Putting a Mark on Pack Expo

Matthews Marking Systems draws crowds at upbeat Pack Expo 2022 

Improving sustainability, finding new production efficiencies energize event’s 44,000 attendees 

With the pandemic fading in the rear-view mirror, the packaging industry’s most important show drew more than 44,000 attendees to Pack Expo International 2022 held Oct. 23-26 at McCormick Place in Chicago, topping attendance numbers from 2018 when the event was last held in the Windy City. 

Matthews Marking Systems was among the 2,200 exhibitors on hand to showcase the latest innovations and breakthroughs in packaging, automation, processing and – importantly from our perspective – marking and coding. The packaging industry is both growing rapidly and facing new challenges whether it be meeting consumer and government demands for more sustainable packaging, overcoming workforce issues through automation, or improving business flexibility in the face of a rapidly changing economic climate. 

Visitors to the Matthews booth found a full set of hands-on product demonstrations that correlated well with their interests:  

  • On the sustainability side, attendees could see first-hand how the L-Series thermal ink jet printers can be used to replace labels for case and carton coding, eliminating the waste and expense of labelling while producing high quality marks on a wide variety of surfaces and materials. 
  • On the automation side, attendees had a chance to experience our affordable new 8-inch MPERIA controller that allows packagers of all sizes to quickly and cost-effectively automate marking and coding processes.  
  • Another highlight was the MPERIA A-Series pallet labeling solution that ensures the correct labels are automatically placed in the proper location on loaded pallets while improving production efficiency and lowering costs. As we wrote in a recent pallet labeling blog post, label accuracy is critical when working with large retailers like Amazon or Walmart.
Matthews booth staff at Pack Expo 2022

The Matthews team gears up for the biggest Pack Expo in years. 

Outside the show floor, Pack Expo held more than 120 educational sessions, the majority of which were focused on strategies for attaining sustainability goals and moving to more efficient production processes. The Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast was a major highlight. The event attracted some 1,000 attendees to hear from Dawn Hudson, former president and CEO of Pepsi Cola North America and former chief marketing officer of the NFL, about her workplace experiences 

Matthews Staff at Pack Expo 2022

Matthews team members Gretchen Burthey, Linley Shepard and Lauren DePhillips (left to right) get ready for another busy day at Pack Expo by attending the Packaging and Processing Women’s Leadership Network breakfast featuring former NFL and Pepsi executive Dawn Hudson. 

For many of the event attendees, the focus was more on finding incremental improvements toward increased sustainability and process efficiencies rather than wholesale rip and replace. Across the 1.2 million net square feet of event space at McCormick Place, it wasn’t hard to find developments that could support both goals, such as more easily recyclable packaging options or new automation tools and robotics. An ongoing trend is toward more data analytics in operations that can point the way to incremental improvements, but at the same time introduce new cybersecurity concerns.   

We will be exploring these and other trends involving the intersection of automation, sustainability and cybersecurity and more in upcoming blog posts, all building on what we saw at Pack Expo. And, of course, we’re already making plans for Pack Expo 2023 in Las Vegas. Stay tuned!