SPE Decorating & Coatings Division TopCon and IMDA Symposium, held Sept. 26-28 in Ypsilanti, Michigan, enabled attendees to learn the latest in plastics industry market trends, decorating and coating technology, and equipment advances.
by Dianna Brodine, managing director, In-Mold Decorating Association

SPE’s Decorating & Coatings Division and the In-Mold Decorating Association (IMDA) co-hosted their Topical Conference and Symposium in Ypsilanti, Michigan, September 26-28. The event brought together program managers, engineers, sales managers, project leads, technical directors and organizational leadership to learn the latest in plastics industry market trends, decorating and coating technology, and equipment advances.

“It was a great learning experience, and a must-attend event for anyone new to the industry,” said Pat Tully, program manager for DuraTech Industries. “I continue to learn something every time I attend – even after 35 years.”

Keynote speaker Cara Walton, director at Harbour Results, opened the event with an overview of the plastics marketplace for molding and decorating, including a look at the current economy, durable goods demand and the impact on manufacturing production within several key markets. Expert speakers continued throughout the event with perspectives on durability testing, implementing new plastics decorating processes, smart materials, UV coating applications in automotive, global design trends and more.

IMDA Board President Bob Travis presented the Judges’ Choice award to IMR Technology.

Panel discussions offered insights into supply chain challenges and the creative ways companies are keeping decorating production going despite shortages; label substrates for in-mold labeling applications; considerations when using IML for food packaging; and integrated electronics in the automotive and appliance industries.

In addition to the presentations, the event included a Supplier Trade Fair where attendees could network and visit with leading suppliers to the industry. The Supplier Trade Fair included the following companies:

  • Brighton Science
  • CDigital
  • Diversified Printing Techniques
  • DuraTech Industries
  • IDS, a Division of ITW
  • Kurz Transfer Products
  • Marabu North America
  • Profile Plastics
  • Schwerdtle
  • Singulus
  • StackTeck
  • Sussex IM
  • Tapematic
  • Thierica Automation & Equipment
  • Ultra Coating
  • Weber Packaging Solutions
  • Wipfli

After programming on the first day, a Networking and Awards Reception was held so attendees could visit with exhibitors while celebrating the winners of the 2022 IMDA Awards Competition, which recognized technical and design achievements in in-mold decorating, in-mold labeling and in-mold electronics.

The 2023 joint event is in the planning stages, tentatively to be held in late September in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area. More information will be announced soon at www.productdecoratingevent.com.