Association News

Letter from the Chairman

A new year has arrived, bringing with it many opportunities. One thing we do not often look at is the scope of technologies and disciplines that make up plastic decoration. As I mentioned in the last association news, we serve many industries and access many technologies to produce parts and products for our customers. As a result, it is of critical importance that we have the knowledge to make informed decisions as to the best technology to achieve any given desired appearance.

Many design studios and even engineers lack an understanding of the basic technologies and cost drivers. The path that often is chosen is the one that is familiar to us; this may mean, although we reach our goal for appearance or function, we have lost the opportunity to reduce costs or improve profitability. Many new technologies are emerging, and older technologies are being improved. For example, metallic thermal transfers can now be applied to 3D surfaces and are robust enough to be used on exterior applications, when just a few years ago that was not possible.

In addition, more complex appearances often require one or more techniques in combination. Issues relating to compatibility and durability are becoming more important. The best places to look for solutions are in industries other than your own. So, where do you learn about these and other advancements? Who makes up your network of contacts, and how can you expand it to include the industry leaders?

To help, SPE created a networking platform, THE CHAIN, specific to the plastics industry. Go to the SPE web page, If you are a new visitor and would like to register as an SPE e-Member (and do not already have a username and login), you can 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 +1.203.775.0471.

There also are two upcoming opportunities to hear papers on leading edge technologies in plastic decoration and assembly, while networking with industry leaders.

The first opportunity will be SPE Annual Technical Conference (ANTEC) held at the JW Marriott in Indianapolis, Indiana, from May 23 to 25. This is the largest annual technical conference in the United States for the plastics industry, with 2,500 attendees, more than 600 paper presentations and an exhibitor floor. The Decoration and Assembly Division again will have a session focused on the latest technologies in plastic decoration and assembly. Topics will include surface preparation, laser ablation and marking, coating testing and various joining methods.

The second opportunity will be a more focused technical conference hosted by the Decoration and Assembly Division from June 6-7 (see box below). This conference will be hosted both by the Decoration and Assembly Division and by the In-Mold Decoration Association (IMDA). As a result, attendees will not only have a great selection of papers on the latest technology but also an increased opportunity to network.

Papers will include advancements in coatings for automotive applications, replacing electroplating with physical vapor deposition, FDA-approved additives for laser marking for medical applications, new in-mold materials for display packaging applications, adhesive selection, laser welding, improved strength though ultrasonic welding and many more. Make sure you check out this conference and attend.

Learn more at the Society of Plastics Engineers website,, or by contacting me at

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

2016 TopCon and IMDA Symposium Set For Nashville Area

The SPE Decorating & Assembly Division will be conducting its 2016 Topical Conference (TopCon) in conjunction with the 2016 In-mold Decorating Association Symposium. Both conferences will take place June 6-7, 2016, in Franklin, Tennessee, at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs.

The TopCon will include more than 20 papers on the latest technologies in plastics decorating and assembly, while the IMDA Symposium will include a full afternoon of in-mold decorating/labeling workshops and specific in-mold decorating papers on the second day of the combined event. It also will include a Supplier Trade Fair with tabletop exhibits from leading suppliers to the industry that will be available to attendees of both conferences.

For more information, visit