Article | February 1, 2017

PACK EXPO East Addresses Pharmaceutical Industry's Top Concerns

PACK EXPO East Addresses Pharmaceutical Industry’s Top Concerns

By Sean Riley, senior director, Media and Industry Communications, PMMI, The Association of Packaging and Processing Technologies

Global medicines use will reach 4.5 trillion doses by 2020, a 24 percent increase from 2015. According to the 2016 State of the Industry Report by PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, the pharmaceutical industry will grow in kind and is expected to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 2.8 percent through 2020, constituting a faster growth rate than any other industry segment over that period. In anticipation of this growth, machinery and equipment suppliers will continue to introduce innovative technologies that improve efficiency, safety and regulatory compliance. At PACK EXPO East (Pennsylvania Convention Center, Philadelphia; Feb. 27–March 1, 2017) manufacturers will gain access to all the new technologies and resources they need for effectively keeping up with the constantly evolving demands of the industry.

Automation and Robotics

According to PMMI’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices: Trends and Opportunities in Packaging Operations report, 62 percent of companies will be spending more on capital equipment in the next one to two years. Expanding the use of automation and integration and installing more robotics are two of the top five operational improvements driving new equipment purchases according to the report.

Attendees of PACK EXPO East can find multiple educational resources and new technologies addressing each. For instance, the show’s Healthcare Packaging and Processing Conference will offer sessions such as, “Automation Strategies for Continuous Manufacturing” that will address how to automate and integrate data when shifting from batch to continuous manufacturing.

In terms of new technologies, ESS Technologies, Inc. (Booth #414) will debut its TaskMate Aseptic Syringe Filler and Capper. By creating a sterile environment using FANUC clean class robotic cell with OEM supplied RABS, the TaskMate uses robotics technology to fill and cap syringes with precision. One robot picks a syringe from the flex picker conveyor and transfers it to the filling station and a second robot picks the syringe from the filling station, places the syringe tip on a cap and torques it. That robot discharges filled and capped syringes via a divided gravity chute to a customer-supplied bin.


Minimizing safety hazards to both patients and facility workers continues to be of prime importance to the industry. The Innovation Stage at PACK EXPO East will offer a “Worker Safety” session that provides the latest tools companies need to advance worker safety in production operations. The session, presented by the OpX Leadership Network, a community of manufacturing, engineering and operations professionals dedicated to operational excellence convened by PMMI,  will offer information on structural and behavioral changes that can advance your team's programs. Additionally, to meet the rigorous safety standards of the pharmaceutical market, VitaFlex (Booth #421) will introduce new Soft-stretch Hoods for cleanroom apparel at the show. The hoods, made of patented latex-free elastic nonwovens, help prevent infection and control contamination.

Regulatory Concerns

Today’s counterfeit drug market is estimated to be worth up to $200 billion. The World Health Organization reports that over 25 percent of medicines available in developing countries and 50 percent of products ordered online are counterfeit. To combat these fraudulent products, track-and-trace laws have been widely implemented and by 2019, more than 75 percent of the world’s prescription medications will be protected by legislation.

Meeting scheduled deadlines for current regulations is top of mind for every stakeholder in the pharmaceutical industry. The show’s conference program can help manufacturers looking to ensure regulations are met with sessions such as, "Enabling Faster Serialization Implementation.” Additionally, pharmaceutical professional looking for insights on how to address the challenges of a global network, can attend “Serialization & Aggregation Solutions for Global Track & Trace Programs” and “Watch Outs, Lessons Learned and Best Practices for Global Serialization Strategy and Implementation.”

Click here for full conference details and to register for the conference program. Registration for PACK EXPO East is $30 for a limited time. The registration fee will increase to an on-site rate of $100. Register online at

About PMMI
PMMI, The Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies, represents the voice of more than 750 North American manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, components and materials as well as providers of related equipment and services to the packaging and processing industry. We work to advance a variety of industries by connecting consumer goods companies with manufacturing solutions through the world-class PACK EXPO portfolio of trade shows, leading trade media and a wide range of resources to empower our members. The PACK EXPO trade shows unite the world of processing and packaging to advance the industries they serve: PACK EXPO International, PACK EXPO Las Vegas, Healthcare Packaging EXPO, PACK EXPO East, EXPO PACK México, EXPO PACK Guadalajara and ProFood Tech, launching in April 2017. PMMI Media Group connects manufacturers to the latest solutions, trends and innovations in processing and packaging year-round through brands including Packaging World, Automation World, Healthcare Packaging, Contract Packaging, ProFood World and Packaging + Processing OEM. PMMI Business Drivers assist members in pursuing operational excellence through workforce development initiatives, deliver actionable business intelligence on economic, market and industry trends to support members' growth strategies, and actively connect the supply chain throughout the year.

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1 IMS Global Medicines Use in 2020