An Optimistic Outlook for the Converting Industry

ICE USA 1 (Blog)It seems that just about anywhere I turn lately I see encouraging news about the strength and growth of the converting industry.

Most of the research companies, associations and publications serving the converting marketplace are predicting solid, steady growth for the industry and its related market segments. A recent Brooks Report on the U.S. Converting Market, produced by the parent company of ICE USA, forecasts a 4% annual growth through the end of the decade (see my next blog for more detailed information on the Brooks Report).

However, I also tend to look at another important indicator when gauging the growth of the converting industry – the success of trade shows and conferences in related industries. I recently attended Label Expo and Pack Expo in Chicago and both Shows were very strong events. More importantly, the exhibitors and attendees I spoke with all seemed very enthusiastic about future growth of the converting industry and ICE USA (see video interviews on what people are saying, more of what they are saying and solutions for converters).

Although Label Expo serves just one segment of the converting industry and Pack Expo is an all-encompassing, packaging-focused event, I had some great conversations with optimistic converters and suppliers who were in attendance.  In fact, several companies signed on as new ICE USA exhibitors or increased their existing booth space.

Meeting with exhibitors and viewing new equipment is a key reason to attend ICE USA.

Meeting with exhibitors and viewing new equipment is a key reason to attend ICE USA.

Which brings me to the ultimate test of how I personally gauge how optimistic the industry is for growth prospects. We compare current exhibitor demand for booth space to where we were at the same point in time before the 2013 biennial event.  I’m very pleased to report that many exhibitors have increased their booth space in anticipation of another record-breaking Show and a strong economy.  Some exhibitors have doubled and even tripled their exhibit space so they can bring running machinery to the Show.

You can read more about the demand for ICE USA booth space here. And, you can go online and register to be part of the leading America’s leading event for converting professionals.

We look forward to seeing you next February 10-12 in Orlando.

Blog written by Bob Chiricosta, Director, North American Exhibitions, ICE USA

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Printed, flexible electronics may be converting industry’s Brave New World

Canatu film for wearable devices

Canatu film for wearable devices, Canatu Oy (Finland).

While products such as flexible packaging, label stocks, adhesive tapes and silicone release liners are mainstays of the global web converting industry, the fledgling market for printed, organic and flexible electronics (PE) represents a Brave New World of opportunities for converters and suppliers. Items such as OLEDs, sensors and conductive inks, for example, account for 99% of this year’s nearly $24-billion market, as estimated by UK researcher IDTechEx.

One place to spot the latest trends in product design and actual manufacturing of these items is this week’s Printed Electronics USA 2014. Here’s a quick rundown on a few new developments (as of presstime):

  • Arjowiggins Creative Papers (US): POWERCOAT® FSC-certified, biodegradable, 100% recyclable, coated paper as a flexible substrate for printed electronics.
  • Canatu Oy (Finland): A stretchable, nano-carbon film for touch displays and control surfaces in automobiles, home appliances and consumer electronics.
  • DuPont Microcirucuit Materials (US): PE510 pure copper conductive ink, as a cost-effective alternative to silver, for certain types of antennae, membrane touch switches, RFIDs and consumer electronics apps.
  • Heraeus Materials Technology GmbH & Co. KG (Germany): Clevios™ PEDOT:PSS two-component hardcoat lacquer for enhanced mechanical stability in coated substrates.
  • Northfield Automation Systems (US): Profection Series modular, additive printing, inspection and characterization equipment for precision handling in R2R operations.
  • SouthWest NanoTechnologies (US): 3D capacitive touch sensors using V2V™ transparent, thermoformed, carbon nanotube inks.
  • XENON Corp. (US): In-line digital printing of conductive ink on paper (via Methode Electronics), then high-speed, pulsed-light sintering to produce a working RFID inlay.

High-speed R2R converting of wide webs of printed, flexible electronics are, of course, the Holy Grail of this breakthrough field. Costs would decline significantly and throughput would skyrocket, but while this won’t happen any time soon, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all. Stop and think about the digital package printing of 20 years ago: Narrow, slow, low-resolution. Today, presses are churning out 30-in.-wide webs at 150 fpm with quality rivaling that of gravure.

For a look at today’s high-speed web converting and how the printed, flexible electronics of 2030 will be manufactured, look no further than ICE USA 2015 (Feb. 10-12 in Orlando, FL). Already numerous exhibitors at the show will be displaying systems for coating, laminating, slitting and rewinding PE materials for products such as OPVs, thin-film batteries and RFIDs. And there’s nothing narrow or slow about that.

ICE USA’s Guest Blogger is Mark Spaulding. He has been a business-to-business journalist for 30+ years. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a BA in Print Journalism and Graphic Design. His publishing experience includes a variety of editorial positions including chief editor of Packaging magazine, and for 15 years, he had been editor-in-chief of Converting magazine. Now, as associate publisher and editor-in-chief of Converting Quarterly, he manages the overall editorial mission for the official AIMCAL technical journal. Online, Mark writes frequent posts for his Blog, “The Converting Curmudgeon.”

