Every two years, McCormick Place in Chicago comes alive with thousands of exhibitors from the packaging industry—an extravaganza sponsored by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), Arlington, Va. This Nov. 9-13 is when it all happens. The event will feature more than 2,000 exhibitors showcasing technologies that account for approximately $20-$25 billion of the estimated $125 billion spent on packaging in North America each year.
More than 125 countries will be represented among the 45,000 attendees walking the show floor and attending the educational conferences.
A major component of the event is the Conference at Pack Expo. The more than 50 educational sessions are aimed at helping industry professionals and others. The compre-
hensive program runs Nov. 10-12. A sampling of the concurrent tracks includes: sustainability, containers and materials, upgrading operations and brand protection. You’ll also find sessions on anti-counterfeiting, sustainability enhancement, traceability and RFID technology.
The daily highlights of the show are the excellent keynote speakers PMMI always manages to line up. The overall theme of this year’s show is “Change, Innovation and Sustainability.” Leading off the conference will be Amy Zettlemoyer-Lazar, packaging director of Sam’s Club and co-manager of the Wal-Mart Sustainability Value Network. In her presentation, “Keeping Score: How Wal-Mart and its Suppliers Continue to Advance Packaging Change, Innovation and Sustainability,” Zettlemoyer-Lazar will provide an update on the progress of the Wal-Mart sustainability scorecard and the next steps in its evolution.
“We are delighted to have Wal-Mart return to Pack Expo to share details on the scorecard’s development and provide insight into the company’s overall sustainability initiatives,” says Ben Miyares, PMMI vice president of industry relations and director of the Conference at Pack Expo.
Zettlemoyer-Lazar will present her address Sunday, Nov. 9, at 1 p.m., in a special standalone session of the Conference at Pack Expo.
Joining Zettlemoyer-Lazar as keynote speakers at the conference will be Betsy Cohen, vice president of sustainability at Nestle; Trevor Cusworth, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP; and Glen Wright, commercial vice president, North American plastics, The Dow Chemical Co.
Innovation at a Glance
According to Mintel International, approximately 123,000 new food and beverage products were introduced globally in 2007, a 16% increase over 2006. Remaining competitive in just that segment of the market requires innovation in packaging and handling. Where does that innovation come from?
Packagers can gain inspiration for their next breakthrough packaging idea at the Showcase of Packaging Innovations. Sponsored for the third consecutive year by The Dow Chemical Co., the pavilion will highlight more than 300 award-winning packaging designs from internationally recognized packaging associations.
Green is Good
With approximately half of U.S. consumers considering at least one sustainability factor in selecting packaged goods or stores to shop (Source: Information Resources Inc.), sustainability has gone from just being a buzzword to an essential part of today’s corporate strategy.
Transport packaging managers needing guidance on how to apply sustainable packaging initiatives to their businesses need to be at Pack Expo.
Show attendees will find an array of sustainability-oriented innovations among the show’s 2,000-plus exhibitors. The featured technologies, ranging from bioplastics, polylactic acid films and other sustainable packaging materials, to energy-efficient machinery and lean production solutions, will address several key issues, including source reduction, minimization of greenhouse gas emissions and waste and rising levels of recycling and recycled content.
To help attendees identify exhibitors highlighting sustainable solutions, PMMI is introducing Pack Expo Green. Special icons will be used to flag listings on www.packexpo.com, in the compact Pocket Guide Directory available on site and in participating exhibitors’ booths.
For attendees using My Pack Expo to pre-plan their trip, a new search function reveals exhibiting companies that offer sustainable and environmentally friendly technologies. Special booth signage will make it simple to find the exhibitors on site.
The sustainability theme will carry over to the educational conference. A sustainability track will expose attendees to various dimensions of sustainability, including conservation, lightweighting, plant operations and insight from the brand-owner perspective.
“We’re very pleased to offer Pack Expo International attendees opportunities to discover how they can improve their operations to achieve sustainability goals,” says Charles D. Yuska, president and CEO of PMMI. “PMMI is committed to adding value to its events by focusing on issues that are at the forefront of our industry. Sustainability is top of mind with packaging professionals around the globe, and we felt it was essential to make the topic an integral part of Pack Expo International 2008.”
