NPE 2003: Guide to the show and Chicago

Below, the McCormick Place entrance hall lights up in the evenings.
The map above shows McCormick Place and its adjacent parking lots.

In case you haven?t heard, there?s something big happening this June in Chicago?June 23-27 at McCormick Place, to be specific. The 24th triennial National Plastics Exhibition descends on North America?s largest convention facility to occupy more than
1 million sq ft in McCormick?s East, South, and North halls. Approximately 2000 exhibitors and 90,000 visitors are expected to attend the event, which is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily.

In case you haven?t registered, you have until May 23 to do so online at for $50. After that the price increases to $75 and you?ll have to register at the show. The registration price includes the NPE conferences, sponsored by the Society of Plastics Engineers, offered Tuesday through Thursday in South Hall conference rooms. The conference schedule can be found with this article; it can also be found at


Self-parking lots at McCormick Place (see map above) are located across the street from the South Hall at 31st Street and Lake Shore Drive, and in the underground lot at Lakeside Center. Additional parking is available at the Soldier Field lot, located just north of the complex off of Lake Shore Drive and 18th Street, and at the Martin Luther King Drive lot west of the complex at 2215 S. Prairie Ave. Most of these lots charge $10 per entry. Parking is also available at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place garage, which can be accessed from Martin Luther King Drive. Rates for this garage vary. For more information, call (312) 791-6200.

Downtown. Parking in Chicago is hard to find and very expensive. Don?t even think about parking illegally, even if it?s just for an hour or two, because parking regulations are strictly enforced and cars are quickly towed. Your best bets for public parking are the Grant Park parking garages?(312) 742-7530?at Michigan Avenue and Van Buren and at Michigan and Monroe. Rates range from $13 to $19 a day, which is half what you?ll pay elsewhere. Keep in mind that not all hotels in Chicago offer parking, and those that do often charge an arm and a leg. If you?re out on the town, leave the car where it is and take a taxi or public transportation. If you?re determined to drive, then head for someplace that offers valet parking.

Getting to and from Hotels
Free shuttle. Chicago?s Metropolitan Pier & Exposition Authority (MPEA) has opened a new two-way roadway solely for free express bus service between McCormick Place and hotels used by trade show attendees. By avoiding city traffic, the new service reduces the trip from the Michigan Avenue hotel farthest from McCormick Place to less than 20 minutes; until now it has taken 30 to 40 minutes in rush hour. The busway picks up at the South building and runs alongside the Metra train tracks north through Grant Park ending at Randolph Street. The 21¼2 mile route usually takes only 7 to 8 minutes.

Commuter train. If you don?t feel like waiting for the shuttle service, or if taxis are scarce at McCormick, you may choose to take the Metra Electric Train to or from the Loop. Travel time is less than 10 minutes, and the ticket is just $1.85 for a one-way trip. Tickets can be purchased at any Metra Station.

The McCormick Place station is located on Level 2.5, off the Grand Concourse. A trip to the Randolph Street station delivers you to Michigan Avenue between South Water and Randolph. For indoor access to the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Fairmont, and Swissotel use the South Water Street exit and go through the Illinois Center. You can also get off at the Van Buren station, which is on Michigan Avenue between Jackson and Van Buren. Taxis are available at both locations. For train schedules, call (312) 322-6777 or visit
Taxi. Generally, during the late afternoon and early evening all taxis leaving McCormick are shared. Passengers are grouped according to destination, and cost is about $5 per person. Be prepared for long waits at taxi stands during peak times.

Public transportation. From Michigan Avenue there are two bus options to get to McCormick. Look for the blue and white bus stop signs. The No. 3 King Dr. bus and the No. 4 Cottage Grove bus will deliver riders to McCormick?s South Hall for $1.50 one way. The No. 3 runs from early morning to about 11 pm, and the No. 4 runs around the clock;

By car. If you?re coming from the Loop or North Michigan Avenue, take Lake Shore Drive south and follow the signs to McCormick Place.

Getting to and from O?Hare
Taxi. A taxi ride from O?Hare to McCormick or downtown will run you about $35 without tip and could take anywhere from 40 to 90 minutes, both depending on the traffic. A shared ride will cost $15 per passenger. Be prepared to wait if you want to pay by credit card, as the starter will have to call up the nearest taxi that is willing to process the card.

Airport shuttle van. Continental Airport Express operates van service to and from O?Hare. These blue and white vans will take you to all major downtown hotels or McCormick Place, and runs from 6 am to 11:30 pm daily from O?Hare. Ticket counters are located near baggage claim areas. Cost is $20 each way, or $37 round trip. Travel time is approximately 45 minutes, but may vary depending on traffic.
Van service runs from McCormick to O?Hare daily. To check the schedule or arrange for pickup outside of normally scheduled times, call (800) 654-7871; Reservations must be made at least 4 hours in advance.

