NPE2012, the next edition of the triennial NPE international plastics exposition, will take place April 1-5, 2012 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL.
The American plastics industry and the City of Chicago had fit together like hand in glove since 1971. Like clockwork, the industry rolled out the red carpet at McCormick Place at the NPE and welcomed design engineers and processors to see the latest in materials and processing technology.
At every show, though, there were lots of complaints about costs and difficult union workers at McCormick Place. Hotel rates were often unfair. And in the midst of what is arguably the most painful retraction in the history of the plastics business in the United States, the industry stood up, and collectively said - enough.
“After carrying out due diligence with an independent review of the bids on possible venues for NPE2012, the NPE Executive Committee determined that by moving the show to Orlando, (the Society of the Plastics Industry, which runs the show) could save the plastics industry up to $20 million,” said James Buonomo, chairman of the SPI Board and CFO of Nypro, Inc. “A savings of this magnitude will play a substantial role in SPI’s mission to stimulate our industry’s economic recovery.”
The savings stack up this way: 48 percent on utilities for booths; 19 percent on on-site hauling (”drayage”) and rigging services for exhibitors; 23 percent on lodging; and 11 percent on travel. The savings on travel from the U.S. Midwest-a key plastics manufacturing region-with Chicago at its heart-would be even greater: 19 percent. That last point was subject to a lot of debate. There was a strong feeling that a lot of attendees could drive to McCormick Place for the day and drive home. But that point obviously didn’t carry the day.
SPI noted additional benefits to the change of venue: 1) The switch to early April from the traditional late-June dates will allow far more time for exhibitors to follow up on inquiries and leads generated before summer vacations. 2) Instead of the traditional Monday opening day, NPE2012 will start on Sunday, with educational programs and other special events; the trade show will be open from Monday through Thursday, eliminating the sparsely attended final half-day of previous shows. 3) SPI will address the longstanding wish of attendees and exhibitors that exhibits be grouped by product category. That’s how it works at the K in Germany, the world’s biggest plastics fair.
Yes, all of those things are important, but why couldn’t they be done at McCormick Place at some time in the future? It probably makes sense to move the next two shows to Orlando to send a strong message to the powers that be in Chicago. But I guess I’m now one of those old timers who hates to see the show move. I love Chicago, and I even love McCormick Place. And I’ve never been a big fan of Mickey Mouse. Here’s hoping Chicago Mayor Richard Daily can get everyone together and get the show back to where it belongs.