Sneak Peek at October’s PACK EXPO International 2018 show floor

What’s new at PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO 2018

By Jim Cornall

- Last updated on GMT

PMMI’s PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO take place October 14–17, 2018, at McCormick Place, Chicago.
PMMI’s PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO take place October 14–17, 2018, at McCormick Place, Chicago.
The global market value for packaging machinery is expected to reach $42.2bn by 2021, according to PMMI’s Global Trends Impacting the Market for Packaging Machinery 2018 report.

The worldwide market is growing larger and more complex, and the PMMI’s PACK EXPO International​ and the co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO​ (Oct. 14–17, 2018, McCormick Place, Chicago) shows bring together 2,500 exhibitors and 50,000 packaging industry professionals over 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space from virtually every vertical market, making it the year’s most comprehensive packaging event in North America.

PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO will address the trends and challenges driving all the key market segments, including dairy, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and medical device and cosmetics and personal care. Show attendees can experience machinery in action and take advantage of educational opportunities on the show floor.

Attendees and exhibitors alike will have access to some highlights at this year’s show:

  • The PACKage Printing Pavilion: ​Making its debut at PACK EXPO International 2018, the PACKage Printing Pavilion is the industry’s main stage for digital’s advantages for short-run, on-demand, cost-effective variable data and personalized packaging.
  • The Containers and Materials Pavilion: ​This year’s Containers and Materials Pavilion will address the latest innovations in paperboard, glass, metal and plastic. Flexible and resealable packaging options will also be on display as well as innovative containers and sustainable choices. The Pavilion will also feature the Showcase of Packaging Innovations, sponsored by The Dow Chemical Company.
  • The Confectionery Pavilion: ​Candy and snack connoisseurs can find the newest trends and technologies relating to aeration, batch refining, shaping, cluster production and cooling conveyers at the Confectionery Pavilion. Sponsored by the National Confectioner’s Association (NCA), this Pavilion will also highlight innovations in easy-open packaging, portion control and much more.
  • The Reusable Packaging Pavilion: ​As demand rises for sustainable packaging solutions, the Reusable Packaging Pavilion, sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), is a hotspot for reusable products, services and solutions for increasing sustainability across the supply chain. The RPA’s Reusable Packaging Learning Center within the pavilion will offer free presentations on case studies and best practices for incorporating reusables.
  • PACK gives BACK: ​Sponsored by Rockwell Automation, PMMI’s annual benefit returns to Chicago in support of PACK EXPO Scholarships, a program for US and Canadian students majoring in packaging and processing. PACK gives BACK is Monday, Oct. 15, and tickets to the fundraiser are $75.  For more information, visit:
  • The Forum at PACK EXPO:​ The Forum at PACK EXPO will feature free 45-minute open sessions on the latest industry trends by the OpX Leadership Network, World Packaging Organization, Institute of Packaging Professionals, Contract Packagers Association and PMMI Business Intelligence. Sessions will be interactive, including hands-on activities, small group discussions and Q&A sessions.
  • The Innovation Stage: ​On the show floor, the Innovation Stage presents free 30-minute seminars on breakthrough technologies and techniques focused on a wide range of industry specific solutions. For session and location details, click here​ to view schedule.
  • Packaging & Processing Women’s Leadership Network (PPWLN): ​PPWLN serves to recruit, retain and advance women’s careers in packaging and processing. The PPWLN breakfast is on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 7:30-9 a.m. and will include a conversation with industry executives, including Hugh Roddy, vice president global engineering & project management, Chobani; and Carol O’Neill, group president, packaging, Barry-Wehmiller; and other industry leaders. The panel will be moderated by Jane Chase, executive director, Institute of Packaging Professionals followed by a Q&A with leaders in the industry. For more information and to register, visit:​.
  • The Technology Excellence Awards:​ These inaugural awards will recognize the most innovative technologies at the show that have never before been seen at a PACK EXPO. Attendees will be able to vote on their favorites among the finalists selected in specific market segments.
  • Industry-specific Lounges: ​PACK EXPO International attendees can network with peers, gain specialized insights and rest their feet at the show’s three industry-specific lounges. Networking receptions for Snack​, Confectionery​ and Beverage ​Industry Lounges will take place in their respective locations on Tuesday, Oct. 16, from 3:30-5 p.m.
  • The Candy Bar Lounge (S-2583) ​will serve as a networking destination for confectionery industry experts and their customers. Hosted by The National Confectioners Association (NCA) and sponsored by Robert Bosch Confectionary Technology (S-3514)
  • The Beverage Cooler Lounge (N-4575)​ will serve as a networking hub for beverage industry professionals and ISBT subject matter experts. Hosted by The International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) and sponsored by Bevcorp, LLC (S-3874)
  • The Snack Break Lounge (N-4565) ​will serve as the central meeting place and information center for snack industry professionals at the show. Hosted by SNAC International and co-sponsored by Dorner Manufacturing Corporation (N-4936), JLS Automation (N-5342) and Soft Robotics, Inc. (E-7207)
  • Student Opportunities:

PACK EXPO International offers programs and activities aimed at getting students excited about careers in packaging

  • The Amazing Packaging Race

Students are invited to discover possibilities in the packaging and processing industry by participating in the Amazing Packaging Race. In this fun and educational event, teams from colleges and universities across the US race around the PACK EXPO International show floor to complete tasks at the booths of participating exhibitors. Wednesday, Oct. 17; 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. Booth E-350.

