Now in its fourteenth year, this conference has become firmly established in the plastics community as the meeting place for processors, material suppliers, academics and end-users to exchange ideas and keep up-to-date with developments in this fast growing niche of the polymer sector. Changes in the foam blowing industry have been largely driven by environmental legislation - whether concerns over consumer safety, atmospheric protection or solid waste disposal and recycling. In their primary applications in consumer products, (such as cushioning for furniture and automobiles, thermal insulation for construction and packaging) polymer foams are being continually enhanced to replace dense solid polymers, reducing weight and costs. Indeed, strict energy regulations in most European countries have boosted the use of polymer foams in building and construction, automotive and aerospace sectors where foamed plastics are recognised for their performance and processing advantages as well as the obvious cost and weight savings. Other polymer foams offer functional applications such as sink mark reduction, increased stiffness, insulation properties and a closer natural surface appearance or structure.