Emerson booth, Pack Expo

Pack Expo is a Wrap, With Bundles of Optimism

Sept. 30, 2021
Over the course of three days, the event showed the value of shows and the need for new solutions.

It was a typical third day at Pack Expo as the annual packaging and material handling event ended its run in Las Vegas on Sept. 29. Being able to use the word "typical" indicates how well the show went for attendees and vendors.

While traffic slowed down and exhibitors prepared to pack up their displays, there was a sense that the event was a success even beyond the realm of being able to stage it safely. Health and safety protocols were everywhere, assuring the normal business of this event could proceed.

With a lot of pent-up excitement because the show was forced to skip 2020, vendors reported positive traffic and enthusiastic attendees. One vendor reported that an attendee offered to buy the exhibited conveyor solution right off the show floor. Another vendor had a machine on the show floor priced to sell on the spot.

The enthusiasm extended to staff and hotel workers around Las Vegas. In the media center, one of the food service workers even stopped to thank a member of the press just for showing up.

If the 20-month hiatus from live trade events has caused some to rely more on digital meetings and video chats to conduct business, the success at Pack Expo also emphasized that a handshake—sanitized for your protection, of course—still have enormous power.

And while the focus of this event is packaging and conveyance, there are a number of solutions that have wider appeal, as companies continue to integrate robotics technology to help reduce worker injury and improve efficiency to new sensors and data management tools Among the vendor announcements:

Emerson: One of the company’s key initiatives is sustainability, including IIoT-enabled pneumatic sensors to detect leaks and optimize compressed air consumption. Other areas displayed at the show include augmented reality to help pinpoint machine performance issues in real time, increased development of plant SCADA and analytics, and improved leak detection using laser technology.

Festo displayed its Simplified Motion Series (SMS) that now includes an IO-Link control to manage multi-position applications. SMS combines pneumatics with the benefits of electric automation. “SMS takes proven ball screw axes, toothed belt axes, mini slides, electric cylinders, piston rod, and rotary actuators and integrates them with an onboard servo drive,” company officials said in a press release. “Users commission two-position functionality via onboard push buttons with no additional software needed.”

Regal Beloit introduced its Regal Perceptiv intelligence system to interact with Regal products and services. Regal Perceptiv intelligence includes customized solutions including enhanced web-based and mobile-friendly tools to find Regal product information such as online catalogs, 3D CAD drawings, selection tools, mobile apps and QR codes on products. Augmented reality tools and cloud-based solutions allow monitoring from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer.

This article appeared in Machine Design.

About the Author

Bob Vavra | Senior Content Director, Power & Motion and Machine Design

Bob Vavra is the Senior Content Director of Power & Motion and its sister publication Machine Design. Vavra has had a long career in publishing, media and events. He has covered all aspects of manufacturing for the past 20 years and is a regular attendee at events such as IMTS and Hannover Messe. Vavra is also a sought-after webcast moderator and event emcee, and has presided over events in the U.S., Germany and China. 

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