PACK EXPO International and the co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO take place October 14–17 in Chicago. The show will bring together more than 2,500 exhibitors and 50,000 packaging industry professionals covering 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space. 

If you are new to PACK EXPO International and all it entails, you’ve come to the right place. Here are tips and just a snippet of what you will see on the floor. 

First-Timer Tips

  1. Book your hotel early. Visit the PACK EXPO International Hotel Reservation Office (Expovision) for the best rates.
  2. Come with a plan. Use My Show Planner and the mobile app to create an agenda of exhibitors you want to see.
  3. Download the mobile app to keep your plan and other information handy.
  4. Leave time open in your schedule for educational sessions.
  5. Pick up a Show Guide when you arrive at the convention center.
  6. Remember to pack your badge, lanyard and comfortable walking shoes.

The First-Timer’s Lounge is a great place to enjoy free refreshments, planning assistance, comfortable seating and charging stations — and meet others new to the show. Room S-104a

All of the resources listed above can be found at

Sunday, October 14 

  • Exhibit hall open-  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • The Forum presentations-  11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • Innovation Stage seminars-  12:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Monday, October 15 

  • Exhibit hall open-  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Innovation Stage seminars-  10:00 a.m.  – 3:30 pm
  • The Forum presentations-  10:30 a.m. – 4:30 pm
  • PACK gives BACK-  4:30 p.m. reception, 5:30 p.m. performance

Tuesday, October 16 

  • Exhibit hall open-  9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • Innovation Stage seminars-  10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
  • The Forum presentations-  10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
  • Industry receptions-  3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Wednesday, October 17 

  • Exhibit hall open-  9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • Innovation Stage seminars-  10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • The Forum presentations-  10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

PACK EXPO International brings together industry professionals from around the world to catch up on the latest technologies and trends. Registration, which includes access to both PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO, is $30 until Sept. 28, after which the price increases to $100. For more information and to register, visit or


PACK EXPO International 2018


PMMI’s Jim Pittas Shares Highlights and Trends

Following is an excerpt from an interview with Jim Pittas, president of PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, as seen in the PACK EXPO International Show Planner, September 2018.

What are some highlights for PACK EXPO International this year?

Highlights include the debut of the PACKage Printing Pavilion, which will showcase the latest in digital printing. The new pavilion will focus on the advantages of digital printing, geared toward short-run, on-demand, cost-effective, variable data and personalized packaging.  

The first-ever Technology Excellence Awards will recognize 
the most innovative technologies at the show that have never-before been seen at a PACK EXPO. Attendees will be able to vote on their favorites among the finalists selected in different market segments. 

The Forum provides attendees an interactive learning experience, free of charge. The Forum will feature sessions on the latest industry trends followed by small group discussions and Q&A sessions. 

How is PACK EXPO evolving along with the packaging industry?

As consumer demands for convenience, flexibility and personalization grow, the packaging industry continues to design solutions to meet these expectations. PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO bring these innovations to life and provide an opportunity to see new developments in action. Additionally, beyond the technologies exhibited on the show floor, attendees find tremendous educational opportunities at the Innovation Stage, where suppliers present free 30-minute seminars on the latest trends and breakthrough technologies. 

Are there any major trends that will drive changes in the packaging industry in the foreseeable future?

As consumer trends evolve, they drive continuous change and innovation in the packaging industry. With digital printing, for example, flexible packaging converters are incorporating the technology in creative and novel ways. Experts predict that by the end of the decade, most packaging printing equipment will be powered by at least some form of digital printing technology.

As sustainability has also become a priority, consumers demand even more of packaging materials. Companies are spending more on packaging made of sustainable materials, including recycled corrugated cardboard, recycled high-density polyethylene (rHDPE) and recycled polyethylene (rPET) film, according to PMMI’s “2017 State of the Industry U.S. Packaging Machinery Report.”

What are the prospects for packaging machinery sales in the coming year? 

The packaging industry is strong and forecast for growth. According to the PMMI report, the value of U.S. domestic shipments is estimated to have been worth $7.73 billion in 2016, and is forecast to grow at a CAGR of 2.2 percent to $8.8 billion by 2022. The pharmaceuticals sector is forecast to grow the fastest at a CAGR of 3.6 percent, followed by food (including nutraceuticals), forecast to grow at a CAGR of 2.3 percent by 2022. 

How successful has PMMI been in establishing better industry communications and standards through its OpX Leadership Network? 

The OpX Leadership Network bridges the communications gap between manufacturers and machine builders with the development of work products addressing specific industry needs. Nearly 20 work products have been published so far, for the industry and by the industry, that establish a common framework for discussions between suppliers and customers. 

Most recently, OpX released a template for simplifying the request-for-proposal process, developed jointly by manufacturers and OEMs. The next release will be a guideline for selecting the most appropriate methods for OEMs to remotely access equipment installed in manufacturing operations.

Attendees can learn more at the show and during The Forum at PACK EXPO.


Jim Pittas
Jim Pittas


Exhibitor Sneak Peek

Some of the innovations attendees will discover on the show floor. 

Filling System Focuses on Employee Safety

Robatech Gluing Technology


Robatech Gluing Technology (Booth S-4352) has committed to employee safety in the deployment and use of its new RobaFeed 3 automatic filling system. The operator is protected from burns, a potential danger during the filling of hot melt systems reaching 200 degrees Celsius, and the system ensures increased line efficiency and cost reduction. Robatech highlights legal, economic and moral reasons for enhanced employee protections.

