Experts present smart packaging trends for engineers and designers

By Lisa McTigue Pierce in Smart Packaging on September 16, 2016

Whether it’s boosting productivity in the plant or reducing food waste, today’s smart packaging technologies can help in so many ways. Two free presentations at the upcoming MinnPack 2016 show (Sept. 21-22; Minneapolis) will show you how.

 

Topic: “Packaging in the Smart Plant”
Speaker: Troy Neurauter, solution architect, Rockwell Automation
Location: Center Stage, Booth 1555
Date: Thurs., Sept. 22
Time: 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

If you’re like 42% of respondents to a recent manufacturing survey, you’re pushing your packaging equipment harder than you should. And this could be causing unscheduled downtime, the bane of all engineers tasked with making sure output of a packaging line is as high as possible.

The survey, “Data’s Big Impact on Manufacturing: A Study of Executive Opinions,” was conducted this spring by Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) and KRC Research Inc. Analysis of the results show that manufacturers are counting on data analytics—a key component of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)—to help them navigate tough business conditions. In fact, 70% of respondents believe data analytics can help reduce equipment breakdowns.

In his presentation at MinnPack on Sept. 22, Troy Neurauter from Rockwell Automation will explain how smart manufacturing, specifically automated and connected packaging equipment, can help you improve production flexibility, and give you the ability to customize your packaging operation and optimize uptime.

 

Topic: “Breakthroughs in Intelligent and Responsive Packaging to Reduce Food Waste”
Speaker: Claire Koelsch Sand, adjunct professor at Michigan State University and president of Packaging Technology & Research LLC
Location: Center Stage, Booth 1555
Date: Wed., Sept. 21
Time: 2:15 to 2:45 p.m.

The good news is that consumers are starting to realize that packaging can help reduce food waste, sometimes significantly. They also are beginning to believe that food waste is a much bigger problem than packaging waste.

The even better news is that recent breakthroughs in intelligent and responsive packaging are poised to make even more impact in preventing food waste.

What breakthroughs? Speaker Claire Koelsch Sand talked with PlasticsToday, a sister media brand of Packaging Digest, on this topic. Here’s an excerpt (read the entire interview here):

 

PT: What are some recent advances in responsive food packaging?

Sand: Responsive packaging is packaging that responds or acts. There are five main reactions that cause food to deteriorate—oxidation, moisture gain/loss, enzymatic browning, non-enzymatic browning, and microbial growth. 

Advances are centering around detecting these reactions using intelligent packaging and then acting to respond (or act) to reduce the reaction in a controlled manner. For example, we currently have BHT/BHA within cereal and cracker bags. This prevents yellowing and also is an antioxidant (within FDA limits) to reduce oxidation in the food in contact with the bag. With responsive packaging, the BHT/BHA would only be released if needed and the amount of preservative can then be reduced. Now, it is just released whether it is needed or not.

 

PT: What are some challenges to responsive food packaging?

Sand: First, chemical reactions are complex and deep research is needed. Second, implementation of responsive packaging needs to be spread through the entire supply/value chain to balance costs and benefits.  

Right now, we focus on two solutions—one for consumers and one for distribution (from manufacturer to retailer). This is expensive. For example, most retailers require temperature/time monitoring on produce coming from farms to ensure that the product has not been exposed to too cold or too hot of temperature for too long. This monitoring ends at the retailer. If consumers had access to this information, it would help guide them on the end of shelf life. We do see consumer versions (called TTIs) on fish and seafood. But, connecting the two areas would reduce costs.

 

Visitors to MinnPack 2016 are able to attend these sessions for free. Expo passes for MinnPack are also free. Register today. Plus, use the discount code PDigest16 to get 20% off your conference registration.

Smart packaging experts Troy Neurauter (left) and Claire Koelsch Sand will dispense free insights and advice at MinnPack 2016.

 

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