If the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit is making business owners reluctant to consider investing, it certainly isn’t reflected in the level of interest in this year’s Processing & Packaging Machinery Trade Association (PPMA) Total Show.
“Not only will it be the biggest PPMA show in the Association’s history, it’s taking place in the same month that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU,” says Richard Little, show director for the PPMA Group of Associations. “As a result, it’s encouraging more businesses to think laterally about investing in new machinery and equipment to ensure they maintain a competitive edge.”
With pre-registration again up year-on-year, PPMA Total Show 2019 takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 1–3 October. Long-recognised as a showcase for new product launches, this year’s event looks set to be a big draw for those keen to see the latest and best in processing and packaging technology and machinery.
Across the three days, visitors will have access to 450 exhibitors and around 2,500 brands, which together will display the latest innovations in smart manufacturing, processing equipment and packaging.
In addition to the main exhibition hall, the Enterprise Zone will be the location for a free-to-attend, issues-led conference programme aimed at supporting business growth and development.
Tuesday 1 October
Wednesday 2 October
Thursday 3 October
Visit ppmatotalshow.co.uk for more information and a free visitor pass.
Industry experts take to the stage
Running over the first two days of the show, the conference will feature speakers from the likes of Campden BRI, Holmach, The British Plastics Federation and Schneider Electric. Topic areas covered include Brexit, artificial intelligence, plastic packaging, food waste, and sustainability and the circular economy.
On the first day, Chris Holland, managing director of equipment provider Holmach, will be on hand to discuss the role of shelf-life extension in food waste reduction. With thousands of tonnes of fresh food thrown away each week, Holland will look at how technologies can reduce waste generated by use-by dates. He will also talk through a novel process designed to reduce the use of crystalline polyethylene terephthalate trays.
Up first on day two will be Campden BRI’s Danny Bayliss and Anna Falowska. In their session, ‘Thermal processing – addressing challenges to food safety for today and tomorrow’, the pair will look at overcoming problems presented by heating methods such as microwave and radio-frequency, and the difficulties presented in measuring heat treatments when pasteurising low and intermediate moisture products.
Penultimate speaker on the second day is Barry Turner, plastic and flexible packaging group director at the British Plastics Federation. In his session, ‘The challenges in delivering a circular economy for plastics packaging’, Turner will examine how the industry is planning to deliver a circular economy that reinforces the novel benefits of plastics, and the difficulties that poses.
The last session of the day, meanwhile, is dedicated to future trends. Much has been made of Industry 4.0 and the digital revolution, but Martin Walder, vice-president of industrial automation at Schneider Electric, will focus on what impact this might have on packaging machines of the future and what key technologies offer the biggest opportunities for the end-user.
“New technology, working machinery and live demonstrations are always a big draw for visitors to our shows, and PPMA Total Show will be no exception,” says Little.
“The environmental agenda is also continuing to push the boundaries of our industry, particularly waste reduction and the use of plastic, so these are topical themes for the show.”
Providing light relief from some of the more serious discussions, a full-scale model of the 135,000 brake-horsepower supersonic car Bloodhound – which will be used in an attempt to break the land-speed record within two years – will be on display.
While learning about one of the most advanced aerodynamic and engineering projects of the 21st century, visitors can also find out how learning programme Bloodhound Education is working to inspire young people to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
Complementing this, the exhibition will again house an education hub, offering guidance on apprenticeships and how companies and visiting students can potentially gain access to funding through the PPMA’s charitable arm, BEST (Business, Education, Skills and Training).
Smart manufacturing entrepreneurship and innovation are recurring themes at PPMA Total Show, and nowhere is this more apparent than at the PPMA Group Industry Awards 2019. Hosted by comedian Jon Culshaw, the awards take place at the NEC on 1 October.
Judged by a panel of eight independent industry experts, the 12 awards on offer recognise the most innovative technologies in processing, packaging, robotics, vision systems and ancillary equipment, as well as achievements in sales, exports and the environment.
The Apprentice of the Year Award acknowledges the most promising young talent within the processing and packaging, robotics and automation and industrial vision industries. Companies that have developed a comprehensive apprenticeship or training programme also have the opportunity to be recognised in the PPMA BEST Award.
“We’re entering a phase where political changes are set to impact our business dealings internationally,” says Little. “However, I’m confident that this year’s PPMA Total Show will again provide visitors and exhibitors new ideas, solutions and networking opportunities to help drive their businesses forward.”