PMMI reports Pack Expo Las Vegas set records for attendance, exhibitors, size and other measures. The Sept. 26-28 show netted 26,084 visitors, not counting exhibitor personnel, up 15 percent from the previous Las Vegas show (although still behind the 40,000 or more that attend the Chicago shows in even-numbered years). International attendees (includes Canada) jumped by nearly a third. Net square footage was up more than 20 percent.
It was the first Las Vegas show and second Pack Expo without Process Expo, its former partner, which is staging its own show Nov. 1-3 in Chicago. But the packaging association marketed its show heavily to suppliers of processing machinery. Although the so-called Processing Zone was not apparent, there were plenty of exhibitors of processing equipment dispersed among the show's three halls.
Actually, in deference to this processing effort, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Assn. has been subtly rebranding itself by its acronym, PMMI.
Charles Yuska, PMMI president/CEO, notes the show serves more than 40 vertical markets, including food, beverage, confectionery, pharmaceutical and baking and snack.
New additions this year were a Pharmaceutical Pavilion and The Consumer Retail Experience, an interactive feature created by Clemson University and sponsored by Kodak. There also were break areas sponsored by the Snack Food Assn. and the National Confectioners Assn.
The first Leadership Lecture featured Colin Powell, retired general and former secretary of state, speaking on the art of leadership. His address was titled "Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust and Values." Other technical and educational sessions included an update of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Speakers were David Acheson, the FDA's former food safety head and now with consulting firm, Leavitt Partners; Leon Bruner, the Grocery Manufacturers' Assn.'s vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs; and Greg Flickinger, director of manufacturing for Snyder's-Lance Inc.
PMMI also promoted its Connected Communities, a new, year-round online platform for networking and staying informed in specific niches of the processing and packaging communities. They're tailored to: confectionery, baking & snack, pharmaceutical and general packaging and processing. Each community includes a range of features, such as tailored news, insight and discussions developed and moderated by PMMI staff.
Some exhibitor highlights from the show:
Rittal Corp. (www.rittal-corp.com) drove its Mobile Design Center, a converted bus, right onto the show floor. The 36-ft.-long self-contained mobile showroom tours the country demonstrating the company's wallmount enclosures, modular enclosures and products for power distribution, climate control and human-machine interface. The Comfort Panel was new, a slim, aluminum-encased HMI that matches Rittal's support arm systems. It can be configured to meet any size operator panel yet provide IP65/NEMA 12 protection ratings.
Hinds-Bock Corp. (www.hinds-bock.com) showed its new 3P-32 piston filling machine for horizontal vacuum formers; it's suitable deal for filling a wide range of products, from thin sauces or marinades to viscous mash potatoes or deli salads. Positive shut-off spouts are used to maintain a clean seal zone. The unit fills from fractions of an ounce to up to 32 fl. oz. per piston. PLC controls make this machine capable to run over a one-up to a six-up package configuration. Moving or diving spouts are used for spreading of product or to prevent mounding. For elevated temperature applications, a self-contained heat system maintains product temperature.
Bunting Magnetics Co. (www.buntingmagnetics.com) introduced the Meatline 05 0 metal detector. It is designed for integration in vacuum fillers to examine liquid and pasty types of food products. It detects and separates any type of metal, encapsulated or free, and features a reject mechanism that can be taken apart in a few easy steps without the need for tools. All components are linked together with a chain so they cannot get lost. After cleaning, everything easily fits together again.
Yaskawa America (www.yaskawa.com) gave a sneak peek at an early-2012 product introduction. The MP3000iec will be a new addition to the MotionWorks IEC PAC (programmable automation controller) line. The motion engine is integrated with IEC61131-3 and PLCopen programming standards and provides full scalability from single to multi-axis applications within a single programming platform.
Multivac (www.multivac.com) featured its R145 thermoformer, a compact and flexible packaging system incorporating all of Multivac's sanitary design principles and intuitive machine controls. Also on display was the T200 compact semi-automatic tray sealer, a system suitable for lower production volumes and product package testing in pre-made trays. Vacuum skin packaging (VSP) also was demonstrated on this unit.
