Efficient Engineering
Gearing Up for Pack Expo 2016

Gearing Up for Pack Expo 2016

Pack Expo is an international event that focuses on packaging, but features many types of technology. This year’s event is taking place in Chicago November 6-9 at McCormick Place. Machine Design will be there, so be sure to keep an eye out for our daily newsletters covering the latest products from the show, and check out my Facebook and Twitter—for updated information. 

Packaging is a science. Trying to make sure goods are delivered safely without damage or contamination is a big industry. Stella Service did a study that stated one in 10 packages is damaged upon delivery. Since every product is shipped, either to the store or direct to the customer’s door, packaging can have a large effect on a company’s bottom line and a customer’s loyalty. Even the boxes the product goes into needs to be loaded, packed, labeled, and sealed properly. Dynamic packaging lines able to handle multiple sizes of packages are helping distributors manage a large demand to deliver packages fast and safe.

Fig. 1Sealed Air has been an industry leader for packaging science. They will be at booth S-2939 to show off the technology and packaging lines around some of their well-known brands—Bubble Wrap, Jiffy Mailers, Ethafoam, and Instapak. (While this is an industrial event, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Bubble Wrap is a 2016 finalist to be entered into the National Toy Hall of Fame. Yes, there is a Toy Hall of Fame and all the teddy bears and action figures might be sharing fame with a packaging product.)

But there is more to packaging than providing safety that doubles as a fun toy. Machine vision, labels, and inspecting products increase accuracy. Conex will be at booth 2878 showing off new 3D vision, barcode reading, and inspection systems. The DS1000 series at the show has a displacement sensor that allows for measurements like height, volume, and tilt. This allows more packages to be processed per minute. Machine vision is a trend in packaging to help with high demand, and I’m sure many companies will be showing off their own types of high-speed automated systems.

Automated processes, such as machine vision, allow the conveyors to move faster, too. Dorner will showcase a new 3200 series with Activated Roller Belt (ARB) technology and more at this year’s event. Their booth at N-5945 will have six conveyor systems, two of which show off the company’s ability to move products around tight turns with SmartFlex and FlexMove. Dorner is going to also highlight a newly redesigned 2200 LPZ low-profile belt conveyor to fit into tight areas.

Fig. 2

With scanners, cameras, and conveyors, control is important. Pack Expo is covering this by welcoming Rockwell Automation on site to provide free educational programming on the Innovation Stage. One of the speakers, Steve Mulder, regional segment manager for packaging at Rockwell Automation, will discuss how machine and equipment builders are capitalizing on OEMs to create smart machines that are easy to integrate into existing systems. Other presentations include troubleshooting high-speed lines, labeling, and better food safety.

Pack Expo proves year after year show packaging is a serious business and much more than just a simple box. So keep up to date with our daily newsletter and machinedesign.com for our latest coverage of the show! 

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