The show floor had not yet opened on NPE 2015 and organizers were already looking ahead three years to how the premier U.S. plastics trade show will expand.
This year's show is host to more than 21,000 unique companies over 1.12 million square feet of sold out floor space, organizers said Monday morning. The expected 60,000 attendees represent $100 billion in purchasing power on the show floor.
Bill Carteaux, president and CEO of the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc., said selling 1 million square feet of floor space was a “stretch goal” initially and exceeding it to put together the biggest NPE in the history of the event — at least in terms of exhibit space — was thrilling.
“I never thought we'd top a million, to be honest,” he said.
The reinvigoration of U.S. manufacturing has contributed to the show's expansion, particularly the 20 million pounds of machinery on the show floor this year, up 4 million pounds from 2012.
“The conditions are right for the kind of expansion we've seen,” said Gene Sanders, SPI's vice president of trade shows and conferences, who is already looking to 2018 and how the show will continue to grow.
NPE will stay in Orlando for at least two more three-year cycles. Sanders says there's room for growth in 2018 and 2021.
“We are looking at different ways to use the space,” he said, including the possibility of adding a two-month rental window for companies who do not have enough time to set up and tear down equipment on the current schedule.
The OCCC plans to add 75,000 square feet of ballroom space in the coming year, which would create more available space for future NPEs. Expanding the show into the neighboring Hyatt Regency's conference space and ballrooms also is an option, Sanders said.
NPE was the ninth-largest U.S. trade show in 2012; NPE 2015 is expected to be third-largest in the country overall.