Pack Expo 2017 show daily: What we’re seeing in Vegas

Day One at this year’s Pack Expo has us running hard to get the big picture of the major trends in the industry — as well a thorough survey of new technologies making a splash or even overlooked here. Below is a summary of what’s hot.

By the way, we just got news of another packaging-industry event from Industrial Pack — for the industrial, transit and protective packaging industry — to be held next April in Atlanta. We detail the event on and invite your feedback on whether you’ve heard of this event or plan on going. Drop me a line in the comment box at the bottom of this post.

Interroll Pack Expo Booth 7356 — Belt drives and other technologies for precision conveyors

One thing Interroll is highlighting this show is a new generation of belt drives. We detailed this design at a recent post on The new platform makes it easy to combine all of the components and guarantees short and reliable delivery times. Plus the encoders, brakes, return stops, and other optional motion components are available for all motor variants. This simplifies work for system integrators and equipment manufacturers implementing material-handling setups.

Universal Robots — Pack Expo booth S-8257 — Scalable packaging setups

This supplier of collaborative robots is showing cobot-assisted, mobile, and modular tabletop systems with vision-guided parts feeding and kitting with conveyor tracking and case loading and unloading. Also — while most robotic cells and automated machinery are stationary setups designed to complete one task for their usable life, Universal Robots Certified System Integrator Allied Technology now offers a mobile tabletop system — currently showing at Pack Expo at the UR booth as detailed in this story on

In other news from the Universal Robots booth, we learned that a program to supply seventh-axis robot tracks — as we covered last year — may be shelved for now.

Regal Beloit — Pack Expo Booth S-8022 — Showing transfer-diverter stations and more

Regal Beloit is currently showing its ModSort demo — a modular transfer and diverter station.

The manufacturer is also featuring a new product called the SealMaster Skwezloc locking collar.  This is a concentric locking collar that works on turned and polished shafting while boosting lock reliability on turned ground and polished shafting.

Beckhoff Automation — Pack Expo Booth S-6302 — IIoT and theme of convergence

Beckhoff’s main focus in Vegas this year is automation technology (AT) and IT convergence — a term Rockwell has used to describe IIoT functionality for some time. Beckhoff stresses that its system architecture for packaging machinery lets engineers (among other things) consolidate control hardware. As to be expected from Beckhoff, PC-based control is the core of AT-IT functionality … including the integration of PLC, motion control, and HMI jobs while adding other high-value functions for robotics, safety, high-end measurement, condition monitoring, and cloud connectivity and IoT.

Check out the video above in which Daymon Thompson explains how Beckhoff’s offering simplifies HMI configuration with a TwinCAT graphical WYSIWYG editor — a term that had us giggling with tradeshow-fatigue silliness — to eliminate complicated programming.

Lenze Americas — Pack Expo Booth S-6033 — Automation safety system-wide

At Pack Expo, Lenze Americas is showing the new c250-S — a safety controller that lets engineers program machine safety using just one engineering tool (based on PLCopen). Integrating the c250-S into an automation system will make engineering easier, improve diagnostics, and reduce the number of interfaces and components. Other solutions from the manufacturer include mechatronic drives, advanced motor and inverter systems for Industry 4.0 initiatives aimed at making drive solutions more flexible, and Smart Product offerings for easy commissioning of roller and chain conveyors.

Schneider Electric — Pack Expo Booth S-6167 — Smart machines and adaptable motion designs

Schneider Electric’s PacDrive 3 — which we detail here — is a complete automation setup for motion-centric machines. Now it’s also integrated in Schneider Electric’s smart machine setups, along with InduSoft Web Studio (an HMI platform). The addition of these hardware and software technologies enhances Schneider Electric’s smart machines so end users get more machine productivity and flexibility.

Also find details on the manufacturer’s EcoStruxure system architecture and platform here — and the Schneider Electric Modicon M251 PLC here.

Enfield Technologies — Pack Expo Booth C-3738 — Proportional pneumatic components and controls

Showing this year from the manufacturer are liquid and gas proportional valves featuring stainless steel construction and an IP67 rating to deliver top-in-class performance and construction. Enfield is also showing options for air-cylinder positioning — including a pneumatic positioning system capable of stopping an air cylinder anywhere along its stroke at a fraction of the cost of electric actuators … for significant ROI.


By the way, here are some other booths we plan to cruise today. Again, drop me a line below if you have more to add to the must-see list.

JW Winco — Pack Expo Booth S-6060 — Metric and inch standard knobs, levers, handles, pulls, mounts, and more

Adents — Pack Expo Booth N-219 — Options to serialize pharmaceutical products

ATI Industrial — Pack Expo Booth C-5614 — Parenteral packaging for pharmaceutical, biotech, biopharmaceutical, and other medical markets

HBM — Pack Expo Booth S-7853 — Sensors and transducers (including load cells, strain gages, amplifiers, and more) for test and measurement

Lubriplate — Pack Expo Booth S-6185 — Petroleum and synthetic oils and greases, including food-grade offerings

Mini Motor — Pack Expo Booth C-5641 — Inline helical geared motors and worm geared motors in both AC and DC designs

Phoenix Mecano — Pack Expo Booth S-6483 — Enclosures for controls and industrial equipment

Soft Robotics — Pack Expo Booth S-5925 — Grippers and controls to automate once-manual bin picking, order fulfillment, and pick-and-place tasks

Starrett — Pack Expo Booth S-8477 — Options for measurement, inspection, and cutting

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