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Articles from 2019 In April


Shifting from intention to action on recycled-content packaging

Shifting from intention to action on recycled-content packaging
The Sustainable Packaging Coalition's new Guide outlines six steps brands should take on the path to using recycled-content materials in their packaging.

Recycled content is quickly catching on as a core part of a company’s overall sustainable packaging strategy—as well as a key strategy in improving and restoring confidence in the recycling system. For brands and suppliers embarking on the recycled content journey, the Sustainable Packaging Coalition’s new Design for Recycled Content Guide offers actionable insights and practical guidance. 

We’ve all heard it at this point, the story of the China imports ban and struggling global recycling markets. This message now appears more frequently in mainstream media and the public is aware of the problem. Restoring faith in our recycling system and investing in its future depends on strong and consistent market demand for recycled materials, which depends on manufacturers using recycled content in their products and packaging.

Numerous laws and organizations’ commitments call upon industry to pursue increased use of recycled content:

• The Circular Economy Directive in Europe is calling for new extended producer responsibility (EPR) fees and exploring fee modulation based around the amount of recycled content.

• The New Plastics Economy Global Commitment calls for its signatories to “circulate the plastic produced, by significantly increasing the amounts of plastics reused or recycled and made into new packaging or products.”

The UK Plastics Pact commits to have 30% recycled content across all packaging. France and the Netherlands just came out with similar commitments.

The timing is ripe to actively pursue recycled content strategies. The intentions are there, with many brands pledging to create demand for recycled materials by setting their own corporate goals for including more recycled content in their packaging. In the SPC’s recently launched Goals Database, we found that the number of companies making either a concrete goal or a soft commitment in recycled content usage is more than any other goal category, about 62%.

But after the goals are set, practical guidance is needed to help turn industry from intention toward action. The new Design for Recycled Content Guide serves as an important tool in a companies’ recycled content journey, offering insights on topics such as supply and demand, performance, processing, aesthetics, design, cost and strategies for success to deal with diverse challenges across material types.

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition conducted interviews with material manufacturers, packaging converters, brand owners, and retailers, collecting stories on how they navigate challenges and achieved successes. Success stories are peppered throughout the Guide.

The scope of the SPC’s Design Guide includes plastic, paper, glass and metal (aluminum and steel), all of which have very different stories and considerations.

Plastics

In general, only high grades of recycled plastics have significant demand—like clear polyethylene terephthalate (PET) suitable for food contact, and natural colored high-density polyethylene (HDPE)—and there is not enough supply available on the market to meet current demand for these materials.

Other types of recycled plastics (resin identification codes 3 through 7) lack both quality supply and demand. For the supply that is available, there are issues of cost competitiveness to virgin plastics.

Seventh Generation is an example of a company that has successfully navigated many of the challenges associated with using recycled plastics. The company began with HDPE and has progressed to almost 100% recycled content in most of its HDPE and PET bottles today. The company has now brought polypropylene closures made of 100% recycled content to the market and recently launched some of the first flip-top closures made of 100% recycled polypropylene. Seventh Generation is also exploring the use of recycled polyethylene in low-density polyethylene (LDPE) films. It has achieved all of this in part by switching from cost savings in its product portfolio to investing in packaging sustainability.

Paper

Paper is unique in this conversation because it comes from a renewable resource that, when responsibly managed, can also be a sustainable sourcing strategy. While virgin fiber will always be needed, using recycled fiber supports recycling markets and is appropriate for certain types of packaging.

Overall demand for recycled fiber for use in paper packaging is generally believed to exceed supply. The supply of recycled fiber is constrained, in part, by the number and capacity of recycled paper mills. Lush is an example of a company that has navigated this challenge by developing long-term relationships with dedicated recycled paper suppliers to find recycled fiber that works for its packages.

 

Glass

Unlike paper or plastics, glass does not degrade. Its constraint is mainly in collection and the fact that supply availability is regional, since glass is heavy and transportation costs are high. Diageo’s Glass is Good recycling program in Brazil encourages bars, restaurants and other customers to sign up to have their used glass containers collected for recycling. The sorted glass is then transported to Glass is Good grinding sites, set up and run by local cooperatives, who grind it into cullet and store it.

Aluminum

The specific amount of recycled aluminum in a given package is largely unknown, due to how aluminum supply chains are structured and the availability of recycled aluminum at the time a batch is made. Past efforts to market cans with consistent, high levels of recycled aluminum encountered barriers, including brand owners’ resistance to committing to a single supplier of cans, even if it meant guaranteed and verified high levels of recycled aluminum. In the case of aluminum, brand owners can help encourage a system in which more recycled aluminum usage is tracked and verified.