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Getting the Most Out of Attending ICE USA 2013

The Orange County Convention Centre, South Concourse (photo credit, Mike Sharp)

The Orange County Convention Center (photo credit, Mike Sharp)

With more than 300 exhibitors, nearly two-dozen educational sessions and a wealth of special show features, it is often challenging to determine the best way to allocate your time at a trade Show. So many things to do and see and so little time!

Based on years of attending a variety of events around the world, we thought you might find the following tips helpful in managing your time at ICE USA 2013.

Opening Reception: If you arrive on Monday, April 8, you will want to be sure to attend the Opening Reception that evening at the Orlando Convention Center. As with the Golf Tournament, it is an excellent place to network with exhibitors and other converters. Some nice deals have been finalized over a cocktail at the Opening Reception.

Create A Schedule: An absolute must for a Show like ICE USA is to create a schedule in advance with the exhibitors you want to see, which educational sessions you wish to attend and what special features you will take advantage of. You can find a list of exhibitors and a floor plan on the website so you can map out the most efficient use of your time. It is also a good idea to reach out to some of the key exhibitors in advance and arrange specific times you can meet at their booths.

Some Show veterans like to leave a few hours at the end or the beginning of their visit to just walk the aisles and see new companies and technologies. Some attendees like to do this at the beginning of their visit to get a lay of the land and determine which additional exhibitors they will visit later. Other attendees like to get their scheduled and planned visits done first and then spend time looking for new ideas and suppliers. Regardless of which process you prefer, also plan more time than you think you will need as unexpected opportunities always arise.

Stay Updated Via Social Media: To stay attuned to new developments and Show news before and during the event, be sure to engage with our social media channels and link for live updates, pictures, information and trending topics that will make your visit as enjoyable and informative as possible.

Twitter #hashtags for ICE USA 2013 include:

  • #ICEUSA2013 (all general activities)
  • #ICEUSANews (breaking exhibitor news)
  • #ICETAPPI (specific to TAPPI activities and seminars)
  • #ICEAIMCAL (specific to AIMCAL activities and seminars)
  • #ICECEMA (specific to CEMA activities and seminars)
  • #ICEPSTC (specific to PSTC activities and seminars)
  • #ICERadTech (specific to RadTech activities and seminars)
  • #ICEAWA (specific to AWA activities and seminars)

Pre-register Online: If you haven’t already pre-registered, you will want to do that ASAP. You can avoid the long lines and save yourself a great deal of time that you could be spending on the Show floor or in one of the educational sessions. If you register before April 5, you can save 50% off entrance fees

See you in Orlando!

Posted in AIMCAL, Associations, Attendees, CEMA, Education and Seminars, Exhibitors, Networking, Orange County CC, Orlando, Florida, Partners, Social Media, Special Events, TAPPI, Trade Shows, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

ICE USA Hits 300 Exhibitor Milestone for 2013 Event

Meeting with exhibitors and viewing new equipment is a key reason to attend ICE USA.

Meeting with exhibitors and viewing new equipment is a key reason to attend ICE USA.

With only a few weeks left until ICE USA 2013, we are happy to report that more than 300 converting industry suppliers from around the world have already reserved space for next month’s event, April 9-11, in Orlando.

With attendee registration running at twice the level of the biennial ICE USA 2011 and over 300 exhibitors, including 100 first-time exhibiting companies, the size of this year’s Show has already surpassed last year’s by 33%. As the largest dedicated converting event in North America, ICE USA is a machinery-led event with more than one-third of the exhibitors featuring running machinery and providing live demonstrations.

In addition to the various converting equipment on display, attendees will also able to experience the wealth of web inspection equipment that will be shown. We believe this could be the largest collection of web-inspection companies exhibiting in the USA in many years. Several web-inspection companies are also presenting educational sessions.

With a record number of exhibitors and attendee registration running well ahead of 2011 – we are expecting a great Show! To learn more about ICE USA 2013, or register to attend, visit You can also watch a cool video on ‘What’s Happening at ICE USA 2013’.

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Are You Ready for ICE USA 2013?

Let the countdoICE Crowd on Floorwn begin for North America’s largest converting event taking place April 9-11, 2013, in Orlando! With hundreds of exhibitors and one of the industry’s most comprehensive educational programs, there are dozens of valuable show features in store for converting professionals attending this year’s Show.

ICE USA 2013 will feature more than 300 of the world’s leading converting industry suppliers showcasing the latest technologies and solutions to thousands of converting pros from around the globe.

But in addition to all the action on the Show floor, attendees will also be able to enjoy a variety of educational experiences, including:

Did we also mention that there’s a Golf Tournament?

The ICE USA 2013 Golf Tournament will kick off all activities for Converting Week on Monday, April 8. Taking place at one of Florida’s most prestigious courses, the award-winning Shingle Creek Golf Club course located at Rosen Shingle Creek, attendees will have the chance to compete in a four-person scramble format that welcomes all skill levels. Enjoy a round of 18 with state-of-the-art in cart GPS System, boxed lunches and an awards ceremony reception.

