CLEVELAND—After consecutive weak exhibitions, the ACS Rubber Division's Rubber Expo has returned to its former splendor, according to the executive director of the association.
“The Rubber Division expo is back where it used to be,” said Edward L. Miller, who also described the technical conference at the International Exhibition Center in Cleveland Oct. 11-13 as “fantastic.”
“I've been talking to a number of exhibitors and attendees. They really love this show,” Miller said.
During the recession, the division suffered through declines in attendance and exhibitor participation in 2009—which included a major Rubber Expo in Pittsburgh—and 2010, when the smaller exhibition took place in Milwaukee.
“Every indicator is that we are on the rise again—we being the industry as well as the Rubber Division,” he said.
The numbers were way up from the last two years, with about 30-40 percent more attendance than the Pittsburgh conference and expo. While participation didn't hit the 6,000 mark as predicted earlier, Miller said he had anticipated attendance would be in the 4,000- 5,000 range.
“We'll have about 4,300-4,400. That's right where I thought it would be,” he said.
The association had 240 exhibitors, some signing up right before the convention. The educational program was oversold, and attendance at the technical program was strong, Miller said.
“What's not to like?” he said.
Walter Waddell, Rubber Division chairman from ExxonMobil Chemical Co., said before the show began, the organizers already knew it would be a successful event, based on preregistration and booth purchases. He said 500 people preregistered for the 116-paper technical sessions.
This year's event included, for the first time, an Advanced Materials in Health Care show and technical sessions, with the Rubber Division tying in with the “medical corridor” efforts of Northeast Ohio. Miller said the results were positive, and the medical component helped bring some exhibitors back that had dropped out of the exhibition.
The executive director said he had been concerned that the I-X Center's location, a 30-40 minute bus ride from the downtown Cleveland hotels, might be a problem. However, the city and the IX Center stepped in with a frequently run shuttle service.
“I haven't heard an exhibitor or attendee tell me something bad. It's all been good,” Miller said.
The division next year will meet in San Antonio in spring, and in fall in Cincinnati, with a smaller exhibition. In 2013, it will hold its spring meeting in Akron, and return to Cleveland in fall for the major expo.