To complement all of the sustainable solutions being discussed on the show floor and in conference sessions, PMMI is taking steps towards making Pack Expo one of the greenest trade shows in the industry. Among the many activities aimed at reducing energy and waste include:
• Free METRA commuter rail passes for attendees and exhibitors;
• Replacing detailed printed show directories with the more compact Pocket Guide Directory;
• Collection bins for paper waste;
• Recycling badge holders;
• Using “Green Seal”-approved cleaning products and restroom supplies made from 100% post-consumer waste;
• Recycled pallet program;
• Powering down during off hours.
“As the organizer of one of the world’s larger trade shows, we feel it’s important to take a proactive role when it comes to protecting the environment,” says Yuska. “By working with our exhibitors, we’ll be able to offer a range of voluntary programs that both exhibitors and attendees can participate in and feel good about.”
Pack Expo International 2008 registration is available online at www.packexpo. com, where attendees can also register for the entire conference program. Show registration is $30, and conference sessions are $55 each through Oct. 21. After Oct. 21, Pack Expo registration increases to $60 and conference sessions to $75 each. Registration for the exhibits is required to register for conference sessions.
Following are products of special interest to material handling managers.
A-B-C Packaging is introducing a high-speed palletizer with low-level construction that gives packagers the convenience of floor-level operations. The unit features an automatic grouping module that allows layer transfer during product accumulation, effectively staging and stacking layers every 15 seconds. Products are repositioned to any required orientation during high-speed operation with the servo-operated overhead orienter.
The palletizer, which accommodates cases, trays, totes, bags or bundles, features an intelligent control station, which includes an industrial-grade, 8-inch, color touchscreen display. The unit is constructed of heavy-gauge steel and includes a reinforced transfer table, counterweighted elevator table and motorized overhead layer transfer.
DuraTherm, a new product from ACH Foam Technologies, is a durable container material engineered for shipping perishable meats, pharmaceuticals and other products that require thermal protection. DuraTherm is a molded, expanded polystyrene (EPS) product that absorbs shocks and insulates products, says ACH, adding that EPS is recyclable.
A.R. Arena Products is showcasing a 1,000- liter-capacity bag designed for proces s - ing smaller formulations of high-value products. According to the manufacturer, standard bags for use in “bag-inbox” filling applications are designed to hold 1,250 liters of product. Often, however, processors create formulations in smaller quantities, especially for high-value products. These processors “short fill” the standard size bags with product. Arena’s new thousand-liter bag is said to provide better product protection because a full bag is more stable than one that is short-filled.
Stretch Wrap System
This year AR PAC will demonstrate its PAC-series platform automatic stretch wrapper. The PAC series is an automated, conveyorized stretch wrap system designed for high-speed production lines of up to 50 pallets per hour. One of the built-in advantages of the PAC series include unique, automatic, film cut-off and wipe-down capability; this mechanism secures the film tail to the load and prevents unraveling. The wrapper, which handles up to 30- inch film rolls, also features ruggedized power roller conveyors.
Bosch Rexroth’s VarioFlow flexible conveyor and aluminum structural framing help accelerate production time and improve quality, while using little space, the manufacturer states. Rexroth’s VarioFlow conveyors are available in various sizes, ranging in width from 65 millimeters to 320 millimeters. Its UltraCurve horizontal curve technology produces minimal friction and maximum production output and also allows trays to accumulate in curves. VarioFlow is said to deliver smooth radial transitions and minimize friction for longer chain life, less maintenance and lower operating costs.
Buckhorn has introduced its Caliber series of intermediate bulk containers (IBCs). Available in three sizes, from 270 gallons to 315 gal lons, the collapsible, bulk containers are designed for shipping and storing large volumes of processed foods, ingredients and other fluids. Caliber IBCs are manufactured from FDA-approved, food-grade plastic. They are stackable, when full or collapsed. Because they are reusable, Caliber IBCs offer a green alternative to barrels, cardboard or wood containers, providing companies savings in disposal costs and waste, notes Buckhorn.
Tamper-evident seals can be placed on the lid and on discharge openings for security. Calibers also come with an embedded RFID tag for tracking.
The Center for Unit Load Design at Virginia Tech develops systemsbased technologies that maximize the efficiency of unit load material handling systems, which include packaging, pallet and handling equipment.
