5 questions for Phillip Blass, Director FACHPACK, the European trade fair for packaging, processes and technology

It’s only around six months until FACHPACK, the European trade fair for packaging, processes and technology, opens its doors at Exhibition Centre Nuremberg again. There is great excitement in the industry about this face-to-face reunion, with many people still basking in their fond memories of the incredibly positive atmosphere at FACHPACK 2021. From 27 to 29 September 2022, the packaging industry will once again gather for three days to share information and knowledge with their customers and business partners, find out about the latest trends and innovations, and be inspired by interesting speakers and topics.

Phillip Blass, Director FACHPACK at NürnbergMesse, speak about how the planning is going. During the conversation he provided some insights into what visitors to FACHPACK 2022 can look forward to.

1. The FACHPACK team is busy with the preparations for the next event. What exactly are you working on now? And can you give us an idea of how many exhibitors are likely to be at the event in September?

We are currently working on allocating the exhibition stands. This means that we are allocating spots to exhibitors according to their preferences, main products, and set-up in the exhibition halls. This will take us until around Easter. After that we will be publishing the floor plans and a preliminary list of exhibitors, both of which will be available on our website www.fachpack.de/en. At this stage, we assume there will be over 1,000 exhibitors that will showcase their solutions for packaging, processes and technology in nine exhibition halls this September. We are still accepting registrations till 30 June. We are also currently working on creating yet another exciting supporting programme with fantastic special shows, inspiring speakers, and awards ceremonies.

2. We read recently that POWTECH, the leading international trade fair for powder, granule and bulk solids technologies, will be co-located with FACHPACK this year. What kind of synergies will be created by this trade fair pairing?

That’s correct. We are delighted that POWTECH will take place alongside FACHPACK this year, because it will be an exciting complement to FACHPACK in relation to processing and packaging. The combined trade fair will cover the entire supply chain from the manufacturing of products through to their packaging. And both events appeal to users from the pharmaceutical, chemical and “food and feed” sectors. In a survey, 29 percent of visitors to the last POWTECH voiced their interest in the topic of “packaging and filling”, creating new visitor potential for FACHPACK exhibitors. FACHPACK visitors will also be interested in the new pavilion for pharmaceutical packaging, which was established because of these kinds of synergies. Naturally, visitors can use their ticket access both events. Exhibitors that are relevant to both trade fairs will be concentrated mainly in Hall 4.

3. For 2022, FACHPACK has devised a new key theme “Transition in Packaging”. What do you understand by this, and how is it reflected at the exhibition?

The packaging industry is undergoing radical changes that have been reinforced and accelerated by the pandemic and by political conflicts like the situation in Ukraine. Industry and commerce are constantly being confronted with new challenges. Sustainability, e-commerce and digitalisation are the three most important packaging trends that are currently affecting our exhibitors and visitors. Other topical issues are the shortage of raw materials, supply bottlenecks, and the lack of skilled personnel. All of this is changing the industry, and this is what we wanted to express through our theme “Transition in Packaging”. In this context, we deliberately avoided the over-used term “transformation”, because, as Harry Gatterer from Zukunftsinstitut (futurology institute) so aptly puts it: “transformations are dependent on transitions”, i.e., the many small transitions that help create the big picture. And that’s how we see it too. For us, it’s more about the many small departures and developments that reflect the current shift and that will be in evidence at FACHPACK at the exhibition stands, in the special show “Packaging through Design”, and in the PACKBOX, TECHBOX and INNOVATIONSBOX forums.

4. That sounds very promising and brings me to the next point. Alongside the exhibitor stands, the supporting programme at a trade fair is of course always of particular interest to visitors. What do you have planned for 2022?

The supporting programme at FACHPACK will once again be very diverse, inspiring and extensive. The PACKBOX and TECHBOX forums, which are very popular with visitors, will pick up the theme “Transition in Packaging” and explore the pressing issues currently affecting the industry. The three daily topics at PACKBOX are: “Market Experience and Expectations”, “Sustainable Design & Material” and “Packaging: digital & smart”. At TECHBOX, the agenda will cover the topics “Innovation & Climate Strategy”, “New Work & the Shift in Attracting Skilled Personnel”, and “Efficiency & Digitalisation”.

The special show “Packaging through Design”, curated by our long-standing partner bayern design, will explore packaging design and the stories behind the products and designers. Our international start-up area and the pavilion for innovative young companies will provide a breath of fresh air and new ideas for the world of packaging. On the first day of the event, the most innovative products and equipment will be acknowledged with the prestigious German Packaging Award from the German Packaging Institute (dvi). The “Labels & More” pavilion and robotic packaging line will also deliver interesting insights into labelling technology and robotics, while at the Pavilion of European Packaging Associations and Networks, information-sharing and networking take centre-stage. You can look forward to all this and more at FACHPACK!

5. Last year you extended the live event on site into the digital environment with myFACHPACK. Will myFACHPACK be making an appearance again in 2022? And if so, what added value does this extra digital platform offer?

The focus of FACHPACK 2022 will obviously be on the trade fair experience on site. Personal, face-to-face conversations and the inspiring and vibrant atmosphere on the exhibition floors are what our customers appreciate so much about the trade fair format. Nevertheless, digital options allow people to prepare and follow up their on-site visit more efficiently. A revised version of myFACHPACK will therefore be available in 2022, with new features for exhibitor and product searches, matchmaking and knowledge transfer.

In the run-up to the event, visitors will be able to display a list of all exhibitors that they can filter and select according to personal interests and other criteria. To this end, a fully-fledged exhibitor and product search function will be available on our website from May. From September, we will then enable the interactive functions of myFACHPACK. In addition to facilitating personalised contact via chat and video functions, the platform’s scheduling function also allows visitors to make even more efficient use of their time at the trade fair. The presentations in the PACKBOX, TECHBOX and INNOVATIONSBOX forums will be streamed live on site again, so that even those who cannot be there in person can take part digitally. And if you miss a presentation at the fair, you can simply download it online after the event is over.

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