Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Pack Expo to showcase robots in packaging industry

Robot use in the packaging industry has grown nearly 48 percent among consumer packaged goods companies and 30 percent in the life sciences and pharma sector.

Pack Expo Las Vegas and co-located Healthcare Packaging Expo – scheduled for September 23-25, 2019 at the Las Vegas Convention Center – is primed to introduce the “Robotics Zone”, a new show floor destination that spotlights new robotic technology, human and robot interaction and collaborative robot displays.

The new destination area is an ideal place for attendees to get ideas and inspiration, meet leading robot providers and interact with cutting edge robotic technologies first-hand.

Attendees entering the Robotics Zone, located in Booth N-850 in the North Hall, will be welcomed by the Pack Expo Greeter Robot, sponsored by Omron Automation. As they explore the interactive area they will experience:

  • Local robotics teams displaying their robots in action in the Future Innovators Robotics Showcase
  • Robots packing food for children, as a part of Pack for a Purpose: Robots Fighting Hunger, in collaboration with Blessings in a Backpack, which provides weekend meals for elementary students in supplemental nutrition programs
  • Object Detection and Flexible Grasping with Artificial Intelligence Demo sponsored by Siemens Digital Industries US
  • Comau’s Interactive Wearable Exoskeleton allows attendees to try on a wearable suit and perform assisted task and product handling
  • Soft Robotics End-Of-Arm Tool Exhibit demonstrates an end-of-arm tool designed to mimic the human hand to grasp and manipulate items that vary in size, shape and weight
  • The Kuka Robotic Pianist live in concert
  • The Ready Robotics Bowling Robot
  • Pick and Place/Relocation activities in action, compliments of the University of Waterloo and Septimatech Autonomous Robot
  • And, of course, an Omron Automation interactive dice playing cobot… because, after all, it’s Vegas, a city synonymous with casinos.

Pack for a Purpose

The event will have a “Robots Fighting Hunger” demonstration, held is in collaboration with Blessings in a Backpack.

The charity benefits children facing food insecurity across Las Vegas and elsewhere in the US.

Exhibitor-supplied robots will demonstrate various automated capabilities, while filling 6,000 bags of food for this greater cause.

Participants include:

  • Bosch Packaging Technology
  • Chicago Electric
  • Fanuc America
  • ProMach Performance Services with ABB, Soft Robotics and Cognex
  • Universal Robots in partnership with Allied Technology

As PMMI’s new Industrial Robots – Growth and Opportunity infographic points out, the growth in robot and cobot use in the packaging industry has grown in all areas.

From 2014 to today, robot use in primary packaging has increased from 44 to 53 percent, in secondary packaging from 48 to 70 percent and in transport packaging from 66 to 73 percent.

Additionally, cobot use is expected to grow from three percent in all of 2017 to 34 percent of robot sales in 2025.

For a more detailed look, check out the full report from show producer PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, PMMI’s 2019 Robotics Innovation 2 Implementation.

Laura Thompson, vice president, trade shows, PMMI, says: “Robots are addressing significant industry challenges by providing increased flexibility and addressing labor shortages.

“With the many advances in robotics, this is a perfect time to bring the Robotics Zone to Pack Expo Las Vegas and co-located Healthcare Packaging Expo.

“We are not only excited to showcase this innovation, but also to use this technology to fight hunger. We are honored to work with many Pack Expo exhibitors and Blessings in a Backpack to make a difference in children’s lives.”

The growing demand for robots is sparking innovation in areas such as improved sensors, easier programming, integrated and unified controls, the selection of available end of arm tooling and the introduction of self-teaching robots.

These innovations, highlighted in the infographic, and more will be on display first hand in the Robotics Zone and throughout the exhibit halls of Pack Expo International and Healthcare Packaging Expo.

In addition to showcasing the most comprehensive robotics solutions for packaging, Pack Expo Las Vegas and Healthcare Packaging Expo will convene 30,000 packaging professionals with 2,000 leading industry suppliers.

The 900,000 net square feet of show floor will also offer educational opportunities and industry networking lounges.

At the Innovation Stages, exhibitors will present three days of breakthrough technologies during free 30-minute seminars, located right on the show floor.

After successful debuts at other events in the Pack Expo portfolio of trade shows, The Forum will be unveiled at Pack Expo Las Vegas, bringing an interactive learning experience, featuring free 45-minute sessions on the latest industry trends, hands-on activities, small group discussions and Q&A sessions.

Ten-minute sessions will also be presented in the Robotics Zone where attendees can learn more about the robots on display as well as hear about the future of robotics on the factory floor.