The Interpack is not just a collection of packaging machine and materials on show. Interpack is more. InnovationsParc Packaging 2011 is built around the theme “Quality of Life” and presents an all-embracing concept directed at the individual which correlates directly with consumer behaviour and is thus highly relevant to the packaging sector, branded goods manufacturers and retailers. Quality of Life finds expression in the five dimensions of Meaning, Health, Identity, Simplicity and Aesthetics. Let’s define them:
1. Simplicity (Reduction, Convenience)
Simplicity in the sense of quality of life means the conscious reduction of complexity. It is the pursuit for happiness in concentrating on the essential.
2. Identity (Belonging)
Identity in the sense of quality of life means feeling comfortable in an increasingly global and complex world.
3. Health (Wellbeing)
Health is at the top of the list of life’s priorities and thus is one of the major if not the component of quality of life. It is no longer considered a given fact but something that can be actively influenced. All societal trends indicate that prevention will become increasingly important, and more and more will be left to the individual’s responsibility.
4. Aesthetics (Design)
Aesthetics contributes to the quality of life by enriching our every day life with beauty and elegance. While this statement sounds somewhat simple it is much more difficult to narrow the term further down. On the other hand, of course, not everything is aesthetic.
5. Meaning (Sustainability, Intelligence)
Meaning is the major component of quality of life because the sense of meaningful action gives our life direction. The realisation that resources are not limitless moves sustainable economics and consumption to the very heart of society’s debate on meaning.
This brings us to “Ecological importance: Sustainable packaging”
Sustainability, is one of the most important topics next to economic efficiency when it comes down to packaging. Interpack reporter Emily Whigham spoke to experts about bio-plastics and metal being ecologically-friendly alternatives. Watch the video.
With the above in mind, we searched the exhibition for good examples. Here is what I found, but I have to say there is much more.
Bio-plastics to pass one million tonne mark in 2011
Global bio-plastics production capacity will more than double from 2010 to 2015. Capacity is predicted to pass the one million tonne mark already in 2011, according to a current study presented by the industry association European Bioplastics in cooperation with the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover.
A further change is evident in the composition of global production volume. In 2010, the bio- plastics branch primarily produced biodegradable materials, totalling around 400,000 tonnes (compared to 300,000 tonnes of bio-based plastics). This ratio will be reversed in the coming years – despite overall growth. The market study shows that bio-based plastics, with a total of around one million tonnes, will make up the majority of production capacity in 2015. Biodegradable materials will, however, also grow substantially and will reach about 700,000 tonnes by then, according to Prof. Dr. (Eng.) Hans-Josef Endres of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Hanover.
Essential to this rapid growth is the swift expansion of bio-plastics into an ever-increasing number of applications. From packaging to car manufacture to toys, carpets and electronic components, bio-plastics are in demand as never before. The strongly growing group of durable bio-based plastics appeals strongly to the packaging market. Several large brand producers such as Danone and Coca-Cola have brought products in bio-based packaging to the market.
Europe is the world’s largest and most interesting market for bio-plastics and is the leader in research and development. The number of production facilities, in contrast, is growing most markedly in Asia and South America.
Natural milk in pouches – The Hemme Milchbeutel
Hemme Milch GmbH & Co, in Wedemark, Germany has its roots in more than 400 years of traditional processing of the very best natural milk products. Not much is required at Hemme for this – mother nature and loving the work they do. And as Hemme’s daily fresh milk is a pure natural product, the new milk pouch also needs to match up to this.
The pouch, designed by Heine Warnecke Design, in Hannover, Germany, is made of thin film with an air-filled handle. This gives the packaging stability and allows for pouring the milk easily as out of a pot. The milk bag of Hemme Milch is made from up to 40% natural chalk (calcium carbonate). Coupled with recyclable plastic this produces a very light package. With a weight of only 16g it is, compared to other disposable packaging, more economical in energy and water consumption. It also reduces the waste volume in comparison by an impressive 66%.