Container Forming Machine Offers Flexibility

Paper Machinery Corporation


Paper Machinery Corporation (Booth S-1608) has introduced its 2500S, a servo driven cup and container forming machine with the ability to form shapes and sizes, non-round and round from 4 oz. to 46 oz. The 2500S is equipped with a quick-change tool, ideal for start-ups and limited runs. This capability has differentiated the 2500S from other cup and container forming machinery, answering the demand for a short run machine based on industry needs.

Digital Label Press Streamlines Printing Processes

The Afinia Label DLP-2100 digital label press


The Afinia (Booth S-4336) Label DLP-2100 digital label press allows the user to print, laminate, die cut, remove waste, slit and rewind labels using one machine. The all-in-one machine is simple to operate, has a large capacity, and can print and finish labels up to 60 feet per minute. Harnessing the capacity of both Memjet technology and RotoMetrics, the DLP-2100 produces precise, quick and quality results at an economical rate.

Thermoformer Seals 10 Packaging Styles

Ossid FP-420


Ossid (Booth S-3636) introduces the FP-420, a middle-market thermoforming machine for meat and seafood that produces more than 10 styles of packaging on a single machine. Formats include vacuum skin pack, vacuum and modified atmosphere. The FP-420 operates at between 5 and 10 cycles per minute, conforms to IP 65 washdown standard, is easy to operate and fast to changeover. This machine includes production reporting capabilities and the option for secure remote diagnostics. 

Midrange Endload Cartoner Designed for High Food Safety Standards

Bosch Packaging Technology


Bosch Packaging Technology (Booth S-3514) is launching the new Kliklok MEC. The new midrange endload cartoner (MEC) features a future-proof sanitary design, tool-less changeover and easy operator access. It packs up to 170 cartons per minute and is designed for the highest food safety standards and maximum production levels. The MEC can handle a wide range of carton sizes, for products as small as a ¾-inch thick single-serve pizza to a 4-inch-tall cake.

New Sealing Technology with Open Layout 

Schubert's Flowmodul flow-wrapping


Schubert's (Booth E-8730) latest model variant of the Flowmodul flow-wrapping component features a more open machine layout, for easy access of maintenance and cleaning. A greater selection of sealing technologies is available as well. The flying transverse sealing unit is flexible and ensures that sealing times remain constant. If hermetically sealed packages are required, the sealing time can be set accordingly. The flow-wrapping component can be operated together with the entire line via a single HMI interface.

Advancements in Films Show Promise

Toray Plastics (America) Inc.


Toray Plastics (America) Inc. (Booth N-6275) will feature advancements in three families of packaging films — Torayfan clear barrier BOPP, Torayfan white BOPP, and Lumirror high barrier PET. The portfolios are manufactured with Toray’s proprietary technology. Film features include thin and ultra-thin offerings, transparent high-barrier, metallized to replace foil, a white pigmented appearance, biobased materials, integrated sealant technology with improved hermeticity and seal strength, easy-open packaging and lidding, “premium feel” outer webs, and solutions for digital printing and e-commerce applications.

Combo Checkweigher and X-ray System Detects “Invisibles”

METTLER TOLEDO CX35 Combichecker


METTLER TOLEDO (Booth S-1735) is bringing its latest CX35 Combichecker to the show. This inspection system links the C35 checkweigher with the advanced X33 X-ray inspection system. By combining checkweighing and X-ray inspection technology, the CX35 is able to detect and reject contaminants such as glass, plastic and bone that are “invisible” to metal detectors. The new system will also speed inspection time and reduce space requirements on production lines, increasing productivity.

Packaging Laminate Can Help Reduce Plastic Waste



Mondi (Booth E-7730) will present numerous innovations, including BarrierPack Recyclable, which can help reduce plastic packaging waste through recycling. This plastic laminate for pre-made pouches and FFS roll-stock is fully recyclable without any compromise of quality or functionality. Another offering is Ultra-HD printing, a new printing approach that incorporates an advanced separation technology, dramatically improving the vividness of flexographic printing. Two industrial bags will also be featured: Peel Pak and HYBRIDPRO bag.

New Cobots Feature Sensing, Safety and Precision

Universal Robots e-Series cobots


Universal Robots’ (Booth E-7941) new e-Series cobots come with a new built-in, tool-centric force/torque sensor for force control right out of the box. The new series also has a re-designed intuitive and responsive touch user that reduces programming to a few clicks on a lightweight wide-screen pendant. The e-series platform tool power supply now supports up to 2A of peak current. The line adds four additional digital inputs with an associated interface for use with conveyor tracking.

Labeler Offers Solutions Based on Needs 

Sidel EvoDECO labeling solutions


Sidel (Booth S-2901) is previewing the new EvoDECO labeling solutions, available as a modular multi-technology or dedicated-technology equipment, designed for flexibility and performance. The labelers give producers the ability to choose solutions based on their specific labeling needs and output levels. Another technology is the Super Combi, which integrates five process steps into one system: preforms feeder, blowing, labeling, filling/capping and caps feeder. Sidel is as part of the Sidel Group exhibit, along with Gebo Cermex.

Automating MAP Packaging for Bread

JLS Automation


JLS Automation (Booth N-5342) introduces an automated solution for fresh bread packaging. The new system comprises the company’s Talon robotic pick-and-place system and a new robotic end-of-arm-tool. Together, the system loads full sliced loaves into a thermoformer for MAP packaging. A conveyor with special guides ensures the sliced loaves are handled gently and presented to the Talon efficiently and intact. With four levels of sanitary construction, the machine is washdown ready.