A recent analysis from the Association for Packaging and Processing Technologies (PMMI) Business Intelligence reveals seven emerging trends in the packaging machinery industry in the United States, which are expected to emerge elsewhere as well. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking or surprising on the list; instead, it’s a collection of trends that have been developing for several years, all at a quick pace.
Packaging machinery output total shipments in the United States climbed 14.7% between 2015 and 2020, according to the 2021 State of the Industry US Packaging Machinery report, with a 22.3% in packaging order backlog. The seven areas that are now affecting the packing machinery industry, according to PMMI, vary from e-commerce to sustainability to technology and include the following:
In the packaging industry, vertical form fill and seal machine are common for food packaging and other products that require automated assembly-line packaging.
1. Flexible Packaging and Sustainability
Due to consumer demand, several food manufacturers have invested in packaging technologies and incorporated sustainability measures in their manufacturing and packaging lines. However, according to the PMMI research, machine improvements or tweaks are frequently required to reach sustainable packaging targets. The problems that CPGs confront in transitioning to more sustainable packaging allow Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to collaborate with users on new applications:
- A more effective procedure for emptying and repacking the contents of a pallet into varying sizes or variety packs is required, with an emphasis on lowering material wastage.
- To accommodate sustainability methods like utilizing the right size box, machines must operate a variety of style boxes. Case packers with a smaller footprint can aid in meeting environmental goals by lowering energy consumption.
- Conveyors and other secondary packaging devices must be able to accommodate material reduction measures, such as lightweight corrugated materials.
Moreover, the flexible packaging industry is starting to address the need for recyclable and sustainable packaging by developing eco-friendly or biodegradable materials such as film and reclosable pouch zippers.
1. Legislation on Waste Reduction
US legislators in June 2020 presented the Plastic Waste Reduction and Recycling Act. If approved, the act will require the Office of Science and Technology Policy director to develop a plastic waste reduction and recycling program to boost the US recycling industry’s worldwide competitiveness. The act also intends to eliminate plastic waste and promote research and development of recycling infrastructure technologies.
2. Material Innovations
Several F&B companies are increasingly embracing recyclable board-based packaging, 100% recycled paper packaging, and biodegradable packaging, notably in the coffee and tea industries. Some businesses have even committed to long-term research in Vacuum packaging material innovations.
Ransomware hacks on major retailers and food and beverage companies like Target, Wendy’s, Mondelez, Cadbury, Campari, Arizona Beverages, and JBS, the world’s top meat processor, underscore the susceptibility of manufacturers’ critical infrastructure throughout the industrial supply chain to rising levels of cyberattacks.
4. Wireless Connectivity and IIoT
The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) influences the packaging industry’s product life cycle, such as supply chain, maintenance, operation, and design.
According to the paper, traditional wireless networks lagged in smart manufacturing due to their incapacity to maintain reliable connections and latencies. Still, innovations that outperform older wireless technologies like Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are developing.
5. Robotics and Automation
More packaging machinery businesses adopt automation in their packaging lines and employ smart manufacturing – such as machine vision – to achieve improved productivity and effectiveness. With the advancement of 5G, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the rising IoT environment, the robotics sector within the packaging machines industry is also fast developing. You can improve all these skills from this RPA UiPath Certification Online Course . Cobots, or collaborative robots, are meant to make it safer for people to work in close enough proximity in the age of Covid.
Of course, e-commerce has gained significance in the industry (as it has in many others!). Revenue of coffee and tea products sold online, for instance, skyrocketed during the pandemic and continues to soar. The use of more pouches and readily packable trays rather than glass is becoming more popular in e-commerce packaging.
According to this research, as e-commerce necessitates more touchpoints to connect to customers, more suitable, professional packaging, and supply chain constraints, demand for packaging machinery will keep rising.