PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO hit an unprecedented trifecta this year, breaking records for number of exhibitors, total exhibit space and total attendees, according to show owner and producer PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. By the show’s close on Wednesday, Sept. 25, preliminary numbers reveal that more than 2,000 exhibitors covering nearly 900,000 net square feet of the Las Vegas Convention Center convened with over 31,000 attendees; an eight percent increase from the 2017 show.
“With the incredible role it now plays for the packaging industry, PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO was the international packaging event of 2019," says Jim Pittas, president and CEO of PMMI. “The sheer size and scope of PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO indicates that as our industry continues to prosper it turns to PMMI shows for the solutions and tools to improve business.”
Stefan Brown is an R&D Scientist for The Clorox Company who came to PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO because he knew there would be an opportunity to see solutions for his business, even if they were initially created for other vertical markets.
“I attended PACK EXPO Las Vegas to find new child-proof packaging technologies, particularly closures, for household chemical products,” says Brown. “There’s a lot of innovation in that space stemming from the CBD market. Since this show covers so many industries, we’re able to see different innovations from other markets, like CBD, and determine how we can apply them to our own products.”
Contract packager Joe Woods also touts the vast expanse of solutions available at this year's event and finding all of the options at one show was ideal for his role as the director of procurement at Pharma Packaging Solutions.
“I've been to a lot of different trade shows, but PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO is phenomenal—both well done and well organized. Coming here you can find everything under one roof,” Woods says. “We’ve purchased everything from bags to machines and more, and we'll leave having spent millions of dollars on solutions to enhance our business.”
Long-time exhibitor Marchesini Group USA sees Healthcare Packaging EXPO keeping pace with the overall growth of the PACK EXPO Las Vegas event.
“Right from the opening of Healthcare Packaging EXPO on Monday morning (Sept. 23), we had great traffic made up of quality people who had substantial, decision making positions in their companies,” said Roger Toll, executive vice president of Marchesini.
Other Healthcare Packaging EXPO exhibitors echoed Toll’s comments with Thomas Packaging Senior Sales Engineer highlighting the quality of visitors who stopped in his booth. “A lot of attendees weren’t here just to browse and see what’s new,” says Denis Adams of Thomas Packaging. “Most arrived with serious projects in hand, looking [to collaborate on] solutions.”
The massive number of attendees were also evident in and around the Forum and Innovation Stages as standing room only crowds poured out into the show aisles in order to take part in the free educational opportunities.
“The number of educational sessions has increased, which is a great value add for attendees, and in turn, benefits us as exhibitors,” says Peter Vilardi, marketing manager, Massman Companies.
As a senior packaging specialist for Nestle, Brandon Kelly was pleased to find exhibitors and education sessions that matched the recyclability and reusability goals of the largest food company in the world.
“It gives me a sense of confidence to see that converters, raw material suppliers and other businesses throughout the supply chain are working toward similar sustainability initiatives, as seen in many of this year's Innovation Stage presentations,” says Kelly. “The industry has a big challenge to solve when it comes to sustainability, so it's great to see companies working toward a similar mission."
The new Robotics Zone was consistently busy as tens of thousands of attendees flocked to the North Hall to see the interactive robotic and cobot displays, including local news outlets. PACK for a Purpose: Robots Fighting Hunger, in collaboration with Blessings in a Backpack, was a must-see with over 6,000 bags of food packaged by exhibitor robots and donated to school children in Las Vegas, Chicago and Virginia. Participants included Chicago Electric with Yaskawa, Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc, ProMach Performance Services with ABB, Soft Robotics & Cognex, FANUC America Corporation and Universal Robots in partnership with Allied Technology.
PACK gives BACK wrapped up one of the busiest opening days in memory with the legendary Steve Miller Band headlining the annual networking fundraiser. A portion of the proceeds from ticket sales will support NS2 Serves®, a nonprofit dedicated to helping U.S. military veterans transition from combat boots to business suits, providing IT training and employment assistance at no cost.
The Technology Excellence Awards debuted at PACK EXPO Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging EXPO with record voter participation. The winners included Berry Global (Baking and Snack), TECMA ARIES (Beverage and Dairy), Sleever International (General Packaging), UltraSource (Meat/Poultry/Seafood) and Belco Packaging Systems (Pharmaceuticals/Medical Device).
A highlight of the second day of the show came early when nearly 700 industry professionals gathered for the Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast. Themed “Exploring New Territory,” keynote speaker Dr. Ellen Ochoa shared her journey to becoming the first Hispanic woman to go into space.