Letter from the Chair

In a recent article in this magazine, Ed Crutchley, an author and expert in technology innovation in plastics decoration, made several good points. One is the size of the plastics industry – third largest in the US – and another is the variety and fragmentation of the knowledge base that supports the decoration and assembly of plastics. That fragmentation is due to several factors, including the different industries supported; that decoration often is a much smaller part of a product-specific molding and – in fact – product offering; and, finally, the tremendous variety of materials and technologies available. To this I would add two more factors: first, the lack of common specifications and requirements even within the industries served. For example, in automotive, each OEM has a unique and sometimes contradictory specification for coating performance. Second, the environment in which the products must survive constantly is changing. There currently are eight new compounds being evaluated by the FDA for use in sunscreens. Many criteria are being evaluated, but their impact on plastics and decoration is not one of them. As a result, as new products come on the market, new and unknown stresses that decoration must survive are introduced.

In short, we live in a chaotic world with many varied sources of information. The question for those of us responsible for selecting and implementing secondary operations such as plastic decoration and assembly is how do we know what the best choice is or even if this best choice exists? The best choice is the one that meets the customer’s need for appearance and performance and is one which we can deliver through the processes available to us. The internet has become a popular source, but too often is inadequate or incomplete by itself.

Professional organizations, like SPE, offer another very useful way to learn. SPE offers networking opportunities, technical conferences and an extensive electronic library. Recently, SPE has expanded the opportunity to network and to seek help with specific problems by creating a networking platform, THE CHAIN, specific to the plastics industry.

SPE also has made it easier to join THE CHAIN if you are not already a member of SPE. Go to the SPE web page, www.4spe.org. If you are a new visitor, would like to register as an SPE e-Member and do not already have a username and login, use the New Visitor Registration to register for the site. SPE e-Members receive instant access to SPE’s THE CHAIN – the exclusive online networking platform for the global plastics industry. If you are having issues with login, please call SPE at 203.775.0471.

There also are two upcoming opportunities to hear papers on leading-edge technologies in plastic decoration and assembly, while also networking with industry leaders. Learn more about ANTEC and the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division TopCon below. This would be a good time to consider writing and presenting a paper. Participation in either or both conferences will provide a high level of visibility with an audience of those who are interested and working in the field. Deadlines have been set for paper submissions, so now is the time to identify topics and start writing. Papers on new and emerging technologies and materials always are welcome. Topics such as problem-solving, innovation and cost reduction also are welcome.

If you are not already a member of SPE, I would encourage you to join SPE and the Decoration and Assembly Division. In addition to reducing the cost of attending ANTEC and TopCons, membership gives you access to the extensive SPE library and many other benefits. Learn more at the Society of Plastics Engineers website, www.4spe.org, or by contacting me at paul.a.uglum@delphi.com.

Paul Uglum
Delphi Electronics and Safety
Chair, SPE Decorating & Assembly Division

Paper Deadlines Set for ANTEC and SPE Decorating & Assembly Division TopCon

The SPE Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) will be held at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana, from May 23-25. The Decoration and Assembly Division again will have a session focused on the latest technologies in plastic decoration and assembly.

A more focused technical conference, hosted by the Decoration and Assembly Division, will be held June 7-8. The TopCon will feature two days of papers exclusively on plastic decoration and assembly and will be held in the at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs in Franklin, Tennessee, near Nashville.

Those interested in presenting new technologies should note the following deadlines:

  • Paper Submission Deadline – Dec. 8, 2015
  • Paper Review Deadline – Jan. 7, 2016
  • Final Paper Acceptance Deadline – Jan. 29, 2016
  • Final Paper Revision – Feb. 23, 2016

Abstracts for the Decoration and Assembly TopCon are due by Dec. 1. For more information, call 785.271.5801 or visit www.plasticsdecorating.com.