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One powerful show indeed

Pack Expo International 2010, the largest packaging and processing event in the world this year, comes to Chicago’s McCormick Place October 31- November 3.
Few in manufacturing would question that one of today’s pressing needs is to better integrate the too often divided worlds of processing and packaging. So the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute has brought its own version of processing/packaging integration to Pack Expo International by expanding its focus to include processing solutions. More than 150 exhibitors occupying more than 70,000 sq ft will be in The Processing Zone, and its sold-out status speaks volumes about how packaging stakeholders have embraced Pack Expo’s integrated, total systems approach. “We expanded the Pack Expo show because attendees told us it is what they need,” says PMMI’s Jim Pittas, vice president, tradeshows. “Obviously, the industry agrees.”

Also new this year is the way in which the conference content is being handled. On Monday, November 1 and Tuesday, November 2, the first-ever Manufacturing Excellence Conference at Pack Expo will be held. Co-locating this event is the Grocery Manufacturers Association. The GMA conference will feature three general-session speakers covering leadership, food safety, and modeling the factory of the future. In addition, there will be three concurrent tracks—product safety, sustainability, and operational reliability.

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Pamela Bailey, president and CEO at GMA, says Pack Expo is a critical component for GMA members planning and implementing business strategies.

“GMA member companies have long valued Pack Expo as an important annual forum where they can gather with supply chain partners, garner key insights, and learn about emerging trends from their counterparts upstream,” says Bailey. “With a focus on product safety, sustainability, and operational integrity—critical issues for GMA and PMMI members—we are thrilled to launch the inaugural GMA Manufacturing Excellence Conference at this year’s Pack Expo.”

The Packaging Learning Center

Complementing GMA on the conference scene will be the Institute of Packaging Professionals, which will host the Packaging Learning Center. This series of seminars runs Monday, November 1 through Wednesday, November 3. Led by a mix of end users, industry consultants, and suppliers, the seminars will focus on a range of topics packaging professionals are wrestling with today, including sustainability and food safety. Among the speakers will be Packaging World’s Jim George, marketing and design editor, with a presentation on Tuesday, November 2, on the subject of packaging innovation.

Another new feature at Pack Expo this year is the Confectionery Pavilion, sponsored by the National Confectionery Association. “NCA has been an important part of the candy, chocolate, and gum industries for more than 125 years and represents many of the world’s leading confectionery brands,” notes PMMI president and CEO Chuck Yuska. “With this history, we’re confident the Confectionery Pavilion will help brand owners effectively address their manufacturing challenges.”

Pack Expo also gets introduced to The Brand Zone this year, a highly successful feature you may remember from last year’s Pack Expo Las Vegas. Concentrating as it does on innovative containers and materials that marketers, brand managers, and designers can use to make their product stand out on the shelf, this is a special exhibit area you won’t want to miss. Look for the display announcing the winners in our second annual Greener Package Awards competition. Or if you can’t wait until Pack Expo, visit www.greenerpackage.com to see the award winners.

One new component of The Brand Zone is Project 2020: The Consumer Experience. Sponsored by DuPont, it will give attendees a glimpse into the future of packaging. Two parts are planned:

• The first component will feature the results of a call to package designers and developers for their visions of what consumers will see on retail shelves in 10 years. Prototypes of the most creative concepts will be on display.

• In addition, attendees will have a hands-on opportunity to explore new and emerging packaging technologies that can be used to extend consumer engagement beyond the retail shelf, including augmented reality. This area will be developed and presented by Pack Expo’s exclusive consumer and packaging insights partner Iconoculture.

Converting operations have a place at the Pack Expo International table, too, as CPP Expo will co-locate once again with Pack Expo. The Flexographic Technical Association is working with CPP Expo to create conference programming that offers attendees insight into improving operations, increasing efficiency, and maintaining equipment. These sessions will be held Monday, November 1, and Tuesday, November 2.

Two additional Pack Expo events should be noted. The Reusable Packaging Association will host a special workshop on Tuesday, November 2 from 2 to 5 p.m. Titled “Reusable packaging 101,” the session will help attendees navigate the preliminary steps required to adopt a reusable packaging solution. This includes defining the products and services available, cost analysis, supply chain modeling, and financing options. The workshop will serve as the first of a four-part curriculum being developed to help companies evaluate, build acceptance for, and implement and refine their choice of reusable packaging systems.

Finally, PAC, The Packaging Association, is bringing the interactive PAC Green Den program to Pack Expo on Tuesday, November 2 from 1 to 4:30 p.m. This program is called “Fast tracking sustainable innovation.” It unites elements of successful reality television and business matchmaking. The agenda includes “innovators” presenting solutions to a panel of experts and a live audience of brand owners and retailers—and receiving constructive feedback—as well as a short keynote address from upcycling pioneer Tom Szaky of TerraCycle.

While all of these new features and attractions are impressive, don’t forget the bedrock value of each Pack Expo that rolls around. Where else will such a full range of packaging machines, materials, services, and solutions be on display as comprehensively as they will be at Pack Expo? Occupying 1.1 million net sq ft, it will bring together 1,900 exhibitors and 45,000 attendees from across the globe.

“Pack Expo will be as comprehensive and full of value as ever before,” says Yuska. “A clear shift towards total systems solutions is taking place in the industry, and Pack Expo is evolving along with it to meet the needs of attendees effectively and efficiently.”

For more information on Pack Expo International 2010, visit www.packexpo.com

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