This year, the Las Vegas outpost of Pack Expo seemed to take off and even rival the energy of Pack Expo Chicago. For three days, packaging professionals took over the Las Vegas Convention Center to learn about the latest innovations in the industry. I asked my Specright colleagues to share their highlights from the show, which ranged from sustainability to autonomous robots.
Sustainability is a subject that’s been in the news daily, and it was a hot topic at Pack Expo Las Vegas this year. Our team attended several sustainability talks that were standing room only, including the session given by Specright Founder & CEO Matthew Wright.
Audience questions during these sessions focused on getting insights into the “how” of sustainability rather than the “why.” To me, this really drove home the idea that sustainability goals have become the norm in most organizations, but that operators are not clear on how to execute this vision.
Matthew’s presentation laid out a roadmap for how companies can use Specification Data Management™ to measure, analyze and take action to achieve sustainability goals. Other speakers discussed broader trends or very specific packaging solutions (such as biodegradable adhesive).
Most impressive to watch were the “cobots” or collaborative robots. Imagine a Roomba vacuum on steroids carrying and sorting parcels. Advanced robotic arms executed specifications with precision and speed not possible by humans. The show was filled with mechanical innovation, sensor and data analytics.
Most of the focus on innovation was on the hardware and machinery side when it came to IoT, but not the software side. When I asked a number of those exhibitors how they obtain data to help enable such scenarios, it was unclear. At Specright, we officially launched digital machinery specifications at Pack Expo, which can help bridge this gap.
Agility in Packaging
With Industry 4.0 and the use of data-driven systems, companies are starting to apply analytics to optimize production and perform preventative maintenance. Several talks focused on this flexibility. Exhibitors also showcased agile packaging machines to better accommodate different package shapes and sizes and more efficiently run production. At Specright, we’re focusing on how we can apply analytics to procurement and specification creation. As software development has moved to an Agile approach as the new standard, we’re helping our customers leverage analytics as packaging also evolves.
Infographic: The State of Sustainability
We surveyed leading brands to understand the state of sustainability. Understand how packaging and product leaders are:
-Aligning sustainability goals by department
-Measuring sustainability progress
-Inhibited by challenges