WASHINGTON, DC-The NPE2012 plastics exposition, which took place April 1-5 in Orlando, FL, exceeded NPE2009 in size, and it attracted more participants from outside the United States than any other NPE in history, says the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI), which produces the triennial event.

Taking place in a venue that marked a dramatic shift after four decades in Chicago, NPE2012 attracted 1,933 exhibitors, more than in each of the three previous NPEs. The total exhibit space occupied at NPE2012 was 939,972 square feet, or 23% greater than in 2009, which was adversely affected by the Great Recession. There was a 26% increase in attendance, as 55,359 plastics professionals participated in NPE2012. These visitors represented 19,283 unique companies, as against 18,600 at NPE2009.

Of total attendance in 2012, 26% came from outside the United States, a substantial increase compared with any previous NPE. Fully one-third of these international visitors came from Latin America, fulfilling SPI’s prediction that the new venue would attract more visitors fr

om that region than ever before. Also setting a new record for international participation was the number of exhibiting companies from outside the United States-approximately 750, or 40% of the total. China sent the most international exhibitors to NPE2012 by far-a little over 300, or 16% of all exhibitors. Another 8% came from the rest of Asia and the Mideast, and 10% came from Europe. Canada sent 72 exhibitors-the second-largest country total after China. The 28 exhibitors from Mexico and South America represented the largest contingent ever from Latin America.

“There was far more plastics processing equipment operating on the exhibit floor than in 2009, much greater attendance at the co-located conferences, and a larger and more exciting program of special events,”says William R. Carteaux, president and CEO of SPI. “In addition, both exhibitors and visitors gave SPI overwhelmingly positive feedback on the new venue in Orlando, supporting our decision to schedule both the 2012 and 2015 NPEs there.”

In 2015, NPE will again take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. Scheduled for March 22-26, NPE2015 will conclude 10 days prior to Easter and will not overlap the traditional Spring Break period.