The center serves as an industry resource for technical assistance, testing services, product development and unit load systems design. Staff members serve on national and international industry committees and frequently conduct presentations, seminars and short courses.
FKI Logistex will debut its PL-950 series, which features a robot-based case divider. Providing a high-speed solution for flexible, inline palletizing, the PL-950 uses one or more robotic arms for pattern forming, manipulating and orienting the product into the pallet layer. The PL-950 is reconfigurable for a range of products and suited for small packages and complex patterns, the manufacturer states.
Also, the gentle manipulation of product provided by the PL-950 allows a reduction in secondary packaging without compromising the integrity of the finished product.
Iconotech will showcase the benefits of its case-printing equipment. Purchasing generic cases instead of pre-printed SKUs allows manufacturers to take advantage of better pricing options and eliminates scrap, obsolescence and expensive printing plates, says Iconotech, adding that it also frees up inventory space and simplifies purchasing. With 200-dpi print resolution, the case printers can handle fine-line graphics, plus barcodes are printed precisely, despite irregularities of the corrugated substrate.
Intralox will present its activated roller belt (ARB) technology, which provides an automated method of directing the movement of conveyed articles. Regular belts only convey products, states Intralox, adding that ARB technology enables the belt to act on the product being conveyed. Belts featuring this technology typically have built-in rollers, often set at an angle to the belt’s direction of travel and extending below the bottom of the belt. When the rollers in the belt are activated, the conveyed article moves at an angle, in the direction of the roller spin, while moving forward. Intralox
Jervis B. Webb is teaming up with Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. and Flexicell Robotic Systems to showcase Webb’s latest line of SmartCart automatic guided carts (AGCs). SmartCarts are automated-guided vehicles (AGVs) guided by magnetic tape.
The SmartCart model 300 counterbalanced fork AGC is suited for picking up and dropping off pallets from conveyors, stretch wrappers or the floor.
Schneider and Flexicell will display SmartCart model 300 single-conveyor AGCs, which are used for delivering pallets to and from roller conveyor systems. Schneider will be located in booth S-1501, while Flexicell will be found at booth N-3754.
Laminations, a subsidiary of Great Northern Corp., is unveiling two products: UCrate protects long and narrow products during shipping and handling; UChannel protects the edges of windows and doors during transport and storage.
Both products are manufactured from laminated paperboard, which uses custom-designed machinery that allows leg angles to meet and sustain tight specifications during product runs. The machinery accommodates paper-roll widths of up to 18 inches.
UCrate consists of seamless, U-shaped channels that fit together to create a sturdy way to ship products. Both UChannel and UCrate are available in calipers of 0.080 inches to 0.600 inches and standard lengths up to 300 inches.
The newest model of Lantech’s Lan-ringer protects a variety of loads, including windows and doors, printed materials and other items that will not fit on a turntable stretch wrapper. The Lan-ringer’s film delivery system is mounted on a 40-inch, 60-inch, 75-inch or 90-inch ring through which the product passes. Product stability is maintained by wrapping the product and conveyor together. Loads of up to 4,000 lbs. can be wrapped while the product is moving or stationary. After the product has been wrapped, a cutand- clamp device cuts the end of the film.
A new option for the compact 4020 ink-jet case coder from Markem-Imaje allows users to integrate and automate case-coding processes. The printer’s new I/O box offers protocol-free connection to a dedicated port on the controller, providing a number of additional input and output options.
These options deliver additional functionality to the printer, such as the ability to mark randomly presented packages. Sensors positioned at the end of each feeder line notify the printer of an approaching package via the I/O box, and the relevant message is selected and printed.
Orbis Corp. will show its new 40 x 48 three-drum, heavy-duty, structo-cell pallet, which features three molded-in rings to secure standard, 55-gallon drums during storage and transportation. The pallet is available in FDA-approved material and offers a dynamic load capacity of up to 4,000 pounds for use in food, pharmaceutical, chemical and beverage operations. The double-faced pallet can be used with conveyors and other automated equipment. It can withstand continuous heavy use and exposure to chemicals or moisture, without splintering or deteriorating, according to Orbis.
PIAB, a provider of industrial vacuum technology-based equipment, will showcase its newest innovations to help manufacturers increase energy efficiency and productivity of their packaging lines. Products include the P5010 vacuum pump, which features COAXR multistage ejector technology, and new solutions for bag-handling applications.
