The packaging industry is evolving – this evolution is bringing opportunities and challenges. An article on the US-based Chase and Associates website discusses key insights across all packaging types from 2019 that every packaging buyer should be aware of. Below we have summarised the key points.
Artificial Intelligence is been used to improve packaging inspection software and systems. The author cites the CapQ Vision Inspection system from Acquire Automation as an example of this.
The use of AI in the CapQ system sets it apart from other systems and nearly all other packaging systems. AI enables the CapQ system to ignore water droplets and plastic fragment shedding that can skew measurement results, leading to false rejects. This software advancement and the easy-to-use operator touch screen interface make the CapQ system a pioneering quality inspection device. This has enhanced performance, reduced setup times, false rejections and scrap for full-surround cap inspection.
Smart packaging technology
With so-called “Smart” packaging technology, every package sold can now carry a unique digital identifier This creates an opportunity for direct one-to-one conversations with consumers – (as each carton/package is effectively unique). This technology is also helping to drive efficiencies across the entire supply chain.
Soren Kaplan sums up the coming tech disruptions nicely:
“Opportunities for packaging innovation will only grow as new technologies like blockchain, intelligent inks and printable circuits and sensors evolve… These technology and design innovations will fuel new “data-as-a-service” business models tied to traceability across the supply chain, consumer product usage and overall market insight.”
The author states that “Sustainability is no longer an option, it’s inevitable. Consumers will force the packaging industry’s hands. As Alex Jordan puts it:
“More people are readily refusing to use plastic straws and single-use bags in favour of reusable items – owning their social responsibility for seeking out greener products. Therefore, it’s essential for retailers and manufacturers to keep up with public opinion”.
However, the article suggests that keep abreast of all the sustainable options and keep an open mind, such a “plastic” made from cellulose or packaging from recycled plastic as overall and in some cases, these may be a more sustainable option than for example, converting a conventional plastic bottle to an aluminium bottle or can.
Packaging Raw Materials
Packaging buyers need to stay abreast of the materials available. According to the author “biodegradable biopolymers are more sustainable than traditional plastics and could be a hot growth industry.”
Reduced Packaging requires Increased Customer Communication
The article points out that if you begin to use less packaging for your product in the effort to be more sustainable, this may mean that the shelf life of the product is reduced also. If this is the case you must “ communicate loudly” with your customers so that they understand the reasoning behind the changes to make sure that the net benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Life cycle thinking will help.
Less is More in Packaging Design
The article suggests that a packaging design which is minimalist and focuses on the essential parts will ultimately be a better packaging design.
The article concludes that in order to survive, businesses must “pivot to become more sustainable” and warns that industries and businesses that fail to adapt will fail to survive.
If you are interested in finding out how you can convert your plastic packaging to cartonboard, please contact us at Dollard Packaging on 01 847 00 44 or check out our blog on Ways to Make Your Packaging More Sustainable here.