PMMI, Alexandria, Va., hosted more than 2,500 exhibitors at Pack Expo International and co-located Pharma Expo 2016, which took place Nov. 6-9 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

The shows offered several guidepost destinations, including The Beverage Cooler Lounge, The Materials and Containers Pavilion, The Processing Zone, The Reusable Packaging Pavilion, The Food Safety Summit Resource Center and the largest ever Innovation Stage program, the show producer says. This year also included 71 free, on-floor education sessions at four stages to help attendees find the new solutions and insights they need with greater efficiency, PMMI adds.

The following are some of the beverage highlights from the show:

A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp., Tarpon Springs, Fla., introduced its new 700 series robot palletizers utilizing a Yaskawa robot arm, which palletize cases, trays or bags in multiple configurations, the company says. The company also displayed its Model 400 case erector that erects as many as 30 cases a minute; its Model 436 top-case sealer, which seals as many as 50 cases a minute; and its Model 72A low-level palletizer.

Admix Inc., Londonderry, N.H., showcased its new RotoMaxx II high-torque, right-angle slow-speed agitator; Rotosolver II energy-saver high-shear mixer; Rotomixx batch mixers; VacuShear Liqui-Processor; DynaShear inline, dual-stage disperser/emulsifier; and Boston Sheermill, which provides high to extreme shear rates at top speeds for maximum droplet and particle size reduction.

AmbaFlex Inc., Arlington, Texas, showcased its range of patented, mass-flow spiral conveyors for the elevation of bottles and cans. Its high-speed, high-capacity Spiral Veyor ML offers multi-level induction and flow diverting in a flexible format that can be combined with order-pick modules and order-release systems by merging/diverting above ground level, it says. It also featured its one-belt, compact AccuVeyor AVH system for the accumulation of beverages.

Mentor, Ohio-based Avery Dennison North America showcased its TT Sensor Plus, a smartlabel that records time and temperature. TT Sensor Plus records the temperatures that an item is exposed to throughout the supply chain and can indicate whether the item is suitable for its intended use. Data is stored on a Near Field Communication chip and can be uploaded to a smartphone any time, the company says. It also highlighted its chemical-control flexible packaging and re-closable packaging lines.

Bevcorp LLC, Willoughby, Ohio, showcased its portfolio of beverage fillers, blenders, crowners, refrigeration equipment and de-aeration systems.

Expanding into the United States, Switzerland-based BillerudKorsnäs introduced its BillerudKorsnäs White premium carton board into the U.S. market. The smooth carton board offers unique printing and shaping capabilities and blends enhanced strength with reduced packaging weight to offer a more eco-friendly alternative, the company says. It also offers converters excellent run ability and flexibility, it adds. The company also promoted its FibreForm, a sensory brand-enhancing, 3-D cold formable paper.

Buckhorn Inc., Milford, Ohio, unveiled its new, heavy-duty 48-by-40-by-46-inch bulk boxes that can store and ship products weighing as much as 2,500 pounds, it says. For the first time, the 100 percent recyclable, injection-molded design incorporates a drop-door design that provides better access to contents and improved ergonomics when installing a disposable liner, it adds.

Closure Systems International (CSI), Indianapolis, introduced its new 38-mm flip-top sport closure for non-alcohol beverages as well as its new family of 18-mm DS Lok closures for alcohol beverages and the 33-ml HF Lok. The company also showcased the Omni-Mini XP one-piece carbonated soft drink closure and the Aqua Lok Mini LW. Additionally, CSI highlighted its Studio-C innovation studio, a physical space in which brainstorming, ideation and focus groups as well as sample development can take place.

Natick, Mass.-based Cognex Corp. introduced the InSight VC200 series, a family of multiple smartcamera vision systems. The In-Sight VC200 series brings the proven performance and reliability of In-Sight vision systems to multi-camera vision applications, the company says. The processing power within the InSight VC200 series increases with each additional camera, expanding the number of multi-camera inspection applications, it explains. This improved performance helps keep pace with fast-moving production lines and also provides the flexibility to solve applications with sequential or asynchronous inspections, it says.

Columbia Machine, in partnership with Okuara LLC, Vancouver, Wash., introduced the FL6200, a high-speed, row-forming palletizer that combines the precision of robotics with the load-build quality of a conventional palletizer, it says. When equipped with a dual infeed, the machine is capable of rates of more than 100 cases a minute, it adds.

