The Man Who Loved Trade Shows
Saving up energy for PTXPO 2022, March 29-31 at the Donald E Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Ill. After two years without a plastics show, I’m ready to pound the aisles as long as the shoe leather lasts!
The approaching PTXPO 2022 later this month in Rosemont, Ill., is inspiring a growing sense of anticipation and also a realization of what I’ve been missing for a full two years now.
Trade shows serve as milestones in my career as an editor at Plastics Technology. My first show was NPE ’73, just after my first year at the magazine. Since then, I have attended 15 more NPEs, 14 K Shows, five Japanplas/JP shows, four Interplas exhibitions, four Fakumas, one Plast Milan, a few Plast-Ex Toronto shows, and any number of regional U.S. plastics fairs and more specialized shows on composites, packaging or recycling.
That might be more than enough shows to satisfy any normal person—but I guess I’m not in that category. Nowhere else do I get to meet and speak to so many different suppliers of machinery, tooling, materials and software—all in one place. I love to see new stuff and especially dramatic demonstrations of sophisticated technology. And nowhere else is it possible to take the temperature of the entire industry or to assess the state of major trends, such as the twin themes of Industry 4.0 (“Smart Factories”) and Sustainability or “Green” consciousness that have pervaded recent shows.
(In my earlier years, plastics shows vividly reflected waves of new technology breaking over the industry—the influx of microprocessors, of robots, and of all-electric molding machines.)
Where else but a plastics trade show could I do this: Introduce a new editor to the industry on his first day on the job, by walking him around for an hour, pointing out, “This is an injection molding machine. See what it’s doing? This is an extruder. This is a granulator ….” And then set him free to find news. I did that not once, but twice.
PTXPO 2022 will serve up lots of live machinery demos, educational “Tech Talks,” and good old fashioned personal interaction—March 29-31 in Rosemont, Ill.
But apart from all that, the great thing about trade shows is that they are social events. Nowhere else are so many people in a mood to share. Yes, they want to brag about their products on display, but they also want to trade gossip about the industry, make new contacts, and generally enjoy the buzz of people moving about, indulging their curiosity, greeting old acquaintances and sharing an atmosphere of novelty and innovation.
I’m looking forward to getting a lot of that at PTXPO 2022. It doesn’t aspire to be an NPE or K Show, but it will be the first sizeable plastics show in quite a while, and the first in Midwest heartland of plastics processing. There are 223 exhibitors signed up, so far, and there will be lots of live machine demonstrations, as well as well as educational “Tech Talks” on processing and moldmaking. Unlike some shows, where exhibitors seek to tease you with advanced technology that is years away from commercialization, PTXPO will offer you real-world tech that you can put to work today.
And you’ll be able to see whom you’re talking to. Just announced: No mask or proof of vaccination requirement for the state of Illinois.