Pack Expo International and co-located Healthcare Packaging Expo 2018 convened Oct. 14-17 at McCormick Place in Chicago. The record-breaking event welcomed nearly 45,000 attendees with 2,500 exhibitors, in more than 1.25 million net square feet, according to show owner and producer PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies. PMMI also reported 457 new exhibitors this year.

“The continued success of Pack Expo is a testament to not only our industry’s growth but PMMI’s commitment to offering a world-class environment for exhibitors to offer cutting-edge solutions to our attendees,” said Jim Pittas, chief executive officer of PMMI, in a statement. “We are committed to adding value by constantly improving our show offerings to assist in driving the packaging industry into the future.”

Exhibitors had a plethora of solutions for food and beverage manufacturers. The following are highlights from the beverage applicable exhibitors:

3M, St. Paul, Minn., showcased its new 3M-Matic Random Case Sealer 7000r High Speed Pro/7000r3 at the show. The advanced technology case sealer is an ideal solution for top and bottom sealing of random-sized cases and automatically adjusts to both case height and width, the company says. The 7000r can handle as many as 28 different case sizes a minute. The high tack box sealing tape 371+ was highlighted for its ability to work well on highly recycled corrugated boxes.

A-B-C Packaging Machine Corp., Tarpon Springs, Fla., promoted its case erectors, case sealers, case packers and palletizers at the show. Among the products featured were A-B-C’s Model 49 decaser. The Model 49 accepts cases from the conveyor either back-to-back or spaced, unloads and single files the bottles, and uprights the empty cases for transfer to case packing. Bottles glide from the case to the impact-absorbing transfer belt and bottle contact is minimized with the company’s single filing module, it says. These features work to maintain bottle stability and protect the glass integrity, it adds.

At its booth, Londonderry, N.H.-based Admix Inc. featured a lineup of products for advanced mixing technologies within the food/beverage, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. The following products were displayed: Rotosolver, DynaShear, Fastfeed, Boston Shearmill, Admixer, Benchmix, Rotostat, Rotomixx, Rotomaxx and FlowShear.

AmbaFlex, Arlington, Texas, showcased its portfolio of conveyor solutions. Within its SpiralVeyor family, the company offers the following for beverage applications: SVm-series, SV-series and Portal. Beverage manufacturers also can utilize the AccuVeyor AVh for spiral accumulation.

Willoughby, Ohio-based BevCorp LLC showcased its high-speed rotary can fillers for beer, carbonated soft drinks and spirits. The company offers new and refurbished can and bottle fillers with fill rates as fast as 2,000 cans and 1,200 bottles a minute. The company also highlighted its newest blending technology, the MICRO2 Advantage Series Blender, which achieves the lowest dissolved oxygen levels yet, it says.

CHEP, Alpharetta, Ga., promoted its lineup of pallets and containers that are applicable to numerous markets, including beverage. On display were its half pallets, which are designed for smaller retail locations such as convenience and drug stores, it says.

Closure Systems International (CSI), Indianapolis, showcased its Series W138 Capper, a single-head capping machine that operates in a manual configuration for sealing bottles and containers of various shapes and sizes, the company says. CSI also highlighted its portfolio of closures including the new 38D-KL, designed for a variety of dairy and non-carbonated beverages.

Natick, Mass.-based Cognex Corp. highlighted its 3-D displacement sensor and machine vision systems. The vision sensors verify prices, dates, colors and barcodes, it says.

ColorMasters, Albertville, Ala., highlighted its extrusion, digital printing, flexographic printing, lamination, converting and labels for the food and beverage industry.

Columbia Machine Inc., Vancouver, Wash., showcased its portfolio of palletizing solutions, which includes high speed, high level, floor level, robotic and hybrid palletizers, load transfer stations and complete systems integration.