Public transportation. The CTA?s Blue Line L train is the fastest and cheapest way between downtown and the airport, but it can be a hassle if you?re loaded with luggage. Trains leave every few minutes and the ride to the Loop downtown is about 45 minutes. Look for handicapped access stations for easy entry and exit when you?re traveling with luggage, even if it means you?ll have to grab a taxi to get you the extra few blocks to your hotel. Use the automated fare machines to purchase a fare card. The minimum purchase price is $1.50, which equals one trip on the train. Customer service assistants in the station give information, but do not sell tickets or make change.

By car. To get from O?Hare to McCormick take the Northwest Tollway (I-90) southwest to the Kennedy/Dan Ryan (I-94) to the Stevenson Expressway North (I-55). Take the Stevenson north to Lake Shore, and follow the signs to McCormick Place.

Getting to and from Midway
Taxi. A taxi ride to McCormick from Midway will cost between $17 and $20 without tip. However, if you tell the starter at the taxi stand that you want to share a ride, you and the other passengers going downtown will pay $10 each. Taxis wait outside door M5.

Airport shuttle van. Continental Airport Express vans leave Midway every 15 minutes from 6 am to 11:30 pm daily, taking passengers to McCormick and major downtown hotels. The cost is $15 each way or $28 roundtrip. Reservations are not required when leaving Midway, but they are required for the return trip. Call (800) 654-7871 at least 4 hours in advance. The ticket counter is located near the Southwest Airlines counter;

Public transportation. The Orange Line L trains leave the Midway station every few minutes starting in the early morning and ending around midnight. Scheduled travel time to the Loop is about 30 minutes, but the hike from the terminal to the station should add another 10 minutes at least. Be sure to have crisp, small bills or coins on hand to buy your ticket from a vending machine because the CTA customer assistants do not sell tickets or make change. The basic fare is $1.50;

By car. Take the Stevenson Expressway (I-55) north to Lake Shore Drive south. Follow the signs to McCormick Place.


Taxis are a fairly affordable and convenient form of transportation between the Loop and many of the entertainment and dining options in Chicago; however, longer distances can get pricey. You can hail a cab from most any busy street, but if it?s late or if you?ve ventured out of the main drag, you may need to call.

When last we checked, the meter in Chicago cabs started at $1.90, and increased $1.60 for each mile, with a $.50 surcharge for each additional passenger. All city taxis have a silver medallion on the hood, and drivers must post their chauffeur?s license picture ID;

Water taxi. For something a little different, check out Shoreline Sightseeing?s water taxi. The operation ferries passengers on the lake between Navy Pier and Shedd Aquarium and on the river between Navy Pier and the Sears Tower. The taxis operate daily, 10 am to 6 pm. They run every 20 minutes and cost $6 for adults;

Buses and Trains

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) operates an extensive system of trains and buses that can take you most anyplace in Chicago. Fares for the bus, subway, and L are $1.50, with an additional $.30 for a transfer that allows riders to make two transfers on the bus or L within 2 hours. The CTA offers a fare-card system that automatically deducts the exact fare from a credit-card-sized card each time you take a ride. The reusable cards can be purchased at vending machines at any CTA station. The minimum charge is $1.50, and the same card can be recharged continuously. Coins are also accepted, but exact change is required. When you want to know how to get from where you are to where you want to go, call the CTA at 836-7000 from any area code in the city.

The L and subway. Five major train lines are operated within the city. The Blue Line (O?Hare-Forest Park-54/Cermak) runs west-northwest to O?Hare; the Red Line (Howard-Dan Ryan) runs north-south along the Dan Ryan Expressway; the Orange Line (Midway) runs southwest to Midway; the Brown Line (Ravenswood) runs in a northern zigzag between the Loop and Kimball; and the Green Line (Lake-Ashland/63rd-East 63rd) runs west-south between Harlem, Ashland, and Cottage Grove. Timetables on the train platform tell when the next train is due to arrive.

The bus. CTA bus stops are marked by blue and white signs. Most buses run about every 10 to 20 minutes during the day. If you board a bus, make sure it?s headed in the direction you want to go, and feel free to ask the driver if it stops where you want to stop.

A few buses that are particularly handy for visitors are the No. 151 Sheridan, which runs all night from Adams Street along Michigan Avenue and north to Lincoln Park; the No. 10, which runs from north Michigan Avenue to the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, and Museum of Science & Industry; and the No. 3, which stops at McCormick Place. Beware of express buses during peak commuter times that bypass regularly traveled streets, and don?t get on a Pace bus unless you?re headed to the suburbs.

