The packaging industry has experienced stable growth in recent years and is transforming gradually. Customer requirements, growing purchasing power or more intensive use of technology influence its development. Current trends cover two main areas: sustainability and automation.
1. Reuse of raw materials and waste
In terms of European legislation, there is an intensive development regarding waste as well as a move towards a circular economy that promotes the reuse of raw materials.
Therefore, packaging solutions are available that contain resins made from end-user (PCR) or the production process (PIR) waste. They are resource-saving and reduce the amount of waste in landfills. An example of the final product using such material can be the group packaging of toilet paper from our subsidiary Chemosvit Folie.
However, it is not just plastic waste. The production of rotogravure printing forms also enables the re-utilization of raw materials (copper), and even the steel base has the durability of up to decades.
A great challenge and opportunity is to find solutions for the recovery of solvents from the gravure process and their ecological disposal. Other drying principles than the usual air and heat drying are also being tested.
2. Recyclable and biodegradable packaging
The growing interest of end consumers in sustainability increases the pressure on manufacturers to deliver solutions that meet these requirements. It results in the gradual replacement of multi-layer packaging with packaging from only one type of material, which means easier recycling.
Alternative materials that have properties comparable to conventional plastics are also gaining prominence. Undoubtedly, the ban on the use of single-use plastics, for which there is a substitute, also contributes to this.
3. Production automation
The current pandemic has accelerated the introduction of automation at all stages of packaging production, from printing plates preparation to palletizing.
Automation is already standard in rotogravure printing form preparation. It uses, for example, the application of fully automatic production lines or the identification of cylinders using RFID chips. At the same time, a significant reduction in the required order exchange times can reduce the energy consumption of the process.
The use of robotic arms helps eliminate staff errors while ensuring the safe handling of sensitive products.
Automation of production lines is related to a large extent to the labour shortage or the effort to speed up the process. This year, the machinery manufacturers introduced solutions that would ensure the exchange of orders within a few minutes.
There is an assumption that the sustainability and automation trends will continue in the coming year. Do you consider incorporating sustainability into packaging for your products? Contact us, our colleagues from the subsidiary Chemosvit Folie will be happy to help you.