Working across the supply chain is vital to successfully increasing the demand for recycled content in packaging, no matter the material. The SPC Guide sets out recommendations for brands, as well as suppliers.

While there is much momentum around recycled content in packaging currently, there is still a long journey ahead until this sourcing option becomes mainstream. Our hope is that the Design for Recycled Content Guide will help brands and suppliers that are starting off on this journey. It is a living document, and we hope that you will help us build it by adding your story and updating us on your progress and learnings.

In the case of recycled content, we need to learn by doing and collectively work to build these markets, which all industry will benefit from.

Tristanne Davis

Tristanne Davis joined GreenBlue in November 2017 as a project manager with the Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC). Her primary work involves helping to shape and deliver on its Industry Leadership Committee initiatives, ASTRX project and Forest Products work. Davis received her BA in economics from Skidmore College followed by several years of environmental consulting for a variety of clients across business and government, and a stint in Nicaragua managing an agroforestry program with a local non-governmental organization (NGO). She recently finished a Master’s program in industrial ecology at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, and an MBA program at IE Business School in Spain.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

Consumers can heat products on the go with smart packaging

Consumers can heat products on the go with smart packaging
Technology converts a wireless charger and smartphone app into a precision induction heating system applicable for a range of packaging types including metal, plastic, paper and glass.

Inductive Intelligence’s tech offers induction-heated-anywhere containers by marrying food and beverage packaging with wireless charging, software, RFID/NFC tags and sensors.

Packaging Digest reported earlier this month on a selection of developments from the IFT food technology trade show. That whet our appetite to find out more about one particularly complex and fascinating packaging-driven technology from Inductive Intelligence LLC. It was during the show that the company’s Greg Clark, co-founder & CEO, took center stage in a technology innovation challenge. In front of a large and attentive audience, Clark was grilled about the company and its patented, smart packaging-enabled heating technology by a panel of industry experts along with Shark Tank’s Daymond John. We felt more grilling was in order, and caught up with Clark in this exclusive interview.

The IFT “Food Innovation Challenge” experience was exciting and informative for the hundreds of us in the audience. How was it for you?

Clark: The entire IFT event was a great experience for us. It opened doors to food and packaging companies, provided great mentorship and I’m sure it’s just a matter of time until Daymond John gives us a call!  The event also helped us connect with people doing research in the area of heat transfer, which in time will be extremely helpful.

What is the company’s induction-heating proposition and why is it on-trend in today’s market? 

Clark: Single-serve packaging continues to drive growth in center store, and since Apple adopted the Qi wireless charging standard, wireless device charging is booming as well.  This is about sitting at the intersection of those two trends and delivering a consumer experience that’s more convenient, consistent, safe and sustainable.

What specific consumers need this kind of on-demand, heat anywhere convenience? 

Clark: Convenience has been the number one consumer trend globally for the last decade. Consumers are seeking products that save them time and make even small tasks easier. Wireless phone charging is experiencing rapid growth for that reason.  It’s not that difficult to plug your phone in, yet there were over 210 million wireless chargers sold last year alone, and 2.4 billion expected in the market by 2025. 

We’re adding more function to that platform, and saving the consumer a trip to the kitchen to guess how long they should put things in the microwave. 

At the same time we’re creating entirely new consumption occasions for consumers and brands. We’re also creating great experiences for the consumer in areas beyond food and beverage like home fragrance and heated cosmetic products.

How does it work? What types of packaging are applicable?

Clark: The package requires two things to work, data and metal. The data comes in the form of a radio-frequency identification (RFID) or Near Field Communication (NFC) tag which tells the device exactly how to heat the product. The package in turn is telling the device about the heating progress based on a temp sensor in the tag. In the case of cans and flexible foil packaging there is enough metal in the existing package to heat the product.  In the case of paper, plastic and glass, a metal insert needs to be added to the package either in the base or in the cap. 

How is venting handled when heating the package?

Clark: Venting is dependent on the method and temperature of the item being heated. We have a patented design for a steamer package—think single-serve frozen veggies or heating precooked pasta—where we plan for some venting.  In the case of a can or bottle, it's not really necessary as the temps we're pursuing generally aren't creating enough pressure to cause issues.

Next: Benefits, costs, sustainability, status and more

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Come hear Greg Clark present "A Hot Trend in Packaging" at the upcoming EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) on Tues., June 11, from 3:00 to 3:45 p.m. in Booth 2370. Register to attend today!

