Smart Event Explores Hot Packaging Topics and Technologies

Visitors to this year’s WestPack — co-located at the premier advanced manufacturing event in Anaheim, Calif. — can discover, learn, and engage both face-to-face and online.

Kate Bertrand Connolly, Freelance Writer

February 18, 2022

5 Min Read
As a smart event, WestPack 2022 delivers both in-person and virtual content and experiences.Image courtesy of Canva

Packaging professionals are getting ready to reconvene for this year’s in-person WestPack show, which will return to the Anaheim Convention Center April 12-14, 2022, as part of the expansive IME West advanced manufacturing event. But it’s so much more this year.

IME West will be a Smart Event in 2022, providing exhibitors and attendees with digital content and activities to augment their in-person time at the show. The online platform, set to open on March 14, will be accessible to all registered visitors.

Both in-person and online, WestPack will offer an up-close view of packaging technology and solutions on the show floor, as well as in-depth packaging education and training. Topics and themes will include automation, smart manufacturing, sustainability, flexible packaging, and cannabis packaging.

IME West will comprise five co-located shows: WestPack, Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West, Automation Technology Expo (ATX) West, Design & Manufacturing (D&M) West, and Plastec West. Click here to register for the event.

A sixth expo, CannPack West (formerly known as the Cannabis Packaging Summit), will occur on the main show floor within the WestPack footprint, in Hall A. An educational program, Cannabis Packaging Conference West, will complement the innovations on display at CannPack West.

To meet attendees’ evolving needs, this year’s IME West will incorporate several new experiential elements. These include keynote speakers, an opening reception, and enhanced smart-manufacturing and additive-manufacturing education.

Adrienne Zepeda, group event director, IME West, Informa Markets, answers questions from Packaging Digest about WestPack and IME West.


Please tell us about the new experiential elements visitors can look forward to at IME West in 2022.

Zepeda: New for IME West, we have re-named the 3DPX Theater to Design Alley. This will allow us to broaden the topics to include other areas in design and prototyping beyond 3D printing.

We are also hosting an interactive competition with models built of LEGO brick sets. More details coming soon.

Day 1 and Day 2, we will have morning keynotes to kick off the show. Day 1, from 8-9 a.m., we will host a networking breakfast followed by a keynote from 9-10:00 a.m. presented by the Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing Institute (ARM). The ARM institute’s COO will be speaking on “Using Technology to Fill Workforce Gaps.”

On Day 2, we will have a keynote from 9-10 a.m. by a panel of industry association members discussing “Can Manufacturers Rebuild the Broken Global Supply Chain?”


Several respected industry associations have partnered with this event, including the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), Flexible Packaging Association (FPA), California Life Sciences, and the California Cannabis Association. What does it mean that they’ve “partnered” with the event? What is the benefit of these partnerships for attendees?

Zepeda: Several of these groups will be supplying speakers/subject matter experts within our conference program and on the Center Stage. They will be discussing updates to their industry initiatives and discussing best practices on their relevant subjects.

For instance, ARM will be supplying the Day 1 keynote. SPE and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) will be hosting programs within our conference.

The benefit to attendees is being able to learn from and network with these experts.


IME West — which consists of WestPack and its co-located sister shows focused on automation, plastics, medical, and manufacturing — is now a Smart Event, meaning it will have online experiences in addition to the in-person event. What is the value of this type of hybrid event for attendees and exhibitors?

Zepeda: The Smart Event allows exhibitors and attendees to connect ahead of the in-person event. They can schedule appointments to meet on-site. They can chat — both message and video — and connect with other attendees, exhibitors, and speakers.

Attendees and exhibitors can also search the platform for others based on their title, company, location, and so forth, to get in contact with those who will help them achieve their goals while at the live event.


What types of networking opportunities will attendees experience at the event?

Zepeda: New this year, we will have an opening reception at the close of the first day, from 5-7 p.m. in the Grand Plaza with food, drinks, and entertainment. We will also have a booth crawl, where attendees can visit sponsored exhibitor booths and enjoy a cold beer with peers. We will additionally have a Beer Garden from 5-6 p.m. on the third-floor terrace.


Can attendees of all the shows at IME West visit the booths of exhibitors at the other shows?

Zepeda: Yes. The expo floor pass and conference passes will allow access to all five co-located shows.


How many conference tracks will the event have, and what will they focus on?

Zepeda: There are nine tracks included in the Design. Engineer. Build Conference. The tracks are:

• Advanced Manufacturing
• Emerging Technologies and Next-Gen Design
• FDA and Regulatory Updates
• Investment Showcase: Medical Devices, IVDs, and Wearables, sponsored by Chemical Angel Network
• Medical Device Validation and Quality Assurance, sponsored by Nelson Laboratories
• MiniTec, sponsored by SPE
• Product Design and Development
• Quality and Risk Management, sponsored by AAMI
• Quality Management and Regulatory for Product Development


Do you have an estimate as to how many attendees the combined IME West event will attract in 2022?

Zepeda: We are planning for 14,000 on-site.

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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