SPE® Plastics for Life™ Global Parts Competition Guidelines

Marriott Rivercenter, San Antonio, TX, USA

We are excited to welcome global winners of plastic parts competitions sponsored by divisions, sections, and special-interest groups (SIGs) of the Society of Plastics Engineers International (SPE®) to compete in the annual SPE Plastics for Life™ global parts competition. Companies whose parts have won major competition awards during SPE events between February 2019 and February 2020, and whose parts are sponsored by the SPE group in which the part previously won an award are invited to resubmit their nominations for this prestigious global parts competition, which showcases innovative plastic design, materials, and processes that help make life better on planet earth. Final judging will take place during ANTEC® 2020.

To participate in the 2020 conference, please contact the SPE group that held the parts competition your part won and ask them to sponsor your part in the 2020 Plastics for Life parts competition. If they agree, then please read the guidelines carefully, complete the entry form in this document, and submit it by the deadline. If you are contacted and told your part is accepted into this year's competition, you will be provided shipping information to send your part in time for final judging at ANTEC® in March.


If your SPE division, section, or SIG sponsored a parts competition at an SPE Topical Conference), Minicon (mini-conference), or other special SPE event between February 2018 and February 2019, your group is eligible to sponsor up to 5 parts that were Grand Award and/or category award winners for the 2020 Plastics for Life™ global parts competition.

If your organization was involved in multiple parts competitions during the period in question, you may nominate different parts from multiple competitions as long as the total number of sponsored parts does not exceed 5 and a single part does not receive duplicate nominations in different categories. No part that has previously competed in a Plastic for Life™ competition is eligible to be re-nominated regardless of how it placed in the earlier competition and whether a different SPE group sponsors it.

Please work with the nominating company to get each sponsored part re-nominated for the 2020 competition, then submit the entry form for each nomination by the deadline so the part can be previewed by the judging panel. You will receive a confirmation receipt of the nomination and will forward details on where parts must be shipped in time for ANTEC® 2020 where final judging will take place.


Entries will be reviewed by a distinguished panel of judges comprised of media, past SPE presidents, SPE Fellows, and industry experts. Pre-judging will take place online several weeks before ANTEC® 2020.

Final judging will take place on site during the first three days of ANTEC® and winners of the competition will be announced at ANTEC®.

Parts will compete in 4 feature-based categories:

  • Protecting Life (preservation, safety, containment protection);
  • Quality of Life (mobility, communication, luxury/comfort, recreation, entertainment);
  • Improving Life (education, energy, opportunity, health); and
  • Sustaining Life (environmental, conservation, sustainability, recycling, reduction)

Nominating companies are encouraged to select the category they feel their part will compete best in, but SPE reserves the right for its judges to move a part into a more appropriate category.

The part that ranks highest among nominations in all 4 categories wins the 2020 Plastics for Life™ Grand Award, the event's most prestigious prize. The part that ranks second-highest in the category vacated by the Grand Award winner becomes the new winner of that category.

Additionally, a 6th award, the People's Choice prize, is selected by ANTEC® attendees who are not SPE employees, members of the Plastics for Life™ committee, or its blue-ribbon judges.

A single part may not win more than one category award or the Grand Award. However, one part may win both People's Choice and a category or Grand Award, since judges and judging criteria are different.


