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NPE2015 OPENS AS A PLASTICS INDUSTRY MILESTONE, UNPRECEDENTED IN SIZE, INTERNATIONAL MAKEUP, AND BREADTH OF TECHNOLOGY

Largest-Ever NPE Combines a Global Trade Show with the World’s Largest Plastics Educational Agenda and Multiple Special Programs on Today’s Urgent Topics

ORLANDO, FL, U.S.A., March 23, 2015: NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase opens today amidst the excitement generated by its unprecedented size and diversity and the dynamism of a surging plastics industry and U.S. economy.

More than 60,000 industry professionals will come to the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC) this week to visit exhibits by over 2,000 companies, choose from hundreds of technical and business conference sessions, and discover programs on timely topics like 3D printing, recycling, bioplastics, nanotechnology, and business startups.

“NPE2015 is the most successful NPE in the 69-year history of the show, with the largest trade show, the most extensive educational agenda, the broadest array of special programs, and the greatest diversity of attendees,” said William R. (Bill) Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI, which founded and produces the triennial event. “Clearly one reason for this success is that the U.S. plastics industry has made a strong comeback, a resurgence that has attracted NPE participants from across the country and around the world.”

Another force for the success of NPE2015 has been strong backing by the industry, noted Gene Sanders, SPI’s senior vice president in charge of trade shows and conferences: “Since its founding by SPI in 1946, NPE has been our industry’s defining event—produced by our trade association, guided by NPE Committee volunteers from many companies, and supported by exhibitors and attendees who know the importance of NPE for showcasing innovation and generating new business.”

World-Scale Trade Show Draws from Many Countries

At the core of NPE2015 is a trade show that surpasses previous NPEs by many measures. When the final count is made, SPI expects the number of exhibiting companies to match or exceed the record of 2,009 set at NPE2000. In net exhibit space, NPE2015 is already the largest NPE in its prestigious history, with the amount of purchased and bartered exhibit space exceeding the previous record set at NPE2000 and surpassing 1,100,000 net sq.ft. (102,190 sq.m).

Fully 43% of NPE2015 exhibitors have come to the show directly from other countries—37 nations in all. In descending order of number of exhibitors, the ten largest participating countries are China, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, Germany, India, Turkey, Switzerland, France, and South Korea. Nor do these figures include many companies based in other countries but exhibiting through their US subsidiaries.

Many international exhibitors can be found in multi-exhibitor “country” pavilions representing Austria, Canada, China, France, India, Portugal, Qatar, Switzerland, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Among the most remarkable points to be made about the 60,000 attendees projected for NPE2015 is the number of individual companies represented—an estimated 21,350, or 11% more than NPE2012. This is good news for exhibitors, since more companies means more spending budgets.

Reflecting the internationalization of NPE, 28% of visitors will come from countries outside the United States, including nearly 6,000 from Latin America. The International Buyers Program (IBP) of the U.S. Department of Commerce reports that for NPE2015 it recruited one of the largest numbers of delegates from foreign countries in the history of the IBP program, which works with hundreds of U.S. trade shows.

For international visitors, SPI is hosting the International Trade Center to promote trade between the U.S. and other countries. Services and amenities include confidential meeting rooms and interpreter services. The Center is staffed with specialists from the U.S. Department of Commerce, interpreters fluent in several languages, and SPI personnel equipped to answer questions relating to NPE2015 exhibitors and products.

All attendees will benefit from the opportunity to see many machines in full scale operation. More than 600 exhibitors have brought equipment to the show, and over 400 are operating machines on the show floor. Material suppliers, too, have come to NPE2015 in force, and thirteen of them are maintaining large “customer service centers” occupying a total of 56,000 sq.ft. (5,200 sq.m) of space just off the exhibit floor. These centers provide comfortable settings conducive to discussion, information exchange, and relationship building with customers and prospects.

Special Programs Highlight Emerging Technologies and Timely Issues

In addition to the many exhibits and conference sessions that address sustainability, bioplastics, 3D printing, nanotechnology, and other timely topics, SPI has created special programs that focus on such matters. “Industry companies have a need to know about environmental issues and cutting edge technologies that affect their business or have great potential to do so,” said Brad Williams, SPI’s director of sales and marketing. “SPI has created dedicated pavilions and special programs that provide attendees with opportunities to meet with multiple specialists at the forefront of emerging developments.”

