A Rookie’s Take on Pack Expo 2022

Posted by Alexa Marmolejo on Oct 25, 2022 4:24:06 PM
Alexa Marmolejo
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A Show so Massive, Realistically You Only See a Mere Fraction of it


What Did I Expect Before Pack Expo?

It seemed like for the past couple of weeks all I had really been doing was writing about Pack Expo; the funny thing is though, I had never attended this show before. From what I had heard, Pack Expo was supposed to be this massive exposition that had endless solutions for all of your manufacturing, processing, and packaging needs. Before I even left for Chicago, I was under the impression that I was going to be in way over my head because I was so new to the industry; however, I couldn’t be more mistaken. 

What Did I Experience During Pack Expo? 

As soon as I walked into Pack Expo, I was immediately greeted by the hustle and bustle of individuals moving in and out of all types of booths. I can assure you that if you were to think of any part of the manufacturing, processing, and packaging process, there would certainly be a booth dedicated to it. Another great aspect of Pack Expo is that you can ask all of these great experts questions about their equipment and they would either tell you about it, show you their video resources, and best of all run a brief demonstration. 

Sure some individuals might say that the highlight of the show was getting to check out all of this high tech equipment, but in my opinion, it was getting to see what was behind the scenes that made this event worthwhile. Like did you know that there’s machinery that determines whether or not the orientation of the product being produced is the correct one? Or, did you know that there’s only one company in the entire industry that produces printers that are capable of producing CMYK prints and CMYK+W prints? Honestly the list could go on and on, but my point is that there is so much more that goes into the production of those products we all know and love, before they can hit the shelves.

Believe it or not, since I’ve gone to Pack Expo even my experience at the grocery store has changed. Now as I’m shopping for products, I think about all of the different pieces of tech this one product must have interacted with to receive required codes, labels, and even the packaging used for when it's being shipped out. 

Think about it, do you know why products need date codes and lot codes; are you familiar with how they manage to add that information onto the product; lastly, do you know how producers manage to keep up with demand? Pack Expo was a great learning experience because it helps everyday consumers, like me, open their eyes to the world of packaging, processing, and manufacturing processes. 

Rookie’s Pick 

There were so many booths and pieces of equipment that stood out, but the one that had the longest lasting impression on me was Omron’s FH 3 Robot Vision System. It boggled my mind to see just how autonomous this piece of technology really was; it consisted of a robotic arm and vision system that would scan product parts to determine which ones met quality standards and which ones failed quality checks. Instead of having an individual sort through parts manually, this compact robotic vision system could be implemented into an existing compact space, programmed remotely, and perform quality checks in more than 100 different ways. 

Honestly, it’s the kind of technology that would typically pop into one’s mind when asked, “what do you think the future of manufacturing, processing, and packaging would look like?” If you could just see how flawlessly this robotic arm and vision system operated, then you’d understand just why it stuck with me, even after walking through a sea of endless booths. 

Pack to The Future 

While there were plenty of booths that focused on current technological advancements and future aspirations, Pack to the Future decided to showcase a blast from the past; we’re talking 250 years worth of history. In my opinion and this applies beyond just technological advancements, in order to make any kind of progress, you must first understand where improvements need to be made and that’s only possible by evaluating your foundation. Pack to the Future allows onlookers to learn about the first attempts at automation and how innovators have continuously worked, throughout generations, to get to the point where they are today.   

What Was The Biggest Takeaway? 

Pack Expo goes beyond just providing a space for companies to showcase their latest technological innovations; it’s truly an event that opens one’s eyes to what lies ahead in the future of manufacturing, packaging, and marking processes. While I may be fairly new to the industry and I still have a lot to learn, I can say confidently that Pack Expo is an event that you need to experience first hand because you never know what solutions you’ll come across, who you’ll connect with, and what you’ll learn

Topics: Coding & Marking, Pack Expo, Packaging

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