PDM ‘09

Justin Cunningham takes a look forward to the UK's premier plastics exhibition

The UK's flagship plastics show is back for another year. The plastic design and moulding (PDM) 2009 exhibition will be held at the International Centre in Telford between 19th and 21st May.

For visitors, it is free to attend and will play host to all the major players in the industry, which will be on hand to show off the latest innovations and answer questions.

"PDM is at the forefront of connecting the design community with traditional plastics manufacturers and this country's excellence in plastics innovation and engineering," says Steve Crowhurst the event director. "We are offering visitors a vibrant source of information, education and inspiration as well as practical advice on how plastics businesses can survive and prosper in the current downturn."

Two of the underlining themes that will no doubt be on the minds of many visitors are sustainability and questions about the recession. As well as taking in the multitude of stands and networking, designers are encouraged to attend conference seminars that will be held everyday in both the morning and afternoon.

The morning sessions will take on the form of a Question Time style debate that will discuss the key issues and topics facing the industry. Amongst them will be product designers as well as a look forward to the hurdles facing the industry.

"Sustainability is very important for the plastics industry," says David Eldridge editor of Plastics and Rubber Weekly heading up the event. "We are aiming to promote plastics. It is a way of showing, despite all of the publicity plastics can get in this day and age, plastics are vital for certain products in modern life.

The exhibitioners will include manufacturers, suppliers and material developers. The aim is bring the design community together with the rest of the supply chain.
"The other thing the show promotes is trying to allow people to discuss how to move the plastics industry forward and meet the challenges and also to make the most of the opportunities out there," says Eldridge.

The afternoon sessions will feature case studies covering these topics. Among these will be a session on Wednesday 20th May discussing design trends. Plastics are often used to add a visual touch but plastic material selection should always be combined with functionality as well as cost and manufacture considerations.
But the vast array of options can often leave designers overwhelmed and unsure which material is right for them. This session aims to set out clear steps and will focus on the trends of material selection and the reasons behind the choice.

Thursday's session will give delegates practical advice about getting a product off the drawing board and into production. The Moulding Innovations debate will look at the innovations that have become available for plastic moulding technology. It will give detailed case studies about how various companies have approached this and what they did to make it a success.

The Design in Detail – Consumer sessions will again feature real product design experiences to drill down into the issues involved in getting products off the ground.

The Design in Detail sessions at the PDM 09 conference will use real product design experiences to drill down into the issues involved in getting a product design off the drawing board and into production.

It will also highlight some new manufacturing processes that have lead to breakthroughs in designs for new product development. Last year's debate discussed gas assisted moulding, in-mould labelling and the latest processes to mould anti-counterfeiting features into plastics products. An assembled panel of technical experts will field questions after each session.

In the sessions, partners in a project will present case studies of how they moved from a design concept, through all development stages to manufacturing. These case studies will provide valuable insight into issues that were addressed during the project, such as polymer material selection, tooling and processing challenges, project co-ordination and more.

The limitless possibilities of plastics – shape, colour and feel – play a vital part in the consumer experience of a product. This Design in Detail session will allow PDM 09 visitors to find out how a great design was brought to life by intelligent use of plastic materials.


19th Moulding business debate – moulding companies, aimed at manufacturing side and challenges they are racing

20th Design debate – plastics design and challenges facing designers

21st Moulding innovations debate – state of the art and research institution on panel

Justin Cunningham

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