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New tech for production lines

26 November 2019

Fresh from its latest exhibition, PPMA is looking ahead to increased use of artificial intelligence, vision equipment and robotics into production lines.

The PPMA Total Show 2019, the UK’s largest processing and packaging machinery exhibition NEC, Birmingham (held on 1-3 October 2019) attracted more than 450 exhibitors and 2,500 brands, showcasing the latest innovations in smart manufacturing, processing equipment and packaging solutions for the following sectors: food and beverage, pharmaceutical, household producers, pet care, micro-brewery and distilleries, FMCG and contract packaging. 

Long renowned by the industry as the perfect platform for launching new products, the 2019 show was no exception. Visitors had the opportunity to see real-time demonstrations of advanced technologies and innovative solutions, as well as other areas of interest.  This included artificial intelligence and the integration of vision equipment and robotics into existing production lines.

PPMA Total Show’s Enterprise Zone provided visitors and exhibitors with the opportunity to learn and network with other industry professionals. A packed two-day conference programme provided expert knowledge and insights into the latest industry trends, with presentations led by an impressive line-up of industry speakers.

Headlining the programme on the opening day (1 October) was Joanna Yarrow, Head of Sustainable & Healthy Living at IKEA. Joanna shared insights from her 20-year career, which is helping to mainstream sustainable living.  She also addressed retailers’ move toward sustainability and circular consumption, resource efficiencies, cost-reduction and innovations.

Day three of the show was dedicated to addressing a significant challenge facing the sector – the skills gap, which was hosted by  PPMA’s BEST (Business, Education, Skills and Training) initiative, established to introduce students to the potential career opportunities available within the processing equipment packaging machinery and automation industry. 

As part of the extended learning opportunities at the show, Bloodhound SSC Education displayed a carbon fibre model of a supersonic rocket and jet engine powered car. Through virtual reality, visitors were able to experience what it’s like to be behind the wheel and learn how it was made.

The evening of the first day of the show also saw the return of the annual PPMA Group Industry Awards, which recognised excellence in manufacturing, innovation in technical developments and outstanding achievement within the industry.

For the exhibitors at PPMA Total Show 2019, the calibre of visitor and quality of leads were significant positives: “PPMA Total Show has brought us many relevant potential customers to follow up with, so it was well-worth exhibiting,” says Nigel Raj, Field Engineering Manager at Moove Lubricants.

“The PPMA’s shows keep getting better,” says David Spratt, Sales Manager at Epson UK. “We’ve no doubt our return on investment from the show will be the best we’ve ever had.”

Rehan Teriq, Technical Sales Engineer for Farleygreene, also felt PPMA Total Show proved a big success. “I did enjoy the show,” he says. “It’s world-renowned and popular with many serious customers who are focussed on exploring solutions for their needs and requirements in their particular workplace.”

Bharat Sharma, Marketing Manager for Videojet says: “The show provided us with a great opportunity to network with a lot of our customers and meet some new prospects as well. We had three busy days and we were very happy with the quality of the discussions that took place on our stand.”

“Every day of the exhibition proved very worthwhile for us,” adds Steve Bradley, Sales and Marketing Director at AVE. “We saw a great deal of quality leads – in fact, I’d say 90% of enquiries we received were from potential new customers.”

Many visitors to the PPMA Total Show 2019 have remarked on a rewarding trip: “This is the show to go to if you go to only one show in the year,” says Richard Goodman of Richard Goodman Country Collections. “All the shakers and movers in the industry are there, under one roof, at the best venue in the country, which provides easy access for all.”

Rodney Steel, Chief Executive of the British Contract Manufacturers and Packers Association (BCMPA), adds: “PPMA Total Show 2019 was an excellent show. There was an impressive range of equipment on display, including some exciting robotics developments. What’s more, the networking opportunities are invaluable.”

Also full of praise for the exhibition was Alam Ameer of Wanis International Foods: “It was great to see so many new machinery options that will help drive our business in the future and reduce overall overheads and carbon footprint.”

“The show was well-organised and professional,” says Craig Johnson of Johnson & Johnson. “There was a fantastic range of companies and representatives.”

In response to all the positive feedback received, David Harrison concluded: “There is evidence that, despite the political climate and environmental forecasts, the packaging and processing industry continues to thrive.

“What’s more, when you consider the high standard of award entries received this year; coupled with the incredible range of technology on display and diverse range of visitors at PPMA Total Show 2019, the whole experience was a resounding success.”

About the PPMA Group

The PPMA Group of Associations comprises the Processing and Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA), British Automation & Robot Association (BARA) and UK Industrial Vision Association (UKIVA). Its mission is to actively help its 600+ members through services, tools and initiatives to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Its PPMA Show and PPMA Total Show exhibitions are hailed as the UK’s unmissable, free-to-attend, processing and packaging machinery events and, in 2017, it launched the first UKIVA Machine Vision Conference and Exhibition. http://www.ppma.co.uk