Responding to consumer demands and the environment, the packaging industry is undergoing a transformation toward smarter and more sustainable solutions. In addition, emerging technologies are revolutionizing shipping, inventory management, waste reduction and packaging material choices.
With PACK EXPO on the horizon, packaging manufacturers are gearing up to explore the latest trends that can optimize their production processes. As a leading equipment supplier, EDGE Industrial Technologies is committed to embracing these trends to drive the industry forward. As we look ahead, several key trends stand out, offering insights into the direction the industry is heading.
Top Packaging Trends We See on the Horizon
In this era of business uncertainties, packaging manufacturers must prioritize flexibility in their operations. The concept of flexible production processes has gained traction, as it keeps businesses relevant in dynamic markets. Reevaluating investments in capabilities that may become obsolete is crucial for staying competitive.
When analyzing process enhancements for production flexibility, consider shifts in market trends, technological advancements, regulatory changes, and global events. Assess the versatility of your machinery, including its capacity to handle diverse materials and sizes. Leverage modular equipment units that perform multiple functions. Evaluate the adaptability of your conveyors for seamless movement across the floor and between equipment pieces. Additionally, prioritize machine programs that support rapid changeovers.
Robotics, Automation, and Vision Systems
The value of robotics, automation processes, and vision systems has surged due to challenges with employee recruitment. Escalating labor costs, the need for continuous operations, and waste reduction requirements have spurred interest in these technologies.
While a complete machinery replacement might not be feasible, consider integrating robotics as a starting point. Robotics not only attract new buyers but showcase your commitment to technological advancement for improved customer benefits. These robotic elements can seamlessly enhance existing equipment lines, optimizing pick-and-place operations and end-of-line tasks.
The momentum behind sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solutions continues to grow. Global events and regulatory pressures further drive the need for environmentally responsible operations. Integrating environmental considerations into your processes is now imperative for several reasons, including:
- Aligning with consumer preferences for sustainability, recyclability, and reduced waste.
- Showing commitment to follow government regulations pushing businesses to reduce their environmental footprint. Are your equipment parts recyclable? Are your machine parts long lasting so you don’t need to replace and dispose of them often? Are you reducing waste through your entire company—from less paper in the office to less scrap on the production floor?
- Turning off consumers by using slow decomposing plastic. Biodegradable packaging materials are increasing in popularity. Raw materials such as sugarcane, coconut, hemp, and corn starch are stepping into the spotlight.
The trend toward active packaging falls in line with sustainability goals and offers exciting possibilities. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), highlights that one-third of all the food produced for global consumption goes to waste. This is a significant challenge for food processors and packagers to address. However, active packaging addresses it by releasing antimicrobial agents, which replace traditional absorbers and regulators, to counter bacterial growth in food products.
Startups, such as Impactful Health R&D, are leading the way with innovations, including active film-based technology for extending the shelf life of fresh fish. This biodegradable film incorporates naturally derived antibacterial components, complies with Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) requirements, and preserves the texture of the fish. Such solutions enable food industries to mitigate losses and enhance shelf life.
Edible packaging is an emerging trend that seamlessly aligns with sustainability goals. The pressure on packaging manufacturers to embrace sustainability has spurred the exploration of revolutionary solutions that combine functionality with waste reduction. One example of edible packaging is milk protein products used as casein film. These films offer enhanced food preservation compared to plastic and eliminate scrap and consumer waste.
PACK EXPO promises to be the pinnacle event for packaging manufacturers. Attendees can expect to see solutions aligned with these trends, accompanied by other innovations that help optimize processes.
While we provided a glimpse into what might be featured at the event, other emerging trends on our radar include smart, interactive, and custom packaging practices. These trends will continue reshaping the packaging landscape, offering a competitive edge to those who utilize them.
By monitoring these trends and innovations, EDGE Industrial Technologies is committed to propelling the packaging industry forward, ensuring our partners stay at the forefront of transformative processes.