What are the benefits of your tech vs. other heating methods? 

Clark: Our method of heating creates a “set it and forget it” heating process for the consumer that’s consistent, convenient and uses far less energy than a microwave. For the manufacturer, they’ll know that the heating experience they created in the lab will be replicated by the consumer every time, because all of the variables are known and the package provides feedback.  It’s consistent and safe.  For a food scientist, that’s very attractive.

Is it true that there’s only about a 5 cents upcharge per container to enable the tech?  

Clark: The exact cost to equip a package depends on the package design. Given the known cost of RFID tags, we can deliver solutions under 5 cents, but there will also be applications that will be more.  According to our data, 70% of consumers are willing to pay between 10-15 cents per package for the convenience our system delivers.

 

What kind of data is captured in use?

Clark: The data on the package is used first to authenticate the package and send the specific heating parameters to the base device, however, there is additional data on the package that can be used for all of the other functions shown in the above image and more, because the data we collect is associated via the device with the specific consumer.

What can you comment about the sustainability of the packaging?

Clark: It’s our goal to have our solution be 100% recyclable.  On top of that, using the package for heating with low-medium inductive power is 90% roughly more efficient than a microwave, doesn’t require you to clean dishes, encourages portion control and promotes the consumption of shelf stable foods.

What’s the possibility for larger sizes and other markets besides food/beverage? 

Clark: We can definitely heat packages larger than single serve.  Out of the gate we’re focused on smaller items, but we definitely plan to move up in size over time, and even move into the autonomous vehicles and robotic deliver.

What’s the first question a brand manager asks? And what’s their toughest?

Clark:  How hot can you get it?  To which we answer, “How hot do you want it?” Generally when we show them our ability to pop popcorn in a paper cup, they get it.  The toughest question is really around manufacturability. We’re a startup with an enabling technology. Until we get into more trial runs, that’s a tough question to answer with the level of detail many brand managers want.

What major challenges remain? 

Clark:  As with any startup, getting the capital you need to keep development moving onward and upward is critical, but getting the right capital is even more critical.  So, we’re working hard to partner with venture capital firms and angel investors who have solid food and beverage experience, so we can use their experience to avoid some pitfalls along the way.  We also have a tight schedule to bring our product to market in Japan. However, our CTO is one of the world’s leading technologists in the wireless power space, and we have a solid plan for getting to market.

 

What’s the current status and what kind of interest are you seeing?

Clark: We're getting more interest from retailers at the moment that are looking to create a unique customer experience and leverage data to maintain a relationship with the customer. We’re also having productive conversations with packaging companies that seem to be the innovation drivers.

What’s the best-case-scenario timeframe for a company to market test this?

Clark: We’re going to market in ten months in Japan heating RTD coffee and tea for a large global company.  Shortly after that, we will be launching a line of flameless candles that can be controlled with your phone in the U.S. and two international markets.

Anything else to mention? 

Clark: Beyond cooking on a wireless phone charger at your desk or on your counter, we have a patented design for an automotive application and temperature-controlled vessels.  It won’t be long and you’ll be able to heat your coffee mug on the same device and still be able to place the mug or bowl in the dishwasher.

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Come hear Greg Clark present "A Hot Trend in Packaging" at the upcoming EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) on Tues., June 11, from 3:00 to 3:45 p.m. in Booth 2370. Register to attend today!

How to leverage 3 mindsets of the Silent Generation with your packaging team

How to leverage 3 mindsets of the Silent Generation with your packaging team
What strengths of the Silent Generation can you incorporate in your packaging career?

The modern forces of extended life expectancy, socio-economic conditions and career aspirations have created the possibility of five generations working side by side. Age has always been a workplace factor, but mostly around the handoff to the “next generation(s),” not usually about successfully co-habiting in the workplace with diverse mindsets.

I first explored distinctive mindsets of Millennials, and then Boomers, specifically in the packaging industry. Now, I delve into the Silent Generation (born from 1923 to 1944); perched atop the multi-generational workplace. The fifth generation, they are working, retired, semi-retired or passionately mentoring others.

Here’s what we can learn and leverage from their mindsets in our work.

1. Grit and go

The pervading circumstances of this generation formed them into a head-down-and-work mindset. This is often associated with their name “Silent,” as they labored on and applied resourceful willpower to achieve goals. Where “constraint thinking” is a powerful way of working today, constrained circumstances dominated their days—making it imperative to work cleverly.   

