(Nov. 11) CHICAGO — More than 40,000 people from around the world turned out to help put the international in this year’s Pack Expo International at McCormick Place in Chicago Nov. 3-7.

Visitors came from as far away as Great Britain, Japan and France to learn about the latest in packaging technology.


That diversity carried over into the items on display. Exhibitors pushing everything from case erectors to labeling machines chatted up the versatility and diverse uses of their products.

“It’s about versatility,” said Mike McLeod of Chicago-based Smurfit-Stone Container Corp. “The key thing is merchandising capabilities.”

Automation was another key at the show, as robotic machinery on display did everything from sort products to deal blackjack.

Keeping an eye on packing lines was just as important, with several companies offering automated monitoring systems using computers and cameras to make sure lines run smoothly.

Of the more than 1,600 exhibitors, 204 were new to the show. Martin Pare, marketing director for Sanilogik Technologies, a Montreal-based software company, said he made more than 20 new contacts in one day of the show alone.

Todd Earl, vice president of business development and public relations for Tri-State Advertising Co. Inc., Warsaw, Ind., said he was impressed by this year’s show.

“I’ve been to a lot of trade shows in recent years,” he said. “This is incredible.”

Computer technology was another theme of the show, with companies offering everything from software to manage sanitation programs to computer-operated coding systems.

The Packaging Machinery Manufacturer’s Institute, Arlington, Va., got into the act, unveiling its Packsafe risk assessment software for packaging machinery. The Windows-based tool helps companies identify and remove potential hazards during design.

What’s more, the show’s Web site, Packexpo.com, made several new updates in time for this year’s show, including an improved search engine using licensed Google technology and information request functions.


Education was another important facet of the show, with more than 50 speakers taking part in the breakout sessions of the Conference at Pack Expo.

Each day began with an “Eye Opener,” a series of speakers addressing topics like global coding standards, the global packaging market, and mass merchandisers and club stores.

Sessions concurrent with the Expo centered on topics including consumer goods packaging, industry consolidation, packing line efficiency, and packaging in a post-Sept. 11 world.

On Nov. 5, the Packaging Education Forum inducted five packaging professionals into the Packaging Hall of Fame at a special ceremony.

This year’s inductees are Richard Bostch (posthumous) of DuPont, Wilmington, Del., and Printpack Inc., Atlanta; Kenneth Gollman of Oden Corp., Buffalo, N.Y.; Thomas Hogue of DuPont; Norman Nieder of Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc., St. Louis; and Charles Perrin of Dow AgroSciences LLC, Indianapolis.