Whether it's buying or selling products and services or exchanging ideas and information NPE 1997 provides a forum for virtually every sector of the plastics industry. Between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. June 16 to 20 more than 1 exhibitors and 75 visitors will attend the triennial show sponsored by The Society of the Plastics Industry (Washington DC). Chicago's McCormick Place will host NPE 1997 using its East North and newer South halls. On display will be the latest innovations in materials machinery controls auxiliary equipment moldmaking robotics automation and computerization. Packaging represents a major market for the plastics industry which is said to generate annual shipments exceeding $225 billion in the U.S. Between June 17 and 19 a concurrent conference program is scheduled to include 20 sessions. More than 100 industry experts will discuss current and future plastics marketplace trends and developments with regard to materials molding composites machinery controls packaging thermoforming recycling training and business. Admission is free. Looking at a sampling of some of these sessions Tim O'Neal of Enron Capital & Trade Resources discusses Forward Markets and Price Risk Management in Commodity Plastics. Customer Satisfaction: How Plastics Processors Evaluate Their Resin and Equipment Suppliers is the subject of Dick Mastio Mastio & Co. Both presentations are scheduled to run the afternoon of June 17. The following morning several speakers will explore new plastics for the 21st century. Among the sessions: Novel Attributes of Metallocene Polymers Lead to Value-Added Applications by Exxon Chemical's Fred Steininger; Polypropylene: Leading the Way to the 21st Century given by David McKeeman of Montell USA and Montell North America's Lawrence Logan; and Polyester Packaging for the 21st Century according to Eastman Chemical Co.'s Jim Caldwell. A Wednesday afternoon session looks at Rigid Container Recycling which will be discussed by Joseph Sadlier of Eco-Tech LP. Thursday morning Thierry Vanlacker of DuPont P&IP explores New Resin Technology's Impact on Packaging while Windmoeller & Hoelscher's Andrew Wheeler addresses Blown Film Machinery Considerations for Metallocenes. A Packaging Progress Report on NDC/PEN and Oxygen Scavenger Concentrates will be given by Jeffrey Toth Amoco Chemical Company and Boh Tsai Amoco Research Center. Randy Wright of QuesTech Packaging will address Scrapless Melt-Phase Forming-Thin-Wall Deep-Draw. Finally Dr. Peter Mooney of Plastics Custom Research Service presents The Current and Likely Future Economics of Plastics Recycling. What follows is a brief preview of some of the packaging-related machines and materials that will be exhibited at NPE 1997 as well as applications-oriented news.