Green Manufacturing Expo Disappointing

The Green Manufacturing Expo Canada opened today at the Toronto Congress Centre. The event is co-located with five other trade shows: PackEx Toronto, a major packaging equipment expo; Plast-Ex, a major Canadian plastics processing equipment show; Automation Technology Expo Canada; Process Technology for Industry Canada; and Design and Manufacturing Canada; but Gallondaily attended specifically for the Green Manufacturing Expo Canada.

Unfortunately the Green Manufacturing Expo, tagged as Canada’s Industry Resource for Sustainable Manufacturing, was pretty unimpressive. There was no green manufacturing section on the enormous show flow and green manufacturers located throughout the expo were identified only by a green flash in the show catalogue and, in some cases, by a small green manufacturing label on the display counter. In most cases the label was the only mention of green manufacturing on the display. We asked a few of the staff at booths with the green manufacturing label what it was about their product offerings that made them green: some did not know, some mentioned improved energy efficiency, and some proposed green attributes that made little or no sense. Only a few had any concept of the attributes that might be expected of a green manufacturer or a green industrial product.

Like all kinds of equipment, the latest plastics and packaging equipment is often more energy and material efficient than older equipment. That is a positive, but not necessarily enough to qualify it as a green technology, which Gallondaily and Canadian government regulators would define as technology that has a significantly lower environmental footprint than similar new mainstream equipment.

Some of the packaging equipment was designed to provide more packaging from less material. Some of the motors and valves were more energy efficient than the industrial fleet average. The most interesting piece of equipment that Gallondaily noticed was a 3-D printer that printed with a plastic resin and something like an ink jet printhead to build up with microscopically thin layers a 3-D model of almost anything you could depict on a computer screen. When we went by it was printing a 3-D model of theEiffel Tower – impressive and conserving of materials compared to conventional model building but perhaps on the border of what one might consider a green manufacturing technology. Then again, perhaps in future we will be building our own computers and steaks using somewhat similar printing technology.

Gallondaily would generally see it as a positive that a mainstream industry show has a significant green theme but frankly we were not convinced that the Toronto Plast-Ex and PackEx shows this year have enough green content of any kind to qualify as a Green Manufacturing Expo. For those who are thinking that by attending the Green Manufacturing Expo  they will get to see the latest in green manufacturing and green products from green manufacturing we suggest you will likely be quite disappointed unless you are also interested in plastics fabricating and/or packaging. We think that Canadian green manufacturers can do much better than this show.

The six co-located expos continue on Wednesday June 22 until 5.00pm and Thursday June 23 until 4.00pm at the Toronto Congress Centre on Dixon Road  not far from Pearson Airport. Show details are at http://www.canontradeshows.com/expo/packex11/

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