An inside look at PACK EXPO Las Vegas

The largest packaging event in North America this year will cover the latest technologies and innovative trends to give manufacturers a competitive edge.

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to start planning your agenda for PACK EXPO Las Vegas, which will take place Sept. 23-25 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. As the largest and most comprehensive packaging event in North America this year, PACK EXPO Las Vegas will showcase the latest technologies and innovative trends designed to help food and beverage packaging and processing professionals gain a competitive edge.

More than 30,000 people are expected to attend PACK EXPO Las Vegas, which is co-located with Healthcare Packaging EXPO and produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. Visitors will get the chance to meet about 2,000 exhibiting companies, which will provide in-booth demonstrations of their full-scale equipment in action and share their expertise. For example, Anritsu Infivis will discuss how its inspection systems can enhance food safety. Ryson International will show how its vertical conveyors can maximize plant floor space by handling large loads in a smaller footprint. And BillerudKorsnäs will be on hand to talk about how its sustainable fiber-based packaging can protect the planet and profits.

The show floor will also be home to the Innovation Stage, featuring free 30-minute educational seminars on cutting-edge topics designed take operations to the next level. They include an in-depth look at sanitary design principles for equipment, collaborative robots in packaging, and how Anheuser-Busch InBev is meeting the United Nations’ sustainable development goals with its state-of-the-art wastewater treatment solution.

What’s new?

While the supplier booths and Innovation Stage have long been mainstays at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, some new, exciting elements have been added to the trade show this year.

The inaugural Robotics Zone will spotlight fun and interactive robotic and cobot activities. For example, attendees will be able to try on Comau’s interactive wearable exoskeleton to perform assisted tasks and product handling. They can also check out Soft Robotics end-of-arm tool, designed to mimic the human hand to grasp and manipulate items of varying sizes, shapes and weights. In addition, teams from Las Vegas high schools will demonstrate their robots in the Future Innovators Robotics Showcase. As part of the PACK for a Purpose: Robots Fighting Hunger charity project, robots will be put to work as they pack food for Blessings in a Backpack, which helps children facing hunger across the United States. And attendees should check out the Omron interactive dice-playing robot and Ready Robotics’ bowling robot while listening to a concert from the Kuka robotic pianist.

The Forum will also debut at PACK EXPO Las Vegas. It will offer free 45-minute sessions on the latest industry trends. The session topics were not available at press time, but previous topics The Forum has covered include standardizing factory acceptance tests and calculating overall equipment effectiveness. The Forum sessions will include hands-on activities, small group discussions and Q&A exchanges. Some of the organizations that will lead these sessions include the OpX Leadership Network, Institute of Packaging Professionals, and Organization for Automation and Control.

Attendees will also get the opportunity to find the skilled workforce they need. For the first time at PACK EXPO Las Vegas, CareerLink, PMMI’s online job board, is going live. CareerLink Live@PACK EXPO will let consumer packaged goods companies as well as members of PMMI, Contract Packagers Association and Institute of Packaging Professionals meet with students and veterans pursuing careers in packaging and processing during one-on-one informational interviews.

Rounding out the show

In addition to checking out these new events, attendees should make sure to leave some time for networking. The Candy Bar Lounge, Snack Break Lounge and Beverage Cooler Lounge offer a casual setting for attendees to meet with peers and sit in on educational presentations from industry experts.

Another networking event not to be missed: The Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network Breakfast. The keynote speaker will be Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in space and second female director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Ochoa will share her experiences on being a history-making astronaut, driving change and building diverse, effective teams during her keynote address, “Exploring New Territory,” on Sept. 24 at 7:30 a.m.

PACK EXPO Las Vegas isn’t all business. The annual PACK gives BACK event is a chance for attendees to unwind and relax. It includes a reception followed by a concert featuring the legendary Steve Miller Band, known for such hits as “The Joker” and “Livin’ in the USA.” This fundraiser will benefit NS2 Serves, a nonprofit organization that provides U.S. military veterans with free information technology training and employment assistance.

With so much to see and do at the show, attendees should download the free PACK EXPO Las Vegas app to organize their schedules. It includes all the features of the My Show Planner on the PACK EXPO Las Vegas website at www.packexpolasvegas.com. The app allows users to create a personal itinerary for navigating the show. Users simply click on an exhibitor or session and add it to their schedules along with their personal appointments. Attendees can use the app to search for exhibitors by name, keyword, vertical market or category. They can also search for educational sessions by venue or topic. In addition, the app includes interactive floor plans, exhibitor messages, event reminders, shuttle bus schedules, frequently asked questions, and news and notifications. The app will be available to download on Aug. 7 from the App Store and Google Play.

Registration is $30 through Aug. 30. After Aug. 30, the registration price increases to $100. Registration includes access to both PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO. For more information and to register, please visit www.packexpolasvegas.com.

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