PACK Challenge, a brand-new packaging competition organized by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, officially commenced at Spee-Dee Packaging Machinery on Friday, June 10. The competition brings six local high school teams together for a head-to-head machine-building challenge. The event concludes at PACK EXPO International (Oct. 23-26; McCormick Place, Chicago).
As an official strategic partner of PACK Challenge, Spee-Dee hosted 50 participating high school students and nine faculty members for the day, as well as team members from co-strategic partner Morrison Container Handling Solutions.
“As chair of PMMI’s Future Workforce Committee, when we knew we would challenge the students to build a filler, Spee-Dee was the natural partner for us to bring in,” says Nancy Wilson, CEO of Morrison. “They are a great partner that supports education initiatives like this and the development of packaging and processing’s future workforce, and we are excited to be working with them on this program.”
They were joined by PMMI’s president and CEO, Jim Pittas, and senior manager of workforce development, Kate Fiorianti. While there, the students received a tour of the company’s facilities, where they were able to spend the day learning about Spee-Dee's filling technologies and the career opportunities that the packaging industry offers.
"The PACK Challenge kickoff at Spee-Dee was a huge success! It was wonderful to see such an engaged group of students ask questions, learn about the packaging industry and see first-hand how a filling system is designed, manufactured, assembled, wired, programmed and tested,” says Dave Navin, president and CEO of Spee-Dee.
For the competition, PMMI provided each team with a specially designed build-to-print filler machine kit, along with an assembly manual. Each team is building the machine at their school over the summer. At PACK EXPO, each school will re-assemble the filler to the specifications, host marketing and sales presentations and compete for the best design. To add to the fun and let the students express themselves, teams will have the flexibility to be creative with add-ons.
During the Spee-Dee visit, the competitors were able to see an example of a finished filling system to help inspire their own designs. “I look forward to seeing what each team comes up with for the competition,” says Navin. “I believe that PACK Challenge will have a positive impact on our industry.”To reward the students for their creativity, several prizes are lined up for the winners of PACK Challenge. The overall best in show team will be awarded $6,000, with second place receiving $3,000 and third $1,000. Other awards will include Filler Performance Gold Cup, Most Creative Filler Design and Marketing/Sales. After the event, the teams will take the machines back to their school, where future students will have the opportunity for hands-on experience and inspiration.