The Society of Plastics Engineers wants to step up its activities in Europe, where SPE has about 1,200 members.
A new, 10-member European Coordinating Committee will direct SPE's growth on the continent through sections and divisions. Committee members hail from England, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
SPE wants to develop a strong continuing education program in Europe, Susan Oderwald, executive director, said at Antec 2005, held May 1-5 in Boston. One of the coordinating committee's first moves will be to file, within the next few months, for legal status to become a formal European organization, said committee member Peter Farren.
For a number of years, SPE has had an office in Antwerp, Belgium. Office manager Yetty Pauwels said she will continue to run the more formal organization.
Even though Brookfield, Conn.-based SPE has been in Europe and is an international society, Farren said Europeans view it as U.S.-centric. The formal SPE Europe will be more autonomous, setting up technical meetings and courses in local languages.
SPE held a thermoforming conference last year in Italy that drew 400 people. Farren said one reason for the big turnout was the decision to translate the proceedings simultaneously into English, German, French and Italian, allowing speakers to use their native languages.
SPE will hold its next thermoforming conference in Salzburg, Austria, next year.
Farren has been a member of SPE's United Kingdom Section since 1976. His company, Petram International of Hampshire, England, helps link up U.S. companies with European partners. Farren also services Dicer-brand pelletizers in Europe.
In addition to Farren, Oderwald and Pauwels, other committee members are:
* Ken Braney of Thermoforming Solutions Ltd., Dartford, England. Braney is the chairman.
* Bernhard Peters, research and development sales manager of Reimelt Gmbh of Kassel, Germany.
* Jean-Marie Liegeois, a professor at the University De Liege in Liege, Belgium.
* Alain Dirven, R&D manager of Polynorm Van Niftrik BV of Bunschoten, the Netherlands.
* Jan Spoormaker of Spoormaker Consultancy in Delft, the Netherlands.
* Karen Winkler, SPE's president for 2004-05. She is commercial Six Sigma manager for the engineering plastics unit of Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich.
* Jon Ratzlaff, senior plastics engineering specialist for Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP in Bartlesville, Okla. Ratzlaff is chairman of SPE's International Committee.