Pack Expo 2015 celebrates 20th anniversary

The ‘Internet of Things’ and OEE for assessing and improving efficiency skyrockets

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

Rockwell Automation at Pack Expo
Rockwell Automation at Pack Expo

Related tags: Food safety, Printing, Food

Interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE) for assessing and improving efficiency has skyrocketed in the past year, according to PMMI.

The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies talks to FoodProductionDaily ahead of its 20th​ anniversary of Pack Expo in Las Vegas, this year.

OEE Opportunity Calculator

According to Julie Ackerman Montross, senior director, PR and Communications, PMMI, an OEE Opportunity Calculator released by the OpX Leadership Network​ (formerly the Alliance for Innovation and Operational Excellence) was the most broadly adopted measurement tool for companies embarking on continuous improvement initiatives last year.

By tracking OEE scores, food manufacturers can reduce packaging bottlenecks on their production lines, minimize downtime and optimize production flow​,” said Montross.

We’ve also seen demand grow for increased flexibility on processing and packaging lines. Diverse, fast-changing consumer demands are driving the need for equipment with greater modularity, automation and the ability to run multiple products or product in multiple packaging sizes​.”

Not forgetting, the impact of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in the US, Montross added the act’s 2015 and 2016 compliance deadlines are quickly approaching, and any food manufacturers in or selling product in the US must meet the new standards.

FSMA gives regulatory and enforcement powers to the US Food and Drug Administration and commands mandatory inspections, preventative controls and written plans to combat contamination events.

Efforts to advance food safety aren’t limited to equipment and process changes​,” she said.

Three-layer retortable pouch with nanoparticles

Manufacturers are looking to packaging formats that will contribute to their food safety initiatives. Examples include functional films, such as an extruded, three-layer retortable pouch with nanoparticles containing antibacterial agents​.

Automation and advanced interface technologies represent another important trend in food processing and packaging aimed at reducing bottlenecks​.

By implementing the newest human machine interface (HMI) systems, food manufacturers can simplify operation of technology on their production lines. Improving flexibility and adaptability of equipment are critical to reducing changeover time and maximizing productivity​.”

Pack Expo celebrates its 20th year in Las Vegas in September and this year will see the first co-location with Pharma EXPO, co-produced by PMMI and the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE), with more than 2,000 exhibitors, 30,000 attendees and over 800,000 net square feet of exhibit space. 

In addition to the Las Vegas debut of Pharma EXPO, legendary rock band Chicago will perform at PACK gives BACK, on Monday, September 28, the first night of the show.

PACK gives BACK is a charity event benefitting the Fisher House Foundation, an organization which provides a network of comfort homes where active-duty military and veterans’ families can stay at no cost while a loved one is receiving treatment.

Center for Trends and Technologies

Other highlights at the show include; the Innovation Stages, which provide free educational sessions on the show floor and Center for Trends and Technologies: Improving Production Through Innovation (CTT) (Booth C-4829), sponsored by Rockwell Automation and its PartnerNetwork Program.

This will offer educational sessions and displays surrounding technologies to enhance productivity, sustainability and agility. Session topics for 2015 include the connected enterprise working environment, network connectivity, security, remote access, safety, serialization and line integration.

The Food Safety Summit Resource Center, by the Food Safety Summit, will provide on-site subject matter experts and educational sessions to address attendees’ concerns around compliance with FSMA provisions as well as best practices and advances in the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI).

FSMA remains top-of-mind for any food manufacturers based in the US as well as those that export food to this market​,” added Montross.

As the act’s 2015 and 2016 compliance deadlines approach, food and beverage brand owners must harmonize their operations with the new law, which was designed to help federal regulators prevent contamination before it occurs rather than react to problems after the fact​.

FSMA’s first set of new rules, governing preventive controls for human and animal food, will take effect August 30, 2015, one month before Pack Exp​o.”

According to PMMI, ‘One to Watch’ this year will be package printing. Nearly 130 exhibitors will showcase or discuss package printing technologies at this year’s show.

Within this category, many digital printing technologies have emerged. Digital package printing delivers greater flexibility in running a variety of products or product sizes so converters and brand owners can speed time to market​,” said Montross.

According to a recent study by Smithers Pira, The Future of Digital Printing to 2024, the total digital printing market – including digitally printed packaging markets – will reach 225% of its 2013 value by 2024.

With this growth, it’s not surprising we’ll see digital package printing on the show floor, including a digital label finisher that allows end users to cut complex label shapes in any quantity and add UV and waterproof laminates in-house, eliminating the need for pre-cut labels and the utilization of a converter​,” added Montross.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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