event begins on Sunday and runs through Thursday, 5 April.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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