Poised to convene 2,500 leading industry suppliers and 50,000 packaging professionals, Pack Expo International and the co-located Healthcare Packaging Expo will take place Oct. 14-17 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Produced by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, these co-located shows feature more than 1.2 million net square feet of exhibit space and attract visitors from more than 125 countries.

“As consumer demands for convenience, flexibility and personalization grow, the packaging industry continues to design solutions to meet these expectations,” said Laura Thompson, senior director of expositions for PMMI, in a statement. “Pack Expo International and Healthcare Packaging Expo bring these innovations to life and provide an opportunity to see new developments in action. If you want to keep up with packaging technology and the latest trends in pharmaceutical manufacturing, you need to attend these shows.”

The PACKage Printing Pavilion, the industry’s main stage for package printing innovations, will debut at Pack Expo International 2018. This 50,000-square-foot area, located in the South Building, focuses on the advantages of digital printing. With the advancements in digital printing, more suppliers at Pack Expo International are emphasizing smart packaging applications and are exhibiting digital products.

“With the expected growth in digital package printing, we are thrilled to offer a space where end users seeking solutions can connect with the suppliers providing these new innovations,” Thompson said. “Attendees will find cutting-edge digital printing advancements all in one designated area allowing them to maximize their time at the show.”

The new pavilion focuses on the advantages of digital printing; geared toward short-run, on-demand, cost-effective, variable data and personalized packaging, the association says.

In addition to exploring state-of-the-art packaging technologies, equipment and materials, attendees can participate in educational opportunities at the Innovation Stage where suppliers present free 30-minute seminars on breakthrough technologies throughout the three days. Coming off its debut at Pack Expo East 2018, The Forum at Pack Expo is a new show feature providing attendees an interactive learning experience. The Forum will feature sessions on the latest industry trends followed by small group discussions and Q&A sessions.

The Candy Bar Lounge, The Beverage Cooler Lounge and The Snack Break Lounge will return to PACK EXPO International 2018. The International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) will host The Beverage Cooler Lounge (N-4575), sponsored by Bevcorp LLC (S-3874), serving as a networking hub for beverage industry professionals and ISBT subject matter experts.

“One of the added benefits of attending the show is the opportunity to network and meet like-minded industry professionals. Through these lounges, we are able to add value by connecting [original equipment manufacturers] (OEMs) and CPGs with those specifically in their markets,” Thompson said. “We look forward to maintaining our established alliances with these premier industry associations in order to continue bringing the industry together and ultimately effecting growth in the packaging sector as a whole.”

Rockwell Automation will once again help to support scholarships for future packaging professionals through a title-level sponsorship of this year’s PACK gives BACK event. The event will feature Sebastian Maniscalco, a Chicago-area born, Italian-immigrant-raised comedian behind network specials such as “Sebastian Maniscalco: Why Would You Do That?,” “What’s Wrong With People?,” and “Aren’t You Embarrassed?”

PACK gives BACK, Pack Expo’s biggest networking event, benefits the Pack Expo Scholarship, which supports students studying at two- or four-year PMMI partner schools. Winners of six $5,000 scholarships will be announced at the event.

“As a PMMI member and Pack Expo exhibitor, we are proud to be affiliated with an association that cares about the future of the packaging industry and feel strongly about supporting the next generation of professionals,” said Christopher Zei, vice president Global OEM and Global Industries for Rockwell Automation, in a statement. “We are pleased to contribute to such a worthy cause and continue sponsorship of PACK gives BACK.”

The Oct. 15 fundraiser kicks off with a networking reception at 4:30 p.m. followed by a comedy performance at 5:30 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom located in the South Building. Tickets are $75.

“At PMMI, we recognize and value the future of our industry and want to continue to invest in the next generation with generous scholarship opportunities,” said Jim Pittas, PMMI’s president and chief executive officer, in a statement. “We are grateful to Rockwell Automation for their continued support of this event and this community.” BI