Plastic Pipes XV Conference Slated for September in Canada

The upcoming Plastic Pipes XV Conference (PPXV) organized by the Plastic Pipes Conference Association (PPCA) and scheduled for Sept. 20-22, 2010, in Vancouver, BC, Canada, will be another progressive benchmark indicating the steadfast popularity of this international event despite the trend for industry conferences to shrink.

According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research Index, the exhibition industry declined 12.5 percent during 2009. Contrary to that trend, PPXV is experiencing renewed interest from presenters, sponsors and exhibitors, as well as burgeoning attendance. This has resulted in an increase from two and half days to three full days of concurrent session presentations from authors representing nearly every continent.     

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More than 20 years ago, the conference organizers set a course to explore prevailing issues which is still being followed today and is responsible for the conference’s longevity, evolution and relevance.

“Our continued success is due to the original concept developed by the founders of the PPCA to keep our event directed at topics that are influencing our industry,” stated David Walton, who is currently with Borouge Pte, Ltd. as the marketing manager for Pipe Resins and a long-time supporter of the conference, as well as helping to form the PPCA, which now runs the conference. “This year, for example, there will be an emphasis on no-dig technologies and sustaining our natural resources.”

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More than 500 delegates representing 45 countries are anticipated to attend this bi-annual event, which is only held in North America every four years. Sessions will be held in a concurrent format giving attendees a choice of topics. More than 100 speakers are expected to present on topics ranging from energy and irrigation, to installation practices and material advancements.

“The appeal of the conference for attendees has been its dual seminar track and because the technical papers that are being presented are the primary function of the event. This means that attendees can pick and choose between topics of their personal greatest interest from a comprehensive agenda. Plus, it is a conference for the industry organized by industry, so participants know they will hear experts who are coming from the front lines and can engage peers in discussion about the most current or controversial of developments, ” said Stephen Boros, PPXV organizing committee chairman.

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Boros has an extensive background in plastic piping and is also the technical director for The Plastics Pipe Institute (PPI). The PPI is a Texas-based non-profit, major trade association representing all segments of the plastic piping industry dedicated to expanding awareness and promoting plastics as the material of choice for pipe applications.

“The PPCA consists of the Plastics Pipe Institute, PE100+ and PVC4Pipes associations so we are a well-rounded organization that represents interests from all over the world and spans many plastic materials used in piping applications. This year’s event has been expanded to three full days to allow for more of these sessions. At this time, some 110 papers are slated to be presented as well as more than 20 poster presentations,” Boros stated.

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Subjects to be covered include all applications in which differing plastics and pipe materials are being utilized and explored including water, natural gas, plumbing, drainage, mining, and an array of industrial applications to name only some. Use of plastic piping materials such as polyethylene (PE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), cross-linked polyethylene (PEX), polyamide (PA) and others, as well as thermoplastic composite piping for high pressure applications, will be analyzed  during conference events.    

“The original conference was really a series of seminars organized at a university by the Institute of Materials and held in the United Kingdom. It was highly academic,” stated Walton. “I became chairman in about 1990 and Jeremy Bowman, a long-time expert in plastic piping development and currently with Radius  Systems Ltd. in the United Kingdom, was the vice chairman. We wanted to bring it to Europe and make it a bit bigger.

Later we decided to alternate between Europe and North America, which has also been very positively received — we get a core of people who attend each conference regardless of where it’s held. About a third always attend in either place. And this year in Vancouver we’re expecting a fairly large delegation from Asian countries and the China Plastic Pipe Association who will present a few papers that will pay dividends to all attendees.”

According to Bowman, “The structure of the Organizing Committee has been progressively changed. Originally 100 percent were ‘Brits’, and now for the European events they are a minority. And that change in the Committee signifies  the success of the ‘Internationalization’ of the event, re-enforced by the linking of the European and American events.

“In addition, the science and the engineering behind our industry tend to rise in complexity and in the early 1990’s we felt one of the problems would be that the event would become specialized in the science, and the engineering aspects would become so advanced and so abstract that not many people could take it in. So we developed two parallel streams, one of which encompasses that important engineering and science segment like the advances in material science, and the other that focuses on end-use applications and innovative case studies.

“We did eventually add a small exhibition aspect to the conference,” Bowman continued, “but we make sure that it remains subservient to the conference and that  we will supply more application oriented presentations without sacrificing the science — we never want to move away from that base. The conference and the papers being presented are the primary function.”

The exhibit hall will contain displays with details about the advancements in plastic pipe testing, design and manufacturing. PPXV will be held in conjunction with the American Gas Association’s Plastics Materials Committee meeting.

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The upcoming Plastics Pipes Conference will be held in Vancouver, BC, Canada, September 20-22, 2010.  The conference alternates between Europe and North America.  More than 500 delegates representing 45 countries are expected to attend this year.