Processing technologies and The Processing Zone will make first appearances at the Las Vegas show floor for the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute’s (PMMI) 2011 Pack Expo, the show’s 55th anniversary, taking place Sept. 26-28 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

“Pack Expo attendees are seeking out processing and packaging solutions,” said Charles D. Yuska, president and chief executive officer of PMMI, in a statement. “We know that from our research and the success of The Processing Zone at the Pack Expo show in Chicago. Bringing processing to the Las Vegas show floor was a clear choice.”

The Processing Zone offers innovative solutions for the food and beverage industries. Attendees can expect to find processing solutions on display throughout the exhibit halls with one in every four Pack Expo exhibitors, PMMI says.

Yuska projected that the trade show will feature more than 1,200 exhibitors, 25,000 attendees and nearly 600,000 square feet of exhibit space. Pack Expo also continued with its customer-centric approach with five pavilions that give attendees focal points for their various needs, including the new Pharmaceutical Pavilion, Confectionery Pavilion, Brand Zone, Processing Zone and Reusable Packaging Pavilion.

Sponsored by the Reusable Packaging Association (RPA), the Reusable Packaging Pavilion will continue to spotlight sustainability and efficiency and is expanding this year to highlight reusable pallets, hand-held containers, bulk containers, dunnage, technology and other services for transport packaging solutions. The pavilion also will feature “The Choose Reusables” conference, which includes keynote presentations, end-user panels and interactive workshops for every level of packaging and end-users, according to PMMI. The pavilion is designed to help attendees learn how to lower shipping and labor costs while enjoying better product protection and a more efficient flow of goods through distribution channels, PMMI says.

 “With the sustainability trend growing and increasing social and economic pressures facing customers, reusable packaging can offer a sustainable solution that helps attendees stay in the black,” Yuska said. “Our continuing partnership with the RPA is one more way PMMI enables attendees to find unique solutions that fit their businesses at Pack Expo.”

 The Brand Zone also will continue this year to offer attendees the latest advances in package design for glass, plastic, metal and paperboard packaging; decorating and labeling techniques; the latest ideas; and the newest materials. The pavilion area is home to The Showcase of Packaging Innovations, which features award-winning packaging from around the world and the Pack Expo Selects finalists display that recognizes best-in-class consumer packaging by Pack Expo exhibitors.

This year’s keynote speaker for 2011 Pack Expo Las Vegas will be former Secretary of State and retired General Colin L. Powell. Powell’s address, titled “Diplomacy: Persuasion, Trust & Values,” will be delivered at the Leadership Lecture on Sept. 27.

Engaging information

PMMI’s findings from its Vision 2015 focus groups found that consumer packaged goods companies that attend Pack Expo are seeking to balance consumer demands with efficiency and productivity. The focus group, most recently conducted at last year’s Pack Expo, found that consumer and industry trends are impacting the entire production line, from processing to packaging, including increased attention to food, employee and environmental safety issues, sustainability issues, packaging and products that are considered unique by consumers.

“Consumers demand and reward innovations in products and packages — especially those that deliver convenience, value and safety,” Yuska said. “In September, Pack Expo Las Vegas 2011 will be home to technologies and concepts from processing and packaging suppliers committed to helping their customers find new ways to address consumer demands and to improve efficiency and productivity — from processing to packaging to warehousing.”

Pack Expo also partnered with the International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT), which will present sessions focused on beverage processing and packaging.

“Beverage is by far one of the largest industry demographics we see at Pack Expo, and ISBT members include this booming industry’s leading engineers,” Yuska said.

The ISBT sessions will feature the following topics:

• Introduction to Beverage Packaging: Presented by ISBT’s Packaging Technical Committee, this session will introduce attendees to the world of packaging, covering domestic and international terminology, key performance criteria and recommendations based on the best practices and standards for handling and distribution.

• Introduction to Beverage Processing: The Beverage Processing Technical Committee will present fundamentals of beverage processing and reviewing the process, such as functions, options and some definitions. Also on the agenda are handling of major raw materials for beverages, such as water pre-treatment and purification, high fructose corn syrup and sucrose receiving, and storage and super sack unloading and liquefaction. Attendees also will learn the basics of pasteurization and ingredient blending.

• Stress Crack Prevention: Attendees will review the environmental stress crack process, outline the risk factors for stress cracking and receive recommendations bottlers can implement to minimize the risk.

Registration for the conference sessions can be done online at BI