Fall is here and with it comes the biggest tradeshow in our industry: PACK EXPO. This year the show is in Las Vegas, which means cool technology, warm nights and plenty of excitement at the show and on the strip. PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Pharma EXPO 2015 will feature over 800,000 net square feet of exhibit space filled with 30,000 registered attendees and technologies in action from over 2,000 exhibitors. The 20th anniversary edition of PACK EXPO Las Vegas, projects as the show’s largest edition yet, reports show owner and producer PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

In 1995, PMMI introduced the industry to PACK EXPO West, where exhibit space was about 200,000 net square feet — about 25% of this year’s event. Along with the size, the international flavor of the show has grown, with visitors from outside the United States making up 8.3% of the attendee base in 1995 and 18% at the most recent edition, in 2013.

Sneak a peek at the show floor

Fast-changing consumer preferences require a rapid response from manufacturers, driving demands for processing and packaging technologies that yield greater flexibility, sustainability and efficiency.

To help packaging brand owners, processors, and manufacturers easily locate the solutions and suppliers they need, PACK EXPO Las Vegas includes industry-specific pavilions and features such as the Contract Packaging Sourcing Center (Central Hall, Booth # C-1257) hosted by the Contract Packaging Association, The Baking-Snack Break Lounge (Upper South Hall, Booth # S-7427) hosted by the Biscuit and Cracker Manufacturers’ Association, The Beverage Cooler Lounge (Upper South Hall, Booth # S-7429) hosted by the International Society for Beverage Technologists and The Candy Bar Lounge (Upper South Hall, Booth # S-6500) hosted by the National Confectioners Association.

Don’t miss other show-floor features, including these:

The Brand Zone (Lower South Hall) will feature solutions to help manufacturers make strong, differentiating statements with their packaging. This pavilion will showcase the latest material and container innovations in a wide range of substrates, state-of-the-art labeling and decorating technologies, and re-sealing closures. The Brand Zone is also home to the Annual Showcase of Packaging Innovations, sponsored by Dow Chemical Company, which features an inspiring array of award-winning designs.

The Processing Zone (Upper South Hall) will highlight front-of-line processing solutions for manufacturers in sectors including the baking and snack, beverage, meat and poultry, dairy and confectionery industries. With more than 190 exhibitors showcasing processing solutions, it’s the perfect starting place to find technologies for increasing efficiency, achieving total system integration and ensuring safety.

The Reusable Packaging Pavilion (Lower South Hall), sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association, presents over 30 exhibitors who can help to reduce waste, cut costs and gain chain efficiency.

In addition to its aisle of technologies, PACK EXPO Las Vegas offers a wide range of education on the show floor at no charge. The Innovation Stage (Booth # C-1041) presents 30-minute seminars throughout the day, with focus on breakthrough technologies and techniques with applications in a wide variety of industries. The Food Safety Summit Resource Center (Booth # S-7632), presented by the Food Safety Summit, will offer talks by subject matter experts on best practices and recent advances in areas such as HACCP, food fraud, federal and state regulations, environmental monitoring, allergens and compliance with Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

At the Center for Trends & Technology (Booth C-4829), sponsored by Rockwell Automation and its Partner Network™, attendees can learn about the absolute latest advances that can improve production in exciting ways. The center will cover topics such as connected enterprise working environment, network connectivity, security, remote access, safety, serialization and line integration.

Take a look at some of the other innovations you can expect to see at the show:

Inline fat measurement machine cuts downtime by 25%
Eagle Product Inspection (Booth C-3803) will launch the Eagle™ FA3/M, featuring the latest generation of its Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). The latest DEXA technology provides inline fat measurement and contaminant detection while discerning between fat and lean portions for 100% of meat product throughput. With easy recalibration capabilities, the DEXA reduces changeover time up to 25% compared to standard fat analysis technologies with only manual reconfiguration capabilities.

Reducing costs in moving food products to higher elevations
The Dynamic Conveyer (Booth S-6212) DynaClean Vertical Z Conveyer is a cost-efficient solution for food processing facilities that need to move food products to higher elevations. The patented conveyer system is easier to clean and sanitize than traditional bucket elevators, resulting in lower cost of ownership and reduced downtime. The Vertical Z system is customizable to desired heights and includes widths up to 24 inches and a variety of belt styles.