Using unique sealing properties, PIAB’s bag-handling technologies improve process reliability and decrease downtime and waste caused by dropped and damaged products. New additions to PIAB’s BL4 and BL5 line of suction cups for bag-handling applications allow for the handling of a larger variety of bag sizes, shapes and dimensions.
Green Bubble Material
Pregis has launched Astro- Bubble Green, an air-cushioning bubble material that contains as much as 40% recycled content. The new product incorporates high levels of post-consumer recycled (PCR) content without losing product integrity. An organic, green dye is used to create a transparent, “visual cue” that the product is environmentally friendly.
Suited for use as a surface cover and void fill, the new air-cushioning bubble product line protects fragile items via both coextruded, low-density polyeth ylene (LDPE)/nylon and monolayer linear LDPE alternatives. Four different bubble sizes are available.
Sato’s GL4e-series RFID-ready printer can be upgraded in the field to a UHF RFID thermal printer. The GL4e series features a remote, printer-management utility tool, SATOnet Connect, as well as tri-port communication interface protocols (RS232C serial, IEEE1284 highspeed parallel and USB 2.0, with LAN and 802.11g optional).
Savoye will highlight Savoye Pack, created to provide sales and service of standalone packing machines through a network of partners, distributors and integrators. Among the options are solutions from brands, such as PAC600, Jivaro and Helova. Applications supported by Savoye include design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance and spares.
Savoye Pack Display at Smurfit Stone
Schneider Packaging Equipment has become a VAR for Jervis B. Webb’s SmartCart automatic-guided carts (AGCs). AGCs move palletized products from floor storage or palletizers/ stretch wrappers/conveyors to locations within a plant or warehouse. SmartCart AGCs are guided by magnetic tape.
Schneider manufactures case packers, tray packers and robotic palletizing systems. The firm also offers case erectors, cartoners, conveyors, pallet dispensers, shuttle cars and elevators that can be integrated with coding/labeling equipment, RFID/barcode scanners, weight checking and stretch or shrink wrapping equipment.
Sick, a manufacturer of sensors, safety systems, vision and automatic identification products, has launched its CLV620 and CLV630 line of barcode scanners, designed for use in distribution centers and warehouses and high-speed packaging and parcel/postal operations. All of the scanners in the CLV family offer onboard serial and Ethernet communication.
The barcode scanners feature Sick’s modular advanced recognition technology (SMART), which enables the scanners to read poor, partially hidden or damaged barcodes. The CLV620 and CLV630 also have high processing capabilities, which results in real-time 1200 Hz scanning.
Spiroflow Systems will be showing its conveying and bulk-bag handling equipment. Among the new products are a range of Spirostore Flexible Silos that store bulk solids and ingredients. These units are made of a durable, yet flexible, polyester fabric, which is supported on a steel frame; they provide a potential alternative to steel or aluminum silos. The silos can store 7,000 cubic feet of dry bulk material and support weights up to 90,000 lbs.
Also available at the show will be information on Spiroflow’s bulk-bag filler systems, bin, bag, and drum emptiers, bag packers and Pneuvac vacuum conveyors.
United Case, a newly launched brand for UFP Technologies, will highlight its Case Fit solution. Case Fit is a customized, protective, case-andfoam insert solution.
UFP Technologies says United Case will engineer a solution, secure appropriate case and foam material, fabricate the complete product and have it shipped it to the customer’s desired location(s).
The company notes that 10 foams for interior case protection are available. Each foam exhibits specific protection and aesthetic properties. Applications include electronics equipment that requires shipment in anti-static material or delicate automotive parts.
The Videojet 1510 small-character, continuous ink-jet printer is the first in a new line of printers. The unit has an intuitive user interface and features a microchip-enabled fluid bottle, called Smart Cartridge. The 1510 is designed for medium-duty applications that entail printing codes 16 to 20 hours per day, six days per week. The Smart Cartridge comprises a fluid bottle with a microchip that determines if compatible fluid has been installed. The feature is designed to prevent errors in ink types.
The Videojet 1510 print head automatically adjusts itself to match current temperature and other conditions. Plus, the unit offers off-site control and diagnostics via Ethernet capability through Connector software.