Plastics News and AMI have published the programs for the two free-to-attend conference theaters at the Injection Molding and Design Expo, which takes place in Detroit, MI, the USA on May 25-26, 2022.

The speaker line-up boasts senior representatives from OEMs, tier-one suppliers, packaging producers, and leading molders. These include Ford Motor Company, Berry Global, Faurecia, Amcor, Westfall Technik, Yanfeng Automotive Interiors, Teel Plastics, Cascade Engineering, and many more.

Located alongside the exhibition, the two conference theaters are focused on “Molding The Future” and “Designing The Future”.  They each feature busy two-day programs of keynote talks, panel discussions, and technology presentations. Admission to the conference theaters and the expo are free of charge.

“We have worked with the industry to compile programs that cover a wide range of important issues for the designers and manufacturers of injection-molded plastic parts and products,” explained Joe Pryweller, director of conference and event content at Crain Global Polymer Group.

Sean Manson, the senior conference producer at AMI, added: “Our selected speakers are covering a variety of critical themes and hot topics, such as digital manufacturing, tackling the skills shortage, strategies for business growth, factory automation, supply chain concerns, improving sustainability, design trends, cybersecurity, 3D printing and much more”.

The opening keynote presenters on the first day include Troy Nix, executive director of the Manufacturers Association for Plastics Processors (MAPP), whose talk is on “Working together to build a stronger molding industry in the USA”. In the other theater, Alper Kiziltas, technical expert for sustainability and emerging materials at Ford Motor Company is giving the keynote presentation on “Selecting materials for more sustainable vehicles”.

On the second day of the expo, the keynote speakers include Mark Gomulka, CEO of Westfall Technik, one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing injection molding groups. He’s covering “Growth and expansion in opportunistic times”. The other opening presentation is on “Transforming product design with innovative design thinking”. It will be given by Grey Parker, principal, and CEO at Sundberg-Ferar, a leading industrial design consultancy working across a range of markets, including automotive, home appliances, consumer electronics, medical, and packaging.

Both of the conference theaters will host a series of panel discussions featuring industry leaders debating key issues facing the molding supply chain. For example, the discussion on “What makes a successful molding operation?” will feature Patricia Miller, CEO of Matrix 4; Gary Hulecki, executive VP of MTD Micro Molding; and Mike Ruggieri, president of Comar.

It will be followed by a separate discussion on the future of mold making that will include: Laurie Harbour, president, and CEO of Harbour Results; Camille Sackett, VP of sales and project management at Accede Mold & Tool; plus Brian Bendig, president of Cavalier Tool & Manufacturing. Other hot topics being debated in the “Molding The Future Theater” include how the industry can tackle skills shortages and how it can respond to supply chain issues.

The “Designing The Future Theater” will host separate debates focused on trends in automotive, rigid packaging, and medical applications, plus a discussion on designing for sustainability. Speakers on these topics will include: Katie Roco, customer engineering director at Faurecia; Jeff Stout, executive director at Yanfeng Automotive Interiors; and Carla Bailo, president and CEO of the Center for Automotive Research; David Clark, VP, sustainability at Amcor: Diane Market, sustainability manager for consumer packaging at Berry Global; Jeff Totten, chief engineer at Cascade Engineering; Thierry Fabozzi, president and CEO of Plastic Technologies Inc (PTI); Megan Tsanoukakis, VP supply chain at Sussex Injection Molding; and Christian Herrild, director of growth strategies at Teel Plastics.

In between the panel discussions, there will be a series of technology talks from leading suppliers. These will cover topics such as: specifying hot runners; harnessing factory data; microcellular foam molding; lights-out automation; Industry 4.0; advanced control systems; innovations in process simulation; and selecting materials to minimize a product’s carbon footprint.

There will also be talks of specific applications and new technologies. For example, Gene Altonen, chief technology officer at iMFLUX, will discuss his company’s innovations in adaptive processing. In addition, Steve Beasley, regional sales manager at KraussMaffei will discuss the injection molding of lightweight door modules incorporating natural fiber prepreg sheets.

The two conference theaters at the Injection Molding and Design Expo 2022 are sponsored by CAE Services and Bristlecone. The current programs and timings can be viewed here. There will be an additional Training Theater at the expo hosting a series of practical seminars from some of the industry’s leading trainers and educators. The program for this will be published next month.

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