A prime example is NPE3D™. Sponsored by PolyOne and Arburg, it is open to all attendees, providing them with opportunities to learn about 3D printing through exhibits and actual demonstrations.

A special sector of the show floor called the Zero Waste Zone will focus on the industry mandate to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics, presenting recycling demonstrations, products made with post-consumer material, a cradle-to-cradle education experience, and special events. Surrounding the Zone will be the Recycling Pavilion, with exhibits by recycling companies and suppliers of recycling technologies, and the Sustainability Pavilion, with technologies that benefit the environment. The Pursuing Zero Waste Fashion Show at the opening of NPE2015, sponsored by bioplastics manufacturer Green Dot, will feature clothing designed by students from the Savannah College of Art & Design and made from recycled or reused plastics. Subsequently the fashions will be on display in the Zero Waste Zone.

In partnership with the new-venture tracking firm Startup.Directory, SPI has created the Startup Garage, providing sixteen startup companies with prominently located exhibit stations. The exhibitors, selected by NPE2015 show management and Startup.Directory, are highlighting innovations in bioplastics, recycling, 3D printing, polymerization, resin processing, antimicrobial polymers, and graphene nanostructures.

Other multi-exhibitor specialty pavilions on the exhibit floor focus on particular sectors, enabling visitors with special interests to see a number of specialized companies or experts in one place. One example is the IDSA Design Center organized by the Industrial Designers Society of America. Other pavilions focus on Advanced Manufacturing, Adhesives & Sealants, Business & Financial, Design, Elastomers & TPEs, Energy, Facilities & Plant Management, Flexible Vinyl, Fluoropolymers, Materials Science, Moldmaking, and Processors.

Extensive Educational Program Sets NPE Apart from Other Shows

“Our conference programs alone make NPE2015 unique among plastics trade shows in providing many educational opportunities focusing on new technologies and business concepts,” said SPI’s Gene Sanders. “There are hundreds of individual presentations, discussions, and seminars, with a range of content enabling attendees from every sector of the plastics value chain to find something of real interest and value.”

The selection of educational programs available at NPE2015 includes:

---SPI’s Business of Plastics Conference with a broad menu of timely topics with business implications.
---SPE ANTEC® Orlando 2015. Produced by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), the annual ANTEC is the world’s largest plastics technical conference, with hundreds of technical papers consisting of original content reviewed by industry peers.
---Latin American Seminar in Spanish, entitled “Trends, Opportunities and Technologies in the Business of Plastics,” is produced by CarvajalMedios B2B, a media partner of NPE2015 and publisher of Tecnologia del Plastico and El Empaque magazines.
---IDSA Southern District Design Conference. The Industrial Designers Society of America is hosting this conference for design professionals, students, educators and business professionals.
---SPI / IHS Key Market Breakfast Briefing. Building on an ongoing collaboration between SPI and IHS Chemical, a provider of global market and economic information, this briefing on March 24 will provide insights on the economy, energy, feedstocks, and polymers. One of the highlights will be a presentation by Cindi Marsiglio, Walmart vice president of U.S. manufacturing, who is charged with delivering on her company’s commitment to source an additional $250-billion worth of U.S.-made goods over ten years,.
---Panel Discussions on Plastics Design. Held on the morning of March 26, two panel discussions by experts in design will be organized by Robert Grace, president of RC Grace LLC and former editorial director and associate publisher of Plastics News.

The last two events are available for free on a first-come, first-served basis. The others are paid conferences whose program information is available at http://www.npe.org/general-information/education.

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Founded in 1937, SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association promotes growth in the $380 billion U.S. plastics industry. Representing nearly 900 thousand American workers in the third largest U.S. manufacturing industry, SPI delivers legislative advocacy, market research, industry promotion, and the fostering of business relationships and zero waste strategies. From resin suppliers and equipment makers to processors and brand owners, SPI is proud to represent all facets of the U.S. plastics industry. SPI also owns and produces the international NPE trade show. All profits from NPE are reinvested into SPI’s industry services. Find SPI online at www.plasticsindustry.org and www.inthehopper.org.