Based on the number of exhibitors thus far, booths will fill more than 1,041,000 net sq.ft. (106,000 sq.m) of exhibit space, the amount used at NPE 2000, the largest NPE on the books until now. And with more companies anticipated, SPI expects an additional 10,000 sq. ft. (930 sq.m) to be occupied before the show floor opens on March 23, 2015.
Exhibiting companies cite the success of the previous NPE in 2012 and the ongoing surge of the plastics industry as reasons for their strong investment in NPE2015. For equipment companies this has resulted in larger booths in which to display and operate more machines. One such company, Milacron Inc., will have 24,600 sq.ft (2,285 sq. m) of space, constituting the largest booth in NPE history. Overall, more than 600 companies will have equipment at their booths and over 400 will be operating systems. Often their exhibits will feature multiple machines - some of them completely integrated manufacturing cells - running simultaneously.
"With so many exhibitors operating equipment, the show floor will be a dynamic panorama of manufacturing in action," said Gene Sanders, SPI’s senior vice president of trade shows and conferences. "Visitors will encounter a host of opportunities to see demonstrations of the latest technologies and materials up close and to interact with equipment and product experts. It will offer buyers the rare opportunity to test before they invest."
In a recent SPI survey of equipment companies with the 50 largest booths, some respondents provided glimpses of what buyers can expect to see at their exhibit:
- Absolute Haitian will have a 25% larger booth and more machines on display than at NPE2012, said Glenn Frohring, president. Four injection molding machines will be in operation, including a high-speed all-electric unit for cap and closure production.
- Branson Ultrasonic will have at least 21 fully-operating materials assembly stations for a cross section of end markets, incorporating vibration, ultrasonic, laser, infrared, and spin welders. "Due to Branson's success at NPE2012, we made a commitment to expand on our footprint at NPE2015 to introduce the latest technologies to the world stage," said Jeff Frantz, North American director of marketing and product development.
- Engel will have one more molding cell than at NPE2012 and operate eight in all, showing solutions for automotive, medical, packaging, teletronics, and technical molding applications. One of the systems on exhibit will be for molding a geometrically optimized, stress-resistant brake pedal based on a new process developed in partnership with ZF-Friedrichshafen. Using a vertical insert molding machine with a multi-axis industrial robot and infrared oven, a continuous-fiber-reinforced thermoplastic semi-finished product (known as thermoplastic fabric) will be heated, preformed in a mold and immediately overmolded with polyamide. The system produces ready-to-fit components; no cutting is necessary.