The triennial packaging, food processing, plastics, printing and labelling exhibition Propak Africa will host free-to-attend seminars, presented by more than 20 reputed speakers in the industry, for the first time since the inception of the event.
The seminars, which will span the four-day show – to be held from March 12 to 15 at the Expo Centre Nasrec, in Johannesburg – will be hosted in the seminar theatre in Hall 7.
The seminars will cover the plastics, printing and packaging industries, as well as latest developments and challenges the industry faces. Industrial sensor manufacturer Pepperl+Fuchs area and Africa factory automation sales manager Dean Floyd will, for example, discuss Industry 4.0 and the smart factory concept of networking and digitalisation of production, and will explore the unique challenges and opportunities for packaging manufacturers in all sectors.
“Innovative technologies, such as intelligent robotics, three-dimensional printing and artificial intelligence, combined with new approaches to data management, will help manufacturers and the supply chain boost efficiency and productivity,” says trade show organiser Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery portfolio director Sven Smit.
The new technologies will also help to reduce waste and costs, as well as suppliers to respond more effectively to consumer demand, Smit adds.
Propak Africa will use more than 15 000 m2 of exhibition space this year, which more than 600 exhibitors will occupy. The organisers hope to improve on the 11 600 visitors who attended the show in 2016, and will welcome international guests from more than 60 countries. International exhibitors will represent countries such as India, China, Belgium, Austria, Portugal, France, Turkey, Greece, Dubai, Germany, Italy, Iran, Lebanon, Korea and Saudi Arabia.
Each day of the event will be guided by a theme, whereby various topics in the industry will be highlighted. The first day will focus on new products and will celebrate new product launches and innovations at exhibitor stands, while the second day will embrace sustainability, with industry body Packaging SA hosting a special sustainability pavilion in Hall 5.
A new skills development area in Hall 5 has been planned, in partnership with the Artisan Training Institute (ATI), and will showcase a fully functional workshop. Students will demonstrate the skills learned at the ATI, which are relevant to the industries represented at the show, correlating with the third day’s theme of skills development.
The event will culminate with the theme of the fourth day of “local is lekker” and will celebrate both local and international exhibitors who contribute to the success of the local industry and to the South African economy. True to local tradition, boerewors rolls and the South African flag will feature prominently on the day.
New features of the event include the ATI fully functioning workshop, the sustainability pavilion and a premier lounge to facilitate networking for premier visitors. The lounge will be equipped with comfortable furniture, and complimentary refreshments and WiFi.
Two free WiFi hotspots have also been secured in Hall 5 and 7.
Smit says the Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery team has also worked on introducing a mobile application, which will be updated in real time as and when events and launches take place, keeping visitors abreast of what is happening at the show while they are there.
Platinum Gold Radio station will broadcast live during the event, with Radio Jacaranda also hosting a show on one of the days, subsequently maximising exposure for exhibitors and visitors.
Smit adds that Specialised Exhibitions Montgomery is constantly researching, conducting surveys and adopting new ways of attracting visitors to the shows they organise. “We know that, for an exhibition to be successful, there has to be a sufficient number of visitors attending the show.”
Creative use of stand space still provides excellent customer interaction and the ability to showcase products and services, he mentions.
“Live demonstrations continue to draw visitor feet to exhibitor stands and we actively encourage our exhibitors to include this. If a demo is not possible, exhibitors can also consider a competition or lucky draw to attract visitors.”
Smit says visitors are looking for more content, more activation and more communication: “Our goal is to ensure a positive experience for our exhibitors, our visitors, our association and media partners, and our suppliers.”