North Canton, Ohio-based Combi Packaging Systems highlighted its end-of-line packaging equipment. The company also noted it was recently named an authorized systems integrator for FANUC robots and moved to a larger facility to accommodate its growth.

Montreal-based Consolidated Technologies showcased its HC120 Horizontal Servo Cartoner, a semi-automated cartoner that erects, closes and glues cartons. It also promoted its new UNICELL-20R robotic case packer, which enables instant switching from robotic operation to manual case loading, providing quick changeovers and flexibility when running various formats of product and case sizes, the company says.

Delkor Systems Inc., St. Paul, Minn., highlighted its Turbo Case retail-ready packaging machine, which shrink bundles multiple products for all formats of food and beverage, the company says. It also promoted its new Performance Loader Case Packer, a mid-range case loader for rigid containers, which works at speeds as fast as 20 containers a minute, it says.

Domino Amjet Inc., Gurnee, Ill., showcased its M230i-FS series, a two-sided labeling system from a single-printer applicator. The M230i-FS100 and M230i-FS150 provides a flexible, multi-purpose labeling unit that are specially designed for versatile labeling of a case or carton, the company says. The company also showcased its M230i-T4/T5 applicators.

Douglas Machine Inc., Alexandria, Minn., promoted its automated secondary packaging solutions for paperboard, corrugated and shrink film along with its stand-alone or fully integrated shrink wrapper, palletizing, cartoner and case and tray packer machines.

Endflux, Miami, formerly Eagle Packaging Machinery LLC, now part of the Paxiom Group, highlighted its automated packaging solutions, including six end-of-the-line solutions. It also marketed its case and tray forming capabilities including the Vassoyo, which is designed for producing glued trays; and PopLok to fold and form die cut trays for shippers, meal fits and more without glue or tape.

Rochester Hills, Mich.-based FANUC America Corp. promoted its CNC systems, robotics factory automation solutions. Among the solutions on display were the robot M-410iC/110 and the robot SR-6iA.

Havre De Grace, Md.-based Ferrum Inc. promoted its ferruBasic F12 can seamer, which is applicable for the food and beverage industries.

Italy-based Finpac Italia SRL showcased its complete range of machines for the application of shrink sleeves for plastic and glass bottles, which offer speed ranges between 9,000 and 72,000 bottles an hour.

Fort Dearborn Co., Elk Grove Village, Ill., promoted its sustainable shrink sleeves. The “floatable” labels, meet APR guidelines for the PET recycling process while offering high shrink performance and optical film clarity, the company says.

GEA, Columbia, Md., showcased its processing equipment and technologies for beverage applications. The company touted its process control software and automation solutions, which monitor, analyze and adjust working parameters and variables to ensure efficient processing, optimization of raw materials, and minimization of product losses and system downtime, it says.

Greenville, S.C.-based Hartness International, an ITW company, had its Dynac 6900 Series Model 6930 on display. The high-speed helical single-file product accumulation machine provides pressure-less product handling, as well as line balancing characteristics for a variety of rigid and flexible container types, it says.

Tarrytown, N.Y.-based Hitachi American Ltd. showcased its latest assortment of continuous inkjet printers for the food and beverage market, including its UX Series inkjet printer. The product line features efficient ink recovery, intuitive print control, pour-in ink capability and a durable printhead, the company says. The company also highlighted its range of CO2 laser markers for plastic applications.

Mason, Ohio-based Honeywell Intelligrated showcased its latest range of technologies for distribution centers, including Honeywell Sentience, Cyber Security, Momentum and Vocollect. The company also highlighted its new TechSight system, an augmented reality technology to implement with the company’s warehouse execution systems, it says. Also showcased was the Alvey 890i, a connected palletizing machine.

JBT Corp., Chalfont, Pa., highlighted its processing, product handling and other automated solutions for the food and beverage markets. Within processing, the company’s Avure HPP baskets were on display as well as solutions within retort and pasteurization. Additionally, a JBT automated guided vehicle showcased warehousing solutions.

