Pack-Market Portal International Edition

3 Trends in Printed and Flexible Electronics

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More than ever, printed and flexible electronics are on the rise. This is why we took a closer look on the current developments in these fields and gathered some trends for you.

It might be nothing new for you that printed electronics and functional printing are booming right now. Reason enough for us to take a closer look at the current developments in this field. So, here are three key trends in printed and flexible electronics, we gathered for you!

Structural Electronics are on the Way
In many industries, there is an increasing demand for structural electronics. So, the issue is no longer only to produce a printed circuit board (PCB) and to put a protective mantle like a vehicle body around it. Rather, the mantle itself shall come with a “smart skin“ by putting the electronics “into“ it. In some cases, this can involve the electronics not just being functional circuits but also being load-bearing and protective.

The automotive industry, for example, has a huge interest in such structural electronics for sensor technologies inside and outside cars. Also in industries like the photovoltaic, aerospace or consumer goods sector, the impact of structural electronics will grow even more in future.

Material Properties vs. Cost Reduction
When it comes to new technologies cost reduction often is a strong driver of R&D’s efforts. But in the sector of printed electronics, things are a bit different: Investments in new materials and equipment are very expensive for researchers and producers so that the final device is mostly not cheaper for consumers neither. In other words: When it comes to printed electronics the focus for R&D firstly is – and prospectively will be – to create an added value beyond cost reduction such as thinness, light weighting, robustness or flexibility. This means that especially the advantages of material properties will decide on the success of and investments in certain technologies as the huge effort towards developing flexible display technologies shows.

Hybrid Electronics or: Connecting the Well-Tried to the New
This leads to another increasing trend: hybrid electronics. This means to combine flexible printed electronics with conventionally manufactured ones. For example a device’s sensor, battery or display can be perfectly printed because it needs to be thin and flexible. But the device’s integrated circuit may better be produced in a conventional way because in doing so, the electrical performance is higher, the components’ costs are lower and the existing infrastructure of production can be used. To connect these differently manufactured parts means to combine the best attributes of each technology. That is why hybrid electronics will forge ahead.



WorldStar Packaging Awards 2018 is open for entries

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The deadline will be 6 October 2017

Chicago, June 2017 – WPO (World Packaging Organisation – announced that the entries for WorldStar Packaging Awards are now open and the closing date is 6 October, 2017. „We encourage every WPO member in the world to help us promote the largest and most important global packaging award”, said Thomas Schneider, President of WPO.

Packages eligible for WorldStar are those that have already received a national award recognized by WPO. „In its 50th year, WorldStar is one of the major events of WPO and last year attracted 291 entries from 35 countries around the world. As always, our aim for our next competition is to increase the number of entries and countries participating”, adds Mr. Schneider.

The calendar for the next edition is:

6 October 2017 - Closing date for entries which will be judged in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 9 November 2017.

December, 2017 – Results announced.

2 May 2018 - Awards Presentations and Gala Evening, Marriott Resort, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia.


drupa 2020 invites exhibitors from all over the world

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Kick-off for no. 1 printing technologies event / Highlight topics showcase the industry’s innovative force / New key visual “embrace the future”

The race is on for drupa 2020! With a clear strategic alignment, a new communication strategy and pioneering highlight topics, the international flagship fair for printing technologies welcomes exhibitors from all over the world to present their innovations from 16 until 26 June 2020 in Düsseldorf. Online registration for exhibitors via is now open. Registered exhibitors will soon receive their printed version of the official drupa 2020 brochure in the post. Registration closes on 31 October 2018. The global marketing campaign was launched at interpack 2017, the most important event of the international packaging industry and all related processors, which took place from 4 until 10 May. At interpack 2017, drupa 2020 was presented to international media partners during a major press conference.

The emotive advancement of the successful key visual originally developed for drupa 2016 put the industry in the right mood for the event in 2020. The design concept, implemented by Agentur Niehaus Knüwer and friends, refers to the dramatic changes the industry has encountered during the past few years: the new key visual signifies beauty, aesthetic appeal, creativity and depth. Sabine Geldermann, Director of drupa and Global Head Print Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf, explains the key visual’s exquisite appearance and tactile effect: „The delicate butterfly wings symbolize departure, change – a transformation process that affects all industries, but particularly the traditional print industry, every company, everybody. Transformation moves companies to rethink their strategies, adapt to new processes and move into new business models – a change that also takes place in people’s minds. Different individuals have already moved into the focus of the new marketing campaign. On the one hand, it underlines the international alignment of the drupa trade fair, on the other, it shows that trade fairs stand for emotive power and experience and, last but not least, it shows that ”people are business”. The heads are surrounded by colour digits that symbolize the wide variety of print applications. Below the slogan “embrace the future” you find the drupa 2020 invitation extended to exhibitors and visitors, who are welcome to experience and accept technological innovation, trends and future challenges, so as to implement them into their own corporate workflows and tap into new potential.“

