COLUMBUS, OHIO (July 9, 9:40 a.m. ET) — For the next two years, Ohio will be the site of a new convention for the polymer industry.
Columbus was chosen to host the first — and second — Global Polymer Innovation Expo by Rapra Ltd. U.S., a nonprofit economic development group for the polymer sector.
Laura Woods, president of Rapra, said Ohio was chosen for its high concentration of polymer companies. The state has 1,150 rubber and plastics businesses that employ more than 81,100 people, according to JobsOhio, the state's privatized economic development agency.
The expo will be Aug. 26-29 at Battelle Hall at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus and is projected to attract 650 to 800 attendees.
The convention in the future could be held outside Ohio — or even outside the country — but there is a strong case for it to remain here.
“It would be hard to move out of Ohio because of the regional support,” Woods said.
In addition to the polymer companies operating in Ohio, Rapra also has been assisted by business support groups NorTech, Team NEO and PolymerOhio as well as the state government. She said there already are discussions about eventually hosting the expo or another industry event in Cleveland.
The expo will focus on the six key areas of growth of PolymerOhio's Ohio Polymer Strategy Council: conductive and electronic polymers, polymer nanocomposites, high-performance polymers, bio-based polymers and feedstocks, degradable and recyclable polymers, and direct digital manufacturing.
The event already has more than 35 confirmed exhibitors and a number of local and national speakers, including Surendra Chaula, head of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s external science and technology group.
Kerry Christopher, senior manager of communications for Goodyear, said it makes sense for Goodyear to have a role in the expo.
“We thought based on the audience that they're seeking that it would be a good opportunity for us to network and continue to tell our innovation story,” he said.
Additive manufacturing a focus
The technology of additive manufacturing (also known as 3-D printing or rapid prototyping) will be featured, including a presentation by Patrick Gannon, engineering manager with custom injection molder Thogus Products Co. in Avon Lake, Ohio, on Aug. 27. AM has moved beyond the realm of prototypes and is being used to produce complex, low-volume, high-precision components out of engineering-quality plastics and metals. It can help firms to improve product designs, compress cycle times and reduce waste.
On Aug. 29, the final day of GPIE, Plastics News also is hosting a full-day seminar on AM where attendees can get more in-depth exposure. The session will feature Gannon and three other AM experts – Tim Caffrey of Wohlers Associates (authors of the annual, in-depth “Wohlers Report” AM market study), will anchor the event. Joining him will be Bryan Crutchfield, managing director of Materialise USA, and David K. Leigh, CEO of Harvest Technologies. They will deliver solo presentations and then take part in a panel discussion to help educate attendees about how the technology can help processors and designers, and when it makes sense for commercial, end-use parts.
The seminar will conclude with an optional tour of EWI (formerly the Edison Welding Institute) and its Additive Manufacturing Consortium. See full seminar details at www.plasticsnews.com/am2012.