Combi Packaging Systems LLC, Canton, Ohio, highlighted its range of case erectors, tray formers, case sealers, case packers and ergonomic hand-packing stations.

Consolidated Technologies, Quebec, Canada, showcased its complete line of packaging automation solutions, including horizontal and vertical cartoners, side-load and wrap-around packers, robotic palletizers and top-load case packers.

St. Paul, Minn.-based Delkor Systems Inc. showcased its Spot-Pak iSeries. The flat pad loading solution is designed to save manufacturers on materials and costs by replacing traditional corrugated packaging with low-cost, recyclable shrink film that securely encapsulates the flat pad and package, it says. The company also showcased its retail-ready packaging solutions that can offer high-quality color printing for the same price as black and white, it adds.

Domino Amjet North America, Gurnee, Ill., launched the F720i laser, the latest addition to its range of high-performance, high-speed fiber lasers. Designed to deliver clear, legible and durable codes on aluminum cans, the new F720i fiber laser is suited to withstand the harsh production environments and high-speed coding demands of the beverage canning sector. The F720i features an IP65 rating and a robust design, which is capable of maintaining continuous output in extremely harsh, humid and temperature-challenging production environments as hot as 113 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, the F720i applies standard codes at a rate of 90,000 cans an hour and has the capability to deliver complex codes and promotional data of more than 60 characters at a rate of 42,000 cans an hour. The new solution can maintain these coding speeds and quality of output even on the concave surfaces of the can bases, it says. The company also launched the Ax-Series, a new range of continuous ink jet (CIJ) printers optimized for the most demanding packaging environments, it adds. In developing the new series, Domino revisited the underlying science behind CIJ and is introducing innovations in three key areas to comprehensively re-engineer the technology and reset customer expectations of productivity, quality and cost of ownership. Domino’s three “pillars of innovation” across the Ax-Series are the new i-Pulse print head and inks, the i-Techx electronics and software platform, and the Domino Design, a fresh approach to the total product design maximizing productivity and ease of operation. 

Douglas Machine Inc., Alexandria, Minn., promoted its Contour M-80 shrink packaging system. The Contour M-80 offers automatic film splicing and changeover, fulfilling beverage-makers flexibility needs. The machine’s touchscreen allows operators to change the size of the shrink package and adjust each rail motor mechanism to accommodate for more or fewer lanes, based on the multi-pack being packaged. It also features a film capacity for two rolls. Once the first roll is gone, it registers the marks and seamlessly splices the second roll into production while the first roll of film is being replaced, the company says.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa-based Evergreen Packaging Equipment debuted its QL-233 gable top packaging machine. Designed for high production capacity, the QL-233 can handle fill volumes of 180 ml to 1 liter and fills liters/quarts as fast as 14,000 cartons an hour with a single-stage bottom-up fill system. Servo-driven technology provides repeatable package performance and automatically controls fill volumes and profiles based on product and carton size, the company says. Evergreen also introduced SmartPak Cartons in a new cross-section with 40-, 48-, 52- and 59-ounce size options. This new product line provides benefits for brands in the areas of branding, sustainability, transportation and storage efficiencies, it adds.

FANUC America Corp., Rochester Hills, Mich., highlighted its range of turnkey solutions in robotics that can pick, pull or palletize products from 0.5 to 2,300 kg, it says.

Havre De Grace, Md.-based Ferrum Inc., a business unit of Ferrum Ltd., showcased its can seaming machinery offerings, including the F408, the F410 and the F412 automatic can seamers.

Elk Grove, Ill.-based Fort Dearborn Co. highlighted its recent acquisition of SleeveCo, and its shrink- and stretch-sleeve portfolios. Fort Dearborn also featured its abilities in cut-and-stack, roll-fed and pressure-sensitive labels, as well as its capabilities in label personalization.

Fuji Robotics, Redmond, Wash., showcased its portfolio of robotic palletizing solutions. The company highlighted four models of robotic palletizers: the EC-101, the EC-151, the EC-171 and the EC-201.