With this strategy, drupa 2020 will write a new chapter in the 2016 success story and prove once again that no other event in this industry has a stronger international attraction and radiance. drupa 2020 will continue this strategic realignment and focus on future topics with major growth potential. The trade fair profile prescribes a clearly defined structure, which encompasses the following product groups

1. Prepress / Print
2. Premedia /Multichannel
3. Post press / Converting / Packaging
4. Future Technologies
5. Materials
6. Equipment / Services / Infrastructure

Highlight topics: packaging production, functional printing, 3D printing, industrial printing
In the wake of growing international markets and increasingly demanding requirements from the industry and manufacturers of branded products, the packaging production segment has again been selected as one of the most important topics for drupa 2020. Technological developments in packaging and labelling have engendered innovative solutions in the areas of customizing and personalization, while technologies such as smart and intelligent packaging, packaging design and finishing have become increasingly important. All of these developments are changing the industry. In order to assume an active and successful role in this competitive market, companies need to stay informed about the new technologies that many exhibitors will show at drupa 2020.

At drupa 2020, packaging will have a special slot called Touchpoint Packaging. Launched at drupa 2016, this forum created quite a stir.  It is organised and hosted in close cooperation with the European Packaging Design Association (epda), Europe’s leading association of brand and packaging designers.

It will cover the entire packaging production chain from the brand, materials, design, print right through to finishing and sales. The interaction between all involved professions – branded products manufacturers, designers, material manufacturers and a high-calibre panel of companies from the printing and finishing industry – will turn this forum into a special place of inspiration where solutions and answers to relevant questions for future developments will be presented.

The future will become tangible in all its facets, and the focus will be on all that is new, unconventional and surprising. An event titled AMAZING, INSPIRING, EXCITING and UNEXPECTED hosted by Best Cases, innovative technology applications and visionary packaging solutions for different markets welcome visitors to an interactive brainstorming session with exhibitors.

The forum addresses interested manufacturers of branded products and designers as well as companies from the packaging segment, who are provided with an opportunity to join the Touchpoint Packaging team. In addition to experienced professionals we also welcome young talented people from all related areas and professions.

Among the other highlight topics showcased at drupa 2020 are subjects such as functional printing, 3D printing and industrial printing. These areas of application have major potential and therefore provide important new markets. The related technologies are also extremely important for the global packaging market, as they provide intelligent packaging with additional functions, while different printing technologies allow the use of a wide range of printing substrates. In the segment of industrial printing, the trade fair will focus on major issues such as “artificial intelligence” and “robotics”, new workflows in the production process and the “next generation of industry 4.0” as all of these will have a major impact on the workplace and industry environment.

drupa 2020 – no. 1 for printing technologies – will present all technical processing methods for the global printing and media industry as well as for the packaging industry. Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, Chairman and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, is convinced: „With the innovative products presented by our international exhibitors and the extensive supporting programme, drupa 2020 will set new trends. It inspires markets and vertical industries and as such, it provides exceptional networking opportunities, chances and ideas for excellent business deals. drupa focuses on the industry’s innovative force, provides pioneering technologies with a platform for highlight topics and presents an extensive supporting programme – i.e. the “Touchpoints”, the “drupa cube” and the “dip” – that encourages the transfer of knowledge and dialogue. No other event is more relevant for the entire industry.“


Energy efficiency

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Energy efficiency in the food industry: Decentralised supply concepts and renewable energy sources pave the way for the climate change.

In the scope of the Paris climate protection agreement, Germany has committed itself to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 by 55 percent compared to the level of 1990. Only two things can help here: Designing the processes as energy-saving and efficiently as possible and relying on renewable energy. Which technologies do the food and beverage manufacturers need to reduce the consumption of energy in the production processes? Anuga FoodTec from 20 to 23 March 2018 in Cologne will provide the answers to this question.

Everyone is talking about the energy turnaround. At Malzers in Gelsenkirchen this principle has long since become everyday routine. For two and a half million Euro, the industrial bakery installed a gas-driven combined heat and power (CHP) plant including a twelve-cylinder engine, which drives a generator to produce energy. Since then, combined with a photovoltaic system spanning 7,000 square metres, Malzers has been generating around three quarters of the required energy consumption itself. Furthermore, the CHP plant provides heat, refrigeration and steam and is coupled with an absorption cooling system - in this way the waste heat that is not needed in the summer can be implemented to refrigerate the raw materials. The fact that the company reduces its carbon dioxide emissions by 2,000 tonnes a year demonstrates that this is not purely conceived as an economic solution, but also protects the environment.

