Pack Expo International: Meeting Packaging's Challenges

Oct. 1, 2004
The changing, growing requirements of packaging professionals require education and hands-on experience.

What's new with radio frequency identification (RFID) technology? What are the latest anti-counterfeiting packaging options? How can you increase packaging line performance? Answers to these questions and many others will be provided at the Conference at Pack Expo, taking place concurrently with Pack Expo International, November 7-11 at Chicago's McCormick Place. This year's event will feature more than 1,900 exhibitors in more than 1.3 million square feet of exhibit hall space.

Produced by the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), the Conference at Pack Expo runs from November 8-10. The conference program is divided into five time periods each day, with four concurrent sessions planned for each time slot. Conference sessions have been organized under several themes or tracks including RFID, security, operations, plastics, materials/containers, robotics, closures and flexible packaging. Within these tracks, packaging managers can choose from a variety of presentation topics, including quick changeover, robotic technology for palletizing, case and pallet tagging and anti-counterfeiting packaging.

The conference is designed to complement the advanced technologies attendees learn about on the show floor, says Charles D. Yuska, president, PMMI. "Leading industry experts and experienced end-users can help attendees apply the latest equipment, material and processes to their own businesses. With a variety of conference topics, there is sure to be a session of interest for every packager."

Attendees can register for individual sessions, making it easy to incorporate the conference into busy schedules. Complete program and presentation details can be found at

What to look for
On the show floor, visitors will find areas such as the New Product Spotlight with its free demonstrations that will run six times each day. New pavilions within the show this year highlight solutions to virtually all supply chain challenges. The RFID pavilion will undoubtedly be visited by many trying to get a better understanding of the fast-moving, complicated technology.

In the Packaging Security resource center, the focus will be on protecting your business from terrorist threats as well as counterfeiting.

Show products

Here is a sampling of products of particular interest to material handling managers.

The lightweight, compact ProPack features a 48-in. x 25-in. x 26-in. footprint. The box is a new addition to the line of industrystandard bulk boxes and is approximately half the width of a standard bulk box. The smaller size was designed to conserve space along assembly lines and other areas where space is a premium. The smooth-sided, stack-only container stores long and oddsized parts up to 500 lb. Buckhorn

Fill-Air Elite inflatable packaging system is the next generation for cost-effective void fill solutions. The compact and versatile packaging system conveniently fits into single or multiple workstations. Its cushions can be created on-demand so they are readily available for packagers; or they can be made in advance and stored for future use. The cushions produced by the system are primarily for top void fill, but also can be used for blocking and bracing. In addition, the cushions are clean and create a more attractive package as compared with traditional void fill material. Sealed Air

The Ultimate, a composite molded pallet, is made from polypropylene and wood fibers for demanding applications. The Ultimate combines the high-impact resistance of plastic pallets with the strength and stiffness closer to conventional wooden pallets. The pallet carries a dynamic rating of 3,000 pounds. Litco.

The VBoard family of edge protectors will be featured. Made by laminating recycled paperboard into a rigid right-angle shape, VBoard provides superior edge protection as well as load stabilization and package integrity. Laminations also converts its VBoard product into a variety of configurations that solve packaging and protection problems. Laminations

The Optimizer and Economizer digital case and bag printers from the original manufacturer of digital case printing equipment will be displaying theC.E. mark of approval this year. This mark is a mandatory European marking for certain product groups to indicate conformity with the essential health and safety requirements set out in European Directives. Iconotech.

Ever-Clean seal systems top a host of productivity innovations engineered into two new continuous-motion shrink wrap machines making their debut at Pack Expo. The SW-2000 belt-infeed and SW-3000 flight-lug machines feature intuitive setup based on package dimensions, along with on-the-fly tracking adjustment and side-seal/cross-seal systems that never need cleaning. The machines deliver rates up to 60 and 75 packs per minute, respectively, and are especially suited for endofthe-line wrapping. Lantech

