The unofficial count of attendees was right around 800 in the Renaissance Schaumburg Conference Center Hotel for the 2014 SPE Thermoforming Conference. With almost 70 people in the thin-gauge seminar on Monday, CMT presented new information on plug materials and processing techniques, as well as discussing some early results from recent trials with clarified PP at uVu Technologies in Boca Raton, FL. We will publish our data in the near future – stay tuned.
Generally speaking, the mood was buoyant with several companies talking about adding 3rd shifts and investing in new equipment. We had steady traffic in our booth all day on Tuesday, the first full day of the event. Many thermoformers and toolmakers stopped by to talk about new projects underway and to learn more about developments with HYTAC and other CMT materials such as HYVAC, Metapor and CTB-44, our specialized version of tooling board.
Syntactic foam is not as widely used in heavy-gauge thermoforming as it is in thin-gauge. We spoke to several companies who wanted to run trials with syntactic because they continue to have problems with webbing and tool degradation, especially with MDF. For short runs, this segment of the industry struggles to balance costs and performance. Our work in this area continues with some new, experiemental composite materials that will combine the benefits of syntactic foam at an affordable price.
We’ll be following up with folks in the next few weeks. The rest of year is shaping up to be quite busy and the outlook for 2015 also looks good for thermoforming.