GEA Group, Düsseldorf, Germany, showcased its range of capabilities for beverage processing. Among the capabilities promoted were its GEA Westfalia Separator Group, which includes centrifuges and separation equipment that aids the beer, coffee and tea, juice and concentrates, and wine and spirits markets. It also promoted its aseptic processing and filling capabilities, including its Varitube tubular heat exchanger. Additional products highlighted were its aseptic pump-and-valve flow components that are designed to keep sterilization intact throughout aseptic processing. It also displayed its orbital tank washer, which cleans tanks/vessels while using less water than spray balls, it says.

Gerhard Schubert GmbH, Crailsheim, Germany, announced that it is partnering with KHS GmbH, Dortmund, Germany, to open up a higher degree of customization in packaging solutions for breweries and other beverage producers with close to unlimited format possibilities — resulting in decisive competitive advantages, the company says. An integrated system jointly developed by both companies will be used in the future by the Schützengarten Brewery in St. Gallen, Switerland. The solution is a multifunctional combination of a KHS packer combined with a Schubert erecting and closing module, which can pack cases as well as cardboard boxes, it adds. Schubert also unveiled its new Flowmodul, a flexible, space-saving packaging module for horizontal flow-wrap packaging system. Due to this innovation, the company now is able to fully integrate the packaging of flow-wrap bags into its modular machine concept. The speed of the Flowmodul is controlled depending on the product flow. By using the modular TLM technology, for example, performance ranges from 200 to 2,500 products a minute can be achieved, it says. In celebration of its 50th anniversary, Gerhard Schubert GmbH also unveiled a new tag line: “50 Years Toward the Future.”

Hartness, an ITW company, Greenville, S.C., debuted its new DYNAC6300 Multi Lane High Speed Accumulator at the show. The patent-pending floor-level system features a unique racetrack profile that provides pressure-less accumulation to protect critical functions from downstream system failures while delivering a more stable, consistent flow of product, it says. It also eliminates the interdependence of machines in the line and allows customers to gain greater productivity from less space in a single-file, continuous motion infeed with zero changeovers, it adds.

Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Hitachi America Ltd. promoted its UX Series of continuous inkjet printers. The printers are equipped with a diaphragm-based ink circulation system that reduces makeup consumption by 30 percent compared with previous models, it says. The inkjet printers also are nickel chrome plated for corrosion resistance. It also showcased its RX2 Series of CIJ printers.

Mason, Ohio-based Intelligrated, a business unit of Honeywell, highlighted its recent acquisition by Honeywell and discussed how it will benefit Intelligrated customers. On display, the company showcased the newly enhanced Alvey 891i palletizer and a robotic depalletizing cell, integrated with vertical reciprocating conveyor and motor-driven roller conveyor. It also highlighted its Lifecycle Support Services’ mechanical and risk assessments.

KHS USA, Waukesha, Wis., showcased its Innopal LH palletizer, which can handle 150 layers or 1,500 containers an hour. The Innopal LH is designed to be a quick installation with little on-site assembly, the company says. The machine’s control panel also is integrated into the machine’s frame to help minimize on-site cabling and wiring, it adds. The company also highlighted its Innopack Kisters TSP-A. The fully automatic tray shrink packer is designed for producing trays, film-wrapped pads and film-only packs. The machine’s capacity is 120 cycles a minute with up to two tray processing lanes.

Londonderry, N.H.-based Klüber Lubrication NA LP promoted its Klüberfood NH1 CH 6-120 Supreme chain oil, which provides a food-grade solution for chain lubrication in extreme temperatures without residue, the company says. It also highlighted its portfolio of specialty lubrication solutions and ability to create custom solutions for various applications.

Richmond, Va.-based Liqui-Box showcased Aseptipack, a web-fed, fully automatic filling machine that delivers steam sterilization for the filling of a wide range of low- or high-acid products from 2 to 20 liters, it says.

Lubriplate Lubricants Co., Newark, N.J., promoted its Synextreme FRH1-46 synthetic, fire-resistant hydraulic fluid, which is designed for applications requiring fire resistance and anti-wear properties for a wide range of temperatures. It also spotlighted its Synextreme HT Max, an ultra-high temperature, perfluoropolyether (PFPE)-based grease, which is recommended for high-temperature applications and applications where chemical inertness and solvent resistance is required, it says.

