Digital Magazine

Expo News Raises Eyebrows

The pace of exhibition news has quickened — and raised some eyebrows — as the year draws to a close, but I have to wonder if it comes as the result of needed changes that had been delayed too long.

First, the biennial Converting Machinery/Materials Conference & Exhibition is no more. The CMM brand has been purchased from PennWell by UK-based Mack Brooks Expositions, owners of the increasingly successful ICE (International Converting Exhibitions) shows, and is being retired and replaced by the new ICE USA exposition. It will find its new home in Orlando, FL, and will return to an early spring time slot on April 6-8, 2011.

Why the change? To start, while the US still requires a stand-alone converting show, according to Michael Boyle of nimble shows & media GmbH and new event director, CMM simply has had its day. What's needed, he feels, is “a more streamlined and focused” show as he intends the ICE USA to be. With a new Orlando home, he's invited all to breathe in the fresh air.

CMM was caught in a classic Catch-22 syndrome. As attendee numbers declined in a post-9/11 market, exhibitors found it increasingly difficult to justify the expense of spending enormous sums of money on shipping and erecting heavy working equipment. With fewer working machines, the situation exacerbated with fewer attendees, and the cycle continued spiraling downward.

In PennWell's defense, the lack of attendees didn't result for lack of promotion, even if it did lack experience in the converting market. By the last rendition of CMM, the show simply had lost too many exhibitors along with the excitement it once generated. Boyle hopes with a new show name already associated with success in Europe, Asia, and South America, interest in a streamlined and focused show will attract converters at a new venue that's pleasurable from the get-go.

Also on the move is the Society of Plastics Industry's (SPI) NPE Intl. Plastics Exposition, which also heads to Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center. It left Chicago's McCormick Place McPier management fairly shaken. Planned for April 1-5, 2012, the triennial event has secured two cycles at its new location. As a native Chicagoan, I regret its loss but thoroughly understand the economic factors over time that drove SPI to contain costs.

And now a personal request, dear Readers…Suzanne Zaccone, a dear friend who comes from within our own converter ranks as the executive vice-chairman and former president and co-owner of Graphic Solutions Intl. (now GSI Technologies), has written a book about her experience with breast cancer. Titled A Random Interruption, she has promised all proceeds to go to the Breast Cancer Center at the Univ. of Chicago. Visit www.arandominterruption.com for details.

My friends call me…

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