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With ‘The Return of the Machines,’ Visitors Will Have More Opportunities to Gain a First-Hand, Hands-On Understanding of New Plastics Processing Technologies

WASHINGTON, DC, U.S.A., January 30, 2012: No trade show comes close to NPE for sheer dynamism, with aisle after aisle of working plastics equipment filling the exhibit halls with clamor and action. While some of this was lost at NPE2009 as the Great Recession took its toll, the excitement will come back in full force this year. In the words of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association, NPE2012 will mark “The Return of the Machines.”

Produced by SPI, the triennial NPE international plastics exposition will next take place on April 1-5 in Orlando, Florida, after 40 years in which the show was held in Chicago. “The improved economies and logistics of the new venue have encouraged many NPE2012 exhibitors to purchase more exhibit space and bring more machinery to the show, much of it to be operated on-site,” said Gene Sanders, SPI senior vice president of trade shows and conferences. “Contributing to this enhanced commitment by exhibitors is the steadily improving manufacturing sector of the U.S. economy.”

Sanders cited reports from three exhibitors of injection molding systems and a fourth company specializing in auxiliary systems as representative of the positive response to NPE2012 from machinery companies, showing how the greater scale of exhibits can increase the return on trade show investment for attendees.

“We know molders want to see equipment making parts, touch the controls, witness tangible differences from what they already have, and experience for themselves what they otherwise might only see in a brochure,” said David Preusse, president of Wittmann Battenfeld, Inc. (Booth 2843). “At the same time, since our company handles large projects such as new molding plant launches, NPE2012 will give us an opportunity to show that we can produce a state of the art molding shop in only eight setup days.”

Preusse reported that, in comparison with NPE2009, the Wittmann Battenfeld booth will be larger and have more machines in operation, among them six integrated turnkey molding cells up to 1,000 tons, complete with robots, temperature controllers, dryers, loaders, and downstream automation, along with web-based support service.

The improved economy has prompted Engel Machinery, Inc. (Booth 943) to increase its display of equipment to its pre-NPE2009 size. The company will have 33% more equipment at its booth than in 2009, noted Engel North America president Mark Sankovitch. “All of our equipment at NPE2012 will be in operation, including part molding, downstream processing, and automated part handling,” he said. “A machine in operation allows visitors to see for themselves that the specifications quoted—cycle times, energy usage, and so forth—are achievable in operation, not just on paper.”

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag (Booth 2103) brought only three machines to NPE2009 but will be exhibiting twelve at NPE2012, all of them running. “We’re making a major investment in NPE2012 because of the improved economy, everything Orlando has to offer, and the need for our industry to come together and strengthen its capabilities,” said Jim Mitchell, executive vice president. “NPE2012 represents tremendous opportunities for exhibitors and attendees alike—it will be all about moving forward.”

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag will exhibit machines ranging in clamp force from 55 to 496 tons. “We’ll be demonstrating productivity solutions for everything from general purpose molding to ultra high-speed packaging, LSR molding, and in-mold labeling,” Mitchell said.

The exhibit of auxiliary equipment systems manufacturer Conair Group (Booth 3643) will be “the biggest we’ve ever had since we started exhibiting at NPE in 1963,” said Larry Doyle, vice president of global sales and marketing, “and we’ll take about 30% more equipment to NPE2012 than we did in 2009.”

Conair will have several systems in operation at NPE2012. “One of the most exciting displays at our booth will be a new material selection station with a machine-vision proofing system,” Doyle reported. “Every time a loader calls for material, the camera actually moves through the material manifold, using its vision and the system intelligence to verify that the right material is being sent to the right machine, blender, dryer, or other destination. Visitors will be able to work with the system and see the camera moving to validate their instructions—or invalidate them if they make a mistake.”


NPE2012 will take place Sunday through Thursday, April 1-5, 2012, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. The exposition halls will be open April 2-5. A complete schedule of events can be found online at 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 nearly1-million workers and provides more than $341 billion in annual shipments.