ORLANDO, FLA. — Two composites industry groups agreed Oct. 31 to co-sponsor a convention and exposition ``beginning in the year 2000 and continuing annually thereafter,'' according to a joint statement.
Representatives of the Composites Fabricators Association and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Composites Institute signed a letter of intent. Currently, each group runs a major annual trade event, but that situation might change even sooner than 2000.
``The joint show is intended to offer the industry an unparalleled opportunity to learn, network and collectively build the industry of the future,'' the statement said.
Next, the groups need to create a joint venture document for the first event, Composites America 2000, which is expected to provide more international appeal than existing shows.
No details on dates or a site were available, but a six-member committee, evenly divided, will oversee the planning phase.
Committee co-chairs are CFA's Lowell Miles and CI's Douglas Ludwig. Miles is chief executive officer of Miles Fiberglass & Plastics Inc. in Portland, Ore., and Ludwig is national unsaturated-polyester accounts manager with the Lisle, Ill.-based chemical intermediates business group of Amoco Corp.'s chemicals sector.
``Both groups have worked diligently to bring larger segments of the composites industry to trade shows,'' Ludwig said in a telephone interview.
The United States has ``the largest composites market in the world, and we would like to have a show that is moving in the right direction,'' he added.
The agreement was reached in Orlando during CFA's four-day Composites '97 conference, held in conjunction with the fall technical conference of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering. No official figures were available, but early counts indicated that more than 3,000 people attended.
CI holds its International Composites Expo in Nashville, Tenn., Jan. 19-21 and, within weeks, is expected to complete its booking of a 1999 venue.
One possibility involves CI combining its 1999 show with CFA's already-scheduled 1999 event in Chicago.
CFA meets next on Oct. 21-24, 1998, in San Antonio.
The letter of intent marks a milestone in a scrimmage over precious corporate resources. Generally, the annual conventions constitute each group's biggest revenue source, and the organizations compete to attract exhibitors from the same basic roster of resin, material and equipment suppliers, auxiliary vendors and trade and educational organizations.
Industry sources said a major supplier pressed its position in September. The company informed the trade groups that it was withdrawing from CI's 1998 trade show. The company, which asked not to be identified, exhibited in Orlando and plans to participate in CFA's Texas event next year.
The supplier wants to frequent future shows catering to end users and avoid exhibitions focusing on specifiers, engineers and other direct customers.
Efforts to create a joint CFA-CI show began informally three years ago and, until now, have fallen short.
A task force of officials from each group met from July through November of 1996, discussed the concept and created a preliminary agreement. Subsequently, CI modified the arrangements, prompting CFA directors to reject the proposed contract in a Jan. 17 vote.
Talks continued, but changes in the cast of task force representatives lengthened the deliberations.
Arlington, Va.-based CFA has 740 member companies, including 550 fabricators of fiber-reinforced plastics, most often using thermoset resins.
The New York-based Composites Institute has 400 corporate members. CI tends to attract major pultrusion, fabrication and closed-mold processing operations, generally larger than the typical CFA member and usually using thermoplastics.