Las Vegas, Nevada – Until next time, Las Vegas.
Despite numerous stories of flight cancelation and delay woes that postponed arrivals and looked to make it more difficult to leave, PACK EXPO Las Vegas broke precious attendance records and offered great value. Nearly 32,000 attendees, the most in the show’s history, actively engaged with more than 2,300 exhibitors across 1 million net square feet of exhibit space at the Las Vegas Convention Center. This event not only stands as the largest packaging and processing trade show in North America this year but as the largest PACK EXPO Las Vegas in the show’s history.
And for those interested in reusable packaging, PACK EXPO is always the premier event in North America regarding the number of vendor exhibits and education programs. “This event is the largest assembly of reusable transport packaging experts and product showcase at a single destination, and last week delivered with 45 Pavilion booths and 17 presentations and panels,” Tim Debus, President and CEO of the Reusable Packaging Associaton, commented on LinkedIn.
Several sessions at the Reusable Packaging Association Learning Center were standing-room only, providing a glimpse into the future of reusables. Interest is viscerally growing. I remember not many years ago when the venue was much smaller. The urgency for reusables is scaling as supply chain decision-makers increasingly recognize the operational efficiency and sustainability benefits of conversion.
The Reusable Packaging Pavilion is also great for networking. I got to talk about reusables with people I met from four continents, which is always enlightening.
For exhibitors, it is a sizeable investment for many companies in the reusable packaging space to have a booth at the show. Still, the companies I talked with were very happy with the traffic and lead generation volume, as well as quality. And it is always great to visit with old and new show friends.
I want to give a special “shout-out” to Reusable Packaging News advertisers past and present who were exhibiting at the show, including:
Excellence in Reusable Packaging Awards
The Excellence in Reusable Packaging Awards wrap up the two-day Learning Center schedule and are always a highlight. The winners included OK Produce, Schaeffer Plastics and Rehrig Pacific. OK Produce won for its adoption of a downstream plastic pallet program.
Plastic distribution pallets have been around for decades but are still underutilized by many distributors and retailers. In the past, some retailers have tried but abandonned the proposition because of loss, but definitely worth revisiting. Program management can make all of the difference needed for success.
Schaeffer won the innovation category for its ESD innovation, the Grounder™. It is a 48-inch-wide x 45-inch-long x 45-inch-tall plastic molded bin with metal plungers that protect shipped electronic parts against electrostatic contamination while reducing expendable packaging materials. Rehrig Pacific won in the technology category for its Vision Object Recognition (VOR) system. VOR offers warehouse customers an advanced technology solution featuring integrated components such as smart pallets, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to improve material handling, recordkeeping, inventory tracking, and quality control. Find out more about the winning submissions at this link.
Keep in mind that the Reusable Packaging Pavilion is a small part of a massive PACK EXPO Las Vegas show. Overall, suppliers are scrambling to produce solutions that are more sustainable and efficient. For example, flexible packaging machinery providers are addressing demands for paper and single filament plastic, which is easier to recycle than multi-layer film. PMMI, show organizers, recently collaborated on a new report, 2023 Transitioning Flexible Materials Best Practice. It is a guide in the process of transitioning flexible films in CPG operations to ensure a more efficient and successful transitional process.
Packaging machinery providers are also designing more automation into packaging lines to address the labor shortage and more intuitive HMI (human-machine interface) screens to get machine operators up to speed more quickly. Remote diagnostics and rich technical support built into HMI can help minimize downtime.
I have much more on the PACK EXPO Las Vegas show to report. Stay tuned.