AutoPack Summit 2022 Recap: Reuse, Return, Reunite

a brown image of automotive packaging

Usually, this blog covers packaging from a print and digital perspective. This month, the blog is dedicated to automotive packaging and will give a quick recap of the Auto Pack Summit held in Greenville, SC this year from September 7 to September 9, 2022.

Print lovers may believe packaging is great because its main purpose is to give print a stage to shine for various products. Packaging is truly fascinating because it is everywhere, needed for any goods purchased or consumed, and touches virtually all points of the value chain, from development, to design, manufacturing, shipment, and use.

The world of packaging is a large industry, many people are connected by 3-4 degrees of separation. When you work in automotive packaging, the circle becomes even tighter. Automotive packaging is unique because it is known for the widespread use of returnable packaging. While automotive packaging does not rely on graphics and printing to sell parts, the focus on reuse of packaging is great. It is not unusual to use the exact same returnable pack for a decade if maintained and handled properly. This practice has been in place in the United States since the 1980s.

The one-day conference was sandwiched between tours the day before and after. The tours included packaging and service providers Orbis and PackIQ. There was a tour of the BMW plant to showcase their lean manufacturing processes, and Clemson, which has a packaging test lab that includes testing for automotive packaging.

The evening prior to the summit, a welcome reception was held at a downtown rooftop bar. There were many Michigan State, RIT, and Clemson packaging alums in attendance. The venue was great, it was a wonderful opportunity to reconnect with people in the industry, and a chance to finally meet people face to face (in 3D) that have been working together via Zoom and Teams over the last 2 years!

The morning of the Summit started off with a continental breakfast that included a Southern twist, sponsored by TrueFleetTM  (more to follow about TrueFleet later) 

Immediately after breakfast, the event was kicked off by Dr. Andrew Hurley, the Founder of The Packaging School. The level of enthusiasm was high, as automotive packaging engineers love the fast-paced atmosphere related to car manufacturing. Attendees were eager to learn about the current trends in automotive packaging.

The first half of the day covered current trends related to Sustainable Packaging, Reverse Logistics, and Battery Packaging.

Lunch was sponsored by Advanced Design Solutions, Inc. a material handling company out of Canada.

The afternoon included panels with OEMs (automobile manufacturers) and OES (automotive suppliers) related to managing returnable containers, design, and technology.

The last event of the Summit was a Pitch Contest, Shark Tank-style. Seven companies participated, highlighting new products and technology in the automotive packaging realm. Each company had 3 minutes to present and 2 additional minutes allotted to questions.

I had the honor of presenting for TrueFleet. Their product is an app, introduced at the Auto Pack Summit to assist with the packaging launch process. Armor Protective Packaging earned first place in the contest, their presentation included a slick, well-produced video by their marketing team, and they also provided delicious spiked ‘Armor Palmer’ drinks for all participants, which went over well with the crowd! I was told later that TrueFleet did well and came in respectably in second place.

The summit wrapped up after closing remakes with a cocktail reception, one of the last chances to connect with attendees before heading home.

Friday consisted of the tours to Orbis and Clemson, both were well attended and gave the attendees more to talk about during the flight full of packaging people back to Detroit!

A great time was had by everyone, this event was a reunion of sorts, with the chance to network, catch up, and learn about the latest and upcoming technology trends in the dynamic automotive packaging sector.

If you are interested in automotive packaging and want to learn more about this event, participants, or automotive packaging in general, start here:


Read last month’s post from Camille:

See all posts from Camille here.

Camille Corr Chism_Print Media Centr_AuthorCamille Corr Chism, CPPL Fellow, has a diverse background in packaging engineering, design, supply chain, project management, and new product introductions. Her experience includes a variety of industries including food, e-commerce, technology, distribution, pharmaceutical, industrial, and automotive. Earning an MS and BS in Packaging, Camille earned a Six Sigma Black Belt (2019), and a lifetime certification as a Certified Packaging Professional in 2006. She was inducted into the IoPP College of Fellows in 2014.

Camille is the owner of Indigo Packaging and Consulting. She is the go-to person for all your packaging products and packaging design needs. Connect with her on LinkedInLinkedIn Company Page, Twitter @indigopkg, and Instagram @indigopkg



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