The Robotic Packer-Palletizer uses a 5-axis Motoman robot with XRC controller, capable of moving up to 176 lb. The machine's compact footprint allows for pallet sizes to 48 in. x 48 in. and unit loads to 72 in. high. Capable of running single-line applications, the palletizer's production rates depend on numerous factors, including the product being packaged, number of products per case and pallet patterns. The custom-designed end-of-arm tooling is flexible enough to grab and pack various size objects. Schneider Packaging Equipment

This innovative dunnage product is inflated through a single intake valve that systematicallyallows air to travel from one independent chamber to another through a series of patented, one-way check valves. If one section is punctured, the others remain inflated and provide protection for the enclosed product. Pactiv Air 9000 Air-Paq ® custom packaging can be manufactured in a variety of custom configurations such as end-caps and cradles. Pactiv

The batterypowered AIRplus Excel, a portable, wireless, completely automated machine that produces air pillows on demand, without operator input, will be featured. A self-contained industrial-battery powers the machine through two shifts of constant use (or three shifts of intermittent use), before being recharged. It uses ambient air so there are no cords or tethers to restrict movement. Storopack Inc.

New design and interface options for the popular Alvey 780 case palletizer will be displayed. The options increase the 780's capacity and its value for low-speed palletizing applications. Particularly suited for single-line applications in the food and consumer goods industries, the Alvey 780 utilizes high-level infeed and right-angle pattern formation to achieve outstanding pattern flexibility. Close-center rollers and a bi-parting apron also give the 780 the ability to handle a wide variety of case and pallet sizes. Its compact footprint is ideal for existing facilities where space is at a premium. FKI Logistex

The XT bulk container provides greater volume and increased versatility. It combines all of the features of the standard KitBin knockdown container with the ability to handle approximately 70 percent more weight and volume. KitBin

A new belt option that can be reconfigured for the DynaCon modular conveyor system will be introduced. The DynaCon conveyor system offers modularity so flexible that purchasing replacement conveyors for light-to medium-weight packaging needs may never again be necessary. Dynamic Conveyor

The new INFRAPAK RTAC-Series rotary tower stretch wrapper with banner applicator for the construction industry will be displayed. This rotary tower wrapper offers producersincreased marketability by applying its brand on pallets during transportation on flatbed trailers, in stores and at job sites. Arpac Group

The latest generation of the IJ/3000 line of ink jet printers — the IJ/3000 Wax Jet — will be featured. The system can operate up to four wax-jet print heads on two production lines. It uses a print head that takes solid wax pellets, melts them into liquid form and delivers this ink through the heated transfer tube to the print head. After the print head ejects the droplets, the liquid resolidifies immediately on the substrate. Diagraph

On display for the first time will be the RA series of rotary tower stretch wrapping machines, evolved from the company's MA Series. The RA series machines are designed to process from 40 to 120 loads per hour. Features include a more stable, smaller footprint frame design, automatic guard gates protecting the wrap zone from intrusion and a new carriage guidance system. Orion

The Model 5200 RFID label printerapplicator will be demonstrated. The unit makes it easy to print, encode, verify and apply pressure-sensitive RFID smart labels to cartons and palletloads in one operation. Weber Marking Systems

The SC8000 controller collects and elaborates data received by the scanner, and provides users with a unique standard interface. Each device that makes up the omnidirectional reading system has been designed to assure easy maintenance without requiring an expert scanner technician. Datalogic

This automatic, value-priced case erecting machine erects and bottom seals corrugated cases at speeds from 500 to 700 cases per hour. It features low-case and low-tape alarms, and fast no-tool changeovers. Combi Packaging Systems

The Skilled ant 101 palletizer robot is an easy-to-use and economical palletizing robot. It boasts a doit-yourself, modular structure and can be transferred using a single container,-without being disassembled. Euroimpianti

This battery-operated mobile stretch wrapper, the WPW, offers efficient, safe and effortless stretch wrapping. It will wrap approximately 350 loads per battery charge. The machine saves time and money by bringing the wrapper to the pallet. Wulftec

A new flexible chain conveyor system, VarioFlowTMS, companion to the existing VarioFlowTM product line will be introduced. The new conveyor system includes chain widths, chain styles and even new stainless steel options for applications with stringent hygiene requirements. Bosch Rexroth