The avid interest taken by exhibitors in the run-up to interpack 2017 that brought the world’s biggest and most important trade fair of the packaging sector and related process industries record attendance of 2,865 companies, was followed by trade fair days from 4 to 10 May with high spirits and further records: 74% of the approximately 170,500visitors travelled to Düsseldorf from abroad – three quarters of them were decision-makers.
The high percentage of German and international top-notch experts from a total of 168 countries made for highly satisfied faces among exhibitors, who delighted at promising business contacts and even concrete deals concluded in the seven-digit range. Visitors in turn benefitted from an internationally unrivalled multitude of innovations on display and a unique market overview. This was also reflected in the corresponding high scores they gave the trade fair: just under 98% stated in the official survey that they were satisfied or very satisfied with their visit to interpack 2017. They took an interest in all ranges and segments of interpack but packaging media received significantly more attention than at the previous event.
“interpack is an absolute must-go event for companies in this industry and provides unique momentum. Every three years it is not only a one-of-a-kind performance showcase but also the place where suppliers and customers from all over the world get together to network and do business,” underlines Friedbert Klefenz, President of interpack 2017.
Commenting on this Hans Werner Reinhard, Managing Director at Messe Düsseldorf, explained: “interpack has again impressively confirmed its claim of being the world’s most important event and innovation platform for the industry every three years. Due to the concept of the newly created global ‘interpack alliance’, interpack as its flagship has also obtained more exposure in the growth markets abroad thereby attracting even more high-calibre experts to Düsseldorf.”
Top Trends: Digitalisation, Industry 4.0 and Sustainability Proving a top trend at many stands was the further digitalisation of production processes on the way to Industry 4.0 applications. Production linked along these lines makes it possible to manufacture personalised packaging efficiently or to guarantee traceability, to name but two options. Furthermore, the modular design of packaging machines and process lines and optimised digital operating concepts play a pivotal role in order to reduce complexity in manufacturing and achieve the highest degree of flexibility possible for changing batch sizes or product versions. Some companies even focused on virtual reality applications that allow machines or equipment to be experienced holistically in order to manage complexity better even in the manufacturing process of machinery and equipment as well as in training and operation. The sustainability theme also remained “omnipresent” at interpack 2017. Companies presented improved resource efficiency in terms of both the material used with ever smaller wall thicknesses and of manufacturing processes. Moreover, alternative packaging materials are gaining ground.
Successful Special Features Not only the exhibitors had innovations in store for Industry 4.0 – the interpack special show of the same name organised in cooperation with the German Engineering Federation VDMA (Verband Deutscher Maschinen- und Anlagenbau e.V.) also showcased the latest ideas and approaches and was received extremely well by visitors. Proving one of the major attractions here was the Demonstrator “smart4i” that produced and packaged personalised powerbanks. Here, not only the entire workflow was digital from online ordering to tracking and tracing, but the machine itself was also installed in record time thanks to a virtual twin and the networked planning in cooperation with several universities.
SAVE FOOD Congress and innovationparc Six years after SAVE FOOD was launched, the initiative has grown into a broad-based alliance of over 850 international members from industry, associations, NGOs and research institutes. One of the milestones of the Initiative is the SAVE FOOD Congress at interpack; its third edition held on 4 May was highly praised by delegates for its broad thematic coverage. The Congress pursued a multi-dimensional approach in order to address the issue of food losses and waste comprehensively. Participants included high-ranking political representatives as speakers such as Vytenis Andriukaitis, EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, and Gargi Kaul, Joint Secretary & Financial Adviser at the Indian Ministry for Food Processing Industries, as well as committed NGOs activists and representatives from business. Over the course of the Congress the perspective changed, focusing either on global views or national details and conditions – with India as a focal theme this time. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) presented results of a study in India funded by the Initiative; it had been carried out with the aim of identifying the mechanisms involved in losses of important base foodstuffs and of finding approaches for solutions.
As part of the congress the SAVE FOOD partners Messe Düsseldorf and FAO also signed a memorandum of understanding, in order to fix the cooperation for the coming four years. “It is an absolute hallmark of interpack to focus on attention-grabbing special topics. We are therefore delighted to be able to also fight food losses and waste with our partner, the FAO, and in cooperation with the industry and other supporters in future, too. This means we are committed to a good cause and communicate the potential that the packaging industry and related process industries hold in this context at the same time,” explains Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf.
innovationparc, the special show organised as part of interpack 2017, also addressed the theme of SAVE FOOD and presented very practical solutions for minimising food losses and waste. These also included the finalists and winners of the WorldStar Awards of the World Packaging Organisation (WPO). Awards went, for instance, to plastic bags for fruit that can enormously prolong shelf life thanks to built-in ripening-gas absorbers.
components: New Concept Received Very Well The concept of “components – special trade fair by interpack”, which had been revised for interpack 2017, was received very well by visitors. According to the feedback received from the extremely satisfied exhibitors the quality of visitors was also high. “The decision to place the second “components” after a more subdued debut three years ago, in a central location of the exhibition centre now and to hold it in parallel with the complete interpack, proved absolutely right. There had never been any doubts about the importance of this theme anyway since upstream suppliers with their components and software for packaging and process technologies play a key role for the digitalisation of manufacturing processes all the way down as Industry 4.0 approaches. We will therefore also establish “components” at trade fairs of interpack alliance abroad in future,” added Bernd Jablonowski, Global Portfolio Director Processing & Packaging at Messe Düsseldorf.
The coming interpack will be held in May 2020 in three years' time at Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre – then with a completely new South entrance and a new Hall 1. The exact dates will be published at a later date.