Powerful PACK EXPO Las Vegas drives innovation

The largest ever PACK EXPO Las Vegas—along with the co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO—comes to the Las Vegas Convention Center September 25–27. Produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, this is the biggest gathering in North America of packaging goods and services, including pharmaceuticals and medical devices, in a powerful way that drives innovation.

The event boasts an expected 30,000 attendees, including 5,000 international visitors from more than 125 countries, combined with 2,000-plus exhibiting companies spanning almost 900,000 net square feet of a nearly sold-out exhibit floor.

“The PACK EXPO and Healthcare Packaging names are synonymous with quality, innovation, and progress,” says Charles D. Yuska, President and CEO, PMMI. “You can expect your participation in these shows to result in quality ideas and solutions that will move your business forward. If you want to keep up with innovation in packaging and the latest trends in pharmaceutical manufacturing, you need to attend these shows.”

PACK EXPO Las Vegas will bring together top CPGs from around the world to explore state-of-the-art packaging technologies, equipment, and materials as well as exchange ideas with peers and build professional relationships. Beyond the technologies exhibited on the show floor, attendees will find tremendous educational opportunities at the Innovation Stage, where suppliers present free 30-minute seminars on breakthrough technologies throughout the day.

As for Healthcare Packaging EXPO, it’s the most comprehensive pharmaceutical show, and it offers the widest range of equipment and technology solutions for pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers. Healthcare Packaging EXPO is expected to lead the way in packaging innovation for pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device manufacturers. Technologies featured will include track-and-trace solutions, quality control, anti-counterfeiting, filling, and tablet handling. And don’t forget that Healthcare Packaging EXPO will offer educational and networking opportunities. Multiple venues at both Healthcare Packaging EXPO and PACK EXPO Las Vegas will feature Innovation Stage seminars. Together, these events showcase an extensive collection of packaging and production solutions to help manufacturers improve operations and stay competitive.

Networking opportunities
PACK EXPO Las Vegas will also offer an abundance of networking opportunities, and industry-specific events. Here’s what to look for:

The Containers and Materials Pavilion will address innovations, including updates on paperboard, glass, metal, and plastic. Flexible and resealable packaging options will also be on display.

• Sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association, The Reusable Packaging Pavilion is the place to learn how to reduce waste, cut costs, and gain supply chain efficiency.

Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) will hold a Women’s Breakfast with Caterpillar’s Tana Utley on Tuesday, September 26, at 7:30 a.m. (See sidebar below.)

• Candy and snack connoisseurs will find the newest trends and technologies relating to aeration, batch refining, shaping, cluster production, and much more at The Confectionery Pavilion, sponsored by the National Confectioners Association (NCA).

Attendees of PACK EXPO Las Vegas can network with peers, gain specialized insights, or just rest and recharge at three different industry-specific lounges.

• The Beverage Cooler Lounge (Booth #S-7632), hosted by the International Society of Beverage Technologists

• The Baking and Snack Break Lounge (Booth #S-7631), hosted and sponsored by the American Bakers Association

Candy Bar Lounge (Booth# S-7202), sponsored by Dorner Manufacturing Corp. and hosted by NCA, located in The Confectionery Pavilion

The PACK gives BACK™ benefit concert, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, will be headlined by none other than the Grammy award winning band The Doobie Brothers. A portion of the proceeds from the annual benefit will go towards the PACK EXPO Scholarship (now accepting applications from students), providing grants to U.S. and Canadian colleges with packaging and processing programs.

This signature event has become a tradition for PMMI. It is open to industry professionals with a portion of the proceeds going toward the PACK EXPO Scholarship, which provides grants to U.S. and Canadian colleges with processing and packaging programs. The entertainment will be sure to draw a big audience. Now in their 47th year, The Doobie Brothers have won four GRAMMY® Awards and sold more than 48 million records worldwide. The 1976 “Best of the Doobies” has sold more than 12 million copies. Their gold-certified singles “Black Water” and “What a Fool Believes” lead a catalog of hits that includes “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus Is Just All Right,” “Rockin’ Down the Highway,” “China Grove,” “Takin’ It to the Streets,” “Minute by Minute,” “You Belong to Me,” and “The Doctor.” In all, The Doobies have tallied five Top 10 singles and 16 Top 40 hits, earning a spot in the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2004.

“I’m excited to have a band with their string of hits attached to the PACK EXPO brand and the PACK gives BACK™ event,” says Jim Pittas, Chief Operating Officer, PMMI. “We are looking forward to raising some serious money to invest in the future of the processing and packaging community through the PACK EXPO Scholarship.”

The new PACK EXPO scholarship program will provide $30,000 annually to support the future packaging and processing workforce. Each year, six $5,000 scholarships will be awarded to students studying packaging and processing at PMMI Partner Schools. “This scholarship program demonstrates PMMI’s continued commitment to foster our industry’s future workforce,” says Pittas.

The recipients of the PACK EXPO Scholarship will be announced at the PACK gives BACK™ benefit concert. Tickets for PACK gives BACK™ are available online at and cost $75 each (buy 10, and get the tenth ticket free). Sponsorship opportunities are also available; please contact PMMI at [email protected] for more information.

