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How Intelligent Packaging makes Printing Industry Evolve Let's explore the potential of intelligent printing and packaging segment

By Abhishek Agarwal

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Printed technologies have evolved with the packaging requirements, laws and customer requirements over a period of time. Digitalization and technologies are creating new framework for the development of smart and intelligent applications; this requires printed technologies to improve their functionality in the processing and printing of packaging information to make them active and intelligent packaging.

The future of Intelligent Packaging

As per the report titled, The Future of Active and Intelligent Packaging to 2023 by Smithers Pira, the active packaging market is valued at $4.62 billion in 2018. The market is expected to grow moderately with an average rate of 4.0% for underdeveloped economies, with less penetration of active and intelligent packaging techniques. On the other hand market for Intelligent Packaging will surpass $1 billion in value with major changes occurring around printed coding and marking, chemical sensor/output devices, electronic environmental sensors, logic circuitry, and antennas—designed for the communicate dynamic communication of information within the supply chain, or, increasingly, direct to the consumer.

There are exciting opportunities that are coming up with the advancement in intelligent packaging and smart packaging for printers. Here are some of the ways that will change print businesses focusing on packaging and printing.

Pure "Intelligent Packaging' Print Manufacturing Business

The existing printing done for packaging industry entails traditional processes, techniques and workflows without being integrated with the digital technologies. The new intelligent and smart packaging requirements present an opportunity for the development of printing technologies and how they can be applied and integrated with the digitalization of packaging materials. Intelligent packaging presents an opportunity for printers to invest in technologies that can be clubbed with digitalization to give digital and smart packaging solutions of future.

With the advent of intelligent, print manufacturers need to change a lot around the software and workflow. Printers are required to learn about NFC (Near Field Communication) and RFID(Radio-frequency Identification) technologies and how to print them on paper, cardboard, electronics and other printed devices. These technologies when printed on paper and other printed materials in form of tags, labels, stickers, barcode etc. can actually help companies in storing data and using it for creating data-driven businesses.

Intelligent Packaging Consulting

Intelligent packaging is still a new market and holds a great potential. This provides an opportunity for providing consulting to brand, food manufacturing and processing companies, pharma companies, small and medium printing businesses to understand and start implementing it in their businesses. Printers understand about the current packaging solutions and collaborating with industry bodies that are working in the areas of intelligent packaging solutions can establish a business model that provide consulting for intelligent packaging solution. It becomes easy for printing companies to understand about packaging requirement and to understand about technology that goes in creating intelligent packaging industry associations can help them.

The one more advantage of printing businesses that are already providing active packaging to customers is to understand materials and their properties to keep the products fresh and consumable. Their practical knowledge when clubbed with industry bodies associated with research institutes can pave way for many small medium printing businesses to adopt intelligent packaging manufacturing business model.

Data Intelligence for packaging solutions

Printers can contribute more than just being printing NFC and RFID tags and labels over packaging and printing materials. The whole value chain of intelligent printing and packaging requires printers that can understand after and before nuances intelligent and smart packaging. The key aspects of intelligent and smart packaging are to capture data and establish connection between brands and customers. Intelligent packaging and smart packaging revolves around changing processes on which businesses work.

Mostly businesses tend to have less control over the products or items once they are shipped out of warehouses and move ahead in supply chain. Intelligent packaging supports enterprise-wide internal supply chain management, production process, real-time automation and control, data collection and reporting. The brands looking to innovate with packaging solutions are seeking partners who can provide expertise around printing intelligent packaging and providing expertise around data that comes with the supply chain management, production processes and data collection and reporting. This kind of intelligent packaging is especially for food processing and packaging brand along with products like pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, pet foods etc. whose properties tend to change over a period of time. Intelligent packaging can send triggers and notifications before the expiry of the product or avoiding unnecessary to and fro costs involved in logistics for the same.

Printed Electronics

Printed electronics is getting popularity among the intelligent and smart packaging segment. Printed electronics are already being produced with QR codes with limited data encoded to read model or warranty or any other information. The drawbacks associated with the current QR codes is the limited information and interfering with the designed graphics. The biggest opportunity for printing forms is to print electronic devices and involve functionalities to inculcate sensory equipment for reducing costs and expanding intelligent packaging solutions. There's a huge gap companies are seeking to get specialized technology partners for developing intelligent printed electronics. This gap is now seeing alliances between specialist technology providers and leading companies in the packaging and print sectors.

Handy tips to enter the market

Printing is never dead and is not going to be anytime soon but the printing game has been revolutionized with the digitalization and data approach being approached by the companies.

With this new software and technologies that are going to invade printers, it is essential to look for ways to integrate them with the web to print and Print MIS solutions that are already being used up by printers.

The rise of the connected economy does not want to miss any physical or digital touch point to be missed that can lead to improving productivity, sustainability and economic performance through faster time to market, lower total cost of ownership, improved asset utilization and enterprise risk management. With so much of potential in the intelligent printing and packaging segment, it is the right time for printers to enter the market and learn about intelligent packaging solutions.

Abhishek Agarwal

CEO & Co-Founder of Design’N’Buy, Mobicommerce & OhoShop

Abhishek Agarwal, CEO & Co-Founder of Design’N’Buy, Mobicommerce & OhoShop, comes with more than 14 years of experience in Web-to-Print & IT. He hold his expertise in delivering innovate and unique ideas in w2p. He has a clan of experts that deliver challenging and exciting results. Delivering customized solutions with utmost perfection has been his life’s motto.

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