Overview of WestPack 2011

Written By: Blake Bearden

WestPack Trade show LogoBastian Material Handling and our sister company, ASAP Automation, recently had the opportunity to exhibit at WestPack in Anaheim, CA, February 8 through 10.

For those of you who don’t know, WestPack is one of the premier trade shows in the U.S., and the only trade show on the West Coast that addresses the material handling industry.  All-in-all, the event showcases packaging and processing machinery, materials, and associated technologies from companies throughout the U.S.  Exhibitors have the opportunity to present their products and solutions live, while getting a feel for the latest equipment and technologies from key companies throughout the packaging, material handling, and logistics industries.

Bastian Material Handling Booth at WestPack

Bastian Material Handling Booth at WestPack 2011

At this year’s show, Bastian showcased a range of products that included Hytrol’s 190-E24EZ, an energy efficient zero-pressure accumulation conveyor; Blue Arc ZiPline conveyor, a 24VDC belted zero-pressure accumulation conveyor; as well as Southworth’s ergonomic palletizing and depalletizing equipment.  At ASAP’s booth, the team showcased its line of picking technologies, including Pick to Light (PTL) and Pick to Display (PTD).

While at the event, there were definitely a few technologies and trends that caught my eye.  One of those was a linear, magnetic drive conveyor system that worked similarly to a magnetized track for a bullet train. It’s not brand new technology, but it was definitely interesting to see and learn about. Benefits of using this type of product could range from energy savings to possible maintenance savings since there are no motors running and fewer parts to maintain.

Additionally, there were several interesting pick and place operations utilizing vision systems. Some of those also included robotics, which displayed some impressive stacking and locating maneuvers.

Overall, I thought WestPack did a great job of bringing a wide range of industries and technologies into one venue.  Not only did our group see some interesting technologies, but we were also fortunate to meet people from various industries, including food and beverage, pharmaceutical, medical devices, electronics, consumer products, automotive, and more.

ASAP Booth at WestPack 2011

ASAP Automation’s Booth at WestPack 2011

In fact, that’s one of the best things about WestPack.  Over the years, the show has merged with several other industry events, including Electronics West, Green Manufacturing Expo, MD&M West, Pacific Design & Manufacturing, PLASTEC West, AeroCon, and DesignMed.

This merge has provided exhibitors and attendees with the ideal opportunity to meet people from a variety of industries outside of their own, and it provides a great atmosphere for networking and learning.  This year in particular, WestPack had lots of activity and attendance was high, hopefully indicating a marked change in the turnaround of the economy.

What was your favorite or least favorite part of WestPack? I look forward to reading your comments below.

I am the Regional Manager for the Western US and oversee business operations for California, Nevada, Hawaii, Washington and Arizona. I enjoy working with our customers to learn more about their operations and help them solve problems.

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