From Nov. 2 through Nov. 5, Pack Expo International 2014 and the co-located Pharma Expo drew more 48,000 attendees to Chicago’s McCormick Place. The show’s owner, PMMI, Reston, Va., anticipates attendance was up 6.5 percent compared with 2012, the last time the show took place in Chicago. On the show flow, attendees were able to find processing, packaging and entire lifecycle innovation solutions presented by 2,352 exhibitors on more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space, according to PMMI.


Below are some of the beverage-related exhibitor highlights from the 2014 show.


Ambaflex North America, Arlington, Texas, displayed its AccuVeyor AVS accumulator, which functions as a time-delay buffer between beverage line processes. The AccuVeyor AVS can offer as much as 656 feet of accumulation space, and its ramp inclines and declines can be adjusted to accommodate specific types of products. The company also showcased how spiral conveyors can be used to save space in beverage facilities, convey products to various levels, and create a bridge space under conveyors to accommodate pedestrian and vehicle traffic.


American Holt Corp., Norwood, Mass., showcased its portfolio of aftermarket parts.


Admix Inc., Manchester, N.H., highlighted its new Rotosolver II high shear mixer, which saves energy and improves dispersion, the company says.


Avery Dennison, Glendale, Calif., showcased its CleanFlake portfolio, which was designed to advance the recycling of PET bottles. The portfolio recently expanded to include roll-fed sleeve constructions that provide excellent clarity, on-bottle coverage, and better yields of PET materials at recyclers, it says. In addition, the company highlighted its security label technologies, including DirectLink and FiberTag, to confirm product authenticity.


Bevcorp Beverage Equipment, Willoughby, Ohio, highlighted a new style of safety guards that feature a greaseless drivetrain and rapid changeover capabilities.


Can Manufacturers Institute (CMI), Washington, D.C., asked attendees to get in the spirit of Election Day and cast their votes for the association’s next campaign. CMI plans to share the details of its next campaign in 2015.


Closure Systems International, Indianapolis, debuted its Intelli-Torq servo capper, which reduces variation in the capping process to ensure product consistency, according to a company representative. The capper is designed to apply plastic flat and screw caps as well as sports caps at rates of up to 50 bottles a minute. It also discussed its ability to make custom, decorative caps for added beverage marketing.


Cognex Corp., Natick, Mass., showcased its DS1000 Series of displacement sensors, which use lasers to provide a topographical representation of a product from which it can measure 3-D features such as length, width, height, tilt or volume relative to any surface. The company also highlighted its DataMan 8600 hand-held direct part mark barcode readers.


Columbia Machine Inc., Vancouver, Wash., demonstrated a closed-loop inline palletizing system featuring its HL7200 high-level in-line palletizer and Columbia/Okura’s model A1800 robotic palletizer/depalletizer, showcasing the company’s accurate layer-forming and product-handling capabilities.


Coveris, Chicago,highlighted its sustainability focus for its shrink films and discussed its interest in bringing shrink-film technology into the beer category. It also displayed its line of AquaCrystal polyethylene-based shrink-bundling films, which can accommodate up to 10-color flexographic printing. Its Aquacrystal CW film, in particular, is made with 20 percent post-consumer recycled content. 


Delkor Systems, St. Paul, Minn., debuted new high-speed (HSP-400) and mid-speed (MSP-200) case packers that were specifically designed to package stand-up pouches. The HSP-400 case packer incorporates Rockwell Automation’s iTrak linear servo technology. The MSP-200 can accommodate speeds up to 150 pouches or 30 cases a minute and combine a vision-based delta robot with a high-pay-load, long-stroke Fanuc M-710iC robot.


Domino North America, Gurnee, Ill., showcased seven new products at the show. It debuted its A520i continuous inkjet printer, which features a marine-grade stainless steel exterior, sealed electronics, and a remote TouchPanel user interface to help it withstand washdown environments and syrup and sugar spills. It also highlighted design innovations for its Thermal Ink Jet G-Series, Laser D-Series, Laser F-Series, Print and Apply M-Series, Continuous Ink Jet C-Series and Thermal Transfer Overprinter V-Series. This includes the beverage industry debut of its F220i fiber scribing laser as part of the company’s i-Tech family. The F220i features enhanced beam quality for precision marking and sharper contrast, particularly suited to marking metals, plastics and flexible packaging, the company says.


