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Though the official numbers have yet to be released, by many accounts NPE 2018 was the biggest and best ever. 5 full days (okay, 4 full days and a slow 5th day) of new machinery, technologies, and processes, as well as myriad learning and networking opportunities on the show floor and in the multiple technical conferences (ANTEC, Re|Focus) will tire out the most intrepid of plastics professionals.
It’s been a while since we had anything of note to share on our blog, but as we said at the outset – our goal is to provide valuable and relevant information, not SEO content.
Innovation Takes Root is the bi-annual biopolymers event hosted by NatureWorks, developers of the Ingeo PLA bioresin. More specifically, the 3-day event is billed as a “collaborative biopolymers forum for the Ingeo community.” We like the sound of that: we’re big on collaborative partnerships to further the art and science of thermoforming. This year, CMT has been invited by NatureWorks to participate in a key workshop titled, “Tools for Ingeo Users.” The session will be led by Dr. Jim Nangeroni, Ph.D. In addition to CMT, speakers will present papers on single screw and twin-screw extruder design, melt pump and screen changer design, proper additives, and testing protocols for gaining compost certification.
“Innovation Takes Root” is a biannual conference hosted by NatureWorks, developer of the Ingeo PLA polymer and the Vercet lactide chemistry platforms. This year marked the sixth such gathering, held in San Diego from September 10-12 with over 250 attendees from 27 countries. Major topics included the continued evolution of the Ingeo platform, circular economy principles, regulatory and legislative developments related to bio-based plastics, PLA use in additive manufacturing, and new developments in single-serve capsules (they’re not just for coffee anymore).
Held at Tokyo Big Sight Convention Center at Ariake on Tokyo Bay, Tokyo Pack 2018 drew over 700 exhibitors from mostly Asian countries, with Japan providing the lion’s share of participants. The official total was 62,000 unique visitors over a 4-day period. Separate zones were set up for pharmaceutical packaging, mail-order and gift packaging, material handling, and package design, while a large segment of the hall was set aside for the Japan “Good Packaging” winners, an array of over 100 packages from all over the country. CMT participated with our partners from Seiko Sangyo and we entertained several customers from Japan, Korea and Thailand at our booth with full array of HYTAC plug assist materials.
The crisp autumn weather and the changing of the leaves in New England draws visitors from all over the world. From Massachusetts to Maine, people can feast their eyes on famous foliage with blazing reds, golden yellows, and burnished oranges that stretch into the White Mountains up to the Canadian border. But there are other reasons to visit the Northeast at this time of year, especially if you’re in the thermoforming industry. Here in our corner of the US, we have our own little ecosystem of thermoforming companies: machinery makers, toolmakers, die makers, and, of course, the most important element of all, the plug assist specialists!
The Circular Economy for plastics is moving forward in Europe, but challenges remain.
For the first time in recent memory, the AMI Thin Wall Packaging conference did not contain a single paper on coffee capsules. Perhaps this is because the consultancy has established a stand-alone conference to monitor the ubiquitous and troublesome pods (scheduled next in the US in Atlanta in March). There is still plenty of thermoforming in this sector, however, as the recent expansion of Phoenix Packaging in Virginia suggests. This year’s conference in Cologne, Germany featured a heavy focus on the circular economy and what it means for the plastics industry. To be sure, there are both opportunities and threats. But after two days of talks and debate, it became evident that the circular economy is not a natural phenomenon. Even as it gains momentum, it will require sustained, global efforts to truly disrupt the seemingly immovable forces of consumer demand and market capitalism.