The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by recyclability, automation, and increasing the shelf life of the product, and growing importance of technologies such as biodegradable packaging, Internet of Packaging, and active packaging. In the last three years alone, there have been over 310,000 patents filed and granted in the packaging industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Internet of Things in Packaging: Automated Bundling Tools.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

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Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

80+ innovations will shape the packaging industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the packaging industry using innovation intensity models built on over 87,000 patents, there are 80+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, autonomous vehicles for warehousing, shipment tracking and authentication, and automated mixers and dispensers are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Mechanically actuated dispenser packaging, and automated bundling tools are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are automated tissue dispenser and dosage metering type vials, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the packaging industry

Automated bundling tools is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

An automated bundling tool is used for polyethylene films that are suitable where the packaging needs a thicker film. It is used for bundle packaging of jars, plastic bottles, and cans.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated bundling tools.

Key players in automated bundling tools – a disruptive innovation in the packaging industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to automated bundling tools

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Nippon Shuppan Hanbai 154 Unlock Company Profile
Crown Holdings 106 Unlock Company Profile
Orgapack 39 Unlock Company Profile
FROMM 21 Unlock Company Profile
Sms Logistiksysteme 17 Unlock Company Profile
Leonard Green & Partners 16 Unlock Company Profile
Andritz 15 Unlock Company Profile
Elbit Systems 14 Unlock Company Profile
IDEX 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toyota Industries 14 Unlock Company Profile
Makita 13 Unlock Company Profile
Hangzhou Youngsun Intelligent Equipment 12 Unlock Company Profile
Aptiv 10 Unlock Company Profile
Teufelberger Holding 10 Unlock Company Profile
Titan Umreifungstechnik 9 Unlock Company Profile
Otsuka Holdings 8 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 6 Unlock Company Profile
Panduit 5 Unlock Company Profile
MOSCA 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Nippon Shuppan Hanbai is one of the leading patent filers in automated bundling tools. Some other key patent filers in the space include Crown, Orgapack, and FROMM. Crown announced its plans for new production sites in Nevada, US. As global beverage brand owners struggle to source aluminium cans, Crown will open a two-line plant in Mesquite, Nevada, in the second quarter of 2023.

In terms of application diversity, Leonard Green & Partners leads the pack. Andritz and Nippon Shuppan stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Sms Logistiksysteme held the top position, followed by Andritz and Toyota Industries.

With manufacturers looking to reduce cost and increase efficiency, automated bundling tools will potentially become an important aspect in the packaging industry.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in Packaging.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.