I wrote about this chalk-plastic pouch some time ago, when it was introduced in the UK. Go for more information to my article: “Milk in a Pouch – Innovative and Sustainable”
Medisize’s new innovation in pharmaceutical packaging
Visitors to Interpack see at the Medisize booth, a dosing system that has been developed for pharmaceutical liquids that is convincingly more comfortable to handle, straightforward and safe to use. The most important advantage for the user is, that there is no need for explanations, it is simply self-explanatory.
The 2K Dosing System is used in connection with remedies/liquids such as cough linctuses, liquid medication for the treatment of stomach, etc. to be taken orally. The system is available for use with hygiene liquids, such as mouthwashes and also for liquid foodstuffs that have to be administered in precise dosages.
The two principal components (apart from the container and riser tube) are the dosing head and closure. At the closure opening point the precisely measured liquid reaches the dosing head – to an accuracy of +/- 5%.
The 2K Dosing System operates according to the principal of vacuum pressure delivery. By turning the screw closure the dosage head is filled with exact precision. The development dispenses with awkward and imprecise administration implements such as spoons, measuring cups, and bottle caps etc. One turn and filling is perfect.
Depending on customer specifications, the dosing head can be adapted to dosage volumes between 1 ml to 20 ml. Child safety locking, TE original closure and special geometries are available as optional extras. Currently, the bottle or container sizes correspond to the system and comprise of volumes up to 750 ml.
Multivac presents developments in HPP technology
Consumers prefer foods that are as natural as possible with the fewest chemical preservatives. Consumer advocates demand a high level of food safety to avoid health hazards. High-pressure treatment (High Pressure Processing, HPP) of packaged food is generally recognised as one of the most promising technologies for the reduction of harmful bacteria in meat and poultry products as well as in other foodstuffs. It deactivates micro-organisms, such as salmonella or listeria, without the original nutritional value or the taste of the product being lost.
Multivac has succeeded in integrating high-pressure treatment into automated packaging lines and in applying the HPP treatment to MAP packs. Multivac and Uhde High Pressure Technologies developed the HPP process that avoids damage to the materials by the controlled increase and decrease of pressure in the autoclave as well as by coordinated MAP packing concepts.
With the help of the so-called ‘holding torque’ the system creates short breaks, in which the polymer can regenerate. In this way, the packaging material is placed under much less stress and retains its functionality, even after the high-pressure treatment.
To be able to integrate high-pressure treatment in the packaging line, the Allgäu machine builder developed a new, groundbreaking approach for the transport containers. The innovative loading baskets have special inserts to minimize the unfilled volume of round containers.
Maximum machine throughput guarantees high efficiency. Alongside single chamber systems with volumes of 55, 160 and 350 litres, Multivac developed a tandem system with a capacity of 700 litres (2 x 350 litres).
CarryPack – Beverage package to go
This promotional packaging, developed by Thimm Verpackung, in Northeim, Germany, is a stable carrying solution for beverage cartons, such Tetra Pak and SIG Combibloc, and will help consumers to easily transport their beverage cartons home from the store. Especially for single households and the elderly, this packaging unit has the optimal size.
The construction also allows for the assembly of a special assortment of beverages by the producer. The exterior view of the packaging can be adapted in a variety of ways to allow for an optimal advertising message and to achieve a synergy with the primary packaging. In terms of process, this packaging solution can be implemented both mechanically and manually.
A build in reinforcing tape provides high load capacity of the integrated carry handle. Blocking flaps reach under the corner tabs of the beverage carton, thus ensuring stability.
The packaging can be varied and the design of the primary package to be adapted. This ensures a consistent brand image. Compared with the conventional corrugated trays and plastic shrink films that are currently used to bundle a number of sales units, Thimm’s CarryPack provides a material-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative.
Tomorrow I will show more interesting developments in packaging machines as well as in design and materials.