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Pack Expo Insider Tips

Pack Expo Insider Tips & Photos

PACK EXPO focuses on showcasing the latest developments in packaging, processing, and converting machinery. Also, featured at the show are packaging materials, packages and containers, and packaging components.   The show offers informative product demonstrations, networking, training and even volunteering opportunities for attendees and exhibitors.  Learning opportunities include 30-minute classes at an Innovation Stage, Reusable Packaging Learning Center and engineering challenges for student participants.  Pack Expo co-locates with the Health Care Packaging Expo. Pack Expo was ranked by TSNN as one of the top 10 shows in 2016.

Upcoming Shows

The 2017 show, Pack Expo Las Vegas, is scheduled to take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center from September 25th to September 27th.  This show is marketed as the largest packaging event in North America.  You can learn how to navigate the show by clicking their video here. The show is Organized by PMMI – The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies.

In 2018 Pack Expo International will be in Chicago October 14th– 17th at McCormick Place.  Other upcoming Pack Expo events include Pack Expo East in April of 2018 and Expo Pack Mexico in Mexico City on June 2018.  In 2016 the show covered about 1,250,000 square feet and hosted over 2500 exhibitors.  This year they expect to have over 2000 exhibitors and over 30,000 attendees including corporate managers, engineers, manufacturing managers, brand managers and more.

In 2019 they will host ProFood Tech in Chicago March 26-28th; Expo Pack Guadalajara (June 11-13) and Healthcare Packaging Expo in Las Vegas (September 23rd-25th).   The first ProFood Tech happened this April in Chicago meeting high expectations from its producers.

Tools You Can Use

The show also has a mobile app that allows attendees to search for Exhibitors, navigate a map of the exhibits and areas within the convention center and access information about the show such as show info and news, a show planner, shuttle and hotel information, and information about events.   For instance, it will show you where the shuttle stops are and how frequently they run (every 15-20 minutes).  You can also find show planning information on their website including travel information.

Pack Expo Tips

Space selection at Pack Expo is based on points the exhibitor has earned from membership and exhibiting.   This gives prior exhibitors an advantage in selecting space locations over new exhibitors. Customer service reps are assigned to exhibitors based on show floor booth number and location on the show floor.  These reps are very helpful and can answer almost any exhibiting question. The same rep is available during move in on the show floor, so utilizing this concierge is very convenient.

As with any other show, you must review the rules and regulations well before you exhibit.  Pack Expo differs from most other trade shows in some significant ways, and require additional attention in the early planning stages.  From show floor plan limitations to material handling rules, everything should be reviewed.

Height allowance for inline exhibits is taller than typical

Inline booths under 1,500 sq. ft. are allowed a maximum height of 12’ and booths 1,500 sq. ft. and over are allowed a maximum height of 18’ for all display material including logos, graphics, and hanging signs.

Aisle-to-Aisle booths are unique and require special planning

Aisle-to aisle booths are rare at most trade shows but are relatively common at Pack Expo.  These spaces have two open sides and two sides bordered by neighboring exhibits.  Design solutions require special consideration for sight lines, setbacks and attendee interaction.  Remember that more aisle space will give you more opportunity to interact with show visitors.


Some island exhibits are allowed only 12′ heights

Booths under 1,500 sq. ft. are allowed a maximum height of 12’ and booths 1,500 sq. ft. and over are allowed a maximum height of 18’. Communicate this with your exhibit designer or consider adding a tower or other high structure to create visibility if you are reusing an existing booth.

Not all Island exhibits qualify to  have hanging signs

Hanging signs are governed by the same height restrictions as display material and the size of the booth. Consider other ways to help attendees find you like a branded back-lit wall, compelling pre-show promotion or an ad in the show app.

Odd exhibit space sizes which are not based on standard 10×10 increments.

Most trade shows design the exhibit spaces based on increments of 10 feet.  While some shows, especially smaller ones, may have eight-foot widths or depths, Pack Expo famously has odd booth space sizes.  Examples are 15’x15′ inline spaces and 37’x40′ island spaces.  These booth sizes offer both challenges and opportunities for the exhibitor and booth designer.  Finding an economical flooring solution can be a challenge.  Since flooring often times is difficult to reconfigure to these odd sizes without sacrificing a portion of the asset, renting from the show decorator is often the default. On the other hand, an exhibitor may find they have more space to utilize than normal, offering opportunities for additional or enhanced exhibit elements.

Drayage/material handling fees are lower than typical for shows of this type

The cost of drayage is included in the space rate, provided your shipment arrives on your

assigned targeted move-in date and time.  If utilized, this may save the exhibitor money on display item rental rates and offer more preparation time and flexibility. On the other hand, fees for shipments to the advance warehouse are very reasonable compared to similar shows.


Packing Up After the Show

The return of empty crates will take approximately seven (7) to nine (9) hours, so planning accordingly is imperative.  An exhibitor may have to spend an additional day at the event if needing to dismantle and pack the exhibit.  To avoid this additional cost and inconvenience is to hire a professional I&D crew.

Examples of Exhibits at Pack Expo



About the Author

Tim Carter is an award-winning Sr. Marketing Consultant with Skyline Exhibits & Design in Greenville, SC. During his 20+ year tenure, Mr. Carter has been recognized for both multiple sales accomplishments, as well as design skills having led the winning team that received the Best Large Island Exhibit Award at EXHIBITORLIVE 2014. Tim’s prior experience as a Marketing Executive with SRP, as well as an entrepreneurial business owner, empower his empathy for and ability to lead clients and make sizable contributions to their success across a broad spectrum of industries.

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