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NPE2012 WILL PRESENT THE FULL RANGE OF PLASTICS TECHNOLOGIES USED BY AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS

BMW Fuel System

Special Emphasis Will Be on Technologies that Enhance Fuel Efficiency, Support Electronics Proliferation, and Advance Sustainability

WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., December 13, 2011: Plastics technologies are among the most powerful generators of innovation in automotive manufacturing, and the latest developments of these technologies will be on display at the NPE2012 international plastics exposition, it was announced today by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, producer of the triennial NPE.

NPE2012 will take place April 1-5, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, U.S.A., after 40 years in Chicago. The improved economies and logistics of this new venue have encouraged many NPE2012 exhibitors to bring more machinery to the show, much of it to be operated on-site, according to John Effmann of ENTEK Manufacturing Inc, who is chairman of NPE2012.

“Large-tonnage injection molding presses, systems for extruding and molding multi-material parts, big-sheet thermoformers, blow molders for structural parts—they will all be on the exhibit floor at NPE2012, and often they will be shown in operation,” said Effmann. “At the same time, automotive manufacturing professionals will encounter suppliers of the many raw materials used in their industry—from rugged composites to rubber-like thermoplastic elastomers.”

Weight reduction, parts consolidation, cost savings, durability, styling, and comfort are values that plastics have always brought to automotive manufacture, noted Effmann. He cited three themes that will be prominent in the NPE2012 trade show and co-located conferences:

● Fuel efficiency. While weight reduction is a perennial goal of automotive manufacturers, it has gained new urgency in light of high gasoline costs and mandated increases in CAFE standards. More than ever, plastics provide light-weighting solutions as replacements for metal, glass, and rubber. Besides direct substitution, plastics make possible weight reduction through their design freedom—consolidating multiple parts, for example, into single structures as a result of multi-material coextrusion or molding. In addition, NPE2012 will present microsphere, glass-bubble, nanocomposite, foaming, thin-walling, and down-gauging technologies that can replace existing plastic components with lighter ones.

● Electronics proliferation. The trend continues at a rapid pace, with some of the latest developments involving electric-drive control, infotainment, and voice recognition. As always, plastics play essential roles in housings, connectors, switches, wiring, conduit, display and touch screens, and other components. NPE2012 will feature the essential material and processing technologies for manufacturing these parts. Three examples of sophisticated technologies on display or presented in conference sessions are: micro- and nano-molding systems, high-stability resins for precision parts, and electrostatically conductive carbon nanotubes.

● Sustainability. From new bioplastic resins to recycling equipment to precision systems for applying conductive coatings to film substrates for batteries, NPE2012 will provide a wealth of technologies for advancing sustainability. Many suppliers of bioplastics will exhibit at NPE2012, along with companies offering additives and equipment systems designed for use with these innovative materials. In addition, a special multi-exhibitor Emerging Technologies Pavilion will include companies and organizations involved with bioplastics, including SPI’s Bioplastics Council. All three co-located conferences at NPE2012 will include multi-presentation sessions devoted to bioplastics.

The accompanying table provides a sampling of the diversity of automotive-specific technologies to be on display at NPE2012.

Automotive applications will also be one of the categories for entries in the second International Plastics Design Competition, which culminates at NPE2012. Entries may be submitted online at www.plasticsdesign.org. [See attached photos of the winning automotive product design in the last IPDC, at NPE2009.]

SPE ANTEC® 2012, the world’s largest plastics technical conference, will be co-located with NPE2012 and include an entire session on innovations in automotive plastics, along with other sessions dealing with process, materials, and engineering technologies of importance to automotive manufacturers.

Online registration for NPE2012 is now open at www.npe.org, along with housing reservations and complete information about the trade show, co-located conferences, and other special programs.

Caption: This fuel system, twin-sheet blow molded for BMW of North America, was the winner of the Innovations in Plastics and the Automotive awards in the International Plastics Design Competition at NPE2009.

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The NPE2012 international plastics exposition will take place Sunday through Thursday, April 1-5, 2012, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. A complete schedule of events can be found online at www.npe.org. NPE is solely owned and produced by the SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association.

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.