The packaging industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by automation, recyclability, 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 Robotics in Packaging: Automated Tissue Dispenser.

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.

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, automatic garment packaging, cigarette packaging conveyors, and autonomous vehicles for warehousing are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Mechanically actuated dispenser packaging, automated bundling tools, and automated storage and retrieval containers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are vial filling & sealing conveyors and automated tissue dispenser, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the packaging industry

Automated tissue dispenser is a key innovation area in robotics

An automated tissue dispenser operates using a motion sensor, which dispenses paper towels for the purpose of drying the hands after washing.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established packaging companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated tissue dispenser.

Key players in automated tissue dispenser – 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 tissue dispenser

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Kimberly-Clark 330 Unlock company profile
Unicharm 184 Unlock company profile
Daio Paper 146 Unlock company profile
Procter & Gamble 84 Unlock company profile
Nippon Paper Industries 70 Unlock company profile
SCA Hygiene Products 61 Unlock company profile
GOJO Industries 44 Unlock company profile
Essity 36 Unlock company profile
Oji Holdings 34 Unlock company profile
Reckitt Benckiser Group 22 Unlock company profile
Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget 17 Unlock company profile
Amcor 13 Unlock company profile
Toppan 13 Unlock company profile
Clorox 12 Unlock company profile
Koch Industries 11 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 10 Unlock company profile
Hengan International Group 10 Unlock company profile
Munchkin 10 Unlock company profile
Sca Tissue France 10 Unlock company profile
Kuraray 8 Unlock company profile
Taiki 7 Unlock company profile
Kohler 7 Unlock company profile
Medline Industries 6 Unlock company profile
Air Liquide 6 Unlock company profile
Gordon, Michael 6 Unlock company profile
Top Green World Packaging 5 Unlock company profile
Pluswipes 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Kimberly-Clark is one of the leading patent filers in automated tissue dispenser. Recently, Kimberly-Clark introduced a new dispenser and hand towel recycling scheme with an aim to reduce waste to landfills. Under this scheme, the company will help businesses to recycle their old dispensers and used hand towels.

Some other key patent filers in the automated tissue dispenser space include Unicharm, Daio Paper, and Procter & Gamble.

In terms of application diversity, Essity leads the pack, while SCA Hygiene Products and Sca Tissue France stood in the second and third positions, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Kuraray held the top position, followed by Unicharm and SCA Hygiene Products.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the packaging industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Packaging.


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.