Karlville, Miami, showcased its vertically integrated machinery solutions for pouch converting and shrink sleeve converting packaging for the beverage market, including beer, spirits and non-alcohol drinks.

Dortmund, Germany-based KHS GmbH, showcased its Innofill CAN C, a compact can filler that fills as many as 7,000 to 40,000 cans an hour, which is suitable for the craft beer industry, it says.

Klϋber Lubrication, Londonderry, N.H., introduced Klüberplus C2 PM2 Ultra Dry, a plastic conveyor belt lubricant for the food-processing industry. This food-grade lubricant can increase packaging line efficiency by 1-5 percent, the company says. Its super-lubricity increases line speed without risking belt stability, it adds. This low coefficient of friction means that fewer bottles, cans and containers topple, which keeps conveyor lines moving. The new ultra dry lubricant also is a homogeneous solution that does not separate, preventing conveyor belt residue and nozzle blockage, the company says.

Portsmouth, N.H.-based Koenig & Bauer Kammann highlighted its rotary and linear bottle decorating machinery, including 3-D labels on glass, metal or plastic packaging.

Krones Inc., Franklin Wis., showcased its Ergomodul labeler with replaceable stations. The Ergomodul series is a multi-flexible system for precut, reel-fed and pressure-sensitive labels. The company also showed its new Contiroll ED, a reel-fed labeler that features a shorter heat up time, increased operational reliability and reduced changeover times, it says.

In a joint press conference of Krones, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd., Silgan Closures GmbH and Practically Impossible Labs, the companies announced the new BottleOne PET bottle with an integrated handle. The new handle was configured in a partnership between the companies to be manufactured on Krones’ Kosme rotary blow molder with Husky preforms and sealed with Silgan Closures’ cap, the companies say. Patented by Practically Impossible Labs, the BottleOne containers provide visualization of product, better sealing potential and product protection than other materials, and is shatter proof, allowing the reduction of secondary packaging, they add.

Pittsburgh-based Matthews Marking Systems showcased its eMark CO2 Laser Coding System that permanently marks coated paper, plastics and glass that cleanly marks alphanumerical text, data and time codes, serial numbers, barcodes, 2-D codes, and graphics, the company says. It also showcased the PET CO2 Laser Coding System for beverage containers.

Lantech, Louisville, Ky., celebrated its 45 years in stretch wrapping solutions. It also promoted its latest offering, the QL-400 semi-automatic stretch wrapper featuring Load Guardian technology.

Richmond, Va.-based Liqui-Box introduced Torrent, its latest flexible packaging innovation. The modular designed filler features an improved operator interface, tool-less adjustments and quick bag changeover, the company says. Integrated guarding and safety lighting also were included to keep the production environment safe, it adds.

Lubriplate Lubricants, Newark, N.J., highlighted its NSF H1 Food Grade lubricant. Lubriplate offers NSF H1 and 3H Food Grade Lubricants, which can improve food saftey, it says.

Orbis, Oconomowoc, Wis., featured its end-to-end reusable packaging solutions, including its new grocery pallet, to meet retail supply chain needs. The XpressPal (XP) Grocery pallet includes a new design and leg/feet features that allow the 40-by-48-by-6.5-inch nestable pallet to integrate with a variety of other nestable pallets and work with material handling equipment, it says. Its hygienic one-piece design and open, textured deck better protect high-turn food and beverage products in a fast-paced supply chain, it adds.

Deer Park, N.Y.-based Overnight Labels Inc. promoted its full service label and flexible packaging printing capabilities. The company offers CleanFlake, a water-based recyclable adhesive that cleanly separates during the PET plastic recycling process, resulting in pure PET flakes, it says. Earlier this year, Overnight Labels also added its 13th press. The Nilpeter FB 4200 is an eight-color press with UV and hot air drying for UV and water-based inks and can run labels, shrink sleeves and flexible packaging.