  1. Previous SPE Award Winners: To be eligible to compete in the Plastics for Life™ global parts competition, nominated parts must both (1) previously have won a category or a competition award at an SPE Topical Conference, Mini Conference, or another SPE event held between February 2018 and February 2019 and (2) be sponsored by an SPE division, section, or SIG. Nominations may be submitted by either the nominating company or by the sponsoring SPE division, section, or SIG, but only sponsored nominations will be accepted and they must be received by the deadline. The sponsoring SPE group should indicate on each nomination form the name of the award the part has won, as well as the name, date(s), and location of the SPE event during which the competition was held. To recognize all members of the supply chain that helped bring innovation to market, nominating teams are requested to include OEM, tier supplier, molder, resin supplier, reinforcement supplier (if appropriate), toolmaker, and designer (if appropriate) on entry forms. If the molding process used to produce the part is not immediately obvious, that information should be included as well.
  2. Limit of 5 Sponsored Parts per SPE Division/Section/SIG: If a given SPE group participated in more than one parts competition between February 2019 and February 2020, parts from multiple competitions may be submitted as long as the maximum of 5 sponsored parts per group is not exceeded. Should two or more SPE groups sponsor the same part, the nomination that was received first will be accepted into the competition and all other nominations of the same part will be rejected even if submitted by different nominating companies. These rules have been designed to encourage and foster a diversity of industries, materials, processes, and companies participating in the competition and will be strictly enforced.
  3. Commercially Available Applications: All nominations submitted to the Plastics for Life global parts competition must be of parts that are already commercially available when nominated and not developmental or not one-off samples.
  4. OEM Approval Required: The nominating company ― if not the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) who produces the component on which the part is used ―must both (1) secure OEM approval to participate in the competition and (2) secure OEM approval of information contained in the nomination form. Winning parts will be publicized by SPE using information provided by the nominating parties. In the lead up to the competition, SPE also reserves the right to publicize any or all of the nominations submitted to the 2020 competition. Therefore, it is imperative that no sensitive information, diagram, photo or video be disclosed on the entry form, which will be seen by the judges as well as the general public. Entries that are received without confirmation of OEM approval will be rejected from the competition.
  5. Nomination Write-ups Require Technical Details: Please help your part nomination compete well by being succinct, technical, and including detail about what makes the part novel and how it has advanced the current state of the art. You may include photos (standalone jpgs or images dropped into MSOffice® files), links to online videos, white papers, fliers, and other background information on what makes your part innovative and novel. Nominations that are too marketing focused and lacking in technical detail typically do not fare well in the competition with our panel of experienced and knowledgeable judges. SPE reserves the right to reject any supplemental materials deemed to be inappropriate for the competition.
  6. Select the Best Competition Category: Nominating companies are asked to select 1 category among the 4 that they feel best describes the way their part makes life better. However, SPE reserves the right to re-categorize a submission if the committee believes the part will compete better in another category and/or to better balance the number of entries in each of the 4 categories. A total of 6 awards will be announced at a special press conference on the last day of ANTEC® as previously noted.
  7. Part for Display: In addition to the nomination packet that is emailed, a physical part and a hard copy of the nomination packet must be supplied for each nomination accepted into the 2020 competition and be available for final judge viewing at ANTEC® 2020. Nominating companies will receive details from Scott Marko about where to ship the part and when it must be received as well as how to repack the parts and ship them home after the competition ends.

    We suggest and encourage representatives from all nominating companies to attend the competition to (1) learn how their nomination does in the competition and (2) accept any award they might win in person during the press conference (with on-site photographer). However, we require that nominating companies or their paid agents hand deliver parts to the event or retrieve parts that have been shipped into show management, bring them to the parts competition area, and unpack them. Assistance is available from show management for a fee. Additional details will be provided when we receive your nomination. After the competition and press conference are over (details on timing to be provided at a later date when logistics are available), the same representative or agent will need to collect the part from the display area, repack it, and ship it back to the nominating company. Again, assistance is available for a fee from show management if a company representative is not available to attend.

    Please note: nominating companies must bear the cost to ship parts to and from ANTEC®. Companies shipping parts from outside the US must include proper customs documentation and, in the case of large parts, may need to retain the services of a custom broker to help the package clear customs in time to arrive at the conference before the show begins.

    Nominations involving small-to-medium-size parts will be displayed on folding tables at the competition along with hard copies of the nomination background materials (supplied by the nominating company when the part is shipped). Parts that are too large to fit on a standard 6 feet/1.8 meters folding table and that are not self-supporting must be supplied with a display frame or other support structure to ensure the part does not fall over and harm a judge or conference guest. Please note that no electrical hookup/power will be available for parts displayed at the 2020 event.
  8. Release to Publish: Submitters and individual category winners may receive publicity in trade journals and other print or online publications. Submission of an entry constitutes acceptance of said publicity and confirms that the submitter has secured the necessary OEM approvals to participate in the parts competition and to be featured in any subsequent publicity.
  9. Release of Liability: Submission of an entry releases from liability, indemnifies, and holds harmless the Society of Plastics Engineers International, its directors, employees, and volunteers or agents representing the Society in whole or in part. This release is for any and all liability for property losses and/or damage occasioned by or in connection with any activity or accommodations for this event.

    Submission of an entry also constitutes acceptance of the rules and regulations promulgated by the Society and/or its affiliate groups or vendors throughout the conference event.
  10. Deadlines: The initial part nomination form and background materials must be received by midnight Eastern US time on March 6, 2020. The deadline for receiving physical parts and hard copies of the nomination background materials at the conference is March 26, 2020. Shipping details will be provided in the confirmation email of your submission acceptance.  For questions on logistics, please contact Scott Marko.
  11. Incomplete Applications: Nomination write-ups that do not follow the competition rules and /or that are deemed to be incomplete when received will be rejected and returned to the submitter for completion, assuming there is time. Therefore, early submission is recommended in case the review committee has a question or discovers something is missing.

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