Flexibility, sustainability and serialization are among the market drivers recognized in a report on trends based on findings at PACK EXPO International 2014. It was published by the show owner and producer PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

A team of PMMI’s reporters spoke to attendees and exhibitors on the show floor during the event to gather their thoughts on what they saw as the key trends and technologies. The show registered more than 48,400 attendees from over 130 countries. The leading vertical markets represented onsite were baking/snack, beverage, pharmaceutical/medical devices, prepared foods and dairy.

“The breadth of equipment and exhibitors at PACK EXPO is amazing; it is truly all-encompassing. I’m able to look for new technologies, discover innovations and seek out equipment to retrofit and modernize our production lines. All the vendors and suppliers are here for me to meet,” said attendee Chay Vue, innovation engineering director, Sargento Foods Inc.

The report covers eight trends:

  • Flexible packaging as a replacement for rigid materials: Films are becoming more functional, economical, ecological and, in some cases, antibacterial.
  • Sustainable materials and machines: Sustainability efforts impact a range of action areas, from source reduction to renewable content.
  • Operational flexibility and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE): The axiom “Do more with less” translates into shorter runs, less operator turnover, controlling costs and maximizing OEE.
  • Adaptability in robotics: Robots are no longer relegated to the back of the line. Collaborative designs are allowing robots and operators to work side by side.
  • Easy-open/reclose functionality: Portability and individual servings drive demand for multifunctional closures.
  • Retail-ready packaging: Sometimes, secondary packaging is retail ready—it all depends on what the customer wants.
  • Serialization: Thwarting counterfeiting and facilitating regulatory compliance are central objectives for pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Child-resistant (CR) packaging: With stories of poisonings related to detergent pods and marijuana legalization making headlines, child-resistant closures are in high demand.

The free report can be downloaded here.