Four days may not seem like much, but for me it made all the difference in changing from a vague knowledge of Italian packaging machinery to getting a first-hand look at the region around Milan and Bologna, Italy. This area is claimed as having the highest concentration of packaging machinery builders in the world.
The press junket was done through the generosity of The Italian Assn. of Automatic Packing and Packaging Machinery Manufacturers (UCIMA); The Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE); and Ipack-ima, the Italian packaging exhibition organization. In the United States, these organizations are represented by the Italian Trade Commission, with the packaging sector offices located in Chicago, IL. The Italy tour was to drum up support for the new tradeshow for the pharmaceutical and parapharmaceutical (nutraceuticals and food supplements) industry, Pharmintech 2004. To be held in Bologna June 8-11, the trade show is co-located with the fourth Pack-Mat packaging materials exhibition and the Safe Food Technology 2004 exhibition of shelf-life extending technologies. Guido Corbello, the managing director of Ipack-ima, expects 10ꯠ visitors for the trade show.
An international group of six journalists from the U.S., Great Britain, Russia, and China visited:
Pharmaceutical packagers Gephar/SOCHIM Srl, a contract packer of nutraceuticals, and Bracco SpA. We also visited ingredients manufacturer Dipharma Francis SpA.
Additionally, we toured the unique facilities of Lameplast SpA, which operates as a packaging materials supplier and a contract packager of blow/fill/seal unit-dose containers.
What follows are some points of interest, along with some images from my four-day tour.
The Italians' attention to customer service is exemplary. Who would not appreciate dining in Marchesini’s executive dining room, where p-s labels on the custom bottles of the owner's own high-quality wine declare "for my friends?" I say come for their machinery, but stay for their food and camaraderie! By the way, Marchesini is planning a major open house in October.
Students on tour?
My memorable visit has spurred an idea. With the dissolving of the Packaging Education Forum, other avenues of industry-university cooperation should be pursued. I suggest that U.S. organizers could arrange a tour similar to the above for the benefit of a range of students from key packaging universities throughout the U.S. These students would spend several days touring U.S. packaging facilities comprising machinery builders, packagers, and converters. Universities, for their part, could recognize a special student to merit such an honor. Not only would students benefit directly personally, the interaction among these students would be a synergestic bonus.
Besides promoting goodwill, there’s also the prospect that today’s students will be part of tomorrow’s machinery and materials buying team. Contributing to the future of our industry is always a sound investment.
Visit PW's schools resource page for more information on packaging universities.
We will offer other further glimpses in the coming weeks of my Italian packaging experiences.
Until then, arrivederci!