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European ThermoformingConferenceI have just returned from Italy(Mestre, a suburb of Venice), wherethe SPE European ThermoformingDivision board held its meeting toconfirm that the NH Laguna PalaceHotel in Venice Mestre will be thevenue for the next SPE EuropeanThermoforming Conference, on 26and 27 April 2012.This modern hotel ( is just a short distance fromVenice. A short taxi ride takes you tothe water transport center on theGrand Canal. It is an ideal place for aconference, and Venice, of course, is acity full of wonders to explore.The decision to go to Italy wasbased on our previous experience-the Thermoforming Conference inViareggio in 2004. Over 260 peopleattended then, and it introduced theSPE European ThermoformingDivision to the Italian thermoformingindustry. Since then, we have alwaysattracted a large number of supportersfrom that region.Two members of the board areItalian manufacturers-a thermo-former and a toolmaker. In fact, theboard is very diverse, with membersfrom all across Europe: UK, Sweden,Denmark, Holland, Germany, France,Belgium, Austria, Spain, Italy, and theCzech Republic. This diversity is reflected in the var-ious speakers that have been invitedto make presentations at the confer-ence. They are from France,Germany, UK, Belgium, Denmark,and Italy, and from the USA.The theme of the conference is"Back on Track"; and we believe thatthe current issues faced by all mem-bers of the plastics industry need tobe addressed. Our opening speakerwill be Mr. Wim Devoss, chief execu-tive officer of the Vitalo Group, alarge global thermoformer with plantsin Europe and Asia. We are fortunatethat Mr. Devoss has accepted and willbecome the Chair of SPE EuropeanThermoforming Division Board fromMay 2012 to May 2014.Another speaker will be Mr. PeterDavis, director general of the BritishPlastics Federation, who will speak onthe futures market in plastics that istrading at the London StockExchange. We will also have speakerson design, manufacturing techniques,recycling, and bioplastics-a verydiverse and interesting program. Theprogram will be placed on the SPEEuropean Thermoforming Divisionwebsite page shortly ( would also like to remind you aboutEUROTECT in Barcelona, 14-15November 2011. The link betweenthe SPE European ThermoformingDivision and EUROTEC is that theDivision will be holding a full day ofpresentations on thermoforming: onehalf day devoted to thin-sheet andone half day to thick-sheet.In fact, the whole of SPE has gottenbehind EUROTEC, and a large num-ber of people have submitted papers.At last count, we had over 200papers/presentations submitted,which is a tremendous achievement.There are also plenary speakersfrom SABIC, A. Schulman, Ticona,and Nokia. You can see the programby going to the link will hold the fall (autumn)Council meeting in Barcelona on theweekend before the conference. Thisis a very important meeting, as therewill be the presentation and approvalof the new budget and the election ofofficers for the various positions inSPE Governance. The elections arefor President-elect, Senior VicePresident, Vice President, and Chairof the CCOW (Council Committeeof the Whole). This year I have beenChair of the NominationsCommittee, and I have seen a verystrong list of candidates; a veryimpressive group of SPE membershave put their names forward for con-sideration.Susan OderwaldI would like to speak now aboutSusan Oderwald, SPE ExecutiveDirector. As you all now know, Susanis leaving SPE after eleven years. Shejoined SPE as Deputy ExecutiveDirector in 2001 and becameExecutive Director in 2004.Susan said in her statement that theperiod of time she has spent at SPEhas been very rewarding, and ofcourse she mentioned a number ofchallenges that she encountered dur-ing that period.This is an understatement. As youall well know, SPE had a difficultKen Braney's monthly look at SPE's activitiesKen Braney, SPE Past PresidentSPEnews roundupBY KEN BRANEY46| PLASTICS ENGINEERING | OCTOBER 2011 |