Students competing in the fifth PACK Solutions Challenge will present proposals for a packaging line upgrade commissioned by a fictional processor and packager of health care products during PACK EXPO Las Vegas (Sept. 23–25, 2013; Las Vegas Convention Center). B&R Industrial Automation is sponsoring the annual contest, which PMMI debuted in 2009, for the third consecutive year.
Student teams represent packaging programs from seven PMMI Partner Schools throughout the United States:
  • Cal Poly State University
  • Clemson University
  • Purdue University Calumet
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Rutgers University
  • University of Florida
  • Virginia Tech.
“The PACK Solutions Challenge supports PMMI’s mission to help develop the packaging and processing workforce. It fosters student interest in the field, provides real-world experience solving problems and creating proposals with detailed rationale and strengthens the next generation of professionals coming into the industry.” says Maria Ferrante vice president of education and workforce development at PMMI. PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, is the owner and producer of PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013.
The PACK Solutions Challenge gives the students hands-on experience tackling challenges typical to the day-to-day work of engineers and technicians at consumer packaged goods companies (CPGs). The 2013 challenge comes from Lucas Parker Incorporated, a fictional processor and packager of health care products. Students’ proposals — developed using resources found at and meetings with exhibitors on the show floor — will address a variety of complex specifications for Lucas Parker’s mouthwash production, including:
  • Accommodating frequent packaging line changeovers
  • Clean, drip-free filling and maximum filling accuracy
  • Compliance with sanitary design specifications for over-the-counter pharmaceutical products
“The students are required to exercise problem-solving skills, conduct research and present their conclusions in a convincing manner — it’s the same type of situation they will encounter after joining the workforce. This experience is invaluable as they move forward with their education and their career, especially as they look to enter the packaging and processing industry,” says John Kowal, director of business development at B&R Industrial Automation.
Teams will present their findings to a panel of judges on Tuesday, Sept. 24. Judges scheduled to date include representatives from Chattem, Keurig, Pepsi Beverage Company and Schrieber Foods, Inc.
In addition, the student teams’ poster displays will shown in the Education and Workforce Development Pavilion, beginning Monday, Sept. 23, after 2:00 p.m., so attendees can peruse them and vote for their favorite solution. PMMI’s “People’s Choice” winner will be announced following the PACK EXPO, and all attendees who vote will be entered into a drawing for a new iPad.
“The dedication and time commitment of the judges, and B&R Industrial Automation’s sponsorship and support, make the PACK Solutions Challenge possible. We’re very grateful to everyone involved,” Ferrante says.
PMMI’s Packaging Education & Training Foundation will provide scholarships to the winning teams. First place team members will share $4,000; second place, $2,000; third place, $1,000.
To learn more about PACK EXPO Las Vegas 2013, or to register, visit Discounted registration rates of $30 per person apply until Sept. 9, 2013, when the fee increases to $60 per person.
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