  • CareerLink @ PACK EXPO

CareerLink, PMMI’s online job board, is going live at PACK EXPO International and the co-located Healthcare Packaging EXPO in 2018. CareerLink @ PACK EXPO is an opportunity for PMMI members and consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to meet with students and veterans pursuing careers in packaging and processing during one-on-one informational interviews. Interviews will take place at the show on Monday, Oct. 15 (9 a.m.–3 p.m.) and Tuesday, Oct. 16 (9 a.m.–5 p.m.) in room E-353a. To register:

  • Future Innovators Robotics Showcase

Come see high school robotics teams from the across the country showcase their design, engineering and troubleshooting skills. 

Sunday - Tuesday, Oct. 14, 15 & 16; 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. at booth E-6620

  • Workforce Development:

PMMI is offering popular training workshops at McCormick Place in Chicago to coincide with PACK EXPO International.

  • Risk Assessment Workshop – Oct. 12–13, 2018

Looking for ways to reduce downtime, improve productivity and ensure worker safety? Join PMMI’s Risk Assessment experts at PACK EXPO International and learn the tips and techniques to perform and document the important risk assessment process.

  • Certified Trainer Workshop – Oct. 14–15, 2018

PMMI’s Certified Trainer Workshops is designed to equip companies with strategies and tactics to train well across all employee skill levels including service technicians, service and training managers, maintenance technicians, internal trainers, line supervisors, and any employee tasked with training fellow employees or customers.

  • Introduction to Field Service – Oct. 15–16, 2018

Field service technicians are the face of organizations. While technical proficiency garners the most attention, there is far more to being a technician. This two-day workshop explores non-technical knowledge and skills needed to be a great technician. Topics include: Customer Service, Troubleshooting, Environmental Issues, Safety, Training and Service Call Follow Up.

  • PACK EXPO International Mobile App

Navigate both shows like a pro with a free mobile app

  • Look up exhibitors, products and educational sessions
  • Create and save a personal agenda of what you want to see and do
  • Navigate from booth to booth with the interactive map
  • Get news and notifications about demos, giveaways and more
  • Access your agenda anywhere

The app will be available for download in early August.

Some of the innovations attendees will discover on the show floor include:

Advancements in packaging film offer enhanced product protection

Toray Plastics, Inc. (Booth #N-6275) has introduced three packaging product lines.


Torayfan white film and Torayfan CB3 belong to a new generation of high-barrier films that provide superior durability for packaged foods. Torayfan white film packages feature one side metallized and are available in sealable and non-sealable versions. Lumirror PET film packages are metalized to offer increased moisture, oxygen, and aroma protection. All three film materials deliver a robust packaging solution with sustainability benefits.

Applications: Food, Packaging, Sustainability, Dairy

Unique freezer control system


The CALLIFREEZE freezer control system developed by GEA (Booth #N-4927) is the answer to individual freezing requirements in the food industry. The CALLIFREEZE system monitors the conditions of products removed from the freezer and calibrates the temperature and other freezer parameters to meet the freezing requirements of every product without making physical contact with the product. GEA’s CALLIFREEZE system increases production capacity by 20% and achieves a 10% reduction in energy consumption.

Applications: Food, Dairy, Processing, Storage, Freezing

Premium product protection user challenge solved

The new Termalock Powder Bag by Fres-co (Booth #S-4182) is positioned to eliminate many of the challenges with packaging products sensitive to moisture, oxidation, dehydration and unstable palletization. Features include a one-way degassing valve, built-in vent chambers that prevent powders from plugging the valve’s mechanisms and durable high-barrier film construction to prevent “water ballooning” during overseas export. In addition, Termalock bags can now be equipped with IZON anti-counterfeiting technology with simple visual confirmation of counterfeiting.


Applications: Packaging, Food, Dairy

Coding and packaging verification system prevents food recalls

Autocoding Systems (Booth #E-8232) recognized the catastrophic nature of product recall and has thus implemented a new autocoding solution meant to prevent labelling mistakes. Autocoding Systems package coding solution ensures that products leave the factory in the correct packaging with all important labels, such as expiration dates and allergen information. In addition, this autocoding solution offers a significant reduction in job set-up and changeover time, allowing for longer packaging line runs.

AutoCoding Systems

Applications: Packaging, Food, Beverage, Dairy

PACK EXPO International brings together industry professionals from around the world to catch up on the latest technologies and trends. Registration, which includes access to both PACK EXPO International and Healthcare Packaging EXPO, is $30 until Sept. 28, after which the price increases to $100. For more information and to register online, visit​ or​.