Innovation Zone ThePackHub -

Welcome to this week’s ThePackHub Innovation Zone snapshot.

ThePackHub’s innovation radar has been detecting some great packaging initiatives and we have picked four recent examples for you to peruse below.

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#1 E-paper cup is powered by hot coffee

Created and designed in Finland, Muki is an innovative reusable coffee cup that has an e-paper display powered by its contents. It uses the thermal energy of the coffee to power the cup display. What might be particularly appealing to consumers, is the ability to change the screen visual throughout the day to suits moods and habits. The mug comes with an app that allows uploading and sending images to friends’ mugs. A double plastic structure protects the electronic parts. Bluetooth connects the cup to the user’s smartphone. Patent applications in the USA, the EU and many other markets have been made. This could have several packaging applications in due course.

More info in The Innovation Zone.


#2 Recycling boost with research looking to replace carbon black in plastic packs

The ongoing challenge of recycling black plastic is being taken on with a new two-year research project. The initiative is backed by the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and aims to replace the carbon black in plastic packaging to improve recycling rates. Presently, carbon black makes the plastic trays invisible to sorting machines and it is estimated that around 1.3 billion trays a year are not recycled. Lincolnshire-based compounding specialist Luxus is working with rigid plastics manufacturer One51 and Swedish processor Polykemi. The aim is to seek alternatives that are detectable by near-infrared (NIR) sorting technologies.  The work is a progression of previous work to identify detectable alternatives by the Luxus owned masterbatch supplier Colour Tone.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

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#3 UV inks allow for discrete product traceability codes

Huntingdon based Videojet has announced the provision of a selection of UV fluorescing inks that can be used to deliver discrete codes for product traceability purposes. The inks can be used for both Thermal Inkjet as well as Continuous Inkjet printing technologies and deliver great adhesion to a variety of substrates  To prevent product mix-up as well as to ensure traceability, pharmaceutical products such as vials and injectable products are marked with a Data Matrix barcode identifier.  Ultraviolet inks are seen as an effective solution for pharmaceutical brand owners looking for an invisible traceability feature.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

#4 Largest ever NFC wine and spirits campaign connects 126,000 consumers

Spanish winemaker Barbadillo has launched a consumer campaign for their best selling Castillo de San Diego wine with an interactive smart bottle initiative. Barbadillo is adding NFC (Near Field Communication) tags to 126,000 bottles, which is claimed to be the largest use of NFC tags for consumer engagement in the wine and spirts industry so far attempted in the world. A neck collar on each bottle is NFC-enabled and consumers simply need to tap with their smartphone. They  have the opportunity to win one of 12 prizes. There is also a code on the cork, which consumers can submit via their mobile for the chance of another instant prize. NFC experts Thin Film Electronics are behind the technology. Take up is improved by the fact that a mobile app is not required to participate, just a NFC enabled phone. The bottles are being sold in 15 Spanish supermarket chains.

More info in The Innovation Zone.

Please visit ThePackHub website to find out more about the range of packaging innovation services we offer. We’ve delivered projects for a number of brand owner, retailer and packaging suppliers.

Until next time. Happy innovating.

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