In the ever-evolving landscape of packaging, material choice, manufacturing technology, and lightweighting emerge as key opportunities for innovation, according to a recent report by Industrial Physics.

Manufacturers are on a quest for sustainable alternatives to traditional plastics. Lara Botta, VP of Botta EcoPackaging, emphasises the significance of post-consumer recycled (PCR) materials.

PCR materials offer a valuable option where traditional materials fall short, proving particularly effective in high-volume sectors such as food packaging.

Testing standards and new materials: a delicate balance

The adoption of new materials brings forth challenges in meeting testing standards. As companies explore sustainable alternatives, ensuring compliance with existing standards becomes crucial.

Will Geller, sales director – EMEA at Industrial Physics, advocates testing new materials using established instruments to maintain performance parity.

However, challenges persist, especially for those investing in plastic reduction, lightweighting, and coatings.

Material reduction: automation as the driving force

To reduce costs and enhance productivity, manufacturers are turning to automation.

Nearly half of those surveyed expressed that improving productivity on the production line is a major motivator for exploring new packaging methods.

Automation not only streamlines processes but also aids in creating sustainable, high-quality packaging.

Looking forward, manufacturers foresee promising developments in packaging testing processes and equipment. Automation, new testing methods, and equipment designed for novel materials or standards are anticipated.

Additionally, packaging shape and coatings emerge as areas ripe for innovation, reflecting a broader industry shift towards sustainability and user-centric design.

The study concludes that the packaging industry stands at the cusp of transformative changes.

By embracing sustainable materials, addressing testing challenges, and leveraging automation, manufacturers can not only meet the demand for eco-friendly packaging but also pave the way for a more efficient and sustainable future.