A promising year for WPO

tomFrom January 28th to 31st, I had the distinct pleasure and honor of attending and participating in an outstanding packaging conference in Mumbai, organized by the Indian Institute of Packaging, a WPO member.  The conference, called International Summit for Packaging Industry had a theme of Emerging Trends in New Generation Packaging.  Attendance was in the range of 500 people, mostly from India, but some from as far away as western Europe, Saudi Arabia and even North America.

This was a first-class conference that was full of fresh ideas, discussions about new technology and some very interesting discussions about the philosophy of packaging. In particular, the presentation from Suresh Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director of Huhtamaki – PPL (India) was very thought provoking; the subject was “Packaging with Responsibility”.  I wish that all of our members could have heard what he had to say.

On the technical side, Joe Hotchkiss, Director, School of Packaging, MIT (Michigan State University), gave an informative dissertation on “Nano Composites in Flexible Packaging”.  Sanjay Kr. Chattopadhyay, Head of the Laboratories Division for IIP, gave an interesting case study on the “Importance of Packaging Quality and Reliability” from a package development and testing perspective.

While I recognize how tough it is to organise such a great conference, it is unfortunate that this one only occurs every two years. I recommend that when the next one is offered in 2015, WPO members consider attending. Our colleague, Professor N.C. Saha, has proven to be quite capable of creating a truly meaningful conference. I congratulate him and all of his IIP colleagues for their outstanding effort.

I also had the opportunity of visiting ACG Worldwide in Mumbai. They are the second largest manufacturer of empty hard capsules in the world and have been serving the pharmaceutical industry for five decades. Their attention to high quality and vertical integration gave me a new perspective on the level of manufacturing sophistication in India. Many thanks for my host in this visit, Ajit Singh, Chairman of ACG.

Well, it’s the beginning of another interesting and, I hope, exciting year for WPO. Our first meeting of 2013 will be in Sydney, May 7-10.  The WorldStar ceremony will take place on the evening of May 9. Our hosts, the Australian Institute of Packaging (AIP), partnered with Australian Packaging and Processing Machinery Association, are working hard to produce an excellent program, including a technical forum. I hope all WPO members will be able to attend.  Our second meeting of the year will take place in Barcelona during the week of November 4, hosted by Graphispack.

Finally, I have been watching emails fly around over the last few days among several WPO members.  Our colleague and member, Soha Atallah, Director of LibanPack in Beirut, put out a request for more information about best practices or guidelines on packaging for fresh agricultural products.  She has received several helpful replies from all over the world, including Brazil, Austria and the USA.

This kind of cooperation and free exchange of information is what WPO is about and it is great to see it in action.  Let’s talk more in Sydney about how we can nurture this kind of information sharing on a regular basis.

See you in Sydney!

Thomas L. Schneider
President of WPO (World Packaging Organisation)

Conference on Emerging Trends
Professor N. Saha with Dr. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Government of India