Innovation, efficiency and sustainable thinking are driving the plastics industry forward.
That was the clear message throughout this year’s Plastics Design & Moulding exhibition and conference which took plastic at the Telford International Centre last month.
Opening the free two-day PDM conference, Philip Law, director general of the British Plastics Federation shared his optimistic vision of where the industry was headed. Against a backdrop of uncertainty such as Brexit, and the shift in public opinion of plastics, he said: “You may think I am as mad as a hatter when I say that the industry will emerge stronger, leaner and fitter than ever before. If we have to accept new legislation that will serve to protect us in the future.” The workforce of the future, he explained, will be better trained and new roles will be created through the emergence of new sectors such as recycling. More automation will result in higher productivity, while robots and 3D technology would become more widely adopted. Plastic products of the future would be designed for end-of-life recyclability and to save energy and carbon. In healthcare applications we could see the 3D-printing of body parts. Plastics will drive innovation in lighting, illumination and electronics with sensory applications a particularly interesting new direction. “I am extremely confident in the role of plastics in the future. It remains the material of the 21st century,” concluded Mr Law.
Conference chairman and editor of Plastics News Europe Karen Laird said: “Events like PDM are really necessary to confront and address the issues facing the industry… they give us a chance to connect.” Networking was indeed a key reason to attend for both exhibitors and visitors, who used the event to make new connections as well as build on existing ones. Jessica Futcher, Marketing Manager, PlastikCity Ltd said: “This has been a great show for us in terms of networking and signing up several new companies to the portal. Yesterday morning was busy and today we have generated some very good quality leads. Having every part of the plastics industry represented under one roof makes it really worthwhile.”
Nikki Williams, Association Secretary, PMMDA said: “We deliberately held our AGM at the Telford International Centre before PDM opened on day two so that our members could spend time at the event afterwards – and they took full advantage of the opportunity. On the PMMDA stand we were constantly chatting and meeting people and we even recruited two new members. It was important for us to be at PDM to see what’s going on in the industry and catch up with colleagues. So it has been a very successful two days for us.”
Tim Peet, Director, Labotek GB, said: “PDM has been good for us to get the Labotek name out into the UK market, and has given us the opportunity to convey the friendly Danish “Hygge” lifestyle that is key to Labotek A/S success.”
Julie Thomas, Works Director, Hotset UK, said: “It was definitely worthwhile exhibiting at PDM this year. We had some genuine interest from companies who were specifically seeking a supplier who could deliver a fast and efficient service. Time is a critical factor for our customers and, because we hold extensive stocks, we can deliver immediately. We generated some quality new leads and re-established contact with companies we hope to work with again in the future. We will be coming back next year and have already booked our stand.”
The exhibition itself was a showcase of the UK’s dynamic plastics sector with the latest in plastics design, technology, moulding techniques, material developments and plastics science all represented. On the STV Machinery stand visitors could see the first working YIZUMI injection moulding to be shown in the UK. New injection moulding machines were also exhibited by Negri Bossi and Borche.
PDM will return in 2019. Further details will be announced in due course.