Plastics Hall of Fame Inductees

Samuel L. Belcher

Among his achievements: The plastic spice turntable, which has been the largest-volume single item ever produced by Rubbermaid.

F. Reed Estabrook Jr.

Among his achievements:
While at The Gorham Co., he pioneered the use of beryllium copper for mold components and complete molds.

Michael F.X. Gigliotti

Among his achievements: Created and managed the Monsanto House of the Future project in 1957 (the world?s first all-plastic house) featured at the entrance of Walt Disney World?s Tomorrowland for 10 years.

John R. Kretzschmar

Among his achievements: Leadership roles in industry associations including president of The Society of Plastics Engineers; president of the Plastics Pioneers Assn.; chairman of The Plastics Academy; director of the Society of the Plastics Industry; director of the National Plastics Center & Museum; and director of SPE Foundation.

Dominick V. Rosato

Among his achievements: Published 25 industry handbooks and reference texts on subjects in plastics technology, mechanical engineering, blowmolding, product design, injection molding, composites design and manufacturing, filament winding, environmental effects on plastics, and extrusion.

Albert Spaak

Among his achievements: While at Mastro Industries, he designed special marbleizing cylinders for plunger-type molding machines to create wood-grain molded parts.
Awards Ceremonies

The National Plastics Hall of Fame will gain six new members in Chicago on June 26 during NPE 2003. Established in 1973 to honor those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of the plastics industry, the National Plastics Hall of Fame is the highest honor awarded in the plastics industry. Criteria include ?consistent dedication and extraordinary accomplishments . . . that have contributed to the stature and growth of the plastics industry in the U.S.?

The Plastics Academy will also present two achievement awards at the Plastics Hall of Fame induction ceremony. These awards identify individuals in the plastics industry who have contributed significantly to the industry?s growth and success.

The Daniel F. Fox Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Robert D. Schad, who brought Husky Injection Molding Systems (Bolton, ON), from a humble beginning in a Toronto garage to one of the world?s largest suppliers of injection molding machines. Schad is Husky?s president and CEO, and also created the Schad Foundation, which supports projects focused on providing solutions to environmental problems.

The Frank S. Marra Plastics Industry Contribution Award goes to Peter F. Bemis. In his 27 years of involvement with Bemis Contract Mfg., Peter Bemis has focused on bringing the best applied technology to the injection molding process, and also found time to devote to industry activities. He served on the board of SPI Midwest for more than 15 years as chair, strategic planning chair, and director at large. He has also been a member of SPI?s National Board of Directors. Bemis is currently board chair of the National Plastics Center & Museum, and is also active in the Society of Plastics Engineers.

The Plastics Hall of Fame celebration will take place in the Grand Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton & Towers. The program begins with a reception at 6:30 pm, followed by dinner and the induction. Tables of 10 for the dinner may be purchased for $3000, which includes the reception, dinner, and a tax-deductible donation to the National Plastics Center & Museum and the Plastics Academy. Individual tickets are $300 each. Call (978) 537-9529 for more information or e-mail [email protected].