Send in the drones
Proving that PACK EXPO Las Vegas remains in step with, or even a step ahead of, the latest innovations in packaging, automated packaging distribution will take to the air at the “PACK EXPO Drone Demo—Packaging for the Last Mile” interactive display. PMMI will collaborate with electric truck and drone maker Workhorse, whose clients include UPS, to bring the simulation to life. The announcement comes on the heels of Amazon’s published—and now patented—vision for drone centers shaped like giant beehives in the middle of major U.S. cities.

“When it comes to automated packaging delivery, whether it be a drone or driverless vehicles, many in the packaging industry, as well as consumers, are not exactly sure what this technology looks like or how it will apply to their everyday operations,” says Pittas. “Our interactive display offers a real visualization of the final process that brings the package the last mile to a consumer’s home.”

Mock housing will populate the virtual landscape of the 15,000 sq feet exhibit in the North Hall, complete with mailboxes and doorsteps to accept delivered packages. Workhorse delivery drones will take off from the top of a stationary Workhorse electric van and make deliveries to the mock houses. To complete the simulation, monitors outside of the drone area will broadcast the information available from the delivery van via the Metron application. The screens will also offer the drone perspective via live video from a camera mounted on the drones.

Scheduled for demonstration every 30 minutes, the entirely unmanned delivery systems and electric-powered trucks will bring to life a system of automated package distribution and show how the system is faster and more efficient than traditional delivery methods. PACK EXPO Drone Demo—Packaging for the Last Mile checks many of the fundamental sustainability, efficiency, and product safety issues more than 30,000 projected attendees are seeking.

Amazing Packaging Race
Emerson, featuring leadership product brands such as ASCO Numatics, will sponsor the eighth edition of the Amazing Packaging Race at PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2017.

“Over the years, Emerson has shown their willingness to provide educational opportunities for students in the packaging industry. Their consistent sponsorship has made the success of this program possible, and we are grateful for their continued support,” says Pittas.

The Amazing Packaging Race will take place on Wednesday, September 27, during the last day of PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2017 in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Participating students will compete on the nearly 900,000 net square feet of show floor space to complete a series of tasks assigned by exhibitors. The race will conclude with the announcement of the winning team at the Emerson Booth (C-5222).

“By giving students an engaging way to gain knowledge about the packaging and processing industry, the next generation is introduced to career opportunities that are possible for them,” says Andy Duffy, VP Sales at ASCO. “Students can also network and build teamwork skills in an exciting, hands-on approach to learning.”

Exhibitors and PMMI Partner Schools are invited to participate in the Amazing Packaging Race. Contact Jill Davis, education coordinator, PMMI at 571.287.6810 or [email protected]. Exhibitors who wish to participate in the race are asked to contribute $500 to the PMMI Education & Training Foundation, which supports educational efforts including scholarships for students at PMMI Partner Schools.

Dow returns, too
The Dow Chemical Company returns as the exclusive sponsor of The Showcase of Packaging Innovations® at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2017. Located within the Containers and Materials Pavilion, the Showcase will highlight the latest innovations and award-winning packaging designs from across the globe.

“We are proud to be the sole sponsor of the Showcase of Packaging Innovations since the exhibit’s inception at PACK EXPO in 2003,” says Karen S. Carter, commercial vice president for Dow’s North America Packaging and Specialty Plastic business. “The Showcase displays the best that the industry has to offer in packaging innovation and we are eager to bring this display to Las Vegas again to inspire new ideas about packaging design.”

“The Showcase of Packaging Innovations has come to be a show floor favorite at PACK EXPO over the years,” says Pittas. “Dow has no doubt inspired many package designers to go above and beyond in creating packaging that is both functional and innovative.”

Caterpillar VP at PPWLN Networking Breakfast
Since its debut networking breakfast event at PACK EXPO International 2016, The Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN) continues to grow in its mission to recruit, retain, and advance women’s careers in packaging and processing by bringing established leaders and young professionals together to expand the presence and influence of women in the industry.

Sponsored by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, PPWLN continues its mission at PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2017 with a September 26 breakfast featuring a keynote address from Tana Utley, vice president, Caterpillar Inc. Utley is responsible for the Large Power Systems Division at Caterpillar, Inc. and has been with the 90-year-old company for over 30 years. Since joining Caterpillar in 1986, Utley has held a variety of engineering and general management positions across Caterpillar. Her technical career has been focused primarily on solving the challenges of reducing diesel engine emissions in accordance with U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and equivalent global regulations. She has played a number of key engineering and leadership roles in the development of the near-zero-emissions engines Caterpillar sells today.

The breakfast and networking event, sponsored by Duravant, ID Technology, Morrison Container Handling Solutions, Septimatech Group Inc., and SMC, begins at 7:30 a.m., with Utley’s keynote at 8 a.m. Registration is now open for this free event. Women can also join the Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network group on LinkedIn to connect with peers, learn about upcoming events, and stay up-to-date on industry news.