Click on the link to check out the video on ‘What’s Happening at ICE USA 2013’.

Be sure to add our social media channels to your follow and link list.

Twitter #hashtags for ICE USA 2013 include:

  • #ICEUSA2013 (all general activities)
  • #ICEUSANews (breaking exhibitor news)
  • #ICETAPPI (specific to TAPPI activities and seminars)
  • #ICEAIMCAL (specific to AIMCAL activities and seminars)
  • #ICECEMA (specific to CEMA activities and seminars)
  • #ICEPSTC (specific to PSTC activities and seminars)
  • #ICERadTech (specific to RadTech activities and seminars)
  • #ICEAWA (specific to AWA activities and seminars)

ICE USA 2013 is only a few weeks a way. To learn more about ICE USA 2013, or register to attend, visit

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TAPPI Provides Top-Notch Collaboration for ICE USA 2013 Pre-Show Conference Program

AssociationEducationSessionFollowers of the field of flexible packaging and new technology developments have something huge to look forward to, as TAPPI will bring together the leading experts of these industries. This collaboration will take place at the ICE USA 2013 Pre-Show Conference Program on Monday, April 8 in Orlando, Florida.

As the first joint-effort between the two premier technical divisions – PLACE (Polymers, Laminations, Coatings and Extrusions) and the Nanotechnology Division, this event is sure to provide a unique perspective on the most recent innovations in the use of nanotechnology in packaging. The sessions will highlight, ‘Innovations in Preparing Polymer-Based Nanomaterials’, ‘Traditional Barrier Enhancements for Packaging Films’, ‘Brand Launch Strategies’, ‘Shelf Appeal Enhancement’, and ‘Brand Authentication for the Innovatively Packaged Consumer Product’.

Interested parties will also be thrilled to know that leading researchers and practitioners from a number of key companies that have developed or are using nanotechnologies that enhance the performance of flexible packaging materials will also be featured.

Pre-Show seminars presented by TAPPI and three other industry-leading organizations will serve as stimulating appetizers to wet the appetites of attendees. One of which is AWA Alexander Watson Associates, who will present its ‘Labeling & Packaging Decorating Technology Seminar 2013’, which features presentations by key industry leaders in the labeling and product decoration industry. These guests will provide up-to-date information on the markets and its evolving technologies with both national and international perspectives.

Also presenting at the ICE USA Pre-Show Program will be CEMA. CEMA who will present a two-day seminar, which include ‘Coating & Drying Fundamentals for Converters’ and ‘Web Slitting and Rewinding for Converters’, are both condensed versions of CEMA two-day seminar created exclusively for ICE USA.

RADTECH, will be getting in on the fun as well with the presentation of its ‘Enabling Innovation in Packaging with UV & EB Curable Inks, Coatings & Adhesives’ seminar. Leading suppliers and users of UV (ultraviolet) and EB (electron beam) curable inks, coatings, and adhesives will discuss some of the current and future trends and applications in press technology, special effect ink/coatings, and other sustainable and innovation initiatives.

Attendees can cap off the Pre-Show Program with the Pressure Sensitive Tape Council’s (PSTC) presentation of ‘Understanding and Selecting PSA Tapes’. The presentation will define the basic properties of pressure sensitive adhesives (PSAs) and discuss how polymer and material properties combine to give the unique performance attributes of tapes.

For further information or to register for ICE USA 2013, visit

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ICE USA 2013 Attracts 100 First-time Exhibitors

ICE USA 12With two months left until ICE USA 2013, the show is already on pace to be 30% larger than the 2011 show. Not only is this year’s show on track to bring a record number of attendees from the converting industry, the 2013 event already has attracted over 100 new exhibitors that will be joining the more than 200 returning exhibitors to make this the largest converting event in North America.

Some of the companies who will be exhibiting at the Show for the first time include: Totani America, Flint Group Flexographic Products, TGW International, H.B. Fuller, Flexo Wash and Eye-C America. They will be joining such well known ICE USA Alumni as: Comexi, Maxcess, Daetwyler, New Era, Montalvo, Mitsubishi Materials, Siemens, Nordson, ISRA VISION, Sonoco, Uteco, Catbridge, Advanced Photonix and many other global converting equipment suppliers.

For ICE USA 2013, many of the new as well as returning exhibitors have reserved larger exhibit space to display running machinery. Converting industry professionals who are looking to discover the latest products, technologies and industry trends have told us that they prefer seeing running equipment on the show floor.

In addition to more opportunities to talk to new exhibitors, ICE USA 2013 will also feature the most comprehensive educational program in the converting industry. This year’s ICE USA Conference sponsored by AIMCAL will feature nearly 40 educational sessions covering a variety of technical management and operational issues. The leading industry associations (AWA, CEMA, PSTC, RadTech, TAPPI Place) will bring together top experts from various industry segments to conduct a variety of seminars and conference sessions addressing the most important issues and solutions impacting the converting industry today and in the future.

For a full list of exhibitors, educational programs or other information about ICE USA 2013, visit

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