With the recession already under way, the combined shows Pack Expo, Process Expo and Converting & Package Printing Expo drew 44,115 buyer attendees — down only 3 percent from the 2006 megashow — in their five-day November run at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Given the state of the economy, officials of the three associations behind the expo said they were satisfied.
“In today’s current economic conditions, having a slightly lower attendance than the 2006 show is the reality,” said Charles Yuska, president/CEO of Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute. “The good news is that the leads data clearly indicates that attendees came with specific projects in mind and focused their time and attention on finding suppliers that can address their immediate packaging concerns.”
However, shortly after show, Steve Schlegel quit as president/CEO of the Food Processing Suppliers Assn., sponsor of Process Expo. No explanation was given by the association. George Melnykovich, longtime co-president remained in charge.
There were 67,964 total attendees, counting exhibitor personnel, at the combined shows. International attendees (5,645) and exhibiting companies (2,281) also were down just less than 10 percent, although square footage was up slightly, to just more than 1.3 million sq. ft.
This year’s theme was “Change, Innovation and Sustainability,” and there was heavy emphasis on the last. Daily keynote speakers addressed the movement to more environmentally friendly packaging. Those speakers were Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, packaging director at Sam’s Club and co-manager of Wal-Mart’s Sustainability Value Network, and Robert Parvis, packaging manager at Sam’s Club; Betsy Cohen, vice president of sustainability for Nestlé; Trevor Cusworth, a director at Deloitte Consulting; and Glenn Wright, commercial vice president, Dow Chemical Co.
Following are some of the products introduced at the show.
Lightweighting the package
PrimaPak debuted as part of the company’s EarthClear packaging line. It’s designed to replace traditional jars, bottles and cans with similar-looking but significantly lighter packages formed from rollstock with top and (optional) bottom fitments. In one example, a 16-oz. package for peanuts, a glass jar would weigh 400g (material weight alone), a composite can 68g, PET jar 62g, and PrimaPak would weigh 19g. Thousands of trucks could be eliminated resulting in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption.
Clear Lam Packaging; www.clearlam.com
Identified foreign objects
A powerful new tool for food processors and packers looking to maximize food safety and assure product quality through tracking and control of foreign material, FM Alert enables the company’s G6 optical sorters to capture and save a digital image of every object identified as foreign material. Armed with these images, processors can quickly identify critical quality problems and take corrective action. Software can be customized to capture images of objects that match specific criteria for size, shape, color and structural properties.
Key Technology Inc.; www.key.net
A completely hydraulic, microprocessor controlled, multi-outlet forming machine, the 745 combines accurate weight control, minimum leakage, and quick changeovers with mobility. The Food Forming Machine’s portable design allows it to be transported to wash-down departments or other areas in the plant. It can run beef, pork, poultry, fish, vegetables and cheese.
NuTec Manufacturing; www.nutecmfg.com
Homogenizer for emulsions
A horizontally mounted, five-piston positive displacement pump with built in homogenizing device, Tetra Alex 350 is suitable for high-pressure homogenization of emulsions and suspensions. Applications include pasteurized milk, UHT milk, cream, yogurt, condensed milk, ice cream mix, fruit juices, concentrates, purees, tomato products, dressings, ketchup, liquid egg, mayonnaise, sauces and gravies.
Tetra Pak Inc.; www.tetrapak.com
Sprint to a cut
The DiversaCut Sprint Dicer offers small to mid-size processors simple changeovers from one type of product cut to another and takes up minimal amount of floor space. The dicer accepts infeed product up to 6.5 in. in any dimension and features across-the-line start with a 1.5 hp motor. Popular applications include strip cutting, dicing, or slicing of various fruits and vegetables.
Urschel Laboratories; www.urschel.com
Chocolate made easy
Using standard, readily available raw materials, dark, milk and even white chocolate can be produced on the CE6000, the newest and largest member of the ChocoEasy line of compact chocolate production plants. A broad range of machines allows production of batches from 150kg to 6,000kg within the enclosed, space-saving module. Conching and fine grinding are combined with the user-friendly module to produce quality, reproducible chocolates.
Netzsch USA; www.chocoeasy.com
Now a synthetic blend
The vendor for years has made Reflo refrigeration compressor oils and several Process Expos ago introduced a fully synthetic version. This year brings Reflo XL, a synthetic blend, for operators who want extended fluid life, reduced wear and longer drain intervals in ammonia refrigeration systems along with a lower price than the fully synthetic version.