2005 Pack Expo/FPME Held in Las Vegas

Amidst the glitz and neon lights of Las Vegas, more than 1,000 companies will demonstrate the latest technologies September 26-28 at Pack Expo Las Vegas and the Food Processing Machinery Expo (FPME).

By Gregg Carlstrom

Amidst the glitz and neon lights of Las Vegas, more than 1,000 companies will demonstrate the latest technologies September 26-28 at Pack Expo Las Vegas and the Food Processing Machinery Expo (FPME).

Pack Expo will focus on the latest developments in packaging technology and will showcase exhibitors' state-of-the-art advances in packaging machinery, converting machinery, materials, packages and containers, and components. FPME displays the newest developments in processing technology to meet the challenges faced by food and beverage manufacturers. Exhibitors will demonstrate processing technologies in the fruit & vegetable, beverage, fresh produce, prepared foods, meat, bakery, confectionery, grain mill/cereal, dairy and snack food industries.

Rivaling the casinos in terms of gleaming metal, dizzying motion, the noise of people and machines and a steady buzz of activity, the show floor at Pack Expo Las Vegas might just help visitors find ways to save money.

These co-located shows will be held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The two will draw an estimated audience of 19,000 customers, including more than 2,000 international attendees from more than 60 countries. One fee - $25 in advance, $50 at the door - covers entrance to both expositions. A separate set of fees applies for the conferences and seminars to be held each morning.

Pack Expo will feature several specialized pavilions focusing on hot areas of the food packaging industry. The new Contract Packaging Pavilion will highlight one of the biggest outsourcing avenues available for manufacturers. The pavilion will provide helpful information - guidelines on choosing the right contract packager and techniques for improving both efficiency and cost savings with outsourced operations. And more than a dozen leading contract manufacturers will be on hand to explain in person their services.

Another popular destination will be the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Pavilion, a section devoted to the technology that is rapidly changing supply-chain management. RFID technology developers will answer questions and provide advice on upgrading production lines and on writing and validating electronic tags. This pavilion debuted at last year's Pack Expo, as RFID technology was first rolling out; now, with the technology becoming more mature, exhibits will focus on fully integrating RFID into the supply chain. More than two dozen RFID developers are expected to attend.

Pack Expo offers conferences on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day will begin with a keynote address. Among the highlights is a Tuesday morning speech from Helmut Traitler, Nestle's vice president for packaging. He'll speak on "Nestle's Quest for Sustainable, Differentiated Packaging: Exceeding Customer Expectations, Improving Performance, Reducing Costs."

The conferences, each lasting about four hours in the morning, will feature half-hour presentations in five different fields pertaining to food packaging: RFID, operations, materials, security and management. Topics to be discussed include the use of passive RFID transponders, robotic packaging, changes in aluminum beverage containers, aroma-enhanced packaging, packaging security, FDA requirements and smart packaging. More details can be found on the Pack Expo website, at www.pelv2005.packexpo.com.

FPME also will feature daily conferences on a variety of topics. One set of two-hour seminars, run each day, will focus on food safety and sanitation. Monday's conference, for example, is "Sanitation Initiatives and Innovation: Integrating Regulations, Standards and Sanitary Equipment Design." The seminar will address creating a sanitary facility from planning to implementation, and explain how food manufacturers should adapt their business model to meet FDA sanitary standards.

The American Institute of Baking also will hold conferences each morning from 8 a.m. until noon. The seminars will address hot topics in the baking industry, including allergen control, freezing dough, whole-grain bread production and plant maintenance. And the International Fresh-Cut Produce Assn. will be holding its annual conference in Las Vegas on Monday and Tuesday, coinciding with the expo; FPM attendees in the produce industry are encouraged to register and attend this conference. More information is at www.foodprocessingmachinery.com/FPMExpo.

Of course, one can't travel to Las Vegas without sampling the city's nightlife - and with the expos ending each day at 5 p.m., there's plenty of time for that. The Las Vegas Convention Center is located next to the Las Vegas Hilton, which houses a 40,000-sq.-ft. casino and the Hilton Theater, home of Barry Manilow's musical "Music and Passion." And the site is just a block away from the famed Las Vegas Strip, the four-mile stretch of hotels, casinos and restaurants along South Las Vegas Blvd. Several headline shows will be in town during the convention, including Celine Dion (Caesars Palace), a number of comedy acts around the Strip, and the French circus troupe Cirque du Soleil.

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