Plastics Decorating

Letter from the Chair

I am excited to step into the chair position for the SPE Decorating & Assembly Division in 2021. I look forward to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.

As we leave 2020 behind us and enter a new year, we all are faced with continued uncertainty about what the new year will present. Many businesses have struggled through the onslaught of COVID-19, while others have faced unprecedented demand to meet the crisis. Regardless of the situation, we have had to alter our work lives and learn to deal with an ever changing and demanding environment. Recent completion and approvals of vaccines have given hope that there will be an eventual easing and a return to some type of normalcy; however, there still is an enormous amount of uncertainty of what comes next.

The SPE Decorating & Assembly Division is keenly aware of the impact that COVID-19 has had on the industry and is working to offer our members a path forward to meet their needs. The recent announcement that the live event for NPE now is canceled reinforces the need to be flexible. One key area of focus is ANTEC 2021, now scheduled to take place in May. Due to health and safety concerns, the in-person portion of this event had to be canceled. We still are proceeding with the virtual option, with technical presentations over the two-week period and options to choose which papers to attend. All content will be available to virtual attendees for viewing.

As we continue to take the pulse of the industry to determine when people can begin more travel and live appearances, we have taken the step of scheduling a live TopCon event for September 2021.

These events have allowed attendees to gather valuable information on the newest trends and technologies that affect the decorating market. This year’s event will have a strong focus on the medical market as this has had such an impact from the pandemic.

Additionally, we have included a new aspect of the decoration portion – plastics coatings – which have a tremendous relationship with all our key markets, including automotive, electronics, appliance and many more.

We all hope that the vaccine rollout continues to ramp up, and we reach the “herd immunity” that will allow us to migrate back to a more normal direction. Until that time, we will continue to operate in a nimble fashion that will put the needs of our members first. Our mission at the SPE Decorating and Assembly Division is providing key insight and information to our members to allow them to stay ahead of the field. If changes to the TopCon dates are necessary due to health or safety concerns, we will adapt. Until then, we look forward to the promise of a new year.

ChrisDeMellChris DeMell
Chair, SPE Decorating
and Assembly Division


SPE Announces Event Dates, Topics

SPE’s Annual Technical Conference – ANTEC® 2021 – is entering its second year as a full virtual event and now has moved the event dates from March to May. ANTEC® 2021 begins May 5-7 with ANTEC® Industry Insights, which will include talks by industry leaders on the circular economy and on emerging plastics technologies.

This will be followed from May 10-21, 2021; ANTEC® Classic will include the plastic industry’s top researchers and their latest findings presented in the traditional ANTEC® format with 200+ papers presented across a wide variety of topics. The technical presentations will be a combination of presentations in real-time, with Q&A after each presentation and on-demand viewing. This is the best way to hear about the latest advances in all aspects of plastic engineering that may be critical to industry business success. The Decorating and Assembly Division will have presentations on wear-resistant, high-performance low-gloss coatings; laser marking challenges and solutions; and characterization of parameters critical to ink jet printing.

Finally, starting May 24, 2021, ANTEC® International will include real-time presentations by invited speakers as well as region-specific technical papers from around the world.

Attendees can learn more and register for their own ANTEC® 2021 experience by going to