Douglas Machine Inc., Alexandria, Minn., showcased its Contour 60 series system for tray-packing and shrink-wrapping bottles, cans, jars and cartons. It also demonstrated its modular TriVex RLi top-load case packer, offering fully integrated combinations of case erecting, loading and sealing with glue or tape.


Emerson’s Power Transmission Solutions division, Florence, Ky., highlighted its range of solutions for the beverage industry, including motion control systems, mounted bearings, conveyor chains and belts, and servo drivers. At its booth, the company demonstrated its new System Plast 2257 side-flexing modular plastic belt, which allows for left turns, right turns and S-curves in a conveyor line; its NG Evo low-friction thermoplastic conveyor belt material; and a multidirectional roller-top belt with small, embedded balls that are driven by a conveyor underneath to help product on top of the belt move in virtually any direction desired, the company says.


Ferrum Ltd., Schafisheim, Switzerland, featured its collection of canning technology. Highlights include its ferruFlow, infeed table, seaming can and oil distribution unit.


Fort Dearborn Co., Elk Grove, Ill., shared with attendees its collection of labeling materials including its pressure-sensitive Wood Veneer label and shrinkable cut-and-stack labels.


GEA Mechanical Equipment U.S. Inc., Northville, N.J., highlighted its aseptic bottling and filling machinery. The company also noted that its GEA Westfalia Separator system is ideal for operations in the brewing, dairy and wine industries. It also says it is seeing increasing traction within the juice and juice drinks industry.


Gebo Cermex, Norcross, Ga., demonstrated its SecurFlow robotic down-bottle-removing system, which features a high-performance detection system that can identify and remove fallen bottles during product flow, thus reducing downtime of the overall beverage system by preventing jams and the need to stop the line to remove fallen bottles. The Gebo Cermex team also discussed its Efficiency Improvement Tool, which is designed to provide operational and actionable intelligence at all levels of beverage production, such as why a given machine in the line stopped, how much downtime is allowed for a given component before it will impact other processes in the line, and how much energy is being consumed, among other information.


Hammer Packaging, Rochester, N.Y., showcased its range of labels, including cut-and-stack, shrink-sleeve, roll-fed, foam, in-mold, pressure-sensitive and specialty options. It also highlighted its work with Stack Wines and Drink Blocks for their product labels.


Hartness International Inc., Greenville, S.C., demonstrated a fully integrated back-end cell highlighting its latest innovations in high-speed accumulation, wrap-around packaging, retail-ready packaging handling capabilities, and smart human-machine interface technology.


Hitachi America Ltd., Tarrytown, N.Y., highlighted its RX Series of continuous inkjet printers, which offer the ability to print variable data, including expiration dates and date codes, on any bottle or can, the company says. 


Honeywell, Morris Plains, N.J., demonstrated its new hands-free, wearable handset engineered to drive efficiency, productivity and accuracy when picking, packing or shipping. It also showcased its Thor CV31 vehicle mount computer with a 6.4-inch screen, which combines the latest computing technology into a compact enclosure that minimizes driver obstruction.


Intelligrated, Mason, Ohio, highlighted its next generation of robotic mixed-load order-fulfillment solutions. Key enhancements include adjustable end-of-arm tooling capable of handling as many as four cases simultaneously and an integrated stack-and-wrap system. At the booth, an autonomous vision-guided mobile robot also transported pallet loads from palletizing to depalletizing stations.


INX International, Schaumburg, Ill., showcased its low-migration inks and coatings expertise, special effects and digital printing technologies. Experts were on-hand to share their knowledge of UV hybrid inks for flat sheet metal decorating, high-performance sheet-fed inks, energy curable coatings and U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved water-based coatings, and oil-resistant, gas-barrier coatings.


