In the March issue of Plastics Technology we will report on new technology to be unveiled at the giant show, which for the first time will be held at the Orlando Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., April 1-5, 2012. But our coverage of the show begins with this issue, where we examine NPE’s “big picture,” the big themes that add context and clarity to the technology you will see on the show floor. These themes have driven many of the technology developments to be displayed in Orlando and they will also drive our industry’s growth in the years ahead.
We will have articles on six of these big-picture topics: three this month and three more in our February issue. On the pages that follow we focus on these three themes:
As OEMs, packagers, and big-box retailers seek to position themselves as environmentally conscious, it won’t be business as usual for you as suppliers of plastic products. In order to compete in the future, will you need to investigate new classes of biomaterials? Or up your usage of recycled plastics? Will you be looking into “greener” sources of power? Will your progress in energy savings, waste reduction, and lightweighting be essential to your—and your customers’—market strategy?
Energy conservation not only serves sustainability objectives, but is a key component in helping to make North American processors more cost-competitive. The exhibit halls will be rife with new primary and auxiliary equipment that promise to cut power consumption and save you money. But how can you be sure you are saving energy—and being as energysavvy as you can be—if you lack precise capacity to measure it?
In North America, processors are having a hard time finding capable people willing to work in a manufacturing environment. You’re also competing with much lower labor costs overseas. Is now finally the time when processors in this part of the globe will tap into the cost-saving opportunities offered by automation? Do you have a choice?
Next month we will delve into three more big-picture themes: lightweighting, in-mold operations, and end-market opportunities.