Action: Adopt a “constraint mindset” and replicate the resourceful solutions of the Silent Generation. For more on constraint thinking, check out “A Beautiful Constraint” by Adam Morgan and Mark Barden.

 

2. The re-use generation

I remember leering into my grandma’s refrigerator, scooping applesauce from a Cool Whip container; or peering into my grandpa’s barn, spotting I Can’t believe It’s Not Butter tubs filled with nuts and bolts. Re-use was automatic. There wasn't anything left to recycle! As we peruse packaging “hacks” like these DIY Mason Jar Lunchables ideas, we should remember that the Silent Generation is full of resourceful ideas.

Action: Leverage this generation’s propensity for re-use ideas with today’s array of packaged goods.

 

3. Tangible connections

A former CEO of Campbell’s adopted this generation’s mindset for tangible and meaningful connection points. He famously laced up his sneakers, not for a game of tennis but for trekking around the Campbell’s campus, popping in on anyone and everyone who wanted to chat. This was a meaningful method of tangible connection, amidst the tangle of corporate environs. This generation thrives on those personal face-to-face and tangible connection points.

Action: Some afternoon, lace up your sneakers and walk around to connect with people face to face (consider this a relational exercise!).

The Silent Generation may be on the peripheral of the workplace cultural map, rarely calling attention to themselves. But they are marked with mindsets the rest of us would be wise to emulate.   

Matt Dingee is an American ex-pat currently packaging manager across the Campbell Soup’s packaging in the Canadian market for brands that include V8, Campbell’s Soup and Broth, Goldfish, Pepperidge Farm, Plum Organics and innovation platforms. He previously worked in various packaging roles across Pepperidge Farm and Campbell’s, and has a BS from the School of Packaging, Michigan State University. Additionally, Dingee is a recipient of the prestigious DuPont Award in 2013 for initiating and commercializing a new to market reclose feature. You can likely find him reading, serving his church or brewing coffee on his Aeropress-inverted method.

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Looking for inspiration for your next packaging design project? Visit MinnPack 2016 (Sept 21-22; Minneapolis) for the latest in packaging materials, equipment, automation and more. Use discount code PDigest16 to get 20% off your conference registration.

RFID tag works on metal packaging, even with liquids

RFID tag works on metal packaging, even with liquids
RFID tags can now be read without problems on metal packaging.

On-Metal UHF radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags have been optimized for more effective tagging of challenging products and materials. The configuration incorporates an inlay design and label construction intended to address performance limitations for metal packaging, packaging containing liquid, metal packaging that contains liquid and more.

Liquids are no longer an interference problem for reading an applied RFID tag.

Available from Avery Dennison, the technology is designed to address the need to tag 100% of inventory. It is suitable for use on foil cosmetic packaging, aluminum cans, metal tools, electronic goods, and other items where interference between the tag and reader can make it challenging to achieve desired read rates.

The On-Metal tags (available in two inlay designs) help retailers automate data collection, optimize stock levels, reduce product waste and facilitate self-checkout retail. They have been certified by Auburn University’s ARC program for RFID inlays.

6 gold-star stories about packaging

6 gold-star stories about packaging

With the first quarter of the year now behind us, one of the hottest topics in packaging continues to be sustainability, based on high readership of articles about Amazon and Nestlé posted last month on PackagingDigest.com. But we also saw keen interest in packaging for digital healthcare, as well as in a promotional pack from Nike.

Here are the half-dozen stories the worldwide packaging community was avidly reading in March 2019, based on page views:

5 emerging trends

6. 5 packaging trends emerging in 2019

What’s driving these five predictable packaging movements? Charles Haverfield, CEO of packaging supplier U.S. Packaging & Wrapping LLC, shares his insights:

1. Flexibility (flexible packaging!)

2. Changes in ecommerce

3. Environmental awareness (sustainability) 

4. Less is more (minimalism)

5. The power of nostalgia (retro designs)

NEXT: Dive deep into today’s digital healthcare

Digital healthcare

5. How digital healthcare and packaging benefit users

This thorough look at how our digital world is changing healthcare also analyzes the packaging implications. Multiple examples of new commercialized packages show how patients can benefit from solutions that help monitor adherence, authenticate and prove the safety of genuine products, improve drug administration, provide proper direct delivery of an active drug and more.

The authors also present a possible digital revolution in the manufacturing process as healthcare solutions get more personal and down to a batch of one.

NEXT: Nike just does it!