ITW Air Management: Paxton Products, Cincinnati, displayed its Ionized Air System, which rinses bottles with clean, ionized air instead of water, thus saving companies up to 80 percent in energy costs, according to a company representative. It also demonstrated its CapDryer, which uses a Paxton AT-series blower to thoroughly dry the cap and neck of bottles to help reduce false readings from vision systems and improve the adhesion and positioning of the label and tamper bands.


KHS USA Inc., Waukesha, Wis., highlighted its Innofill Glass Micro filler designed for small- and medium-sized craft beer and soft drink companies. The filler is capable of accommodating 150 to 500 bottles a minute, according to Commercial Director Bob Pease. It also demonstrated a “rainbow pack” variety pack machine with both robotic and human input for a low-cost packing option. In addition, KHS USA highlighted its KHS Innopack Kisters TSP A-H-TPFO packaging machine, which can pack individual cans, glass bottles and plastic bottles into tray packs, tray-shrink packs, pad-shrink packs or shrink packs.


Klüber Lubrication, Londonderry, N.H., called out the importance of food safety even under extreme environmental conditions. In particular, it highlighted its Klüberfood NH1 C 8-80 semi-synthetic oil for chains in high-humidity process areas as well as its Klüberfood NH1 CH 2-220 high-temperature chain oil.


Liqui-Box, Richmond, Va., discussed its portfolio of bags and fillers for bag-in-box products as well as its ability to make custom fitments that exceed its customers’ needs, the company says.


Lubriplate Lubricants Co., Newark, N.J., highlighted its new ISO 21469 certification from the National Sanitation Foundation for all of its NSF H-1 registered food machinery lubricants.


Matthews Marking Systems, Pittsburgh, showcased its printers for primary, secondary and tertiary packaging. Of special note for the beverage industry was its Mperia platform, which allows operators to control multiple print technologies across multiple production lines, integrate order processing, populate data fields without human entry errors, and interface with new or existing databases from one controller. It also highlighted its opaque laser printing capabilities, which create a slight cloud on a glass bottle to help the laser etching stand out on the package for greater legibility.


MonoSol, Merrillville, Ind., demonstrated Vivos, a water-soluble film. Vivos combines production-line ingredient delivery for food and beverage manufacturers.


Nalbach Engineering Co. Inc., Countryside, Ill., demonstrated its S3 model bottle unscrambler. The unscrambler only features two moving parts — a drum and a takeaway conveyor — which reduces the amount of wear parts and needed adjustments and offers a tool-less changeover, according to a company representative. The S3 model unscrambler is capable of handling bottles 8-ounces to 3-liters in size and is suitable for handling lightweight bottles, the company says.


At the show, Orbis Corp., Oconomowoc, Wis., revealed the rebranding of its entire line of protective dunnage as OrbiShield.


P.E. USA Inc., Cincinnati, demonstrated a modular labeling system that was designed to orient a bottle and add front and back labels. The system also included a medallion applicator from its partner Unisto Inc., Armonk, N.Y., which applied pre-glued anniversary medallions to the bottles in celebration of P.E. USA’s 40th anniversary. Company representatives at the booth also discussed the flexibility of a modular labeling system, in that the labeling carts can be switched out to add different functionalities to the system.     


Overnight Labels Inc., Deer Park, N.Y., highlighted its shrink sleeves and cold-foil embossing on sleeves.


PakTech, Eugene, Ore., showcased its bottle holder with bottom nest for longneck bottles. PakTech’s collection of bottle holders are made of high-density polyethylene, are waterproof, and are infinitely recyclable, the company says.


PDC International Corp., Norwalk, Conn., demonstrated its PDC R-350 Evolution Shrink Sleeve Labeler, which handles taper-less containers, ovals, twin packs and rigid packages with capacities of 2 to 64 ounces. It also demonstrated its 60 Series Evolution Shrinksealer, which applies both full-height bodysleeves and tamper-evident banding. In addition, the company displayed its KSA-70 Triple Zone Steam Tunnel, which precisely focuses steam onto specific points of shrink-sleeve packages for optimal label application.


