We're just about three weeks away from NPE2012, so it seems like a good time to kick off regular blog commentary on the show. Let's start with some random observations:
- There's still some confusion about the show dates. NPE2012 kicks off with some events on Sunday, April 1, including a golf tournament and the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s 75th anniversary opening gala featuring the Plastics Hall of Fame induction ceremony. The expo dates are April 2-5. Note that's just four days -- unlike previous NPE shows, there's no exhibition on Friday this time.
- Is there still confusion about the location, too? I hope not -- by now, everyone should know that NPE is at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla. But we did get a chuckle a few weeks ago when we got an email from exhibitor that closed with "See you in Chicago!"
- Attendances estimates are all over the map. I've heard comments from some exhibitors who expect lower attendance. But the numbers appear to point to a strong show, especially compared to NPE2009 -- held in the depths of the Great Recession. According to SPI, visitor registration numbers are ahead of NPE2009 by 10 percent and NPE2006 figures by 8 percent. Room reservations are way ahead, too.
- Anecdotally, it seems that NPE exhibitors will have a lot to talk about this year. I've been flooded with emails and calls trying to set up meetings with our reporters at the show. Good thing we'll have 14 editors and reporters at NPE, plus a photographer and a videographer. Bring on the news!
- We're now to the point that companies with long-planned NPE exhibits will have a hard time making last-minute adjustments. For example, when extrusion major Gloucester Engineering Co. Inc. announced this week that it has acquired blown film specialist Future Design Inc., our story noted that the firms will exhibit separately at NPE.