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Globalization Is Driving Force Behind Fast-Growing NPE

The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) reports NPE 2000 will surpass every previous NPE in size, diversity, and global impact when it comes to McCormick Place in Chicago, IL, June 19-23.

More than 2,000 companies, a quarter of which are based outside the US, will occupy 1.1 million sq ft (310,000 sq m) of exhibit space. The entire range of plastics end uses, including the packaging market segment, will be reflected in new applications on display. Exhibiting companies supply primary processing and auxiliary equipment systems; machine and mold components; resins and compounds; additives, fillers, and reinforcements; and mold-making services.

In a recent survey of NPE 2000 exhibitors, packaging drew the most responses when participants were asked to indicate their key markets. Pharmaceutical and cosmetics packaging were selected by 40% of respondents, while 32% selected flexible packaging.

Vincent L. Witherup, chairman of the exposition, says, "Besides providing processors and web converters with opportunities to improve quality or reduce costs, the many packaging-related exhibits at NPE 2000 will generate new design and marketing concepts for food companies and other packaging specifiers."

Organizers expect 85,000-plus visitors from more than 100 countries to attend the show, which is held every three years. Plastics professionals, including executives, engineers, marketers, and technicians, will see primary processing equipment in full-scale operation.

NPE's expanded web site (npe.org) is adding new capabilities to help visitors plan their experience. In addition to on-line preregistration, new features for the site include a hot link to the NPE Housing Bureau to select, confirm, and pay deposits on hotel rooms; links to the Chicago Tourist Board for information on dining, recreation, and entertainment; a search engine to identify exhibiting companies by product category, including web site links; three-dimensional interactive floor plans for locating exhibits at McCormick Place; and a secure personal planner that each registered visitor can use to schedule meetings and other activities during the show.

A conference program operated by the Society of Plastics Engineers will be held concurrently with the exposition. Free to registered show visitors, the conference will address not only technical topics but also business issues. Session topics include reviewing recent advances in materials, processing technology, and design; e-commerce; equipment purchasing; and selecting new plant sites.

Registration currently is underway for machine operator testing, which will be done during the show under SPI's National Certification in Plastics (NCP) program, reportedly the industry-wide standard for machine operators in all four major plastic processes. Employers will have the convenience of testing their operators at one central location. Results will be available immediately after testing, and special recognition will be given at NPE to those persons achieving certification during the show.

SPI has developed a new textbook, the NCP Study Guide, to help employees prepare for the exam. The guide will be available at the NCP booth.

For more information contact SPI, 1801 K St. N.W., Ste. 600K, Washington, DC 20006; ph: 202/974-5235; fax: 202/296-7243.

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