Rehrig Pacific Co., Los Angeles, showcased the benefits — for both retailers and consumers — of applying technology, such as near-field communication or quick-response codes, to reusable packaging systems.


Roberts Polypro, a Charlotte, N.C.-based division of Pro Mach Inc., displayed its Continuous Motion Handle Applicator, which can apply handles in two-, four, six-, eight- and 12-pack configurations at rates as fast as 600 bottles a minute.


Ryson International Inc., Yorktown, Va., showcased its mass flow spirals as an option to save floor space by conveying products up to a higher level, across the ceiling of a facility, and back down at another location.


Schneider Packaging Equipment, Brewerton, N.Y., featured its newest bottom-loading, vertical, high-speed, stainless steel case packer. The new case packer is ideal for washdown environments and accommodates up to 25 cases a minute, the company says. It is available outfitted with ProAdjust for rapid, automatic changeover between products. This machine is a true bottom-loading case packer as it leaves the bottom of the product standing, never tipping the product over or on its side during the packaging process. Featuring a National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 4 rating of electrical components, this case packer is ideal for bottom-load regular-slotted or half-slotted cases, it adds.


Siemens Corp., Washington, D.C., highlighted its new Sinamics S120M compact, ready-to-connect motor with integrated drive. This system offers users the option of moving the motor inverter outside the control cabinet and directly onto the motor, thereby reducing both cabinet space and required cooling, the company says. Typical applications for the Sinamics S120M include packaging, printing, glass, textile and other processes where machinery and production lines require multiple servo axes in a space-restricted environment, it says.


SIPA North America, Atlanta, highlighted its hot-fill capabilities for small containers as well as its equipment’s capabilities to make 20-liter PET kegs as well as self-collapsible, 12-liter containers that collapse as liquid is depleted from the container.


SMB Machinery Systems LLC, Ball Ground, Ga., highlighted its portfolio of used packaging and process equipment and machinery. 


Standard-Knapp, Portland, Conn., celebrated with attendees its 120th anniversary. To highlight its 120 years in business, it featured a timeline depicting its accomplishments and established relationships over the years. It also displayed a boxing machine from 1895. The company currently is in search of the oldest Standard-Knapp machinery still in operation and is hosting its “Built to Last for Decades” contest to find it.


Teledyne TapTone, North Falmouth, Mass., launched its Pro Series inspection system at the show. The inspection system’s sensors are designed to cantilever over an existing conveyor and can incorporate multiple sensors into a single user interface. In addition, The Pro Series user interface can display up to four sensor outputs simultaneously for at-a-glance monitoring and can utilize an Ethernet connection for remote control.


Tetra Pak USA, Denton, Texas, highlighted how its aseptic processing and packaging of premium products such as ready-to-drink tea can help preserve the product in its natural state without added acids or sweeteners. The company also will undergo a renovation of its innovation center in Dallas. This renovation will help strengthen the company’s ability to assist in the beverage formulation process from idea to execution, it adds.


Venair Ltd., Warrington, U.K., unveiled its first conformable silicone hose. The new Vena MF/MF-L can be molded or bent into a certain shape and then hold that shape under extreme operating conditions, the company says.


Videojet Technologies, Wood Dale, Ill., demonstrated its new Videojet Remote Service solution that allows continuous inkjet customers and Videojet experts to remotely view, assess and adjust printer settings, which can assist with faster line set-ups and fault recovery, the company says. The company also displayed a number of new technologies including the Videojet 8610 Thermal Inkjetprinter, which utilizes a purpose-built cartridge designed specifically for methyl ethyl ketone fluids. This brings the simplicity of thermal inkjet to applications that benefit from high-resolution print on traditionally challenging substrates including foils, plastics and coated stocks, the company says. It also featured the Videojet 9550 with Intelligent Motion, a print-and-apply labeler that utilizes advanced direct-drive technology, thereby eliminating the manual adjustments, clutches and nip rollers that cause downtime in traditional print-and-apply labelers, the company says.


 PMMI announced that Pack Expo 2015 will take place Sept. 28-30 in Las Vegas.