Pittsburgh-based Matthews Marking System promoted its MPERIA universal print controller platform, which enables single-source management of marking and coding operations across different printing technologies, brands and global production line locations, it says. The company also announced the late 2016 release of the VIAjet L-Series thermal inkjet printer, which is ideal for marking and coding variable data in primary packaging and industrial applications, imprinting onto paper, chipboard, corrugated and plastics. Also slated for a late 2016 release is the eMark Eco laser coding system, which is engineered for simple coding on primary packaging materials, including cardboard boxes, paper and thermal labels, it says.

Glenview, Ill.-based Muller LCS showcased its Raptor HPL high-profile turntable stretch wrapper with a logo wrap feature that is capable of wrapping as many as 30 loads an hour.

Orbis Corp., Oconomowoc, Wis., unveiled its newest product for retail distribution: the 42-by-30 small-format HP Pallet, which helps to eliminate product touches during the order replenishment process. The small-format pallet allows full cases and split cases to be sorted and loaded at the distribution center and, once it arrives at the retailer, it can be used as a replenishment vehicle at the point of sale, it says. Once the pallets arrive at the retailer, they can be directly moved to the floor, reducing labor costs and maximizing storage space, it adds.

Deer Park, N.Y.-based Overnight Labels Inc. showcased its capabilities in shrink-sleeve and pressure-sensitive labels.

Eugene, Ore.-based PakTech had its MulitPak Applicator MPA 60 on display at the show. The machine can accommodate as many as 60 cycles a minute, it says. The company also promoted its range of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) 2 handles, which can accommodate large multi-packs as well as single multi-packs.

Norwalk, Conn.-based PDC Corp. debuted its R-100 shrink labeler for contract packers and beverage companies needing a versatile sleeving machine to produce shrink-sleeve labels and twin packs, it says. Engineered for continuous operation at speeds between 20 and 100 containers a minute, depending on sleeve diameter and height, the R-series shrink labeler also facilitates tamper-evident neck banding and uses the company’s patented micro-perforation cutting system, it adds. 

Pro Mach, Covington, Ky., and its portfolio of companies were on hand to show their latest developments. Axon introduced three new shrink sleeve and tamper evident machines as well as a compact, energy-efficient steam tunnel. The new SLX full-body sleeve and tamper evident application machine can handle 800 bottles a minute utilizing 30-micron film. The new Axon EZ-150SL is ideal for those new to automation, such as craft brewers or labeling operations, looking to advance production, the company says. The sleeve applicator can handle speeds as fast as 150 bottles a minute. The new EZ-200He is an updated version of the EZ-200 but features an energy-efficient electronic actuator designed to reduce changeover time and energy consumption, it says. Axon also promoted ThermoFlow, a new compact, self-contained shrink system that features a 15-PSI low-pressure steam generator and condensate collection system. Pro Mach’s Zalkin division introduced a capping turret that has the ability to run screw and ROPP caps, allowing bottlers the versatility of two machines in one, it says. Zalkin also introduced the TM300 single-head capper, which can apply one, two or three different types of caps: screw, ROPP and push on, depending on the model. The machine can handle capping speeds as fast as 50 units a minute. Additionally, Roberts PolyPro, a division of ProMach, introduced can carrying handles for two-, four- and six-packs of beer. Designed for craft brewers, the handles are a flexible, affordable packing option and are available in any Pantone Matching System (PMS) color, it says. The handles also are 100 percent recyclable as they are manufactured out of HDPE.

Rehrig Pacific Co., Los Angeles, showcased its reusable packaging solutions. The company highlighted its technology platform, RVision, which is designed to help maximize the return on investment of reusable transport packaging.

Brewerton, N.Y.-based Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. introduced its newly redesigned Vertical Case Packer that features an all-new intelligent lighting system, servo motion control, and a clean and modern bottom loader. An alternative to the “pick-and-place” system, the Vertical Case Packer gently handles products with full support from its bottom-loading technology, the company says. The new open design offers machine operators increased access to its internal workings, allowing them to easily identify and diagnose maintenance needs, it adds. The machine also has an embedded intelligent LED lighting system to give operators visual cues about the machine, such as low product levels, low case magazines, product jams and tripped safety circuits. With this technology, operators and maintenance workers easily can locate where attention is needed without having to first locate the human-machine interface and then troubleshoot the problem, the company says.