NPE 2003 Conference Schedule

Tuesday, June 24
8:30-9:30 Plenary Session, Room S403
Business Management, Room S405
9:30-10:00 Driving Innovations Through Outsourcing Anthony Bernardo, Alloy Polymers Inc.
10:00-10:30 Ownership Succession Alternatives Philip Gilbert, P&M Corporate Finance
10:30-11:00 Optimizing the Supply Chain Maggie Baumann, GH Assoc.
11:00-11:30 Managing in Turbulent Times Roger Jones, Franklin International
9:30-10:30 Rotomolding, Room S404BC
10:30-11:30 Blowmolding, Room S404A
Global Industry, Room S405
1:30-2:00 Building a Global Licensing Business David Bernstein, Trexel Inc.
2:00-2:30 Plastics Sourcing in China Stephen DeHoff, Stress Engineering Services
2:30-3:00 The Outlook for Volume Polymers Bill Kuhlke, Kuhlke & Assoc.
E-commerce, Room S403
3:00-3:30 Enhancing a Global Business with e-Business Mark Mendelson, Basell Polyolefins
3:30-4:00 Achieving e-Adoption in the Global Plastics Industry Duane Priddy, Omnexus
4:00-4:30 Finding Information Online William Frye, Ada Neilsen, BP
1:30-4:30 Extrusion, Room S404BC
Wednesday, June 25
Additives, Room S403
8:30-9:00 Advanced Polymer Process Aids for Films Chris Fisher, DuPont Dow Elastomers
9:00-9:30 New Antistatic Agent and Coupling Agent Applications Salvatore Monte, Kenrich Petrochemicals Inc.
9:30-10:00 Liquid Silicone Rubber Process for Cost Savings Marco Pagliani, Dow Corning
10:00-10:30 Advances in Flame-retardant Compositions James Botkin, Ciba Specialty Chemicals
10:30-11:00 Controlled Architecture Materials Jeff Cernohous, Dyneon
11:00-11:30 Advanced Styrenics for High-gloss Applications Holly Wilson, Nova Chemicals
Product Design, Room S405
8:30-9:00 Predicting Damage and Finished Dimensions David Tekamp, Stress Engineering Services
9:00-9:30 Advanced Two-shot Molding Concepts John Hahn, MGS Tech
9:30-10:00 Grips Design Made Easy Kim Torti, Advanced Elastomer Systems
10:00-10:30 Beyond Melt Flow Index:
Thermoplastic Polymer Viscosity
Robert Newman, Moldflow Corp.
10:30-11:00 Durable Inmold Graphics Robert Travis, Romo Inc.
11:00-11:30 Medical Molding Requirements Bob Beard, Robert A. Beard & Assoc.
New Materials, Room S405
1:30-2:00 Thermally Conductive Polymers James Miller, Cool Polymers Inc.
2:00-2:30 Expanding the Limits of Styrenic Block Copolymers Dale Handlin, Kraton Polymers
2:30-3:00 Novel Polyolefin Specialty Elastomer Polymers Srinivas, Datta, Racine, ExxonMobil Chemical
Process Equipment, Room S403
3:00-3:30 Robotic Solutions in the Plastics Industry Joseph Portelli, Fanuc Robotics
3:30-4:00 Polymer Drying Pete Stoughton, The Conair Group
4:00-4:30 Infrared Thermal Imaging Systems for Film Alan Young, Raytek Corp.
Injection Molding I, Room S404BC
1:30-2:00 Water Injection Technology Joachim Kragl, Engel
2:00-2:30 Mucell Electrical Applications Levi Kishbaugh, Trexel
2:30-3:00 Gas-assist Injection Molding Thermosets Len Nunnery, Bulk Molding Compounds Inc.
3:00-3:30 Optimum Productivity in Packaging Rick Shaffer, Netstal
3:30-4:00 Injection Molding Compounder Matthias Sieverding, Krauss-Maffei
4:00-4:30 Troubleshooting Priorities Jon Ratzlaff, Chevron Phillips Chemical Co.
Thursday, June 26
Product Testing, Room S403
8:30-9:00 Highly Accelerated Life Testing Kenneth Waeber, Stress Engineering Services
9:00-9:30 Inmold Cure Monitoring of Thermosetting Compounds Dave Shepard, Netzsch Instruments
9:30-10:00 Automated Vision Inspection Werner Goeckel, Lasor Systronics
Thermoplastic Elastomers, Room S404BC
10:00-10:30 TPEs: Materials Overview Joe Kutka, GLS Corp.
10:30-11:00 TPEs: Processing Overview Kenneth Kear, Advanced Elastomer Systems
11:00-11:30 TPEs: Applications Overview Edwin Tam, Teknor Apex
Market Trends, Room S405
8:30-9:00 Selling Value in a ?Me Too? World Clare Goldsberry, Mary Scheibel, IMM
9:00-9:30 Commodity Avoidance Strategies in Plastics Jeff Mengel, Plante-Moran
9:30-10:00 Market Research for R&D Stuart Terry, The Fusfeld Group
10:00-10:30 Processor Growth Through Differentiation Jack Avery, GE Plastics
10:30-11:00 Technology Mapping Phil Barnett, PricewaterhouseCoopers
11:00-11:30 The Commercial Development Process William Tuszynski, White Eagle
Injection Molding II, Room S404BC
1:30-2:00 Multishot Stack Molding Neil Dewar, Mold-Masters Ltd.
2:00-2:30 Innovative Technologies in Multicomponent IM Hermann Plank, Ferromatik Milacron
2:30-3:00 Multishot Molding Technologies John Berg, MGS Mfg.
3:00-3:30 Corrosion-resistant Mold Steels Jim Kaszynski, Böhler-Uddeholm
3:30-4:00 Coatings for Performance Enhancement Jerome Bejbl, Armoloy Corp.
4:00-4:30 High-speed Injection Molding Components Patrick Margraf, Xaloy AG
Joining of Plastics, Room S403
1:30-2:00 Laser Welding of Nylon Val Kagan, Honeywell
2:00-2:30 Introduction to Vibration Welding Tom Kirkland, Dukane
2:30-3:00 Welding Large Plastic Parts Ultrasonically Thomas Herrmann, Herrmann Ultrasonics
3:30-4:30 Thermoforming, Room S405

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