It’s like 2000 all over again at NPE2015 in Orlando, Florida, this week.
The show opened this morning at a press conference in which it was announced that the triennial event projects as the second largest trade show in the United States this year, second only to the Consumer Electronics Show. Sold space is at a record of just over 1 million square feet, breaking the previous record set in 2000 when the NPE ranked as the second biggest show after the International Machine Tool Show. The IMTS is now renamed and has been passed over by America’s burgeoning plastics industry.
Plastics! All of the moons are in the right phase. The U.S. manufacturing sector continues its rise from the ashes of 2009. The shale gas revolution is putting an extra oomph in the industry. There is increased talk, if not action, of sourcing more manufactured products in the USA.
“Our stretch goal for NPE2015 was one million sf,” SPI President Bill Carteaux told reporters this morning. “I never imagined that we would actually get there.” The strength of the American economy coupled with a weak Euro and other foreign currencies created a lot of interest among foreign exhibitors. More than 40 percent of the exhibitors are from outside the USA, an unusually high percentage. Thirty-seven foreign countries are represented, led by China, Canada, Italy, Taiwan, Germany, and India.
If the NPE continues to grow at the same pace it has since 2009, it will bust the seams of the Orange County Convention Center. It may be necessary in 2018 to put exhibits in ballrooms or in temporary structures that are atmosphere controlled.
The number of total exhibiting companies is about equal to the record set in 2000, which was 2,009. The number of attendees is projected at 60,000-plus, which is not a record. The NPE moved to Orlando from Chicago’s McCormick Place in 2012 in a cost-saving measure. NPEs held in McCormick Place, located near the heart of American manufacturing often drew in the 70,000 to 80,000 range.