The Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. will engage the Society of Plastics Engineers at NPE 2009 show to produce ``the largest technical education program ever offered at an international plastics trade show,'' according to SPI President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Carteaux.
That technical conference will feature hundreds of original, peer-reviewed papers, and run alongside a large, concurrent, SPI-produced conference on business and management issues.
SPI projects that attendance at the June 22-26, 2009, show will jump by more than 16 percent over NPE 2006, to exceed 75,000. The group bases that projection largely on three factors: SPE's conference involvement, an expected 30 percent leap in international attendance and aggressive outreach to vertical markets via trade associations, such as those serving the consumer electronics and medical sectors. He said he expects the extensive experience of Gene Sanders, named in July as SPI's vice president of trade shows, to help drive the outreach effort.
Additionally, Carteaux announced at an Oct. 29 news conference at the K show several other developments related to the triennial NPE event in Chicago's McCormick Place, including:
* The recently opened, 470,000-square-foot McCormick West hall will expand the show's available exhibit space and allow SPI to avoid locating any exhibitors in the dark, lower North hall, referred to by some as ``the dungeon.'' The West hall also will host a pair of pavilions focused on the development and application of emerging technologies such as nanotechnology, sustainability, energy savings and biopolymers. The new West hall facility also includes 250,000 square feet of meeting space divided among 61 rooms.
* The domestic product design competition typically organized by and presented as part of SPI's Alliance for Plastics Processors' annual business conference in 2009 will be expanded, opened up to contestants from around the world and displayed on the show floor throughout NPE. Carteaux said that in non-NPE years, the APP design contest will return to being domestically focused and the centerpiece of the APP conference.
* Dallas-based Freeman Cos. will replace Las Vegas-based GES Exhibition Services as the show's general contractor, and exhibitors will use Freeman as a single point of contact, including for matters involving local trade unions.
* SPI will use radio frequency identification tags on visitor badges to assist with gathering metrics on visitors for exhibitors. Sanders said this will be the first time he's aware of that RFID will be used for such a purpose at a major trade show. He also noted that the RFID tag will be on a separate badge in the badge holder and that attendees can opt out for privacy reasons.
* The West hall includes a theater where exhibitors, for a fee, will be able to deliver presentations at half-hour intervals to feature their products and services.
* The drawing for NPE 2009 exhibit space will be Feb. 19-20, 2008, in the McCormick West building.
To participate, each company is required to send a representative to the event. Meantime, the exhibitor section of the www.npe.org Web site is now live online, and the exhibitor prospectus is downloadable from that site. Sanders also said SPI is working on pricing packages ``that will streamline budgeting for exhibitors by combining every major cost element into one single invoice.''
* SPI also intends to create an ``after-hours'' space in the West hall, with a sports bar and spaces where companies can organize receptions, to allow for a post-show ``pub crawl'' within the exhibition, both to enhance networking and to give people an on-site entertainment option when the taxi and bus queues are the longest.
* Plans also call for creation of a Plastics Hall of Fame display in the grand concourse of McCormick Place that will highlight the greatest names in plastics, from John Wesley Hyatt and Leo Baekeland to Daniel Fox, Roy Plunkett and George Eastman.
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NPE 2009 will take place on June 22-26, 2009, at McCormick Place in Chicago. For more information about the show, go to www.npe.org.