Thursday, 21 September 2017


Bringing together 2,000+ exhibitors and 30,000 attendees from virtually every vertical market, PACK EXPO Las Vegas is the year’s most comprehensive packaging event on the American continent. In this exclusive interview with Laura Thompson, senior director of expositions at PMMI, managing editor Dan Orehov discusses the highlights of the event and the specific focal points of interest for the potato industry.  

What is this year’s PACK EXPO concept?

Laura Thompson (pictured), senior director of exposition PMMI: The event will unite top CPGs from around the world to explore state-of-the-art packaging technologies, equipment and materials as well as exchange ideas with peers and build professional relationships. Beyond the technologies exhibited on the show floor, attendees will find tremendous educational opportunities on the Innovation Stage where suppliers present free 30-minute seminars on breakthrough technologies throughout the day.

What are some of the highlights of the event?

  • PACK EXPO Drone Demo – “Packaging for the Last Mile” interactive display

PMMI will collaborate with electric truck and drone maker Workhorse, whose clients include UPS, to bring the simulation to life. "When it comes to automated packaging delivery, whether it be a drone or driverless vehicles, many in the packaging industry, as well as consumers, are not exactly sure what this technology looks like or how it will apply to their everyday operations," says Jim Pittas, COO of PMMI. "Our interactive display offers a real visualization of the final process that brings the package the last mile to a consumer's home." Mock housing will populate the virtual landscape of the 15,000 sq. feet exhibit in the North Hall, complete with mailboxes and doorsteps to accept delivered packages. Workhorse delivery drones will take off from the top of a stationary Workhorse electric van and make deliveries to the mock houses. To complete the simulation, monitors outside of the drone area will broadcast the information available from the delivery van via the Metron application. The screens will also offer the drone perspective via live video from a camera mounted on the drones.

  • PACK gives BACK™

PMMI’s regular benefit returns to PACK EXPO Las Vegas with a networking event in support of the PACK EXPO Scholarship, which provides grants to U.S. and Canadian colleges with packaging and processing programs. Guests can enjoy beer, wine, light appetizers and a performance by the GRAMMY® award-winning American band, The Doobie Brothers.

  • Industry-specific Lounges

Attendees of PACK EXPO Las Vegas can network with peers, gain specialized insights and just rest and recharge at three different industry-specific lounges. Hosted by the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT), the Beverage Cooler Lounge (Booth #7632) will offer educational presentations, including Ask-the-Expert sessions. The Baking and Snack Break Lounge (Booth #S-7631), sponsored and hosted by the American Bakers Association offers professionals within those industries a similar hub as does the Candy Bar Lounge (Booth# S-7202) sponsored by Dorner Manufacturing Corp. and hosted by the National Confectioners Association (NCA), located in The Confectionery Pavilion.

  • The Showcase of Packaging Innovations®

Sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company®, award-nominated packaging solutions will be on display at the Showcase of Packaging Innovations located within The Containers and Materials Pavilion. Attendees will be able to see inspiring technology that addresses the evolving needs of demanding consumers.

Will there be any areas targeting the potato processing segment?

Manufacturers of potato chips should drop by The Baking and Snack Break Lounge (Booth #S-7832), sponsored and hosted by the American Bakers Association, which offers opportunities to connect with industry professionals. There, they can network with peers, gain specialized insights and simply rest and recharge at three different industry-specific lounges.

As for activities relating to this segment, potato processors can tackle a variety of applications, including French fries, instant mashed potatoes, ready meals and more. As their packaging needs range, so do the resources available to them at PACK EXPO.

The Showcase of Packaging Innovations®: Sponsored by Dow® and located in The Materials and Containers Pavilion, will display award-nominated packaging solutions across many product categories, offering a first-hand look at inspiring technology that addresses the evolving needs of demanding consumers. The Reusable Packaging Pavilion sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA) will offer resources and insights that can help potato processors reduce waste, cut costs and gain chain efficiency. Last, but certainly not least, attendees can see hourly demonstrations of the PACK EXPO drone demo — “Packaging for the Last Mile”.

PACK EXPO Las Vegas attendees will also have the opportunity to sit in Innovation Stage presentations that will cover a variety of topics including clean labeling, food safety technology, snack food trends, sustainability and more. To date, there are 41 30-minute sessions – all of which you can find here.

You can read more in our print magazine Potato Processing International magazine (Jul/Aug 2017)! 

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