Versatile vertical bagging
Batching Systems, Inc. (Booth C-2230) has improved its F series baggers by including controls from B&R Industrial Automation, a provider of enhanced systems solutions. The new F-250 Bagger is a versatile intermittent VFFS bagger with servo drive belts, and horizontal and vertical jaws. Batching Systems, Inc., will also offer a new BMIV Counter with an enhanced axis that analyzes 4,000 product scans per second and a fast automatic weigher with updated B&R controls.

Improved package coating enhances surface texture
The Filmquest Group (Booth S-8244) will introduce its CP-267 Series Ultra Low Gloss Soft Velvet Touch Matte coating for various packaging applications. The proprietary coating is typically applied to polyester, polypropylene, nylon films and other substrates. The gloss’ improved qualities include a unique soft velvet-touch surface texture, backside printability, high coefficient of friction (COF) and consistent ultra-low gloss and opacity levels.

Cost-efficient pharmaceutical integrity test system features easy setup
Pfeiffer Vacuum (Booth N-861) will introduce the AMI 120 in-line and non-destructive system for pharmaceutical tests. The highly sensitive system conducts real time quantitative leak measurements for contaminants such as humidity, oxygen and microbiological ingress. The system, which features high sensitivity, throughput and process control, is easy to set up and operate.

Transdermal patch x-ray inspection technology enables excellent contamination detection
Anritsu (Booth N-524) will unveil its new XR75 Transdermal Patch Inspection technology equipment, which was specifically designed for thin, low-density products. Anritsu’s HD imaging enables excellent contamination detection, virtual weighing and counting/missing detection. The X-Ray system detects patch products caught in the seal area and provides best-in-industry detection accuracy, versatility and flexibility. The XR75 is easy to operate, clean and maintain.

Keep flipping through our cover story for more new technologies to see while visiting PACK EXPO. See you in Las Vegas!

To get you ready for this year’s event, below is an excerpt from an exclusive interview Packaging Strategies conducted with Chuck Yuska in July. (As seen in the PACK EXPO Planner that mailed out in August).

Chuck Yuska

PS: PACK EXPO Las Vegas is in its 20th year as a show; how has the show changed in 20 years? What aspects of it are the same?

Yuska: The show has grown in both size and scope since its debut in 1995. The first-ever PACK EXPO Las Vegas, initially known as PACK EXPO West, featured 532 exhibitors and drew 9,334 attendees. By comparison, this year’s show will feature more than 2,000 exhibitors — taking up approximately four times the amount of floor space as in ’95 — and will draw around 30,000 attendees. Over the last 20 years, the show has evolved from a regional packaging equipment showcase to an event representing the entire packaging and processing universe.

One aspect of the show that remains consistent year after year is the return of industry-leading suppliers. We recently took a look at the exhibitors that were with us back in ’95 and found that 176 of them will have a presence at this year’s show. For PMMI, it’s so rewarding to see familiar faces dotting the aisles. Their return speaks to the strength, longevity and value of the partnerships facilitated at the show.


PS: Are there any new features to this year’s show?

Yuska: One very exciting feature of this year’s PACK EXPO Las Vegas will be the performance of the legendary rock band Chicago on the first night of the show, Monday, Sept. 28. They will perform at PACK gives BACK, a charity event benefitting the Fisher House Foundation. Fisher House provides military families with housing near a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury.

This year will also see the first co-location of Pharma EXPO, co-produced by PMMI and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE). The show will address the latest trends and technologies affecting each stage in the pharmaceutical packaging lifecycle.


PS: What are the benefits of Pharma EXPO’s co-location?

Yuska: The co-location with Pharma EXPO will enrich the experience of attendees beyond the pharmaceutical sector. The show will provide all attendees with an even greater number of exhibitors to draw on and will widen their network of peers. In this way, the presence of Pharma EXPO will foster what we call the “cross-pollination effect.” In other words, attendees and exhibitors from a diverse set of vertical markets will come together and learn how technologies and best practices from adjacent industries can apply to their own situations.