NPE2018: The coolest thing we saw on day 5

Shell Polymers booth at NPEThere’s a saying “go big or go home” and Shell Polymers (Houston) followed that advice at NPE2018 boasting one of the larger non-machinery supplier booths among the 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space at the sprawling Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. The 5,700 total square feet (4,000 downstairs and 1,700 upstairs) booth impressed in size in footprint and height in addition to its prominent location at the entrance to the South Hall in booth 16001. But what put it over the top were several interactive, attention-getting features that couldn’t be missed: 

  • Two large, interactive video-screen-laden 18 feet x 6 ½ feet wall displays jam-packed with eye-catching visuals and factoids about the company and the new PE resin production facility located outside Pittsburgh;
  • Interactive 3D map-in-the-round with repositionable display monitors that, when moved to any of 7 discrete positions aligned with the map, provided an augmented reality-enhanced screen full of details about a specific portion of the new site and operations (shown below);
  • Two female-looking (via face on monitor) and feminine-voiced interactive robots positioned on opposite corners of the booth played a video message by CEO Ben van Beurden and had voice-recognition software that enabled them to respond to attendees’ questions selected from a multiscreen-menu of 30 options. The robots could also scan visitors' badges.

NPE Shell interactive mapOne of the above would have made it cool, but the combination made it one of the coolest NPE booths that in part and in whole and in form and in function made quite an impression with attendees. For example, the untiring robots were kept busy by inquisitive visitors, answering more than 2,000 questions for the show, according to Joe Minnitte, Shell Polymers’ external relations advisor. Shell robot

The reason for all the multimedia tech-driven edutainment was that this was a double celebration of Shell Polymer’s first NPE ever as well as the 90-year-old petrochemical giant’s return to polymers production after a 20+ year hiatus. Shell announced in mid-2016 the return to the market aligned with the decision to build a major petrochemicals complex, comprising an ethylene cracker with polyethylene derivatives unit, in Potter Township in Beaver County, about 30 miles NW of Pittsburgh. Site preparation has commenced and shortly main construction will begin, with commercial production expected to begin early next decade.

EastPack 2018 June 12-14 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City features the latest in manufacturing and automation, a dedicated 3D Printing Zone, hundreds of exhibitors and a jam-packed 3-day packaging conference. For more information, visit the EastPack website.

According to the June 2016 release, “the complex will use low-cost ethane from shale gas producers in the Marcellus and Utica basins to produce 1.6 million tonnes of polyethylene per year” that would be used in products from food packaging and containers to automotive components. Specifically, the ethane would produce high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and linear-low-density PE (LLDPE) resins.

NPE Shell video wallMinnitte said that announcement to locate the new PE polymer production plant on a 386 acre plot followed years’ of decision. The Northeast location positions the facility in proximity to shale sources in the state and offers nearby access to the Ohio River and interstate highway system.

“It will be within a 700 mile radius of 70% of our customers,” said Minnitte, noting that it is far removed from hurricane paths that can wreak havoc along the Gulf Coast. The operation’s focus will be on markets in North America.

Asked about his review of the booth and show, Minnitte told PlasticsToday  this: “We were pleased with our reception at NPE and the feedback we received on our booth was very positive.  In particular, the value proposition we will offer our customers in shorter shipping times was received exceptionally well.”

For more information, visit Shell Polymers.

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