Eugene, Ore.-based PakTech announced its latest can carrier applicator: the CCA 440+. The newest can carrier applicator is capable of processing as many as 440 cans a minute with a 15 percent surge rate when needed, the company says. The CCA 440+ applies PakTech QuadPak and 6Pak can carriers with no tools required to switch between the QuadPak and 6Pak, it adds.

PDC International, Norwalk, Conn., touted its R-100 Shrink Labeler as an economical option for label technology. Part of the Evolution Series, the R-100 is a compact system ideal for moderate speed applications and flexible enough for many kinds of products, the company says. Based on concepts of PDC’s higher speed shrink labelers, the R-100 is designed for shrink sleeving application speeds as fast as 120 containers a minute, allowing for a large product range, it adds.

Pearson Packing Systems, Spokane, Wash., discussed systems for case erecting, packaging, sealing and palletizing. It also announced the acquisition of Flexicel, Ashland, Va., enabling the company to expand its capability for robotic integration and robotic palletizing.

Roberts PolyPro, Charlotte, N.C., a product brand of Pro Mach, Covington, Ky., introduced the THA240, an inline automated applicator for the craft beer and spirits industry. The new applicator can apply handles to four- and six-packs at a rate as fast as 10 cases a minute, the company says. At the same booth Axon, a primary packaging group of Roberts PolyPro and Pro Mach, showcased its range of shrink sleeve label applicators for dairy, craft beer and ready-to-drink beverages. Among those featured was the new SLX High Speed Applicator, which can label as many as 800 cans a minute, the company says. Zalkin, a bottling and capping group of Roberts PolyPro and Pro Mach, showcased the ZTM3, a single head semi-automatic capper for the spirits industry.

Los Angeles-based Rehrig Pacific Co. promoted its pallet, waste and recycling container and supply chain solutions. Among those on display were the Stack-King and Cargo King.

Ronchi America, LLC, Hiram, Ga., presented the EXACTA/R 18, an 18-head freestanding filler, the company says. Ronchi highlighted that this series is built domestically, allowing for significantly reduced delivery time and machine costs.

Yorktown, Va.-based Ryson featured its Narrow Trak Spiral Conveyor. The micro-pitch conveyor is its latest accessory to the Narrow Trak Spiral. The Ryson micro-pitch transfer conveyor is slave-driven off the drive or idle-end shafts and is geared to match the speed of the spiral, even at high speeds. The transfer unit minimizes the unpowered gap between the spiral and adjoining conveyors, allowing smaller and lighter products to be end transferred into and out of the spiral, it says. When end transferring, the slats can be equipped with friction inserts to provide more friction. This allows steeper incline/decline angles, which yields greater elevation changes with the same number of turns, the company says.

Brewerton, N.Y.-based Schneider Packaging Equipment Co. Inc., showcased its Everest Bottom Loading Case Packer, a bottom-loader, with no pick-tooling required, the company says. The Everest Case Packer also utilizes an Intelligent Illumination system for visual operation cues or maintenance tasks, it adds.

At a co-located booth, Sidel, Atlanta, and Gebo Cermex, Laval, Quebec, showcased several filling and packaging solutions. Sidel highlighted its EvoFILL Can, which features improved CO2 pre-flushing resulting in improved beverage performance regardless of whether filling hot-, ambient- and cold-filled beverages, it says. The machine features 54 to 182 filling valves, giving beverage manufacturers the ability to handle a wide range of speeds and can sizes, from 150-ml to 1-liter, it adds. At the tradeshow, Gebo Cermex launched its CoboAccess Pal, a FANUC cobotic palletizer designed to handle regular slotted containers and wrap-around blanks on low-speed production lines.

