Rebecca Goodacre reports from the Total Processing & Packaging Exhibition 2013 held at Birmingham NEC Arena
Between the 4th and 6th June, over 8,700 visitors passed through the halls of the NEC in Birmingham to take in and experience the best in packaging mechanical technology.
With over 400 exhibitors, the Total Processing & Packaging Exhibition is always a must-see event in the packaging calendar, and this year did not disappoint. Packaging Gazette also celebrated a successful seminar program, with a range of top speakers covering everything from branding, to young blood, and the international market.
On a backdrop of high-shine machines and surrounded by the mechanical sounds of pumping, pulling, moving and making, visitors to the show were met with a wealth of innovation. The showcase displayed all the latest in production line solutions, material developments and product innovations, inspiring visitors to make the necessary improvements to their own business.
Trade shows are always a time for networking, brushing shoulders with everyone in the industry, and finally shaking hands on that all important deal. For many it’s a time for big business, an experience most definitely had by Partners in Packaging, Quasar Automation and Illapack. Within the first day of the show they were able to announce they had signed a significant contract to install a new biscuit processing line. Speaking about the contract, Duncan Macintrye, Director, Partners in Packaging said, “Within five minutes of the doors opening, we’d secured a significant contract with Quasar Automation. It just goes to show that while lead times on exhibitions can sometimes be longer, there are plenty of opportunities for the taking.”
But it wasn’t all business at the show. For many, the Total Exhibition is a time for both education and celebration. This year the show ran two highly successful competitions; the Ones to Watch Award and the Packaging Design Challenge.
Andrew Speck, Commercial and Environmental Packaging Manager at Marks & Spencer fought off tough completion to be named the brightest up-and-coming young talent in the manufacturing industry. Andrew won the Ones to Watch competition after the judges singled him out for the impact he has had both on his business and the wider packaging sector. He has been instrumental in delivering the M&S Plan A Packaging Commitments, including the implementation of successful projects with Somerset Waste Partnership, Kent Waste Partnership, The Packaging Federation and supporting the British Retail Council and WRAP on the launch of the Fresher Longer campaign.
Sponsored by Festo Training & Consulting, the Ones to Watch awards recognises the contributions of processing and packaging professionals under the age of 35 who have worked in the industry for at least four years. The final five included Andrew Speck from Marks & Spencer, Jake Norman from Olympus Automation, Rachael Smith from Amcor Flexibles, Michael Bass from Henkelman UK and Dan Jordan from Boomerang Plastics.
Elsewhere, the Packaging Design Challenge invited packaging professionals and designers to submit groundbreaking, new packaging concepts in one of four categories; retail-ready, on-the-move, sustainability and luxury for a chance of a financial investment. Innopak, supplier of innovative packaging solution scooped the top prize for its ComboLid concept.
The ComboLid concept offers a unique (patent pending) lid that in addition to sealing takeaway cups to avoid spillage, it contains a recessed space which can be used to store food items. Ideal for use in cinemas or at outdoor events the recess can be used to store a multitude of items, ranging from ice cream through to chicken bites or chilli and rice.
The winner, Joe Fogel of the VaioPak Group has now been invited to meet with the judges to discuss investment opportunities. Joe will also receive access to £1,000 worth of training via the IoPP’s Fundamentals of Packaging Technology program, as well as free membership to the IoPP.
The shows also featured a plethora of seminars, discussing and opening up some of the most crucial and also intriguing elements of the packaging industry. Spread across three separate theatres, the Pakex Innovation Hub, The Manufacturing Forum and the Interphex Theatre all hosted range of topics and speakers.
Dairy Crest, Marks & Spencer and Nampak’s session was a must-attend, offering a first-look at milk packaging for the 21st century, and the process behind the design and implementation of the UK’s lightest and strongest milk bottle, Infini. Speaking about the session, Andrew Speck, Commercial and Environmental Packaging Manager at Marks & Spencer, said, “The seminar was a success with a lot of interested people with good questions. The people who get in touch with us afterwards are looking to learn more about how M&S work sustainably, which is great as it puts us in a position where we are recognised as a forward thinking company.”
Other popular sessions included Perception Research Service’s Executive Vice President, Joe Schurtz who offered an insight into what shoppers see when they look at brands supported by consumer research; British Retail Consortium’s Packaging Technical Manager, Joanna Griffiths who highlighted how to get the best out of your packaging supply chain and Siemen’s Division Director for Industry Automation, Brian Holliday who explained “why automation is worth the bother”.