Face to Face Again: Mingling & Networking at the Molding & Extrusion Conferences & Amerimold
Dr. John Beaumont of Beaumont Inc. gave the keynote presentation at Molding 2021: “Threats to the U.S. Injection Molding Industry’s Global Competitiveness.”
“Thanks for a great and well executed show last week in Chicago! What a great show last week and thanks for inviting to both give a talk and hanging out on the show trade floor for all 3 days. We had a blast.”
That was one enthusiastic response to the co-located Molding 2021 Conference, Extrusion 2021 Conference and Amerimold 2021 moldmaking expo, held together at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill., on Sept. 21-23. But it reflected the general sense of renewed energy among the attendees, gathering together in person after 18 months of lockdowns and restricted contacts with customers, suppliers and industry peers.
Some people are gregarious by nature. But the plastics industry, having grown up as a scrappy outsider, thrived through open sharing of practical information—something Zoom alone won’t provide and precisely what these events were designed to encourage.
Networking at the Molding 2021 exhibits.
So how did it turn out in Rosemont? At this date, I don’t have the final attendance figures, but I can say that those who were there definitely wanted to be there. That seemed to be enough to provide attendance at the 55 Molding 2021 conference presentations, 76 at Extrusion 2021, 10 at the new Recycling conference track, and the 26 Tech Talks at Amerimold 2021, presented by MoldMaking Technology, our sister publication within Gardner Business Media. And there was plenty of interaction at the 40 Molding exhibits, 50 Extrusion exhibits, and 178 Amerimold exhibits.
The first-ever Hot Shots Injection Molded Parts Competition was a new addition to the Molding 2021 Conference.
Another draw was the first-ever Hot Shots Injection Molded Parts Competition, which attracted 10 contenders for the prizes in molding sophistication and molding efficiency or economics. As a voter myself, I found it hard to come down to a final choice among several worthy contenders. Find out who won here.
Attendees at the show voted for Tops Shops winners in two categories: technical sophistication and molding efficiency or economics.
The coronavirus is still with us, as are masks and ever-present hand-santiizer dispensers. But based on the Rosemont events, we believe the plastics industry is hungry for such opportunities for in-person information gathering, renewal of personal contacts, and forging of new links. That leaves us hopeful for upcoming Gardner events—co-located Top Shops Expo and Additive Manufacturing Expo in Cincinnati, Oct. 12-14, and, especially, the brand-new Plastics Technology Expo (PTXPO) March 29-31, 2022 at the Stephens Cenvention Center in Rosemont. Since the cancellation of NPE2021 and three more years to wait for the next one, PTXPO feeds that hunger for an in-person plastics trade show, and the convenience of a Midwest location to so much of the plastics industry. The proof is that we already have well more than 110 exhibitors signed up, including the big names in molding and extrusion machinery, auxiliaries, hot runners, and tooling.
Extrusion 2021 Conference sessions were well attended.
I just retrieved from the dry cleaners a sport jacket and slacks that I wore at the Rosemont events. Holding them on hangars covered with film, I stepped into an elevator in my building; another woman stepped in, also holding dry-cleaned clothes. She said (through her mask), “Nice to see we’re back to using dry cleaners.”
I responded (through a mask), “I wore them to an actual business meeting.”
She gave an approving nod and murmur.
Me: “I took an airplane and everything.”
She: Another approving node and murmur.
Me: “And my flight was cancelled due to weather.”
She: “Back to normal, then.”