Signode Industrial Group, Glenview, Ill., showcased 15 of its key product brands within 17 display areas organized by application categories: pack, bundle, unitize, warehouse and transport. The H. BÖHL orbital stretch wrapper and Loveshaw Little David Case Sealer SP-304 were displayed together. Popular in eCommerce applications throughout Europe, the orbital wrapper is used to secure products to trays and the case sealer ensures proper closure and sealing of the protective box.

Norcross, Ga.-based Siemens highlighted its digitalization expertise of products, production and performance to help original equipment manufacturers succeed in Industry 4.0. It demonstrated its new Digital Twin models of machinery, which simulate the mechanical and automation worlds through 3-D card models of machines. This simulates how the machine will work in the real world by connecting to virtual automation PLCs, the company says. Among the benefits, the Digital Twin will reduce commissioning time and accidents on site, give companies the ability to evaluate different automation concepts in the early phase of a project, and provide advance training for machine operators, it says.

Sleeve Seal, Little Rock, Ark., featured a demo of its fastest Intelligent i-Series sleeve labeling system: the SSL-800i. Axial adjustments now can be automated for precision adjustments within 1/1000 of an inch, it says.

Portland, Conn.-based Standard-Knapp Inc. highlighted its portfolio of shrink wrappers, tray packers, case packers, case sealers and more. On display was the 939S Versatron soft catch servo case packer with integrated laner, and the 949S Versatron soft placement tandem case packer with integrated sealer.

Teledyne TapTone, North Falmouth, Mass. showcased its latest collection of leak inspection systems including its PRO Series Case system. The PRO Series Case system is designed for non-contact, non-destructive 100 percent automatic container inspection through a sealed cardboard and/or shrink wrapped case, the company says. The company also highlighted its user interface inspection options including T550, PRO Series Single-Line Inspection and PRO Series Multiple-Line Inspection.

TriPack, Milford, Ohio, highlighted its lineup of shrink sleeve applicators: LSA-160, MSA-405, MSA-180 and MSA-245. The mandrel-based delivery ensures the highest level of operational efficiency and precise sleeve placement, the company says. It also discussed its one-stop solution for sleeved cans, brites, labels and ends and just-in-time labeling for small batch and seasonal craft beers.

Universal Robots, Ann Arbor, Mich., debuted its latest offering: the e-Series collaborative robots. The cobot features easy programming with a patented and intuitive 3-D interface that enables an easy, one-hour set-up using a regular power outlet and infinite ways of deployment and task automation. On display was the patented ROBOX, a collaborative robotic case erector with a flexible, modular design to handle multiple product configurations with no changeovers and a smaller footprint than conventional equipment, the company says.

Weber Packaging Solutions, Arlington Heights, Ill., showcased its ELF-50 Label Applicator that can label as many as 40 cans a minute, with line speeds as fast as 32.8-feet a minute, the company says. The 501 Wrap Label Application and LA 2050 Label Printer also was displayed.

Atlanta-based WestRock showcased its shelf- and retail-ready packaging capabilities that provide in-house automation for scalable customization. It provides eCommerce solutions designed to reduce DIM weight and also offers Box on Demand for variable packaging needs.

Wulftec, Ayer’s Cliff, Quebec, promoted its semi-automatic pallet stretch wrappers, fully automatic conveyor-powered stretch wrapping systems, pallet strapping equipment, and pallet handling solutions and conveyors.

Dayton, Ohio-based Yaskawa Motoman debuted a new six-axis HC10 robot that works safely with, or in close proximity to humans by stopping the robot in the event of contact with an operator. The highly configurable HC10 offers a 10-kg payload and 1,200-mm reach and can perform a broad range of material handling, machine tending or light assembly tasks, the company says.

Zebra Technologies Corp., Lincolnshire, Ill., showcased its portfolio of ZE 500 printers. The company highlighted how its printers and scanners use Android systems in collaboration with its warehouse management systems.

Next year, PMMI will welcome attendees and exhibitors to Pack Expo Las Vegas, which will take place Sept. 23-25 in Las Vegas. BI