Sponsored By

The right time and place: NPE 2006

May 1, 2006

8 Min Read
The right time and place: NPE 2006

Going to Chicago for the NPE show has always been a great idea, so IMM has always urged you to go, politely. But now we have to insist—get to this show. It very likely could be a matter of survival . . . your business survival.

Based on what we’re hearing repeatedly from a broad spectrum of industry sources, a leading megatrend in the North American plastics industry is the rising level of technology. Low-tech work will stay offshore, and high tech is the key to competing at home. Moreover, it will be even more critical as production capability rises in low-cost areas.

NPE is by far the largest assemblage of plastics production technology in North America, so it’s the place to find what you need to be a player in a tech market. But friends, this event happens only once every three years. Miss it in June 2006 at your own risk.

Put it this way: Finding just one piece of gear or one technology that gives you an advantage, or one new supplier that will support you, is reason enough to go. At NPE 2006 we are happy to report that you will find thousands of each. North American molding and moldmaking are in a fight for their lives. Chicago is where to find competitive weapons and allies.

We’re back to being polite again because NPE gives us a lot to be happy about. The show, which is organized by the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), runs June 19-23 at McCormick Place in Chicago. SPI says the show is on course to contain more than 2000 companies displaying their wares across more than a million square feet—a bit more than 22-plus football fields, not counting meeting, eating, and connecting space.

That’s about 4% more than in 2003 and roughly equivalent to NPE 2000. About a third of the exhibitors are based outside North America, with 34 countries represented in all, and exhibitors are still signing up.

Similarly, preregistration of attendees at the end of March was 28% ahead of NPE 2003, which started earlier. Total attendance is targeted at about 75,000, which would be 19% higher than three years ago. International preregistration was up 80%, boosted by strong SPI promotion in Latin America, Asia, and Europe, plus special international information sections in eight languages on the show’s website. Those outside the U.S. can register free of charge until early June.

It’s big, so go smart

Ask anybody who’s been there: NPE is huge. Chances of you stumbling across what you need are paper-thin. To find what you want among 2000-plus exhibitors, you need to be as organized as you are with product development, toolbuilding, or production scheduling.

First and foremost, get a clear idea of the technology, products, and support you are looking for. Lay them out, and if more than one person is going from your company (good idea), think about dividing the list to optimize your time. Then you’re set to use the tools that we at IMM and the show organizers have created to help you find the companies and products you want.

Your starting point, which you will find affixed to p. 95, is the Trekker, your logistics guide to both McCormick Place and the city of Chicago. We’ve been adding to and refining it for years based on our collective experience: It includes a map of downtown Chicago, plus information for getting to and from McCormick Place (note the free Metra pass the SPI is giving to show attendees—details on p. 12 of the Trekker), mass transit, parking, hotels, the services inside McCormick, and more.

Also in this issue is a list of the free conferences taking place concurrently with the show. Plus, several paid seminars and workshops are being offered as well; find details at www.npe.org by clicking on “Education & Events.” These can be as important as what you find in the exhibits, so it’s great news that you have so many to choose from. The pre- and postshow tools IMM has for you are listed in the box at right.

Push the start button

Before going any further, we have to get in your face again, this time about registering early. Listen, the optimum time to sign up is right now, for many good reasons. Registering at www.npe.org costs $60 until two weeks before the show, at which point it becomes $90, the same as for onsite registration. Having an extra 30 bucks in your pocket at show time isn’t bad, nor is not standing in line when you arrive. Relatively, however, those are minor reasons for signing up early.

For NPE 2003, the show’s website offered a searchable database to help you get organized. SPI has gone far beyond that for NPE 2006 by creating myNPE, an interactive tool that lets you find the products and suppliers you are looking for, get them organized into your own personal plan, schedule attendance in the educational programs, and even establish contact in advance with the companies you want to see.This is where your target list comes into play. You plug them in and myNPE gives you a list of the appropriate exhibitors. It will even sort it by booth number so you have a walking plan for the show. (Full disclosure: The author used myNPE. Our editorial staff divides up the show by technologies—and after five full days, we still can’t cover it all. Within a couple of minutes I had a list of all my target companies in booth number order, plus a list of new products.)

Another important reason for early registration: It should prompt you to find a hotel where you can rest your weary head (and feet) while in Chicago—and you’d better get that done ASAP. At the end of March, 74% of SPI’s blocked hotel rooms for the show were already booked. At the same point prior to NPE 2003, only 60% were locked in.

Multiple benefits

Lest we forget, Chicago is one terrific city for eating, sightseeing, shopping, museums, music, architecture . . . you name it. That’s a kind of bonus on top of the professional benefits. NPE 2006 can put you onto all the tech you want and need, help you find support, and very possibly open your eyes to a few things totally new to you. And you can have a little fun, too.

IMM will be there in the South Hall, booth 2626. We wouldn’t miss it for anything. Besides all the tech and contacts, we get to talk with readers like you. And since we really want to hear your ideas, comments, and suggestions, we urge you to stop by our stand. Don’t worry, we’re back to being polite again, and we’re looking forward to meeting you. See you in Chicago.

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like