Nike Lobster box

4. Nike’s new green lobster shoe box tests packaging limits

A promotional limited-edition package for the new Concepts x Nike SB Green Lobster Dunks collectible shoes mimicked the design of totes used to hold live lobsters on commercial fishing vessels. Thermoforming expert Dordan solved several technical challenges—including rigidity and the box’s deep draw that pushed the limits of thermoforming technology—to deliver an engineered package within a mere five weeks.

According to Chandler Slavin, Dordan’s sustainability and marketing manager, overcoming the technical hurdles took “a deep awareness of the complex interactions between thermoform part design and production.” She says it was a matter of “understanding thermoforming, not as a hard science, but as an elegant dance between plastic, heat, vacuum and pressure.”

NEXT: Controversial chemical BPA still top of mind

No-BPA-can-linings

3. Most food cans no longer use BPA in their linings

This also appeared in our top article list in February 2019 at No.3, with this write up:

About a year ago, the Can Manufacturers Institute made the bold announcement that, in reaction to market demands for more options in food safety, at least 90% of today’s food cans have replaced linings that previously contained the controversial chemical bisphenol-A (BPA).

The news is still making the rounds.

Reader comments over the last year show that the issue isn’t totally resolved:

Feb. 20, 2018: “I wonder if/when the beverage industry will adopt BPA free liners, as currently none has implemented such liner. Especially considering that consumption of canned beverages far exceeds that of canned foods.”

Nov. 20, 2018: “So WHAT actually IS the Lining Now?”

Dec. 2, 2018: “The linings are most likely closely related to BPA like BPS, BPF or vinyls compounds (BADGE, BFDGE). Those lining haven’t been studied as much and are not known by the general public. Recent studies showed that they are potentially as harmful as BPAs. Companies can put out BPA free cans and give a false sense of security to their customers by switching to other compounds that are as bad but unknown.”

Dec. 29, 2018: “Aldi stores sell spring water in plastic bottles that say right on them that they are BPA free.”

Mar. 4, 2019: “The problem is different sources gives different info on whether BPA is still in cans. Some say that BPA remain in most cans.”

Do you have something to add or ask? Click the headline above and leave your comment at the bottom of the article.

NEXT: Amazon chooses reusable packaging for its own products

Amazon Replenish

2. Amazon chooses refillable packaging for Clean Revolution

Amazon is using the new Replenish 3.0 packaging design for its Clean Revolution line of cleaning products sold through its ecommerce platform. The reusable Replenish bottle mates with small pods of concentrated liquids to reduce the overall sustainability footprint. Consumers add water from the tap to mix a full bottle, saving up to 90% of the water typically in cleaning products, lowering shipping costs and eliminating the risk of leaks. One pod makes six bottles of product.

With this Clean Revolution introduction, Amazon is tapping into the new reuse movement sweeping the U.S.

NEXT: Nestlé’s sustainable packaging vision

Walt Peterson quote

1. Nestlé clarifies its sustainable packaging vision

The world’s largest food company has an aggressive goal for sustainable packaging: To make 100% of the company’s packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025, with a focus on avoiding plastic waste.

In the best-read article in March 2019 on PackagingDigest.com, Nestlé USA packaging sustainability manager Walt Peterson explains how the company will achieve it. Click the headline link above to read all the details.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

It’s a packaging puzzle!

Crossword-puzzle-squares

If you love puzzles, have we got a treat for you. Here’s our first crossword puzzle for people who also have a passion for packaging—and know a bit about it. Enjoy!

Easy-to-print puzzle is on p.1 and p.2 of the downloadable PDF below. SPOILER ALERT! Answers are on p.3. No peeking!

Let us know how easy or hard this was by taking our quick poll—CLICK HERE. We plan on doing more puzzles in the future, and you can submit a clue for the next one!

This is what the puzzle looks like. Download the PDF below to print it in much better quality.

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New machine vision tech improves high-speed counting, tracking

New machine vision tech improves high-speed counting, tracking
New machine vision technology has multiple applications and benefits in packaging.

New event-based machine vision technology offers increased productivity and equipment monitoring in industrial uses. Enhancements in the product line include ultra-high-speed counting, real-time tracking, man/machine teaming and vibration monitoring for predictive maintenance.

From Prophesee SA, the products include the Onboard reference system, which provides guidance for developers to implement the manufacturer’s neuromorphic vision technology. Features include performance and accuracy specifications for new use cases. This includes area monitoring, high-speed counting, vibration measurement and real-time arc-welding tracking. Adding the company’s event-based vision technology helps save computational power, memory and energy.

