Plastec West 2019 and a New World in Plastics

feb.All eyes will be on the Anaheim Convention Center February 5-7 for this year’s Plastec West, billed as the nation’s largest advanced design and manufacturing showcase. Engineers, executives, and manufacturing experts will all be on the Expo showroom floor, exploring opportunities with plastics suppliers and new wrinkles in areas like injection molding and automation.

Besides coatings and rapid prototyping, the Plastec Expo will be a showcase for new innovations and technology…like tours, demos, and activities focused on 3D printing. Speakers will discuss 3D printing in applications ranging from medical device applications – vaccine delivery vehicles, surgical implants, and stents.

Last year, representatives from 3M, Apple, Disney, and Honeywell were all in attendance. This year, more than 1,900 suppliers will be showcasing the latest solutions in injection molding, automation, molds & dies, materials, product design and more! Free presentations and interactive exhibits will provide an up-close-and-personal look at tomorrow’s cutting-edge technologies.

What’s trending upward in 2019 for Plastec West visitors? Many are looking for smarter manufacturing strategies and techniques for faster development cycles at lower cost. A Smart Manufacturing Innovation Summit features sessions on collaborative robots, AI, sensing technologies, and related topics. A new 3D Printing Innovation Summit opens up ideas in bioprinting (just to name one example) and how 3D printing is “shaping the future of manufacturing.”

PNHL T4 (On Location)2


In our niche, premium acrylic is our specialty in Sign Holders, Brochure Holders, and new Cubicle Name Plate Holders. At Plastec West, numerous other specialties could very well be game-changers in surgical robotics…and the next generation in wearable sensor technologies that track the body’s physiological state with real-time feedback for timely intervention. Today’s popular commercial versions just monitor physical activity and vital signs…not “molecular-level information related to the body’s dynamic chemistry.”

To round the event out, Universal Robots will be introducing their collabortive robots that have six points of articulation and mimic the motions of a human arm. Tasks such as decal application, bolt-tightening, even welding, have never been easier! For the manufacturing professional, this is a must-attend event of 2019.


The NBM Show: Digital Printing and Engraving to Sign Making & Sign Holders

Long.Beach.Convention.and.Entertainment.Center.original.5670If you’re reading this, there’s an excellent chance that The NBM Show taking place at the Long Beach Convention Center August 2nd through 4th has something your office can use.

NBM is presented by three publications: Awards & Engraving, Printwear, and Sign & Digital Graphics. According to the trade show’s website, The NBM Show brings suppliers and services together under one large umbrella, showcasing “sign making, digital printing, screen printing, embroidery, apparel decorating, sublimation, awards, engraving, specialty graphics, custom gifts, and everything personalized.”

Fabrication specialists Gemini will be among the exhibitors. So will Digital Art Solutions, specializing in graphics software and innovative vector graphics design templates. Training and class certification will also be a key part of The NBM Show.

Many exhibitor booths relate directly to some new products we’ve recently unveiled…and ways to get the most from them. Screen printing acrylic Sign Holders and Name Plate Holders is just one way. New patterns and font choices can also be customized for dynamic, 21st century Name Plate Holder Inserts. We can even use your own graphics to personalize the template for pre-printing.

Like the hundreds of products on display at The NBM Show, acrylic is easily incorporated into modern-looking, forward-thinking floor layouts in office and campus environments. One new approach is found in the colored borders of NPAA Desktop Name Plate Holders in Silver and Black. You might be surprised just how much eye-appeal is added to a classic design.NPAA085025-SSS-Insert-600px

Drawing attention to special promotions, product spotlights, and point-of-purchase displays is vital in successful marketing. It’s part of the takeaway from The NBM Show and another area where our expertise applies. Consider Acrylic Sign Holders accented with Stainless Steel Standoffs…or Swivel Base Sign Holders that add movement to your presentation.

By the way, if you miss NBM in Long Beach, you can still catch the next show…later in August in Meadowlands, New Jersey!



The Future of Plastics

Blog PicAs is the case with many industries and manufacturing operations, changing market demands and technological innovations render some products and materials obsolete while others adapt, thrive, and secure their niche. Where plastics fit in this scenario has been a point of contention and debate, especially being a petroleum-based product. But all indicators point to a bright future, thanks in part to its adaptability and reliable, cost-effective production cycles. The forecast for domestic manufacturing in plastics is looking strong due to a number of key factors.

Two distinct manufacturing processes point directly to the success of the future of plastics…one that’s relatively new; the other has actually been around for several decades. 3D printing technology is the new kid on the block in plastic manufacturing. The ability to create products with highly accurate 3D printing is now common practice in a wide cross-section of industries, including areas like health care. The technology’s even used for vital components on the space station. In the world of plastics and resins, 3D printing makes it possible to design complete one-piece objects with pinpoint accuracy, quickly and efficiently. That’s making production runs possible for more complex, lighter weight products with lower cost and higher speed.

The traditional process of plastic injection molding is a manufacturing mainstay. The industrial capabilities have evolved significantly since its origin in 1872, but the principle remains the same: developing a mold and injecting it with a thermoplastic or thermoset polymer to rapidly cool and form to the mold’s contour and shape. Injection molding has maintained popularity because of its cost-effectiveness and ability to create uniform products quickly in long and short production runs. That translates directly to rapid turnaround…and makes injection molding as vital to the future of plastics as it’s been to the past.

3D T-Rex Sculpture
3D T-Rex Sculpture Created by 3D Printer

As in other industries, robotics are also revolutionizing plastic manufacturing. Manufacturers in other fields have already converted their production lines to incorporate robotic automation. It streamlines the manufacturing process and eliminates the human error element. The overall savings in long-term production also points to robust health in plastic manufacturing, thanks to the advent of robotics.

Another ongoing innovation that’s adding new possibilities in plastics manufacturing? Organic materials and compounds have become valuable fillers and are commonly used in polymer compounds that extend base resin. Initial concerns about weakened impact strength in natural fibers have been overcome due to extensive R&D, and such materials are now frequently used in products like construction materials and automobile dashboards and interior panels. It also addresses concerns about petroleum-based materials and how plastics can be recycled in the years to come.

Domestically speaking, the global market itself also holds the key for plastics manufacturing success. The reliance on cheaper foreign products has already shifted back to domestic production due to higher international shipping costs and higher wages in foreign labor. Mass production capabilities, inexpensive shipping, and the ability to process massive orders almost immediately is once again making domestic plastics a clearly preferable choice. The products themselves are also more uniformly reliable, keeping fill rates high and customers satisfied with quality that’s hard to beat.

Combine these elements and it’s hard to avoid the conclusion that the strength of plastic manufacturing is in full stride…and the potential for the future means it’s here to stay!