NPE2018 consisted of five days full of insights, innovations and predictions for what lays in store for the industry.
From attending educational conferences with industry experts to discovering leading machinery from exhibitors like Shini USA, there was so much to do at the show that it was almost impossible to do it all. Here’s what you may have missed.
Day One: Setting Records and Industry Insights
Before NPE2018 even began, it was already breaking records since it was to feature more exhibitors in attendance than ever before. With more than 1.2 million square feet of exhibitor space purchased and more than 2,100 exhibitors, this was the largest show to date.
The first day of the show began with an overview of the industry insights and global economy. From there, attendees dove into technology’s role in the plastics industry, including the effect data analytics can have on the efficiency of a facility.
This was especially evident in a conference session that analyzed the use of multi-layer technology and how it affects the PET packaging market.
In several additional conferences, attendees also heard from experts about topics such as polyethylene and its market success over the last few years, polypropylene and the exceeding operating costs and what that could mean for PP moving forward, as well as changes happening in the PET industry, including increased resin producer back-integration.
Finishing out day one was a conference session that analyzed the trends in plastic packaging. Attendees learned about the changing consumer needs and markets, and how they can evaluate and plan for the ever-changing landscape.
Day Two: Changing Perceptions
At NPE2018, the Plastics Industry Association (PLASTICS) introduced a new resource designed to help provide information to plastics industry employees in order to aide them in responding to consumer questions and correct mistaken beliefs about the material.
This resource, “This Is Plastics,” is a website that provides articles, infographics, interactive quizzes and more to help people understand the versatility and importance of plastics in the world.
Educational conferences from day two ranged from innovations in packaging solutions for helping extend shelf life to how enhancing features of beverage closures can help increase both manufacturing efficiency and packaging performance.
Another important topic discussed on day two was how utilizing a high-performance cooling system in your facility can help increase operating efficiencies and product quality.
Day Three: Recycling and Sustainability
Day three of the show took a look at sustainability within the plastics industry.
The show itself launched a 100% recycling initiative to raise awareness about recycling and sustainability within the industry, with the goal of recycling every piece of plastic generated at the show.
This goal was created in conjunction with the 2018 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit, which was produced by the Plastics Industry Association.
Throughout the day, attendees learned about sustainability and recycling trends for a variety of industries that utilize plastics. For example, there was an Agricultural Plastics Recycling conference that focused on sustainability and recycling innovations within the agricultural industry.
Attendees were also able to go to a number of “Expert Super Sessions” in which professionals touched on a wide array of topics from particulate-free welding technologies to advancing materials for elevated performance (e.g., making materials lighter weight and more versatile).
Day Four: Increasing Efficiency with Innovation
The fourth day of the show focused on ways to utilize industry innovations to increase a facility’s efficiency.
- Implementing IoT technology
- Aligning goals with suppliers
- Introducing robotics
Day four also saw the continuation of the 2018 Re|focus Sustainability & Recycling Summit, highlighting ways facilities can adjust their own practices to become more sustainable.
Additionally, day four also featured a conference session focusing on the use of PET as a packaging material. Tying into the sustainability and recycling theme, PET is 100% recyclable and utilizing it can be a great way to reduce plastic waste.
Day Five: Looking Toward the Future
The final day of NPE2018 was concentrated on looking to the future of the industry and the next generation of workers.
In December 2017, the Plastics Industry Association released a study that forecasted employment growth in the industry for the next year with 3.5 million new positions becoming available, although nearly 2 million of those positions are expected to remain vacant due to a labor shortage.
In order to encourage the next generation of workers, nearly 130 area high school students were invited to learn about and explore the plastics industry and see some of the potential career opportunities available to them.
The half-day program included presentations and career-driven activities designed to encourage interest and foster innovation.
While this won’t immediately fix the labor shortage in the industry, it’s one of many steps we can take to close the widening gap.
Did You Miss Us at NPE2018?
Didn’t get a chance to stop by our booth at NPE2018? Contact us today to learn about our wide range of plastic processing equipment.