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SPE pulls plug on annual thermoforming conference

Shifting focus towards its NPE2009 pavilion and  2010 event it hopes will be held in better economic times, the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE; Brookfield, CT) thermoforming board has cancelled its annual thermoforming conference—the first cancellation in the event’s 18-year history.

Shifting focus towards its NPE2009 pavilion and  2010 event it hopes will be held in better economic times, the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE; Brookfield, CT) thermoforming board has cancelled its annual thermoforming conference—the first cancellation in the event’s 18-year history. John Chalmers, VP of sales and marketing at sheet extrusion line manufacturer PTi (Aurora, IL) told PlasticsToday the move, while difficult, makes sense for a variety of reasons. “The SPE Thermoforming conference cancellation is a reflection of the difficult times our industry is facing,” Chalmers said, adding that the fact this is an NPE year likely figured heavily into the decision. “The Thermoforming conference has been an industry ‘must-attend’ for many years, and I have to think this will be one-time exception to the annual event.” PTi was one of nearly 80 exhibitors that took part in the 2008 event, held Sept. 20-23 in Minneapolis.

Originally scheduled for Sept. 19-22 in Milwaukee, the 2009 event will be held next fall in the same city. The division will now focus its energies on its multi-exhibitor Thermoforming World Pavilion at NPE2009 (June 22-26, McCormick Place, Chicago), implementing a new incentives program for current and prospective exhibitors. As part of the package, thermoforming sponsors can display a banner within the Pavilion, providing them with added exposure in the Machinery, Materials and Processing areas of McCormick Place for $2500. For an additional $900, the sponsors will be featured in SPE’s Thermoforming Quarterly magazine, which will have bonus distribution within the Pavilion for the entire week of the show. Sponsors will also be recognized in the post-NPE2009 Thermoforming Quarterly.

Citing corporate travel bans, among other issues, Brian Ray, division chairman and president of Ray Products Inc. (Ontario, CA), said, “As we were preparing the final stages of our Annual Thermoforming Conference, we realized there were significant headwinds preventing us from having a successful event.”

Companies that already submitted deposits for 2009 can request their return by sending a letter to Conference Coordinator Gwen Mathis, apply the deposit toward the 2010 event, or apply the money towards a NPE2009 Pavilion sponsorship.

In 2002, SPE launched a European version of the event, which was held last year April 3-5 in Berlin. [email protected]

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