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.
Patented technology benefits users
The Hi-Speed CM9400 Canweigh is suitable for checkweighing round containers. Its new multi-diameter design increases the system’s flexibility to allow processing of both large and small diameter cans with minimal changeover time and effort. It eliminates troublesome timing screws, which can cause line jams, to deliver uptime and low total cost of operation. Compact wash down construction minimizes space requirements.
Mettler-Toledo Hi-Speed; www.mt.com/hi-speed
Filter out contaminants
Advanced filtration systems meet market needs for reliability, cost effectiveness and food safety. Easy to install and simple to use, the systems satisfy a variety of filtration requirements: removing particulate contamination, ensuring the absence of spoilage microorganisms and providing high quality air and gases. Membrane processes can concentrate products without heat, purify and clarify, selectively remove components, and even deal with process effluent.
Pall Corp.; www.pall.com
Swift stand-up bagger
For packaging bulk products including snack foods and pet food, the Swifty SB-1200 Big Bag horizontal Bagger is designed for pre-made stand-up bags ranging from 8 in. to 12 in. wide. It features a new encoder with a home proximity switch, and the PLC uses pulses from the encoder to determine the position of the shaft, improving accuracy and reducing changeover time. Easy to clean, Swifty SB-1200 runs at speeds of up the 20 cycles per minute.
WeighPack Systems Inc.; www.weighpack.com
Grip and tear bag eliminates mess
This was the debut of the Grip and Tear Bag, combining superior shrink, toughness and oxygen-barrier properties with the addition of an easy-open feature. Easily opened by pulling a tab, the bag’s knifeless design eliminates the mess created by opening some bags, and it keeps fingers, counters and utensils clean. Consumer focus groups cited as key benefits not having to touch the product and safety from not using knives. The new bag can be used for processed meats, cheeses and a variety of fresh red meats, such as roasts. Sizes range from 5½ to 18 in. wide and 6 to 48 in. long. It can be run on existing Cryovac rotary chamber vacuum systems.
Sealed Air, Cryovac Food Packaging; www.gripandtear.com
Synthetic technology in lubes
Lubriplate SFGO Ultra synthetic food machinery-grade fluid lubricants can help you consolidate, simplify and reduce your lubricant inventory. These high-performance, NSF H-1 registered, polyalphaolefin-based synthetic lubricants have been designed to meet the demands of wide variety of applications, thus reducing the need to inventory a myriad of application-specific lubricants. SFGO Ultra series lubricants are recommended for air compressors, hydraulic systems, bearings, gearboxes, pumps and chains. They’re available in 13 ISO viscosity grades.
Lubriplate Lubricants Co.; www.lubriplate.com
Multivac partnered with Weber to highlight seamless performance from processing through packaging, demonstrating a new generation Multivac R535 thermoform fill-seal system with CIP running in conjunction with a Weber slicer. Attendees also saw the North American debut of the Multivac B310 belted vacuum chamber system, an innovative machine engineered with a tilting lid for improved ergonomics, efficiency and sanitation.
Multivac Inc.; www.multivac.com
Reducing costs and time
The Rexroth MLC motion logic controller with Version 4 firmware is based on a powerful one-gigahertz PAC controls platform that provides high-performance motion logic and robotics capabilities. Rexroth's advanced platform supports an all-Ethernet interface for connecting controls, drives, I/Os, safety, HMI, web and machine-to-machine synchronization, which helps to lower the controls cost and simplify integration for OEMs, systems integrators and end users.
Bosch Rexroth; www.boschrexroth-us.com/packaging
Handling heavier loads
Kwik Connect Duraflex metal conveyor belting reduces maintenance and downtime since it can be spliced in as little as 30 seconds without welding, weaving or the use of special tools. Cambridge engineers created a fast, easy technique to splice this belt using a Kwik Connect rod. The new belting can handle heavier loads than typical light-duty conveyor belts while remaining cleanable and open, making it perfect for many processing applications
Cambridge International; www.cambridgeinternational.com
Brand-differentiating resealable packaging
Traditional zipper attachment systems often require too large an investment for companies in emerging markets. With a smaller footprint than traditional stand-alone zipper applicators, TopZip Jr. was designed as a baseline version, but is upgradeable to run at higher speeds and with a wide variety of pouch formats and zipper profiles with a low capital investment. TopZip Jr. applies press-to-close, including Zip-Pak Double Zip, in the transverse direction, and can support pillow, block-bottom, quad-seal and stand-up pouches. The technology can run anywhere from 30 bags per minute without ultrasonics to 100 bags per minute. User friendly, the system is ideal for applications that can be a challenge to store conveniently, or keep fresh, such as dried fruits and nuts, cereal, cookies, powdered drinks and soups.
Eye-catching metallic colors
Eye-catching metallic shine for shrink labels can differentiate products at retail. Color-changing effects are possible with the use of special inks that can be printed in rotogravure or flexographic. Combinable effects include sparkling glitter, subtle color changes, luster and light reflection. Printpack can print shrink sleeves in up to 10 colors with a choice of metallic effect options and a choice of PVC, PETG, OPS and PLA films.
Printpack, Seal-It Div.; www.printpack.com
Ultrasonic spraying technology
The advantage of ultrasonic spraying is superior transfer efficiency over conventional air pressure spraying systems. Accordingly, there is less bounce back of liquid from the target and a potential for better than 50 percent savings in improved cost of goods. Sono-Tek ultrasonic nozzles will not clog, providing further benefits in downtime and maintenance. The applications for ultrasonic spraying in the food industry are numerous and diverse. They include: coating baked goods with antimicrobials, nutraceuticals, glazes, spices and flavors; coating pan release compounds for baked goods; coating frozen meals with flavored oils, herbal extract and spice solutions; coating fresh cut produce with misc. shelf life and texture-enhancing compounds; coating snacks with moisture and oxygen barrier coatings for shelf life extension; and coating refrigerated dairy and prepared ready-to-eat salads with natural antimicrobial solutions for safety and shelf life extensions.
Sono-Tek Corp.; www.sono-tek.com.
‘Sustainable’ motion control solution
The compact Acoposmutli combines energy efficiency with high performance in a single package. This Common DC bus motion control solution includes an Active Front End, allowing regenerative energy to be returned to the power system. This energy can be used for other processes within the system instead of being wasted with a more traditional resistive braking system. Additionally, the Active Front end and included line filter provide power system friendly benefits such as low harmonic output and active power factor control around unity, ensuring the most efficient use of energy regardless of the demands of the application.
B&R Industrial Automation; www.br-automation.com
Detect metal and glass
Thanks to its adaptive technology, GlassChekPlus ensures fast and reliable detection of foreign bodies such as glass, metal and stone, for product quality and safety. It works by simultaneously scanning with one vertical and three horizontal X-rays beams, maximizing coverage and probability of detection within a jar by reducing blind spots in the base, sidewalls and neck. Multiple inspection settings can be stored on a single system ensuring optimum detection whatever the jar’s size or shape. It is especially effective for wide neck jars and offers superior detection on shards of glass, as the four beams cover many possible orientations of placement.
Mettler-Toledo Safeline; www.mt.com/safelineus