After canceling its 2009 conference because of the economy, the Society of Plastics Engineers' Thermoforming Division is back in 2010, with an agenda that looks at the challenges of the global market.
Wim DeVos, CEO of Vitalo Group, a medium-sized company headquartered in Belgium, will share his perspective on competing globally. The firm, which does both thick- and thin-gauge thermoforming, has grown from a single plant in Belgium to 10 factories around the world.
DeVos will discuss Vitalo's successful and less successful decisions, the preparatory work and competitive analysis, the legal hurdles a company may face, location decisions and other factors a thermoformer might consider when pondering whether to take the plunge into international expansion.
The conference also will include a presentation by economist and consultant Peter Mooney, who will look at the Great Recession of 2008-09, which took its toll on every branch of the North American plastics processing business.
The setback suffered by the industrial thermoformers was to be expected since they traditionally rely on consumer spending on the products of the various regional durable good manufacturing industries appliances, automotive, building and construction, housewares, marine, and so on, Mooney said. What was unprecedented was the sales setback suffered in 2009 by the packaging thermoformers, since the conventional wisdom is that the packaging of food-service and food-processing products, which constitutes almost two-thirds of the sales revenues registered by these processors, is recession-resistant.
The division also will honor Roger Kipp of McClarin Plastics Inc. as its 2010 Thermoformer of the Year. Kipp will be introduced by SPE President Ken Braney.
The conference will take place Sept 18-21 in Milwaukee. For details, go to www.thermoform ingdivision.com.
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