Plastics Decorating

Letter from the Chair

As we progress through 2021, life is slowly but surely beginning to resemble a sense of normalcy. The ramp up of the vaccine for COVID-19, along with key mitigating precautions we are all taking, has allowed increased personal interaction and improved business-to-business activities. Several SPE divisions are planning live events, and it recently was announced that PACK EXPO will be held live in Las Vegas later this year. We continue to be diligent on all safety precautions; however, the light at the end of this tunnel is definitely getting brighter.

As the past couple of years have shown us, adapting to our environment is critical to success moving forward. The SPE Decorating and Assembly Division has strived to educate our members on cutting-edge technology for plastics decoration as well as the symbiotic relationship of plastics assembly.

Over time, the emphasis of our membership has migrated toward the inclusion of coatings technologies while focusing less on the assembly portion. As a result, our division recently has made the decision to formally change our name to the SPE Decorating and Coatings Division. A vote was taken, which resulted in the vast majority of membership choosing to move forward with the new name and focus. The submission to SPE is completed, and we are now awaiting the formal transition, which is expected in the near future. The board now has included new members to represent coatings technology, including AkzoNobel and a key user of this technology in General Motors.

The new SPE Decorating and Coatings Division’s goal will be to disseminate technological advancements and information in decorating of plastics by painting, vacuum metallizing, electroplating, hot stamping, pad printing and other related supplies and equipment.

One of the key events to assist in this is the annual TopCon, which we are pleased to announce will take place live in Minneapolis on Sept. 16-17, 2021. We all are very excited about the quality of speaker and topics that will be included. A full listing will be available on all topics soon. This year’s event also will focus a great deal on the medical market, which has had dramatic emphasis this past year due to the pandemic. In addition to the traditional decorating technologies, we also will be working with our partners in the In-Mold Decorating Association to include updates on this key decorating technology as well!

ChrisDeMellRespectfully yours,
Chris DeMell
Chair, SPE Decorating
and Assembly Division


SPE Decorating & Assembly Division Planning Fall In-Person Conference

2021_TopCon-SymposiumThe SPE Decorating & Assembly Division will be holding its first in-person Topical Conference (TopCon) in over two years, Sept. 16-17, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The two-day event will focus on advancements in plastics decorating, labeling and coatings and will have many of its papers focused on the use of decorating techniques for medical applications.

“With a large concentration of medical molding and decorating in the region around Minneapolis, we felt that focusing on the newest innovations in decorating, in-mold decorating/labeling and coatings for medical applications would be of great interest,” stated Program Chair Paul Uglum, Uglum Consulting. “We believe attendees and suppliers will be ready by September for an in-person event that provides the opportunity for face-to-face networking and review of the technologies on display.”

Appropriate precautions will be in place at the September event. The division is looking at innovative ways to keep everyone safe, including portions of the conference potentially being held outside.

In addition to the TopCon, the In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) will hold its IMDA Symposium in conjunction with the TopCon and will share appropriate programing and its Supplier Trade Fair with the division.

For more details and information on the upcoming TopCon, visit