Packaging takes spotlight at NPE

From June 19 to 23, the National Plastics Exposition will occupy more than 1.1 million sq’ at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Packaging will be the focus for many of the more than 2ꯠ exhibitors.

For packaging professionals, NPE 2000 offers an opportunity to learn about new design and manufacturing capabilities for both rigid and flexible packaging applications.

The National Plastics Exposition, sponsored by the Society of the Plastics Industry (Washington, DC), runs June 19 to 23 at Chicago’s McCormick Place. The exhibit floor will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, June 19, through Friday, June 23.

More than 85ꯠ visitors from around the globe are expected to attend. Exhibitors will top the 2ꯠ mark, filling more than 1.1 million sq’ of space. Those figures would break three key records established in 1997: 82깚 guests, 1꺶 exhibiting companies and 1.015 million sq’. This year marks the 23rd NPE show, which began in 1946. More detailed information is available at the show’s Web site ( According to pre-show reports, one in five firms will exhibit for the first time. And about 60% of exhibitors plan to introduce new products. Some of these packaging/converting-related products are described on page 46.

NPE’s sponsor says the packaging sector is the largest plastics market on a volume basis. Packaging’s significance was fortified by an NPE exhibitor survey distributed last fall to 1괖 of the companies expected to exhibit at NPE 2000. The survey generated a strong 45% response rate.

Packaging focus

Given a list of 31 “end-use markets served by your company,” respondents could choose all markets they served. Among the markets, packaging drew one of the highest responses. Packaging was divided further, with four in 10 respondents selecting pharmaceutical and cosmetic packaging as a key market; 37% citing bottles; 32% flexible packaging.

“Besides providing processors and web converters with opportunities to improve quality or reduce costs, the many packaging-related exhibits at NPE 2000 will generate new design and marketing concepts for food companies and other packaging specifiers,” says Vincent L. Witherup, chairman of the triennial international plastics exposition.

Many of those concepts will be demonstrated on plastic processing equipment. At NPE, exhibitors will showcase blow-molding and injection-molding machinery, extruders, thermoforming and form/ fill/seal equipment, machine and mold components and mold-making services, resins and compounds, additives, fillers and reinforcements. Exhibitors will also be represented in specialized categories such as controls and software, inspection and quality control, plant engineering, recycling, robotics and testing.

During show hours SPI holds the NPE 2000 Conference Program, consisting of multiple tracks of concurrent sessions to be held in meeting rooms adjacent to the exhibition halls. Session topics will include technology advances in materials, equipment, toolmaking, processing and design. Additional topics include developments in key end-use markets, equipment purchasing, e-commerce and global competitiveness.

Conference program

The most packaging-oriented session will take place on Wednesday, June 21. Under the “Extrusion” heading, the session is entitled Advances in Packaging. Five presentations are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. They include session moderator James Brackeen from Brackeen & Associates providing a Plastics flexible industry overview; Dole Packaging’s Daryl Suddoth discussing New demands for fresh produce packaging; and Bruce Underwood of Huntsman Packaging reporting on Printing on poly—the ABCs of profitably delighting your customers. Better bubble management is the focus of a presentation from Future Design’s Robert Krycki, while John Cook, also from Huntsman Packaging, shares Industrial packaging applications with stretch film.

On the materials side, Cargill Dow Polymers’ Michael Mang will discuss Poly(lactic acid): Performance materials from renewable resources. That presentation is part of the New Thermoplastics session slated for Tuesday, June 20, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

What follows is a listing of many of the packaging-related companies, (and their booth numbers) that are scheduled to exhibit at NPE as of late April.

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