With PACK EXPO International and co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO (Oct. 14–17; McCormick Place, Chicago) around the corner, anticipation is running high for the largest packaging event of 2018.  

This year 50,000 packaging professionals will convene at the four-day event produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, to network and connect with 2,500 exhibiting companies. The 1.2 million-plus net-square-feet show floor will feature cutting-edge technology, innovative solutions and opportunities for attendees to participate in free educational sessions. 

“With packaging professionals from nearly every industry vertical attending the show, attendees can witness the latest industry advances and see technology in action,” says Laura Thompson, senior director of expositions, PMMI. “PACK EXPO International provides an opportunity to gain actionable insights and make meaningful connections with peers and potential suppliers all under one roof.”

Attendees and exhibitors alike will have access to must-see highlights at this year’s show:

Pavilions: 

  • The PACKage Printing Pavilion: Making its debut at PACK EXPO International 2018, the PACKage Printing Pavilion is the industry’s main stage for digital’s advantages for short-run, on-demand, cost-effective variable data and personalized packaging. 
  • The Containers and Materials Pavilion: This year’s Containers and Materials Pavilion will address the latest innovations in paperboard, glass, metal and plastic. Flexible and resealable packaging options will also be on display as well as innovative containers and sustainable choices. The Pavilion will also feature the Showcase of Packaging Innovations®, sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company, where visitors can view award-nominated packages. 
  • The Confectionery Pavilion: Candy and snack connoisseurs can find the newest trends and technologies relating to aeration, batch refining, shaping, cluster production and cooling conveyers at the Confectionery Pavilion. Sponsored by the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA), this Pavilion will also highlight innovations in easy-open packaging, portion control and much more. 
  • The Reusable Packaging Pavilion: As demand rises for sustainable packaging solutions, the Reusable Packaging Pavilion, sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), is a hotspot for reusable products, services and solutions for increasing sustainability across the supply chain. The RPA’s Reusable Packaging Center within the pavilion will offer free presentations on case studies and best practices for incorporating reusables. 

PACK gives BACK™: Sponsored by Rockwell Automation (N-5701), PMMI’s annual benefit returns to Chicago in support of PACK EXPO Scholarships, a program for U.S. and Canadian students in packaging and processing. Guests will enjoy pre-show networking at 4:30 p.m. with refreshments and appetizers followed by a performance at 5:30 p.m. by renowned stand-up comedian Sebastian Maniscalco. PACK gives BACK is Monday, Oct. 15 and tickets are $75. For more information and to register, click here.  

The Forum at PACK EXPO: The Forum will feature free, 45-minute open sessions on the latest industry trends by the OpX Leadership Network, Institute of Packaging Professionals, Contract Packagers Association and PMMI Business Intelligence, followed by small group discussions and Q&A sessions.

The Innovation Stage: On the show floor, the Innovation Stage presents free 30-minute seminars on breakthrough technologies and techniques focused on a wide range of industry-specific solutions. Located in the North Building, Booths N-4560, N-4570 and N-4585; and at Healthcare Packaging EXPO – West Building, Booth W-320.

Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN): PPWLN serves to recruit, retain and advance women’s careers in packaging and processing. The PPWLN breakfast is on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7:30–9:00 a.m. and will include a conversation with industry executives, including Hugh Roddy, vice president global engineering & project management, Chobani; and Carol O’Neill, group president, packaging, Barry-Wehmiller; and other industry leaders. The panel will be moderated by Jane Chase, executive director, Institute of Packaging Professionals followed by a Q&A with leaders in the industry. For more information and to register, visit: pmmi.org/ppwln.

Event sponsors: 

  • Duravant (S-2147)
  • Morrison Container Handling Solutions (N-4906)
  • Plexpack (N-5328)
  • Septimatech (N-5742) 
     

The Technology Excellence Awards: These inaugural awards will recognize the most innovative technologies never before seen at a PACK EXPO. Attendees will be able to vote on their favorites among the finalists selected in specific market segments.

Industry-specific Lounges: PACK EXPO International attendees can network with peers, gain specialized insights and rest their feet at the show’s three industry-specific lounges. Networking receptions for the Snack, Confectionery and Beverage Industry Lounges will take place in their respective locations on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 3:30–5:00 p.m. 

  • The Candy Bar Lounge (Booth S-2583) will serve as a networking destination for confectionery industry experts and their customers. Hosted by The National Confectioners Association (NCA) and sponsored by Robert Bosch Confectionary Technology (Booth S-3514).
  • The Beverage Cooler Lounge (Booth N-4575) will serve as a networking hub for beverage industry professionals and ISBT subject matter experts. Hosted by The International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) and sponsored by Bevcorp, LLC (Booth S-3874).
  • The Snack Break Lounge (Booth N-4565) will serve as the central meeting place and information center for snack industry professionals at the show. Hosted by SNAC International and co-sponsored by Dorner Manufacturing Corporation (Booth N-4936), JLS Automation (Booth N-5342) and Soft Robotics, Inc. (Booth E-7207).

Student Opportunities:
PACK EXPO International offers programs and activities aimed at getting students excited about careers in packaging.

  • The Amazing Packaging Race
    • Students are invited to discover the exciting possibilities in the packaging industry by participating in the Amazing Packaging Race, sponsored by ASCO (N-4721). In this fun and educational event on Wednesday, Oct. 17 from 9:00 a.m.­­–2:00 p.m., teams from colleges and universities across the U.S. race around the PACK EXPO International show floor to complete tasks at the booths of participating exhibitors.
  • CareerLink @ PACK EXPO
    • CareerLink, PMMI’s online job board, is going live at PACK EXPO International and the co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO in 2018. CareerLink @ PACK EXPO is an opportunity for PMMI members and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to meet with students and veterans pursuing careers in packaging and processing during one-on-one interviews. Interviews will take place at the show on Monday, Oct. 15 (9:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.) and Tuesday, Oct. 16 (9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.) (Booth E-353a). Click here to register.
  • Future Innovators Robotics Showcase
    • High school robotics teams from the across the country showcase their design, engineering and troubleshooting skills Sunday, Oct. 14–Tuesday, Oct.16, 9:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m. (Booth E-6620). For more information, click here

For more information and to register, visit packexpointernational.com or hcpechicago.com.