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SPE Decorating & Assembly Division

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Letter from the Chair

Welcome to 2014. Technology continues to change at an ever accelerating rate. Yesterday’s knowledge may no longer be applicable to today’s opportunities. In my last letter, I discussed the aging work force and need for training a new generation of engineers with knowledge of plastic decoration and assembly. This is not the only risk or opportunity we face. When technologies or design aesthetics jump from one industry to another, the changes can be dramatic and have huge financial impact on manufacturers. Consider the increased display sizes and moves from conventional buttons to capacitive sensing in automobiles. The change in the customer interface from traditional modes to those more like the cell phone or smart tablet will impact both the way we interact with our cars and the way we as manufacturers make and decorate parts. There are many other examples, ranging from packaging to telecommunications and medical devices. The only answer for us as designers and engineers is to know the latest trends and understand the technologies available to us.

Most universities do not have classes in plastic decoration and assembly; those that do tend to teach the traditional and established technologies. Some universities are doing work on smart materials and other leading edge manufacturing methods, but they do not tend to focus on the practical applications. Fortunately, this year the Decorating and Assembly Division of SPE will provide two opportunities for you to learn the latest in technology and strengthen your technical networks.

The first will be at the SPE Annual Technical Conference, ANTEC, April 27 to May 1 in Las Vegas, NV. This is the largest annual technical conference in the United States for the plastics industry, with 2,500 attendees, over 600 paper presentations and an exhibitor floor. The Decorating and Assembly Division again will have a session focused on the latest technologies in plastic decoration and assembly.

The second opportunity will be a more focused technical conference hosted by the Decorating and Assembly Division. The conference, "Inspiring Technology... The Future in Decorating and Assembly," will be two days of papers exclusively on plastic decoration and assembly and will take place at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest, Ypsilanti, MI, on June 10-11.

As well as providing a window into the latest technologies, both the ANTEC and TopCon will provide opportunities to develop a strong and broad network of contacts. It also is worthwhile to consider joining SPE, which will provide both contacts and a large web-based reference library of literature and papers covering all aspects of plastic engineering.

If you are not already a member of SPE, I would encourage you to join SPE and the Decorating and Assembly Division. In addition to reducing the cost of attending ANTEC and TopCon, membership provides access to the extensive SPE library and many other benefits. You can learn more at the Society of Plastics Engineers website, www.4spe.org, or by contacting me at [email protected].

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

SPE Decorating & Assembly Programming at ANTEC

SPE’s Decorating & Assembly Division will host a half-day of programming at ANTEC 2014, to be held April 28-30 at the Rio All-Suites Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. A tentative programming schedule for SPE’s Decorating & Assembly Division sessions, entitled, "Advanced Processes and Materials for Decoration and Assembly of Plastics" can be viewed at www.plasticsdecorating.com/ANTEC.

Inspiring Technology to be Featured at SPE Decorating & Assembly TopCon

The SPE Decorating & Assembly Division’s 2014 Topical Conference (TopCon) will take place June 10-11 in Ypsilanti, MI. The conference, "Inspiring Technology... The Future in Decorating & Assembly," will provide two days of papers covering the latest advances in plastic decoration and assembly. Special registration rates are available for SPE members. TopCon also will include a full Supplier Trade Fair where attendees will have the opportunity to visit table top displays by equipment and material suppliers.

More information, including registration, hotel information and a full schedule, is available at www.plasticsdecorating.com/topcon. For questions, call 785.271.5801 or email [email protected].

ANTEC Adds Activities for Younger Plastics Industry Attendees

After assessing feedback from younger SPE members following previous ANTEC conferences, new offerings will be held for young plastics professionals at ANTEC 2014 in Las Vegas, NV. These activities, sponsored by the SPE Next Generation Advisory Board, include a panel discussion to answer industry questions and provide career tips; a celebration dinner for peer-to-peer networking; and speed interviews designed to sharpen interview skills and allow visits with prospective employers. For more information, visit www.antec.ws.