Benefits of installing the solutions in packaging lines and other manufacturing applications include accelerating quality assessment on production lines; improving throughput, yield and overall productivity; positioning, sensing and movement guidance for robots to enable better human collaboration. Additionally, the products facilitate improved equipment monitoring for predictive maintenance and reduced machine downtime via high-frequency vibration measurement.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

IoT-enabled label applicator optimizes production efficiency

IoT-enabled label applicator optimizes production efficiency
Real-time metrics enable more-efficient labeling operations.

The Herma 500 label applicator is an internet of things (IoT)-enabled system that achieves labeling speeds up to 200 meters per minute, handles label widths from 80 to 320 millimeters, and works with roll diameters from 300 to 600mm. From Herma US, the unit uses real-time metrics to optimize production efficiency and create consistent performance.

The Herma 500 offers short setup time and features an industrial-grade Ethernet connection. The user interface incorporates intuitive pictograms on a 4.3-inch touchscreen, allowing ease of access to format management and other adjustable parameters. Operators can access the label applicator remotely through web browsers for off-site operation and adjustment.

Users can access a number of optional upgrades through code activation; firmware is upgraded automatically via Ethernet. Choose from left- or right-hand models for flexible equipment integration.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

Personalized holograms on packaging increase product security

Personalized holograms on packaging increase product security
Customized or personalized information can now be embedded into holograms used for security, including on packaging.

IQ Structures can laser-burn information such as serial numbers into self-destructive hologram stickers.

Holograms aren’t just a way to bring deceased celebrities back to life for one more performance—think the late rapper Tupac Shakur’s posthumous performance at the 2012 Coachella music festival. They’re also an important labeling feature that can help prevent counterfeiting of products. A new solution from IQ Structures that allows for individuation of holographic stickers can be applied to packaging to enhance brand protection, theft prevention and excise tax recovery.

The Czech Republic-based company can laser-burn personalized information into metallic holograms, creating difficult-to-counterfeit labels that also allow critical information, such as serial numbers, to be read with the naked eye.

“IQ Structures invested huge effort into its ability to create such holograms,” Petr Hampl, a spokesman for the company, explained in email to Packaging Digest

The holographic stickers come in a range of shapes and designs and are self-destructive to protect against tampering. If someone attempts to remove one, part of the sticker remains adhered to the surface, causing it to rip apart.

“The attacker would need to get a blank hologram first,” Robert Dvorak, business development director for security at IQ Structures, said in a press release.

The laser-burning of the personalized information can be done at any point in the labeling process, but IQ Structures recommends performing it during the final phase of packaging. The cost is also comparable to traditional holograms for large runs, Hampl adds.

Based in Řež, near Prague, IQ Structures specializes in optical nanotechnologies used for security, anti-counterfeit protection and lightening.

Jamie Hartford is content director for Packaging Digest’s parent company, UBM Americas, Advanced Manufacturing Group.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!

Flexible Packaging

Coder verifies print on flexible packaging to avoid waste and recalls

Coder verifies print on flexible packaging to avoid waste and recalls
Inspecting a code printed on the package rather than on the coder's ribbon lets you ensure correct print position and quality.

Detect-Plus, an add-on module for SmartDate thermal transfer overprinter coders, verifies the presence, position and quality of codes printed directly on film packaging. From Markem-Imaje, it can be purchased new with or retrofitted to SmartDate X40 or X60 coders.

By checking codes on the flexible film packaging itself, the technology helps users avoid costly product recalls and material waste (both product and packaging waste). The module checks the printed information on each pack to ensure codes are present and properly placed. Competitive ribbon check systems can tell if a code has been printed, but not if it is misplaced or completely absent.

The print-and-detect system fits easily into most medium- to high-volume packaging lines. When paired with the SmartDate X60, it can confirm quality of up to 350 packs per minute, at 300 dots per inch. The plug-and-play module does not require additional hardware or software to install. After installation, the user interface engages with the camera to check code conformity on pack. A warning sounds if a fault occurs, alerting the operator to needed adjustment.

Jenni Spinner

Freelance writer and former Packaging Digest senior editor Jenni Spinner is a trade journalist with more than two decades of experience in the field. While she has covered numerous industries (including construction, engineering, building security, food production and public works), packaging remains her favorite.

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EastPack 2019 (June 11-13) is the region's premier packaging event connecting professionals from companies like PepsiCo, Pepperidge Farms and Mars with suppliers offering the latest packaging technologies, including a range of automation solutions, from semi-automatic equipment to sophisticated "smart" systems. Register to attend today!