From innovative packaging formats to advances in automation, the latest packaging and processing technology is on display and in-action at PACK EXPO every year. Take, for example, the developments we saw at the 2012 show in Chicago — and how they’ll affect food, beverage, confectionery and bakery and snack manufacturers. Here are some of the trends PMMI staff see setting the tone for 2013:

The Packaging Paradigm is Shifting

PACK EXPO International 2012 clearly demonstrated a shift in the way packagers see their operations. Instead of having converters produce and ship a limited range of container shapes and sizes to them, packagers are shifting to lightweight, flexible formats they can form in-line with filling, sealing, labeling and packing operations.

Evolution in the Digital Revolution

Mechanical systems are giving way to digital controls, brushless DC motors, servos and other modern control equipment. Today’s machinery can accomplish tasks such as automatically troubleshooting, resetting and/or repairing itself without human intervention. To an increasing degree, machines are connecting with the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) online for trouble shooting or to implement modifications, reducing or eliminating the need for onsite technical service.

Robotics on the Rise

Robots are increasingly used for a growing range of “fine motor skill” primary packaging applications including material handling and palletizing/depalletizing. Robots in case packaging operations might use long arms to handle several production lines simultaneously, or customized grippers that provide additional flexibility. Robots can be converted fairly easily as well, as application needs change.

Retail Ready Packaging

Today, creating retail-ready packaging is a common capability among manufacturers of case packers. Largely, that is because of U.S. retailers’ demands for set-ups that require fewer touches from store clerks and can be replenished quickly. The mantra “doing more with less” is driving many of today’s packaging operations. The demand for retail-ready packaging brings that point home.

This year, PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 (September 23-25; Las Vegas Convention Center) will be the go-to resource for the latest industry trends and innovation. The Processing Zone, The Brand Zone and market-specific pavilions and lounges will provide starting points and networking opportunities for professionals to find solutions to their day-to-day challenges. Registration is open and online at Admission to the show floor is $30 through Sept. 9 and $60 thereafter.


PMMI is a trade association representing 600+ packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through its various programs including: The PACK EXPO family of trade shows, PACK EXPO Connected Communities,, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events, educational programs and more.

PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas and EXPO PACK México, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: PACK EXPO Las Vegas at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Sept. 23–25, 2013; EXPO PACK México 2013 at Centro Banamex, Mexico City, June 18–21.

Learn more about PMMI and the PACK EXPO trade shows at and