Sidel Inc., Norcross, Ga., highlighted is complete line solution in delivering optimum performance for beverage producers. The company noted the forecasted growth in the use of PET in all beverage categories, with liquid dairy products anticipated to be the best performer, it says. To aid this growth, the company promoted its Matrix platform, which uses electrical instead of oil heating to help reduce energy consumption, the company says. Sidel also promoted its Efficiency Improvement Tool (EIT), a 24/7 data acquisition and plant intelligence system. Among the real-time operational insights that EIT provides are monitoring of accumulation, video recording, product traceability as well as energy and utility consumption. In the same booth, Gebo Cermax USA Inc. unveiled its new, customizable OptiFeed for high-speed closure feeding that features a four-in-one solution combining cap storage, orientation, control and elevation to feed a capper with 100 percent compliant closures, it says. Additionally, it integrates mechanical and vision devices that automatically detect and reject non-compliant closures without stopping the closures’ flow, it adds.

Norcross, Ga.-based Siemens displayed a machine simulation of its Mechatronics Concept Designer software solution that provides the ability to virtually build machines for the food, beverage and packaging industries without any physical construction by using a programmable logic controller program, it says. Additionally, it noted that the first machine using the technology has been built in Germany.

Atlanta-based SIPA North America unveiled its new line of 5-gallon returnable water jugs. It also promoted Xtreme, a line of lightweight single-serve water bottles. The company also promoted its new injection molding technology for light preforms, XMould.

Little Rock, Ark.-based SleeveSeal showcased its automated vertical sleeve labelers and vertical cap sealers that both feature durable drive trains and rapid tool-less changeovers between formats for speeds as fast as 1,600 containers a minute, it says. It also highlighted its SSL-600i, an integrated 10-color rotogravure printing process that features CMYK plus PMS spot colors and gloss, with matte and/or pearl finishes, to create labels that help beverage brands stand out on store shelves, it adds.

Standard Knapp Inc., Portland, Ore., highlighted its Versatron case packer, which boasts fast changeovers, an easy-to-use operator interface, a servo casefeed and Soft-Lift technology that gently cradles products, enabling reduced-material plastics and glass to be packaged without breakage, it says. It also featured its 199 case sealer, which seals cases after packing to help in-line automation, it adds. Additionally, the company celebrated its 120th anniversary.

Teledyne TapTone, Falmouth, Mass., unveiled its DSC-TB sensor pouch inspection and seal integrity test (SIT) system. Both products are slated to launch in 2017. The company also had a compression unit for detecting leaks on display at the show.

Videojet Technologies, Wood Dale, Ill., unveiled its Videojet 7610 100-watt fiber laser marking system, which applies high-contrast marks at ultra-fast speeds on hard plastics, metals and other products, marking as many as 600 containers a minute to meet the demands of high-speed packaging operations, it says. With a laser source life expectancy of 100,000 hours, the 7610 delivers long-lasting reliability to high-speed beverage and pharmaceutical manufacturers, the company adds. It also showcased the Videojet 1660 CIJ, featuring Long Life Core technology to deliver maintenance predictability and low cost of ownership, it says. Additionally, the company announced Videojet Remote Service, an intelligent solution for measuring, tracking and providing meaningful recommendations for printer optimization, now is available on more products across the Videojet family of marking, coding and variable data printing solutions.

Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Weber Packaging Solutions featured its L-A 6000 variable-height print applicator, which can accommodate package heights as tall as 20 feet. It also promoted its Model 81 CIJ printer, an entry-level system.

Norcross, Ga.-based WestRock debuted its DuoDozen 1210, the first machine built following the 2015 merger of RockTenn and MeadWestvaco. Influenced by the growth of the craft brewing industry as well as the mergers and acquisitions of some of those brands, the DuoDozen 1210 is three machines in one as it can wrap, group and tray-pack beverage cans and bottles. The DuoDozen 1210 also has the ability to handle four-, six-, 10-, 12-, 15-, 18- and 24-pack cartons as well as 24 loose containers.

Greensville, N.C.-based Yale Materials Handling Corp. demonstrated its MPE080-VG End Rider Driven by Balyo. The robotic lift truck utilizes a vision system, with which the truck can “learn” various routes through a warehouse, as well as analytics capabilities. The company also showcased its other automated guided vehicle offerings.

Pack Expo Las Vegas, which will co-locate with the Healthcare Packaging Expo, will take place Sept. 25-27 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. BI