By Tom Egan, Vice President, Industry Services, PMMI
With the end of 2013 in sight, manufacturers have set their sights on a new year and how they’ll tackle challenges laying ahead — challenges such as the economy, complying with food safety regulations and stiff competition for shelf space and consumers.
But for more than 27,000 processing and packaging professionals, there was PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013 (Sept. 23–25; Las Vegas Convention Center), with a wealth of technologies and experts to spark innovation and insights to put — and keep — them ahead of the competitive curve. The 722,437-net square foot event attracted 1,788 exhibitors showing the latest processing and packaging technologies and concepts. Here are a few of the trends we saw:
Food Safety First
Measures to improve food safety could be seen all around the show floor; technologies to protect against potentially harmful pathogens were a highlight. One of these was high-pressure processing (HPP), which treats sealed food products in a compartment where high pressure is applied, rendering yeast, mold and bacteria inactive. HPP is particularly useful for products with increased water content. By exposing them to high pressure, processors can ensure food safety without the extreme temperatures that can alter taste or consistency.
Emphasis on Education
On-floor educational programming was available throughout the show. Speakers at featured education areas such as the Food Safety Summit Resource Center, Innovation Stage, the Center for Trends & Technology and the Reusables Learning Center, addressed pressing trends and challenges. Topics such as food safety and compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act, sustainability and innovation were prominent on presentation schedules. At the Center for Trends & Technology, efficiency was another highlight, with experts describing trends in advanced mechatronics, line integration techniques, and driving efficiencies with robot integration.
Antimicrobial nanomaterials, clean-in-place technologies and enhanced equipment reliability all contribute to advancing food safety — and all were featured prominently on the show floor. Additionally, machinery manufacturers are designing for food safety, building machines and mechanical components that are easier to clean and with fewer crevices to collect debris. This is all in aid of complying with food safety standards and best practices.
We expect to see these trends continue into the coming year, and the latest developments will be in the spotlight for manufacturing professionals to see first-hand at PACK EXPO International 2014 (November 2-5; McCormick Place, Chicago). Co-located with Pharma EXPO, a resource for pharmaceutical manufacturing innovation co-produced by PMMI and the International Society of Pharmaceutical Engineers (ISPE), the event is projected to bring together more than 2,000 exhibitors and 50,000 attendees to address processing and packaging challenges across different industries.
For more information about next year’s show in Chicago, visit packexpo.com and sign up to be notified when registration opens.
PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is a trade association representing over 600 packaging and processing supply chain companies that provide a full range of packaging and processing machinery, materials, components and containers. PMMI actively brings buyers and sellers together through programs and events such as The PACK EXPO family of trade shows, packexpo.com, PMT Magazine, PACK EXPO Show Daily, networking events and educational programs.
PMMI organizes the PACK EXPO trade shows: PACK EXPO International, Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International and presented jointly with the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE); PACK EXPO Las Vegas, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México and EXPO PACK Guadalajara, connecting participants in the packaging and processing supply chain with their customers around the world. Coming Up: EXPO PACK México 2014, June 17-20 (Mexico City, Mexico); PACK EXPO International 2014, Nov. 2-5 (McCormick Place, Chicago); Pharma EXPO, co-located with PACK EXPO International 2014; PACK EXPO East, debuting Feb. 2–4, 2015 (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia); EXPO PACK Guadalajara 2015, March 18–20, 2015 (EXPO Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico).