What if there was a way to ensure product quality and safety during shipping, prolong shelf life of perishable goods, and gather valuable data from your supply chain and consumers? It may all sound too good to be true – but in fact, it’s possible with smart packaging technology.
The world of packaging has evolved beyond standard cardboard boxes and plastic containers. A rapidly growing market, the demand for smart packaging is expected to grow from $15.1 billion in 2016 to $23.7 billion by 2023.
While conventional packaging is designed for product storage, displaying printed information, and branding, smart packaging adds sophisticated capabilities through printed electronics, functional inks and coatings, and other innovative materials. This functionality can take place on the exterior or interior of packaging.
Smart Packaging is categorized by two types: active packaging and intelligent packaging. Active packaging usually is on the interior of the packaging to interact with the contents inside. Intelligent packaging adds a form of communication with the user by providing information about package freshness, supply chain, brand marketing and more.
Smart packaging has become increasingly popular in the food and beverage, healthcare, and personal care industries – but the technology can be beneficial for nearly any field where quality control and real-time information is critical.
Depending on your product and objectives, smart packaging can be designed to achieve a range of benefits, including:
- Access to supply chain and consumer data
- Improved freshness and quality of food and pharmaceuticals
- Improved compliance, authentication, and traceability
- Extended shelf life
- Anti-counterfeiting and brand security
- Reduced waste and costs
- Optimized logistics
While the potential of smart packaging is limitless, here are popular uses of the technology today:
- Printed electronics and sensors – Flexible printed electronics can be applied to a wide range of materials to add compact circuits and sensors to packaging.
- Printed indicators – Using specialty inks that change color when exposed to a specific environmental condition (such as temperature), printed indicators can be incorporated onto packaging to ensure consistent quality and improve cold-chain management.
- Data-embedded barcodes and quick response (QR) codes – When printed onto packaging, these codes can be scanned to access important data or improve traceability.
- Smart labels – Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near field communication (NFC) chips can allow packaging to transmit data without direct contact.
- Printed labels – Functional inks and durable coatings can be applied on labels or directly onto packaging materials.
Smart packaging can be an effective, cost-efficient way to gain an edge in a competitive business environment. For optimal results, active and intelligent packaging should be customized to your specific requirements. At Tapecon, we provide manufacturing support for intelligent packaging applications by combining extensive printing and converting capabilities with materials expertise to create your ideal smart packaging solution.