The International Trade Fair for Metal Packaging Metpack attracted around 7,200 trade visitors from throughout the world to Messe Essen between 2 and 6 May 2017. With a record number of over 300 exhibitors, more companies than ever before took part in the world’s leading trade fair. As well as packaging, products on offer included machinery and equipment for manufacturing cans, lids and bases, as well as filling and sealing systems. Numerous manufacturers including ArcelorMittal, Belvac Production Machinery, Can Man, KBA-MetalPrint, Lanico, Mall + Herlan, Soudronic, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein and Valspar presented their products and innovations to the international visitors to the trade fair.

“Metpack has more than fulfilled the high expectations of the industry. Its great plus-point has again been the very international nature and competency of its visitors. This makes it the most important sales platform in the industry worldwide,” said Oliver P Kuhrt, CEO of Messe Essen, on this year’s event. The trade fair focused in particular on efficiency and digitisation, according to Wolfgang Niemsch, Chairman of the Metpack committee, “Systems and machines are consuming less and less material and have shorter re-quipping times. Industry standard 4.0 has also definitively arrived in the sector: Networking of production is increasing, there are more and more digital interfaces between the various machines.”

More than 70% of trade visitors had travelled to Essen, in Germany’s Ruhr region, from other countries, in particular from Europe and Asia. This puts the international character of visitors on a similarly high level to 2014. The greatest proportion of visitors came from the food industry, followed by the beverages industry and the chemical industry. Around 86% of visitors were decision-makers with responsibility for purchasing and procurement. Trade visitors to the exhibition rated their visit very positively: more than 90% were completely satisfied or satisfied with their time at Metpack.

Metpack Innovation Awards for PrintabLED, KBA-Metalprint and Valspar
Metpack was a particular success story for the Italian firm PrintabLED, which celebrated winning first prize at the trade fair. The southern European company won the Metpack Gold Innovation Award for its high-performance UV-LED systems for paint and printing lines. The jury recognised the high energy efficiency and environmentally-friendly design of the UV-LED drying technology for curing printing inks, paints and adhesives on metal packaging. UV-LED devices do not use mercury and have a narrow emission spectrum, so that no o-zone or undesirable radiation is formed during thermal drying. Other Silver and Bronze awards went to KBA-MetalPrint and Valspar.

The rest of the fringe events were marked by 25 Years Metpack and the Metpack Conference. On the evening of 2nd May, exhibitors and other representatives from the industry celebrated a quarter century of Metpack. Messe Essen took the opportunity to honour numerous exhibitors who had been there from the start, such as Biagosch & Brandau, Darex Packaging Technologies/GCP Applied Technologies, Inghor, Pressco Technology, Sargiani  and 21 more firms. The Metpack Conference on 3rd May started with a keynote address by Dr. Peter Biele, CEO of thyssenkrupp Rasselstein, on opportunities for the industry. Subsequent speakers provided information on current research results on new production technologies. One project which attracted particular attention was the Biocopac project, where the parties involved used tomato skins as coatings for food cans.

Metpack 2020
The next Metpack will open at Messe Essen in May 2020. Although the exact date has not yet been fixed, over 90% of visitors are planning a return visit. If current developments are sustained, prospects for the industry look good: the sale of drinks cans in Germany, for instance, and worldwide production of aerosol cans has risen recently. This is due, amongst other things, to the versatile possibilities for using metal packaging, as well as its growing user-friendliness – factors which visitors can see for themselves every three years at Metpack.

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