Amid live production line demonstrations whirring on the tradeshow floor at Chicago’s McCormick Place, attendees of the 2023 edition of Process Expo also can expect to discover new experiences at this year’s event.

Show organizers shared that expanded product discovery, a robust education track, interactive product demos, career development programs and special networking features all are part of the program, scheduled for Oct. 23-25.

The annual tradeshow, co-produced by the Food Processing Suppliers Association (FPSA) and Messe Frankfurt North America, built its reputation on showcasing all aspects of the food and beverage industry, from production to packaging. Andy Drennan, senior vice president for FPSA, said the upcoming Process Expo will highlight production lines in the categories of pet treats, bakery and meat.

“Producing pet treats, empanadas and sliced bacon, this collection of leading OEMs doesn’t just show food manufacturers how to produce and package these products in the most efficient way possible, by incorporating AI and advanced automation into these demonstrations, we’ll be showing the end user how best to take advantage of the data for even greater production,” Drennan said.

Dairy processors won’t feel left out at the show either. Drennan said an exclusive session with Allen Sayler, managing partner at the Center for Food Safety and Regulatory Solutions, will focus on dairy processing equipment and engineering design factors that can make cleaning that equipment more efficient.

Drennan pointed out that not all fabricators “front-end” the design process to account for such factors as “length of time required for cleaning and sanitizing both product and non-product contact surfaces; protection of electronics from cleaning solutions, high-pressure water and condensate; accessibility of all areas for maintenance and emergency repairs; ease of repair, frequency of periodic maintenance and accessibility; choice of specific types of metal, plastic and rubber materials to match the intended use and cleaning of the equipment, etc.”

He said Sayler’s session will include recommendations that provide insights regarding improving cleaning, reducing downtime and increasing the lifecycle of processing equipment.


Career development

Kristy Meade, vice president of technology shows for Messe Frankfurt, said industry networking and business development are driving forces at Process Expo. Meade said this year the event’s organizers are integrating several new aspects to support education and career development in order to fill learning and skill gaps in the food and beverage industry.

She said the tradeshow floor will include 40-plus complimentary educational sessions and a career fair, as well as a three-day “Food for Thought” series that highlights the industry’s latest trends and technologies.

“Both exhibitors and attendees can expect to gain valuable insight into workforce best practices and continuous improvement strategies for their respective businesses,” Meade said.

From the food and beverage industry’s most advanced innovations that are being implemented, to crucial research and development updates and best business practices, Meade said attendees should expect the sessions to benefit them and their companies.

“The recent health crisis has placed increasing pressure on food processors to recalibrate production,” she said. “A central challenge continues to be the declining availability of skilled production personnel, resulting in a heightened interest to develop labor saving equipment technologies, and the session ‘Innovating Through a Crisis’ tackles this important aspect.”

Additionally, as more corporations set carbon emission reduction goals and invest in renewable energy, Meade said Process Expo also will offer sessions on those topics and finding a roadmap for green energy investments. Other sessions will cover such topics as sustainability, the digital transformation, building a career in the food industry, integrating plant floor automation, and production methods involving cannabinoids and other bioactives, as well as a number of other subjects and themes.

Process Expo organizers also plan to recognize the people behind the industry’s most ground-breaking developments with the event’s Innovation Awards. Suppliers from throughout various industry sectors will earn recognition for new methods, ideas and products that are making waves, Meade said.

“Targeting four key areas with new product development, new application, new technology for sustainability and new technology for automation, our primary goal is to highlight technological advancements in the industry,” she explained.

People exploring the floor at the event have opportunities to view such innovations and network with technology experts as part of their visit, as well.

Plus, Meade drew attention to the FPSA’s Women’s Alliance Breakfast, which provides women attending Process Expo with a chance to connect, while they celebrate the achievements of women who have pushed the food and beverage industry forward.

More details about this year’s Process Expo, including registration information, are available online at the FPSA website.