Components for a sustainable energy supply
The coupling of power and heat is one of the key technologies demonstrated at Anuga FoodTec that enables the food manufacturers to become less dependent on energy suppliers. In Germany the final energy consumption of the industry has remained at a constant level of around 60 terawatt hours a year for several years. The rising energy prices are becoming an ever-increasing cost factor, where each saved kilowatt hour counts. The average share of the energy costs in the value chain of the milk industry is around five to eight percent, in the meat processing industry it is up to 15 percent. Against this backdrop, investments in the implementation of highly efficient CHP systems are as a rule amortised within two to six years.

However, the companies only remain competitive if they succeed in integrating more photovoltaic systems or biogas plants and cogeneration units into the operational power supply system long-term. Intelligent systems take care of the coordination between the generation, distribution, storage and consumption of the decentrally produced power. The correlation between the energy turnaround and the fourth industrial revolution becomes apparent at the latest here, because the networked production in the smart factory also guarantees a higher transparency of the energy flows. This close coupling of the food production to the energy industry via intelligent power grids (smart grids) makes a contribution to the energy turnaround that is not to be underestimated - and offers the company a significant saving potential. Thanks to the intelligent network control they can flexibly react to seasonal fluctuations in the demand and avoid expensive peak loads.

Use of energy from the environment
Industry 4.0 is proving to be a direct pacemaker for the energy turnaround at field level. More and more sensors are implemented for the continual monitoring of ramified production plants, which in turn don't need a battery since they send their data by radio transmission. They directly "harvest" the required energy from the environment via energy harvesting. This means processes that transform the energy available on-site from temperature gradients, solar radiation or mechanical movements into usable energy.

An example here is the low energy sensor BlueTEG of the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS. It measures values such as the ambient temperature or acceleration rates and sends these to a tablet via Bluetooth. It uses the temperature difference between a source of heat and the environment to gain the electrical energy needed to power the electronics. In this way, autark, maintenance-free and wireless systems with almost unlimited stand-by times become reality. The areas of application include among others sensor networks for the monitoring of machines and plants (condition monitoring), tracking systems and sensors for building automation. The market of the energy harvesting systems is still in a very early phase, however the keyword will be present at the stands of many exhibitors from the automation section at the Cologne fair grounds.

The basis for more energy efficiency
From the field level through to the production planning - the implementation of an IT-supported energy management system according to DIN EN ISO 50001 is always the starting point for considerable savings. This enables food manufacturers to determine, document and continually improve the consumption of their plants. As scalable systems they can be integrated into the process control system at any time in the form of add-ons. Thus, in addition to the plants for the generation of energy and the sensors for monitoring the operating states, at Anuga FoodTec in Cologne the focus will also be on the corresponding software solutions. They are what initially enable the producers to sustainably improved processes, permanently increase efficiency and thus save costs as well as reduce the greenhouse gas emissions.

The next Anuga FoodTec will take place from 20 to 23 March 2018 in Cologne. The trade fair is jointly organised by Koelnmesse and the German Agricultural Society (DLG).

Further Information is available at:


WPO launches new Position Papers to the global packaging community

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The new publications are about ‘Education & Training in Packaging’ and ‘Packaging and Supply Chain Management’.

Chicago (USA), The WPO (World Packaging Organisation) published two new Position Papers that are available for downloading at the official Organisation´s webpage The Position Paper on ‘Education & Training in Packaging’, written by WPO Vice President, Pierre Pienaar, gives a clear and overall understanding of what packaging is and the role that education can and should have in the packaging field.

The purpose of this paper is to help bring about on-going discussion on the implications of global packaging education in the developed and developing world. This paper is one of WPO’s position papers intended to clearly state the Organisation’s views and thinking on key issues relevant to packaging education today. The goals of this paper are to further explore and understand packaging education a more globalised society; to recognize the importance that WPO gives to the subject matter.

Consequently, to outline WPO’s position in this regard. The aim is to focus WPO’s standard-setting, capacity building and functions to assist Member Countries in the formulation of appropriate policies and strategies to meet the challenges posed to packaging education in a globalised world. As this is a rapidly developing field, the outlined position is likely to evolve as the debate progresses and will be subject to subsequent revisions”, states Pienaar in the introduction chapter.

Vice President of Packaging Science and Economics, Dr. Carl Olsmats, responsible for writing the Position Paper on ‘Packaging and Supply Chain Management’, justifies the importance of this publication concluding:” It is quite clear that packaging can contribute significantly to overall supply chain performance. To realize this potential, it is important for the packaging industry to build and develop long-term relations not only with the direct customers, but also customers’ customers and ultimately end-users. Packaging systems that are fit for use and designated for special roles and functions in the supply chain are necessary. Functional requirements include sustainability demands like adopting and blending intore-use or recycling systems on local markets. Supply chain integration is a key packaging strategy to fulfill the holistic packaging mission to save more resources than it costs.”

To download both Position Papers, click here >>


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