The French have a name for the period between the end of August and early September: la rentrée. It's a wonderful concept, but it only works linguistically if you don't work, literally, for the better part of a month, as is the French custom. La rentrée is when people roll up their shirtsleeves and get back to le travail after a prolonged vacation. (I've always found it telling that the French word for work is derived from the Latin trepaliare, meaning to torture. It says something about the cultural mindset, n'est-ce pas?)
Whether you have been fortunate enough to take August off or had to settle for a few days here and there, the plastics industry has a rentrée of sorts this fall, as a slew of regional plastics trade shows throughout the United States vie for your professional attention. In the coming weeks, PLASTEC events are scheduled for Philadelphia, Houston, Minneapolis and Orlando. These are intimate, co-located regional events far removed from the industry behemoths that are NPE and K, and to a lesser extent Fakuma. And that can be a good thing, says Stephen Corrick, Senior Vice President/Portfolio Director, UBM Canon. (In the interest of full disclosure, it behooves me to mention that UBM Canon, which organizes these events, also produces PlasticsToday.)
"NPE and K are clearly great global events that are well received by the audience. Our North American shows fulfill different objectives for the market," says Corrick. While NPE does a tremendous job in attracting upwards of 60,000 attendees, it is worth noting that approximately 900,000 people work in the U.S. plastics industry, according to statistics compiled by SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association. "There are thousands of plastics professionals in engineering, R&D, design and so forth who can't get to these large global events," says Corrick. The vast majority of PLASTEC attendees are local to the events, he adds.
In addition to geographical proximity, the PLASTEC suite of trade shows provides value to attendees through a concerted co-location strategy. The events, with the exception of PLASTEC Texas, are co-located with MD&M, the world-leading brand of medical manufacturing conferences and expositions, along with dedicated packaging, design and manufacturing, quality, automation, embedded systems and aerospace shows (the lineup varies by location). Placing PLASTEC alongside related vertical and horizontal markets creates an end-to-end advanced manufacturing event, explains Corrick. "This enables plastics professionals to find a number of related technologies, services and products for their specific needs under one roof," he adds.
The next NPE isn't until 2018, and that's one more reason to consider attending a PLASTEC event when it comes to your neck of the woods. Corrick notes that 83% of PLASTEC East 2015 attendees had a project in hand or near term. "This group and others around the country must find a way of sourcing ideas, products and services ahead of the next NPE."
In addition to hundreds of exhibitors from all avenues of the supply chain ready to lend their expertise and help move your project forward, the co-located PLASTEC events scheduled for the remainder of this year include a full slate of conferences. Topics, which vary by location, include design innovations, leveraging 3D printing and additive manufacturing in the manufacturing process, developments in materials and achieving excellence in assembly operations.
This fall's PLASTEC events, along with location and dates, are listed below. For more information about them, click on the event name. See you there?
PLASTEC Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Convention Center, Oct. 7 and 8
PLASTEC Texas, NRG Center (Houston), Oct. 13 and 14
PLASTEC Minneapolis, Minneapolis Convention Center, Nov. 4 and 5
PLASTEC South, Orange County Convention Center (Orlando, FL), Nov. 18 and 19