NFPA Road Crew Visits Members, Prospects at Pack Expo

We’re a staff of ten here at NFPA, so we don’t really have a road crew.  But if more than one of us is on the road together, we’re the crew of the moment.

The moment this week was Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago.  The crew was yours truly, along with NFPA’s Membership Manager Leslie Miller, and Katrina Schwarz venturing out as a veteran of one-month as NFPA’s new Marketing Manager.

Pack Expo is conveniently located down the highway from NFPA headquarters in Milwaukee, so driving like Chicagoans (liberal use of the horn, some questionable lane-changing tactics, and a few well-placed expletives), we got there in good time for the big show.

A few quick impressions of Pack Expo from the crew…

  • Pneumatics is everywhere. Despite our limited technical knowledge, we saw it and heard it on machines all over the floor…whether grabbing, opening and filling food pouches, or vacuuming a rack of cans to put on a pallet;
  • There’s a lot of electromechanical stuff there, too…but hey, a word of advice to the competition…if you have a cool display, turn the switch to “on” so we can see it actually move (That’s right, I’m talking at you Kollmorgen…nice job with the would-be-cool boxing robots that nobody got to play with…reliability issues?).
  • Companies exhibiting their pneumatic wares are upbeat about their place in the packaging industry and the year ahead. And some of the machine-builders reflected that in their comments to us…pneumatics being easy-to-use, reliable technology they like working with.
  • A lot of NFPA members are there and do a good job of driving some attention to their companies and pneumatics. Over at ASCO-Numatics, for example, they had a very nicely done pneumatically actuated soccer game on display, turned on and working so you could play with it!
  • And then there’s the member prospects. Though NFPA membership is at an all-time high, there are some companies in this industry that have not yet seen the wisdom of joining NFPA.  We were on a mission to change that, and we think we did pretty well…good conversations with a couple manufacturers and distributors we hope to see with us in the future.

Which brings us to this…if you know a manufacturer or distributor partner who should be part of NFPA, let us know.  We would love to reach out to them to show how we’re smarter than your average bear and more valuable than your father’s trade association.

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