In tough times, it can be comforting to know that some events in the diary return each year to offer embattled businesses a helping hand.
While food and drink firms mull over the consequences of the latest government reformulation targets, the consumer backlash against plastic, or next March’s Brexit deadline, the annual Processing & Packaging Machinery Trade Association (PPMA) Show marches on, this year celebrating its 30th anniversary.
Staged on 25–27 September at the NEC Birmingham, the event will welcome 350 exhibitors representing 1,500 brands, and looks to set to be one of the biggest and best to date, claims PPMA Group of Associations chief executive Dr Andrew Mint. “Visitors can benefit from an unsurpassed skillset of expertise and industry knowledge and witness the latest processing and packaging technologies in real-time demonstrations,” Mint said.
New to the show this year is the Enterprise Zone, offering live workshops, presentations, interactive discussions, question-and-answer sessions and panel debates on topical issues and industry trends.
Tuesday 25 September 09:30–17:00
Wednesday 26 September 09:30–17:00
Thursday 27 September 09:30–16:00
Visit ppmashow.co.uk for more information and a
free visitor pass.
The free-to-attend presentations will run over the show’s first two days. Day one’s keynote speaker is ex-boss of Waitrose Lord Mark Price, former minister of state for trade and investment. Lord Price will tell businesses how they can prepare for life post-Brexit.
Heading the speaker line-up on day two is Jonathan Warburton, chairman of Warburtons. Drawing on his own experience at the family-owned company, his speech will focus on how to build long-term sustainable businesses.
Visitors will also be able to hear presentations on issues such as Brexit, Industry 4.0, cyber security, robotics, automation, augmented reality, and the ongoing debate around plastics in packaging.
Also new this year is Bright Ideas – Ambassador Programme, a free advice service for start-up ventures and entrepreneurs. Experts will be on hand to discuss specific business requirements, and there will also be the opportunity to network with other like-minded individuals.
The PPMA Group Industry Awards, meanwhile, will be held at the Birmingham Metropole Hotel on the evening of 25 September.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a trade show without a wide array of exhibitors showcasing their latest equipment and technology.
Detection and inspection equipment will be a prominent feature at this year’s PPMA Show. Loma Systems (stand C22) will be showcasing its IQ4 Metal Detector series, which is designed to offer improved detection sensitivity, a beyond IP69K washdown rating, a 7-inch touchscreen and variable frequency for both pipeline and vertical fall models.
A metal detector will be available to view from Eriez Europe (G77). The newest model in its range, the Xtreme Metal Detector is able to detect metal contaminants as small as 0.4mm spheres in packaged, loose and free-fall applications. Visitors will also be able to look at a selection of magnetic separators for ferrous contamination.
Mettler Toledo (H70) is to launch a brand new inspection machine at the show. The X34 X-ray is able to detect metal, glass, high-density plastic, mineral stone and calcified bone fragments across a wide range of packaged foods. The system also comes with an automated product set-up, said to decrease the chance of human error.
Sick UK (A26) will be demonstrating how developments in smart sensors and machinery safety can help improve efficiency and throughput, while reducing waste. On show will be the off-the-shelf LabelChecker and the Inline Code Matcher, which matches the right product with the right packaging.
Automation is likely to be another topic of major interest for show attendees. Lenze (J70) will offer visitors the chance to see what advanced automation can do for their business, from the geared motor to the cloud.
One area of significant focus within automation is robotics. RARUK Automation (E20) will have on show three Universal Robot e-Series collaborative robots and the Toshiba Machine SCARA robot, which is billed as ideal for moving small parts.
Artificial intelligence is playing a growing role in automation. Omron (B32) will be showing visitors its Sysmac AI controller, which is based on a machine learning engine that provides real-time
control to reduce waste and machine downtime.
Any move to more automated processes needs to be backed up by sophisticated software. The Aptean Factory (A69) manufacturing execution system allows operators to monitor shopfloor data in
real-time, ultimately improving product quality while reducing waste and giveaway.
As ever, packaging equipment will feature heavily at the show, and flow-wrappers in particular will be in abundance. Ilapak (D10) is claiming an industry first with the Delta 6000 3-Side Seal C, which is able to accommodate both pillow bags and three-side seal reclosable bags. Meanwhile, PFM (C20) claims its Pearl flow-wrapper provides all the efficiency advantages of a multi-axis servo drive, but at an entry-level cost.
Stand B60 will host a packaging machine with a difference. Systems supplier Mariani is teaming up with CAD Schroer to display its TRM700 LF film shrink-wrapper – in virtual reality. A full-size version on the stand can be viewed from any direction, inspected close-up, and even walked through, using virtual-reality glasses.
Visitors to Packaging Automation’s stand (A22) will witness Revolution, claimed to be the only fully electric sealing machine on the market today. It features motion control technology and operates without compressed air.
On stand C52, Endoline will be displaying its re-engineered 704 Fully Automatic Random Case Sealer, built to handle an unprecedented range of case styles and sizes. The updated model comes with a dual action hook to provide greater control.
Machine components will not be overlooked at PPMA either. Interroll (F10) will present its expanded drum motor range, which includes the new DM0113 and the DM0138. Available to view on the Elesa stand (E02) will be the IP65-7 direct drive digital position indicator, which works with all forms of processing and packaging equipment.
Rulmeca UK (G22), meanwhile, will unveil its new generation of 24VDC drive rollers. The BL3 features a brushless motor installed in a 50mm diameter roller that is able to drive adjacent rollers, without the need for external drive units, transmission chains or expensive guards.
Other highlights to consider include a range of high-speed doors from Efaflex (J62) that are designed to help reduce energy costs by as much as 50%; Brillopak’s (C50) soft-touch glove end-effector that can be fitted to any dexterous single-pick case loading robot; and a heavy-duty cabinet washer for high-care food production from Industrial Washing Machines (C90).