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Time to Gear Up for PTXPO

With our Molding and Extrusion 2021 conferences in the books, the team at Gardner Business Media—parent company of Plastics Technology, MoldMaking Technology, Additive Manufacturing and a host of other magazines focused on discreet parts manufacturing—can now turn its attention to its next big event.

The PTXPO will be a new trade show for the North American plastics processing marketplace. Please don’t think of it as a regional show; it’s not. Nor is it a global show along the lines of NPE, K, or Chinaplas. What it will be is an event in the Midwest where North American processors of all kinds can interact and network with suppliers of primary machinery, auxiliary equipment, molds/tooling and materials/additives. The show will be March 29-31, 2022, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, close to Chicago’s O’Hare Airport.

There has been a lot of talk about the future of live events in light of the effects of the global pandemic and the ongoing delta variant. Companies—ours included—shifted gears quickly in the face of travel restrictions and bans. A good part of our lives went “virtual” thanks to technologies that just a few months before COVID-19 were largely unknown.

PTXPO March 2022 trade show for plastics processors

And to be perfectly frank, I think some of the ways in which we’ve learned to conduct business over the past 10 months or so are here to stay. Case in point: I had a conversation recently with a machinery executive whose company often sells systems to processors with multiple plants. In some instances, for example, the customer would place in order for four machines going to four different plants. As part of the buying cycle for orders like these, in pre-pandemic days he would travel with one of his salespeople—and perhaps even a local salesperson—to the customer’s headquarters. There, they would be greeted by not only HQ engineering teams, but by manufacturing, engineering and plant management personnel from each of the four locations. At this meeting, the group would typically review engineering drawings, machinery specs, delivery dates, etc.

Think about the time and money involved in organizing such a get-together. Will that be the norm moving forward? Probably not. The same exact thing can be accomplished by utilizing web cams and mics—we all have them now—at a tiny fraction of the time and expense.

But I don’t see live events like trade shows and conferences going away any time soon. You cannot network on your computer, regardless of how high-tech your camera and microphone are. You cannot truly evaluate the full functionality of a piece of equipment from behind your desk. You might be able to get some sense of it, to be sure, but I don’t think the virtual experience compares with seeing stuff operate live, whether it’s at a trade show or at a machine builder’s plant or showroom.

I say this with some confidence because my opinion is supported by research we have done as part of our due diligence in planning the PTXPO. In that research, a whopping 86% of survey respondents (subscribers to this magazine and MoldMaking Technology) told us that “a major plastics exhibition and conference hosted in the U.S. (located specifically in the Chicagoland area) and featuring the latest equipment and technology demonstrations, materials advances, innovations, and industry best practices is an essential resource for my professional development and networking within the industry.”

As NPE is a triennial event, we plan on holding our complementary show in non-NPE years. We are organizing the show floor by process and product category so that attendees can use their time as efficiently as possible without having to wander too much. We plan on designating pavilions for primary machinery of all kinds, auxiliary equipment and materials/ additives, as well as a moldmaking pavilion in the form of our co-located Amerimold Expo.

Want to know more? Go to the show website ( and check out the show floor and take note of all the exhibitors who have already booked space. You will notice many industry leaders in injection molding machinery, extrusion, tooling, auxiliary equipment, materials and more. You can find more information about the show on p. 37 of this issue.


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