North America’s leading technical foam expo reveals a vibrant, growing industry

Foam Expo 2018 closed its doors in March, having proved yet again that this is the must-attend event for everyone involved in the technical foam manufacturing supply chain. 

The show featured 291 exhibitors displaying cutting-edge technologies and concepts to 4,859 visitors including representatives of industry titans such as Nike, Honeywell, Ford, Toyota, Amazon, BASF, Apple and Bose. The event attracted considerable international interest, with attendees flying in from all over the world, including Mexico, Japan and China in addition to more local visitors from the USA and Canada. Werner Van Peteghem of Recticel explained why his company had travelled from Belgium to exhibit at the show: “It’s a global market. We’re an important player in Europe but we want to be much more global. There is so much we can learn from both continents because the issues are the same for everyone. That’s what brings us here.”

Many companies were exhibiting at Foam Expo for the second time, following their overwhelmingly positive experience at the inaugural event in 2017. Dimitri Dounis of NCFI, a manufacturer of spray, OEM and flexible polyurethane foam, spoke for all the returnees: “What brings us to the show is the success we had last year. This is a very good forum for us to meet with our suppliers, our partners in the supplier base as well as our suppliers within our customer base.” And Daniel Goellner, President of Manufacturers Supplies Co, agreed: “This is the second year in a row we have attended Foam Expo and we were totally booked solid with customers.”

Several firms had been so enthused by their visit to the first Foam Expo that they felt they had no choice but to become exhibitors in 2018. Recticel was one of these: “We visited the show last year and we were excited about it, so we decided to participate this year. It is very rare to find a fair that focuses on the industry that we’re in.”

Throughout the three days of the event, the show floor thronged with visitors keen to see the wide array of innovative new foam materials, products and manufacturing equipment on display. The vast exhibition space enabled companies to show off their technologies to their best advantage and gave visitors the chance to see the equipment in action. In fact, Manufacturers Supplies Company had five pieces of machinery running on the show floor. “When you do a trade show and you’re in the machinery business, you have to show the machines running. Anyone can visit a website, anyone can read a brochure, but when you see the machine running, you touch it, you feel it, you hear it, you understand how things work a lot better,” said the company’s President, Daniel Goellner.

Meanwhile, in the full-to-capacity conference, senior speakers from leading manufacturers and OEMs piqued delegates’ interest with their insights on a variety of industry hot topics, kicking off with a fascinating debate on industry trends and technology innovation in open-cell, closed-cell and beaded foam markets, with leading experts from IDTechEx, Woodbridge Foam Corporation, JSP and Zotefoams weighing in with their ideas and experience. Richard Collins, Technology Analyst at IDTechEx, was impressed by the level of debate: “It’s my first time at Foam Expo and it’s been a good experience. There’s a great range of exhibitors and tracks from academia through to industrial experts. The quality of conversation has been excellent.”

There were plenty of learning opportunities on the show floor too, with several exhibitors including Mactac, Rubberlite, XOnano Smartfoam and Intertek giving live product showcases of foam products ranging from adhesives and thermal testing, to resilience of engineered polyurethane products and conductivity of testing foams. Alexander Frenzl of Netzsch Instruments was delighted with the response to his company’s live demo: “We’ve had a lot of good conversations about our technology and we’re planning on coming back next year.”

With its focus on sustainability, recycling, lightweighting, product optimization and the many potential applications of foams, the two-track conference served as the perfect complement to the products and technologies on display on the show floor. As experts from Nitto Denko and Brüel & Kjaer debated sound-, thermal- and shock-absorption applications, exhibitors including Aftech, Dynamic Systems and Gaska Tape were attracting the attention of exhibition attendees with their cutting-edge vibration dampening solutions. Likewise, as the conference turned its attention to foam converting and fabrication best practice, cutting-edge fabrication technologies were also on display throughout the exhibition. EdgeSweets demonstrated its VPX vertical-profile saw, and afterwards the company’s President and CEO Rick Hungerford said he was pleased with the seniority and expertise of the visitors to the show: “We’re seeing a lot of decision makers, a lot of business owners, a lot of managers. Some of them aren’t even sure what they’re looking for; they’re just coming to see what’s new. And from that we’re getting into new conversations and new discussions. That’s exciting for us because we’re meeting some new people.”

A networking reception at the end of Day 2 gave exhibitors and visitors another opportunity to forge new industry connections. The party was hosted by Amcor, whose Executive Vice President Matt Powell was glad to see that the expo is going from strength to strength: “We’ve had a chance to meet with our existing customers and also make new connections. It’s really great to see Foam Expo is growing. It looks like next year’s going to be an even bigger show – we’ll definitely be back.”

As Foam Expo 2018 drew to a close, satisfied exhibitors reflected on the outstanding success of the show. The reaction of Keenan Buys of Foam Molders & Specialties was typical: “It’s been incredibly busy – we haven’t had a chance to stop!” Elsewhere, Jon Brandon Williams, Sales Manager at Precision Blades Inc, said he knew the show was a hit from the outset: “Day 1 was a tremendous success. With the number of customers we were able to meet, we generated enough business to cover our investment in the show – everything else was icing on the cake. We are already signed up for next year’s show and Foam Expo Europe.”

To find out more about participating in Foam Expo North America contact our team today on the details below:


Foam Expo North America:Foam Expo

Event Director: Jamie Reid
Phone: +44 1273 916 301