SPE ACCE 2018 preview
For the 18th time in as many years, the Society of Plastics Engineers’ (SPE, Bethel, CT, US) long-running Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) returns to the Diamond Banquet & Conference Center at the Suburban Collection Showplace (Novi, MI, US) in the Detroit suburbs, Sept. 5-7, to highlight innovations and applications in transportation composites. The three-day event combines multi-track technical presentations and an exhibit floor, plus panel discussions, student poster competitions, awards and more. The lively event typically draws more than 1,000 attendees from five continents who are passionate about advancing composites in mobility applications.
Not just automotive
Although its name describes the event’s original composites focus —automotive — attendees actually hail from a richer, more diverse range of transportation industries, including truck, bus, rail, off-highway, agricultural equipment and even aerospace, and also from the sporting goods market. The full supply chain is represented, from OEMs and tier suppliers to additive, resin and reinforcement suppliers and compounders, equipment providers, research organizations, universities and consultants.
The conference has managed to maintain a friendly feel even as it has grown to a much larger size, so networking opportunities are excellent and everywhere to be found. Organizers schedule regular breaks between sessions to encourage those attending the technical programs to get out and see exhibitors on the show floor, and networking receptions are held on the first two evenings. There’s even a pre-event golf outing for those who arrive early and want to start networking right away. Students from high school through post-doctoral studies are there to report their research and to learn about the industry — with many of them looking for jobs.
Seeing the big picture
To help the audience track key trends impacting transportation composites, conference organizers have scheduled two keynotes and three panel discussions. John Viera, global director – sustainability and vehicle environment, Ford Motor Co. (Ford, Dearborn, MI, US) will discuss “Sustainable Manufacturing at Ford and How Composites can Help to Address Industry Challenges,” and Mark Voss, engineering group manager – body structures advanced composites, and pickup boxes at General Motors Co. (Detroit, MI, US) will describe “The World’s First Carbon Fiber Pickup Box.”
Day 1 (Sept. 5) will feature a panel discussion on “How Can the Plastics Industry Profit from the Next Generation of Vehicles?” Confirmed panelists thus far include Jud Gibson, VP, commercial Americas, DSM Engineering Plastics (Troy, MI, US) and Paul Platte, manager – automotive and transportation, Covestro LLC (Pittsburgh, PA, US).
The panel discussion for Day 2 (Sept. 6) will focus on “How 3D Printing is Changing the Automotive Composites Business” and will feature Ellen Lee, technical leader – additive manufacturing/3D printing, Ford; Jeff LeGrange, chief commercialization officer, Impossible Objects Inc. (Northbrook, IL, US); and Kara Noack, regional business director, BASF 3D Printing Solutions NA (Heidelberg, Germany).
On the last day (Sept. 7), a final panel will focus on “Sustainable Materials Management & the Circular Economy in Automotive Applications.” It will include Debbie Mielewski, senior technical leader – sustainable materials and advanced materials, Ford; Jay Olson, global manager – materials engineering and technology, Deere & Co. (Moline, IL, US); Charlene Wall, director – sustainability, BASF; Don Wingard, senior research scientist – Wellman Advanced Materials (Johnsonville, SC, US); and Mike Saltzberg, global business director – biomaterials, DowDuPont (Midland, MI, US, and Wilmington, DE, US).
Organizers currently expect 80-90 regular technical papers distributed among 11 sessions:
- Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing;
- Advances in Reinforcement Technologies;
- Advances in Thermoplastic Composites;
- Advances in Thermoset Composites;
- Business Trends & Technology Solutions;
- Bonding, Joining & Finishing;
- Enabling Technologies (process/machinery);
- Opportunities & Challenges with Carbon Composites;
- Sustainable Composites (recycled, bio-based, and natural fiber-reinforced composites); and
- Virtual Prototyping & Testing.
Read more about the coming SPE ACCE event at the SPE Web site: speautomotive.com/acce-conference
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