The month before the show, Heat and Control Inc. (www.heatandcontrol.com) had purchased Spray Dynamics Ltd. (www.spraydynamics.com), which makes equipment for the controlled application of liquid and dry ingredients. Heat and Control manufactures and supplies machinery systems and controls for seasoning, conveying, inspection and packaging. "Heat and Control's goal is to provide the best single-source support to our customers," Tony Caridis, president of Heat and Control, said in a statement after the show. "The Spray Dynamics line will enhance the versatility of our seasoning applicators, while giving our customers a greater choice of coating systems to meet individual product requirements." The two companies have partnered on projects in the past.
Mettler Toledo was in two locations at Pack Expo Las Vegas. The core company showed its Safeline metal detection units (www.mt.com/pi), Hi-Speed checkweighing equipment (www.mt.com/hi-speed) and CI-Vision machine vision inspection systems www.mt.com/ci-vision). Also ProdX, a product inspection software that monitor and manage the data from all the Mettler Toledo-branded products. Nearby, Eagle Product Inspection (www.eaglepi.com) made its first appearance at Pack Expo … more or less. The unit formerly was part of Smiths Detection, specializing in X-ray inspection systems (under the Eagle brand name) for the food and packaging industries. But the unit was acquired by Mettler-Toledo in March of this year. Eagle was featuring Material Discrimination X-ray (MDX) and SimulTask image analysis technologies, which can boost product inspection capabilities on food manufacturing lines through enhanced contaminant detection and ease of use. The Eagle Tall Pro XS X-ray system uses SimulTask, while the Eagle Pack 430 Pro X-ray inspection systems uses both MDX and SimulTask.
Evergreen Packaging (www.everpack.com) showed two innovative and new packages at the show. The Fresh-Look paperboard beverage has a film window running down the front of the carton. It allows consumers to see the carton's contents and to know when they're running low. Evergreen officials said it enhances branding while maintaining the freshness and environmental benefits from traditional paperboard cartons. Twist-It is an 8-oz. school milk-size paperboard carton with a spout. With or without a straw, it helps prevent spills – which is very uncool in the school cafeteria – is easy to open and resulted in more consumption of milk, according to Evergreen's research.
The Can Manufacturers Institute (www.cancentral.com) launched an education and marketing campaign at Pack Expo, "Pass It On," which highlights the benefits (and high consumer use) of recycling steel and aluminum cans. The campaign showcases the can industry's commitment to sustainability as well as the breadth and scope of recycling efforts. The launch of the initiative comes as the U.S. recycling rate for aluminum beverage cans hit 58 percent last year — the highest rate in more than a decade and double that of any other beverage container. Steel food cans had a recycling rate of 66.8 percent, an all-time record.
A-B-C Packaging (www.abcpackaging.com) debuted the Model 450 high-speed case erector running a soy-based cool adhesive, offering a low-energy and sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-based hot melt. The machine is designed for speeds to 50 cases per minute and offers reliable mechanical operation and a servo-operated sealing ram. The new Liquamelt adhesive system is the result of a partnership with H.B. Fuller (www.hbfuller.com). Liquamelt is liquid at ambient temperatures, eliminating the need for heated premelt tanks and heated hoses, which can reduce packagers' energy costs by more than 50 percent, according to the two companies. The adhesive is pumped at room temperature from the reservoir to a TurboActivator positioned just prior to application that heats the adhesive to the required sealing temperature. Liquamelt is applied as foam, which can result in a reduction of adhesive consumption by more than 50 percent.
Mobil Industrial Lubricants (www.mobilindustrial.com) talked about its SHC Cibus line of H1 food-grade lubricants. This comprehensive line of multipurpose, colorless oils is formulated for food quality assurance, advanced lubrication and lower maintenance costs within your lubrication quality-management systems.